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Month in Review – June 2011

So we thought, for a couple reasons, we would give all of you a glimpse into the financial side of the trip. First, as we prepared for our grand journey we queried many a site similar to ours trying to find tidbits of useful data such as these to help us frame up a budget – thus we are repaying the favor. Second, we know some of you are concerned and suspect that others are just curious.  Hope it is useful at best or entertaining in the least.

Note: These are not estimates, Chris loves him some Excel and tracks every expense religiously for his spreadsheets.

Pre-trip and Recurring Expenses

Since this is our intro into the financial world we thought we would start with some details on our where we started.

Gizmos: ~$1,000

This is essentially an iPad + Kindle with a couple of power converters thrown in. We already owned a PC so we didnt consider that part of the cost. While a pain in the arse to travel with both a PC and iPad, we think it is well worth it. While “sharing means caring” you will inevitably want to both be online at the same time so doubling up is a must. Refer to our Gear List post for a full rundown of all the accessories.

Clothing: ~$1,000 per person

The bulk of the cost comes from specialty gear purchased at REI. Seeing as we are going to live out of a 40L backpack for 6 months, we had to upgrade some of the clothing to optimize its space and weight. For a shorter trip or one in which you just do Europe you could save considerable cost here.

Utilitarian Stuff: ~$500

The majority of this is our packs. Outside of the pack we have: 1.) extra pairs of glasses (use Zenni.com – <$30 per), 2.) space saver bags, 3.) Goo bottles (REI) and 4.) a host of smaller bags to help compartmentalize packing.

Recurring Expenses: ~$6,000 for the whole trip

  • Skype + Cell Phones
  • Micro SIMs (iPad) + Internet Connection fees
  • Shipping (estimate $180 per package)
  • Bank Fees (estimate $50 per month for ATM withdrawls)
  • Medical Costs
  • Visa & Vaccines

June – Calendar Overview – Key Dates and More


Overall we feel like the pace may be a little heavy, but it was expected in Europe as the here is just so much to see and it is cost prohibitive to just sit around.

June – Monthly Expenses

“Bitsy” – The little car that could:

  • Lease Buy-Back cost – $1,843
  • Gas – $985 (4,200 miles)
  • Tolls – $371 (majority in France)
  • Parking – $659 (Barcelona was $210 – Yikes!)

So all-in Bitsy cost us ~$130 per day. Hard to say at present if this is more or less expensive then using the rail system. We will figure that out here in July and report back.

Random Line Items:

  • We are averaging $116 per night in hotels for what is on average somewhere between a 2 star and 3 star stay. This amount is slightly inflated by some choices we made, like booking a room with no AC and having to book another with it and jetting out on a few rooms we couldn’t cancel to get to the next spot on the trip early.
  • Meal Per Diems – Breakfast $12, Lunch $29, Dinner $74. We are not breakfast people so that is coffee and pastry and thus a little light if you are of the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” elk.
  • Attractions $21 per day. This is entrance fees or bus tours thus far.
  • Taxi + Subway – we dont have a material enough sample as we had Bitsy. Will report on this in July.

June – Summary

We are happy to report that we are spot on our budget; you would think one of us does this kinda thing for a living or something…wink, wink.

All and all there were not a lot of surprises. We had been warned about the tolls but they were a bit more than expected. We didn’t do proper diligence when parking and likely could have saved some shekels if we had. We started out ordering way too much food (the portions are huge here) so that is another area we could have saved – you only need one entree if you get an appetizer. We should have withdrawn money every day from ATM’s that were no fee vs running out of currency in places where we had to pay the piper.

Well, that’s all folks – would love to hear if you have any questions/comments!

 

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