Every long-term traveler we've met or follow thinks differently about how they spend their hard-earned travel-funds. Some want to eat at fancy restaurants, but will skip hiring a guide to show them the city. Others will stay in a premier hotel, but won't buy souvenirs. Many have different financial priorities during different parts of their trips. (We wrote about our point of view here.)


Lodging can be one of the most expensive parts of a long-term trip, but we've read about people who spend hardly anything in this category; they house-sit, couch-surf, and trade-work-for-lodging. For our family of five we rarely scrimped here, but we also couldn't afford hotels. Our prio...

In this new series we are sharing our exact costs for some of the larger, more famous cities we stayed in. We’ll also share a tip or two about finances in the city, things we wish we’d realized before we arrived. For a more details about what we spent in all of Argentina, read our post: We were introduced to Argentina’s Dollar-Hungry, Blue-Market, Ever-Fluid Economy.


Buenos Aires Stats

10 nights. 8 in a 3-bedroom short-term rental apartment, 2 in a hotel (we rented 2 rooms).


5 people. (We are almost always 5 people.)


We were there in November of 2014.


Total cost: $3572.58


Cost per day: $357.26


Per person per day: $71.45


Buenos Aires Sense

We found that we would have received 50% better return on o...

I had my first cemetery-history-lesson in Bastos, a rural town in Sao Paulo state. My host, a young 3rd generation Japanese-Brazilian, took me on a chronological tour to show how the immigrant-founded community changed over time. Early graves were Buddhist with obelisk tombstones covered in Kanji and framed photos of the deceased. In the 1950s and 60s, names like Eduardo Fujisaki and Beatrice Suzuki began appearing on tombstones, demonstrating that the townspeople had begun identifying as Brazilian. The newest headstones’ text were Portuguese with Christian elements like crosses and angels, signaling further cultural integration. It was an eye-opening experience that prompted a habit of visiting ceme...

This is my fifth time returning home from a year abroad. The first was after being an exchange student to Brazil with Rotary. The next several times I was in my twenties. And yes, I experienced reverse culture-shock and felt directionless and went through many other emotions as I reintegrated home. And I’m feeling those things again. And so is my husband. And my kids. And Heather. And I could write about all of that, but Michael Huxley nailed it in his article last December: It Really is a Lonely Planet.


This year’s re-entry is different. I’m older. I own property and must feed, clothe and care for two teens and a dog. Figuring out what to do next is not just about me. Register for school? Check. Buy...

We had four goals for our time in Europe: 1) spend time with our friends Tammy and Aaron Oesting who are also on a RTW trip 2) carefully schedule our itinerary around Shengen rules 3) visit places we’d never been and 4) make our remaining money last.  After several weeks of research and Skype conversations, we decided that Turkey would be the perfect country for our friends-who-are-family-reunion, getting out of the Shengen zone, experiencing an entirely new culture and economizing.


We spent 16 nights in the small, but historically-significant town of Selcuk and 10 in cosmopolitan Istanbul. Our lodging costs were $4,725, happily coming in $720 under budget. Taking it slow in our “Garden House” in Sel...

We love the experience of temporarily living like locals that we get by renting homes through, Homeaway and Airbnb. We double-love how easy it has become over the past 10 years to find and pay for rental online. With the exception of one apartment – I’m looking at you, Santiago! – most of the homes we’ve rented have been great. But invariably there has been one or two things amiss, so we’d like to share our thoughts with current and future owners of short-term rentals.

First and foremost, have enough stuff. If you list your house as “sleeping 6”, then, you need to have six spoons, six cups, six plates, six towels, six pillows, etc. Several years ago we rented an apartment “for 8” in the histo...

It’s hard to believe that our six months south of the equator are now behind us. Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa: each country offered experiences we’d been looking forward to, experiences we couldn’t have imagined, and truth-be-told, some that we hope not to go through again.  We compiled this by-the-numbers list to reflect on the journey thus far.



Number of times we had to change our plane tickets. We had to cancel Dubai at the very last minute (see TWO), and re-booked all the way to Athens. A costly mistake, but luckily a lone AirTreks employee was working late and he was able to solve the problem within an hour.



Visa snafus. Our friends Chris and Krissy had been planning to...


For me, half the fun of traveling is planning the journey. During the three years that we were saving money, I read countless books about the countries we were considering. I sketched out possible routes on a poster-sized wet-erase map and tracked airline ticket prices online. I followed travel bloggers and thought about our budget.


Determining a plan for Africa took longer and was more difficult, somehow, than the other countries on our itinerary. Perhaps this was because Africa felt more unknown and dangerous than South America and Europe. None of us had ever been to any African nation, so we had no first-hand knowledge of what it would be like. Additionally, there were times when it seemed that o...

Below are tables that detail our projected costs, actual costs, and the differences between the two. We saved on lodging by staying two full weeks in Las Cruces, a small beach town near Valparaiso. In addition to being easy on the budget, we all appreciated the time to make ourselves at home and relax.


Though it doesn’t show up as an overage in our budget, we did waste some money by checking out of our Santiago apartment early to visit the Colchagua Valley. In essence, we paid for two nights lodging twice: the two nights we lost in Santiago and the two nights added in a Colchagua BnB. We also hadn’t originally planned on renting a car in Chile, which we did, so that affected our transportation costs...

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