As I write this article, I’m finishing my stay in Costa Rica. It has been eight months since beginning my travels across North and Central America. Costa Rica was a lot of fun, I have to come back one day. As I have 4 months left on my trip, I thought of doing a little budget recap.
8 months and $35,827.79 later
Yup, in 8 months, I averaged monthly spending of $4,478.47 and spent a total of $35,827.79. Here where the money went:
There is one thing shocking me in the analysis of this graph: about ¾ of the money spent would have been spent anyway!
When people tell me that they need huge savings to take such a trip, I can only think about how much money I spend at home. In fact, gasoline, activities, car maintenance, clothe and food would have been spent pretty much the same way.
The transportation budget rose significantly in the past 3 months because we had to rent a car in Costa Rica. Going through small villages and exploring with Freefall was just too much and the risk of breaking it was too great. For this reason, we spent $848/month to rent a car and be able to move freely during our stay. Transportation costs also includes ferries to and from Vancouver’s Island along with the one we took to leave the Baja for the Mexico mainland. By the way, don’t bother going to the Baja, there is nothing much to see there and the mainland is a lot more fun!
As you can see, camping fees aren’t that bad. This is because we did lots of boondocking, lots of Wal-Mart parking lots and parking your RV in central America is quite cheap. Most of the time, it sufficed to pay about $10 per night or have a beer or order a meal and you can stay for a few days in a well guarded hotel parking lot.
Food is the biggest spending category by far. I guess this is normal since my two oldest eat like adults and we included restaurants and wine in the same category. At home, I’m able to maintain my food budget around $1,300 per month + restaurants and wine totalling about $1,800 altogether. We are spending a little bit more while traveling as sometimes, going to the restaurant isn’t really an option… plus it’s part of activities we like most! Hahaha!
Unfortunately, there are other expenses to take into consideration
Telling you I spent less than $36,000 for 8 month traveling would be a big lie. In fact, there are several other expenses we had. There were just made before we left:
+$7,750 This was the price for a 3 months villa in Costa Rica. This includes having an amazing place to stay, AC, infinite pool and spending quality times with our family and friends.
+$540/month this is the cost of my RV payment + insurances. While I will be able to get a part of this money back when I sell Freefall and I can use it for other trip in the meantime, this money is still going out of my pockets.
+$7,500 to get Freefall ready for the trip. This includes adding solar panel, two 6 volt batteries, an inverter, doing all joints as new, putting 6 brand new tires, changing all fluids and a full check-up.
A total of $19,570 was spent on top of the monthly budget
So is $55,397.79 worth this trip so far?
You want the long answer or the short answer? I’ll right, I’ll give you both!
Short answer: Hell YES!
With four months to go, I expect to spend about another $23,000 going forward. This money includes our monthly budget, an extra for Belize as we want to stay on islands for about a week, another extra for a week of vacation in Disney World (I owe that to my little one!) and another $1,000 in clothing for my three kids as they need new stuff to go back to school in September.
Overall, I expect to spend about between $78,000 and $80,000 for the whole trip. To be honest, I know a lot of people spending a lot more money in their life for doing not much. With $80,000, I was able to travel a good part of the world, build bonds with my kids and wife that will last forever and live an uncalculated amount of crazy adventures that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Being brutally honest with you, I could tell you that if I had to die tomorrow morning, I would be the happiest guy on earth and I wouldn’t regret anything. Because for the past 8 months, I LIVED. Once I come back home, I intend to do things differently especially for that reason. I want to continue LIVING… I guess this is what happens when you take the red pill!