BLOG | WE SHARE OUR THOUGHTS ALONG THE WAY

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...

It was early on our last morning in South Africa. I sat in the cool brick patio of our Johannesburg guesthouse, editing photos of our amazing safari at Kruger National Park. Still sleepy, but slightly panicked, Rodrigo came out, “oh my god,” he said, “I think I need a visa for Dubai!” A quick scramble on the internet revealed that we’d failed one of the most basic tasks of travel planning. Indeed Brazilians DO need a visa to stay in Dubai, so we had to very quickly change our travel plans, including a spendy re-routing of our flight (5 people means even smallish change-fees add up!), and adding a full week to our visit to Athens.

 

Lucky for us, the Athens apartment that we’d rented for our originally...

I hesitate to include a budget report about South Africa, as it was the only country where we stopped being independent travelers and hired both a travel agent and a safari company. 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. (Read my blog post “South Africa: we are already looking forward to the day we return” for more details.)

 

Subsequently, South Africa was far more expensive than any other country and is not easily broken down into the categories I normally report on. That being said, a financial accounting of our trip would not b...

Let’s be honest. When you’re staying with family, your expenses are subsidized. We are forever grateful to our Brazilian friends and family who took care of us during our three months in-country. Similarly, when you’re in one spot for 3 months, you create time-based economies. With those two things in mind, and despite a serious 2-week splurge for New Year’s in Rio, Brazil was the least expensive country of our trip.

 

Also, compared to every other country we’ve visited, we had the largest amount of historical data about travel-costs. Rodrigo and I have been together since 1993, so, that’s 22 years of travel back and forth between the US and Brazil. Our estimates were pretty spot-on.

 

Being real, we did...

I handed our hostess two stacks of bills, one of dollars, one of Argentine pesos. We’d withdrawn money at the Buenos Aires airport to pay the remaining rent on the apartment we’d rented in the Recoleta neighborhood. She looked at the second stack disappointedly. “Oh,” she said, “I thought I told you I only take cash.”  I glanced at Rodrigo out of the corner of my eye noticing that he was looking as confused as I felt. I hesitated, “that is cash.” “No,” she said. “I don’t accept Argentine pesos.”

 

Thus we were introduced to Argentina’s dollar-hungry, blue-market, ever-fluid economy. We learned very quickly that expenses were sky-high unless you could pay in US or Euro cash. Food, lodging, gas, replenis...

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...

March 5, 2015

By Gretchen Richter de Medeiros

 

Below are tables that detail our projected costs, actual costs, and the differences between the two. We saved a ton on transportation and lodging by opting out of renting a house in the Sacred Valley and instead staying in a travelers’ lodge in Ollantaytambo. There were two interesting ruins right in town, we could walk to the train for Machupicchu, and we spent some of our savings on a guide to drive us to Chinchero and Pisac. The five of us agree that our trip just wouldn’t have been as informative and wonderful without our guide, Isaias. We’d hire him again in a heartbeat! (Note, Isaias’s fee is included in Special Activities, which is why we went a little over in t...

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