Wednesday, December 5, 2012

8-Months Travel Sabbatical, Within Budget at $50,000

No, we didn't win the lottery or have a trust fund.  We were an average middle-class DINK (dual income, no kids) household, living below our means, saving money the old-fashioned way to be spent on an event such as a travel sabbatical.

At first, we didn't know how to budget for an 8-month trip, but we took a stab in the dark by figuring out what our average daily cost might be, plus any outstanding bills to maintain our house, private health insurance, and our dog while we were away.

After 8-months and a few unexpected home repairs and veterinary bills, we are astounded by the accuracy of our $50,000 budget!  Of course, human nature dictates that expenses almost always expand up to a set budget.  Isn't that correct?  So, if we had set our daily goal at $100 instead of $150, we would've probably been able to achieve that, albeit a little less comfortably.  We're glad we set a realistic goal that fit our lifestyle and stuck to it.  We also had help from friends and friends of friends, who graciously provided us free lodging at some points of our journey.  We can't thank them enough. 

We can't remember the last time we heard these 2 words together, "Balanced Budget", yet here it is in USD:

Tokyo Kokugikan for sumo wrestling [May 2012]
We didn't include the 2 weeks in Japan into our RTW cost for a few reasons: (1) it was a separate visit home to see Akiko's dad, (2) due to the cost, we wouldn't have gone to Japan as part of a budget RTW trip, and (3) hosting friends from the States, we did a lot more vacation-type traveling and activities than we would have, had we been on a budget.  All said, Japan was a separate non-RTW trip budget.

Straddling the 0-00-00 latitude in Ecuador [June 2012]
ECUADORTotal $1800 ($120/day x 15 days)

Machu Picchu in Peru, of course! [July 2012]
PERUTotal $3564 ($162/day x 22 days)

Relaxing in our apartment (via in Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires [July 2012]
ARGENTINATotal $4160 ($160/day x 26 days)

Costa del Sol, Spain [August 2012]
Le Salon Bleu, a hidden rooftop oasis in the Medina of Tangier, Morocco [August 2012]
Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy [August 2012]
SPAIN, MOROCCO, ITALY: Total $2790 ($155 x 18 days) 

One of the upper lakes at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia [August 2012]
St. John's Church at Kaneo, Lake Ohrid, Macedonia [September  2012]
Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, and Bulgaria
Total $3680 ($160/day x 23 days)

Istanbul in the background, taken from Galata Bridge, Turkey [September 2012]
TURKEYTotal $1540 ($220/day x 7 days) 

View of Mount of Olives in background, taken from on top of Old Jerusalem city walls [September 2012]
ISRAELTotal $1330 ($190/day x 7 days)

Elephant riding in Chiang Mai, Thailand [October 2012]
THAILANDTotal $3302 ($127/day x 26 days) 

The Bayon at Angkor Archeological Park, Cambodia [November 2012]
CAMBODIATotal $1330 ($133/day x 10 days) 

Mekong Delta, Vietnam [November 2012]
Tien Sa waterfalls near Cat Cat Village in Sapa, Vietnam [November 2012]
VIETNAMTotal $4190 ($145/day x 29 days)

Kayaking on Bai Tu Long Bay, northeast of Halong Bay, Vietnam [December 2012]
SUBTOTAL for daily travel costs: $27,686 or $151/day!

We didn't include the initial $9,800 we spent on our RTW airline tickets, which included cancellation and travel insurance with the additional coverage for medical transport back to the States.  

SUBTOTAL with RTW airline tickets: $27,686 + $9,800 = $37,486

In addition, we continued paying our mortgage and house maintenance, expenses to have our dog cared for, and private catastrophic health insurance.  These costs may not be incurred by every traveler, but we spent ~$1,500/month or $12,000 and had a house and dog sitter take care of our property and dog in exchange.  

TOTAL with home, dog, and insurance expenses: $37,486 + $12,000 = $49,486!  In fact, it looks like we were below our budget. 

Homeward bound for Christmas [December 2012]