Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What It Cost

In looking back at some posts this summer Laura recently reminded me that I had not posted up the final financial data from the trip. So here it is.

I kept detailed financial information from Day One to Day 366 and cataloged every dime, dinar and dirham we spent. I compiled and analyzed the costs and divided them into a host of categories so we now know, for example, how much we spent the entire trip on bus tickets and what our per day spending average was in Brunei.

While it might seem that such information is relatively useless to other travelers or would-be travelers because our experiences and route were so unique, I'd suggest that's actually not the case. Why? In the final analysis you see that for the most part the percentage of what we spent on certain activities was roughly the same across large regions. That means that while we went to Uruguay and you might not, what we spent on park entry there was similar in proportion to what we spent in all of South America.

I'll try and lay this out as simply as possible ...


Total spent: $30,915 in 366 days, for an average of $84.47 per day (or $42.24 per person per day). This figure does not include the roughly $14,000 we spent on our round-the-world plane tickets nor the approximately $600 we spent total on health insurance, nor does it include what we spent before the trip to get ready -- such as Laura's new backpack -- but it does include everything else, including what we spent on plane tickets for flights we picked up along the way.

Accommodations: $8,531
Food: $7,353
Transportation: $8,402
Entertainment: $1,245 (includes tours, skiing, surfing and more)
Visas: $1,042
Parks, museums and guides: $835
Phone, post and Internet: $743

Transportation: 27 percent of total spent. Of that, 37 percent was for bus, 29 percent for flights, 6 percent for car and driver, 8 percent for bikes and 6 percent for boats

Accommodation: 27 percent of total spent. Of that, 91 percent was for hotels and 9 percent for camping

Food: 24 percent of total spent. Of that, 14 percent was for breakfast, 19 percent for lunch, 34 percent for dinner and 24 percent for groceries

Entertainment: 4 percent of total spent.

Visas: 3 percent of total spent.

Parks, museums and guides: 3 percent of total spent.

Phone, post and Internet: 2 percent of total spent.


Chile: $2,157 for 23 days, $93.79 average (33 percent skiing, 18 percent food)
Argentina: $3,699 for 35.5 days, $104.21 average (31 percent skiing, 24 percent food)
Uruguay: $795 for 7.5 days, $106.08 average (33 percent hotel, 33 percent bus)
Brazil: $889 for 6.5 days, $136.88 average (37 percent visa, 26 percent bus)
Bolivia: $1,002 for 13 days, $77.10 per day (27 percent visa, 20 percent food)
Peru: $1,769 for 21 days, $84.26 per day (25 percent hotel, 24 percent food)
Ecuador: $823 for 12 days, $68.62 per day (31 percent hotel, 23 percent food)
Colombia: $135 for 3 days, $44.97 per day (46 percent hotel, 15 percent food)
United States: $1,124 for 10.5 days, $107 per day (32 percent gear, 17 percent meds)
Australia: $4,764* for 61 days, $78.10 per day (31 percent food, 15 percent camping)
Indonesia: $1520 for 25.5 days, $59.60 per day(30 percent hotel, 23 percent flights)
Malaysia: $890 for 16.5 days, $54 per day (38 percent hotel, 18 percent food)
Brunei: $169 for 1.5 days, $112.47 per day (58 percent hotel, 17 percent food)
Philippines: $738 for 10 days, $73.80 per day (30 percent hotel, 20 percent food)
Thailand: $2,747 for 30.5 days, $90 per day (33 percent hotel, 22 percent flights)
Sri Lanka: $1,065 for 14.5 days, $73.49 per day (33 percent hotel, 22 percent flight)
Taiwan: $1,202 for 14.5 days, $82.93 per day (36 percent hotel, 20 percent flight)
Laos: $268 for 5.4 days, $59.68 per day (29 percent visa, 28 percent hotel)
Myanmar: $273 for 5.5 days, $49.71** (22 percent flight, 19 percent hotel)
United Arab Emirates: $578 for 2.5 days, $231.44 per day** (68 percent flight)
Oman: $427.2 for 7 days, $67.45 per day** (70 percent hotel, 11 percent food)
Mauritius: $526 for 8 days, $65.75 per day (63 percent hotel, 30 percent food)
Madagascar: $1,483 for 14 days, $106 per day (38 percent car/driver, 24 percent food)
Tunisia: $709 for 11.5 days, $61.64 per day (47 percent hotel, 22 percent food)
Malta: $602 for 6 days, $100 per day (65 percent hotel, 23 percent food)
United Kingdom: $142 for 1 days, $142 per day (50 percent hotel, 29 percent metro)

*Cost shown for Australia is net. While in some countries we saw a "gain" of money -- usually through selling things -- it was nominal. In Australia, however, total gain was $250 due to the sale of gear and finding money alongside a highway. Actual total costs for Australia were $5,014.
**I alone traveled to these three countries, so the per day average is for one person, not two. Laura was in the US, and expenses there were catalogued under US.

Obviously, the longer we stayed in a country the more our expenditure percentages reflect the actual cost of things. Totals are skewed in country like Bolivia -- which was essentially dirt cheap but where they charge an arm and a leg (well, about %150) for a visa. They are also skewed in a country like Myanmar, where the cost of the flight figured prominently into the totals due to the short duration of my stay. And they were also skewed in a country like Oman, where accommodation was so outrageously expensive that it left me unable to do practically anything else. Once you get past those exceptions, however, you see that in general the cost of food, transport and accommodation were all fairly similar.

And some interesting budget facts, told in the total amount spent:

Snacks: $173
Coffee: $268
Water: $14
Taxis: $341
Parking: $1
Surfing: $20
Souvenirs: $311
Laundry: $42
Internet: $467
Maps: $10
Books: $191
Pay phones: $21
Newspapers: $6
Photo downloading: $86
Tips: $46 (for lack of a better category, could also be called "bribes" and "money to make people go away"
Toilet fees: $5
Camera fee: $5 (charged at some parks and museums)
Shoe storage: $1 (to enter many temples you have to remove your shoes; some places make you pay to "store" them)