December Travel Monkeys Must Pay

ยท by dusty

Happy New Year!

Rummy 100,000

Mancora Christmas Tree

First, a brief update on our ongoing Rummy game. Well, Wendy kicked my butt most of December and was the first one to 10,000 points. She won a mini-prize for that (a massage). During the last couple of days in December, I rallied and am now in the lead. I’m hoping to be the first one to hit 20,000 and receive my mini-prize!

(Wendy: not a chance! You’re going down!)

December 31st Score:

Wendy: 11,145
Dusty: 11,315


November was way under budget! Renting an apartment for the entire month shows how slow travel is usually less expensive. By staying put for a month, our transportation costs where virtually zero, our rent was a lot lower at a monthly rate, and we were able to cook at home in our full-sized kitchen.

However, December was a busy travel month for us and therefore more expensive. In December we were in Puerto Lopez, Quito, Cotopaxi, Banos, and Cuenca in Ecuador. Then we hit Mancora, Piura, Huanchaco, and Lima in Peru! Wow!

Here is the breakdown of December:

Category Budget Actual Difference Notes
Transportation 300 270 (30) buses and taxis
Rent 800 918 118 hostels and a xmas present
Misc 225 266 41 healthcare, clothes and gadgets
Activities 200 377 177 lots of fun
Food 560 653 93 food and dining
Allowance 0 0 0 experiment
TOTAL 2085 2484 399

We experimented with some budget categories in December. We eliminated Allowance for the month and merged it all into the Food category. Allowance is what we use for individual discretionary spending (aka: beer). In addition we decreased the total spending to $140/week, which gave us $20 per day for food and drinks. Our logic on this experiment was that we needed allowance for when we spend time apart, but we weren’t really doing that on this trip.

This experiment was tough and you can see we didn’t accomplish our mission. In addition, we pretty much eliminated alcohol and fun things such as ice cream and coffee shop visits. We aren’t going to do this for January, its just not worth it! We decided to keep the Food budget the same, but add an Allowance back to the mix for January (increasing our budget by $160/month).

The Misc costs were a little over what we usually spend because we had a few small healthcare costs, needed a flash drive since we are running out of hard-drive space and had to buy some clothes. We thought that South America would be really hot all the time and packed for it. But, we spent a lot of time around Snow-capped Volcanos (at 3500km above sea level) and it was cold! We are going to buy even more warm clothes here for the next coming months on our trip to the bottom of the world.

Activities was more action packed in December with visits to The Boobies, Center of the Earth, Llamas, A Cuy Village, Quad Runners, Surfing, and many more… Finally, we splurged way over our $25/night budget for our Christmas Present to ourselves in a fancy beach-front hotel!

What a fun month and end to 2010. Overall we were over budget, but not too bad at $399 (or 239 if you were to use our new budget numbers).

We’ve added a new page to the site, which will show the budget progress each month and a running average. You can always click on the Cost link on the top to see it. So far we are looking good, lets see if we can keep it up in 2011!

Here is our running average:

*If you have trouble seeing the spreadsheet above, visit our Budget Progress spreadsheet.

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