Budget Travel

As some of you already know, I was budget travelling last year (2018) for 336 days in a row. My destinations were Mexico, Belize and, on the way home, New York (USA). As a retired person, I have had a tight budget, but with the help of many couchsurfing hosts, I could see most of Mexico and also most of Belize – even I only had three hosts in Belize. I had even the opportunities to go on tours, some of them quite expensive and buy some souvenirs as well. In addition to that, I also could buy a new notebook, a new smartphone and a new camera.

Below you can see, how much I spent during this travel. I know, each person has his own favorites, but I just would like to show you, that it is possible to travel the world with a low income and in an age of 65+.

Unfortunately I cannot insert my Excel-sheet here, though I try it another way. All amounts are in SEK, if there is nothing other stated:

Mexico (301 days)

Transport (all together = 27,478)
Flight = 6251 (that is one direct flight from Stockholm – Los Angeles + a flight with 1 stop from Mexico City to Stockholm via New York)
Ferry = 1,050 (I visited some islands)
Bus = 11,657 (I tried with hitchhiking, but that was only possible on Baja California and Baja California Sur. There are no many trains in Mexico.)
Train = 1,371 (That is the price for a one-way ticket for “El Chepe”, which is going from Los Mochis to Chihuahua throughout the Coppar canyon)
Commuter = 1,631 (They call them “collectivos” and “combis” in Mexico, Mexico City and Guadalajara even have a Metro)
Taxi = 3,656 (Sometimes it is the best way to go further, especially with a big backpack or a suitcase and they are really cheap in Mexico)

Accommodation
Hostels = 7,519 (A big part of the budget, but not so much at all, because I often used Couchsurfing; I stayed for 69 nights at hostels)
Hotels = 7,726 (Sometimes I could neither find a host nor a hostel, though I had to sleep at a hotel; I stayed there for 25 nights and there are almost three 4* hotels included)

Food
From Supermarket etc = 6,550 (a lot of hosts did pamper me with full board, but not all. At the hostels I had to pay for my meals, of course and I saved money this way. In addition to that I usually cooked a Swedish meal for my hosts.)
Meals at restaurants = 12,572 (because of the low prices, I also could eat out often; sometimes I pampered myself by eating at high price restaurants)

Activities = 7,669 (included are tours to e.g. Maya ruins, but also admission fees for museums. You usually have to pay full price och cannot get the reduced price for retired people, if you are foreign)

Souvenirs = 2,421 (including gifts for my family and my landlady)

Health
Insurance = 0 (the treatments in Mexico are so cheap, though if you really need, you get a lot before you reach the amount of a health insurance)
Care = 1,059 (this is for hygiene articles like shampoo, tooth paste etc)
Medicine = 932 (this is a very individual amount – I always need some, but it was not expensive here)

Others = 21,032 (a hugh amount, but there is all in from the fee for the bathroom, over the recharge of the cellular phone and the new notebook, smartphone and camera). Here you can save a lot, if you are wiser as me)

 

Belize (30 days)

Transport (all together = 1,365)
Flight = 0
Ferry = 279 (There was a ferry over a river, I used it by a rented bike)
Bus = 466 (The way to go forward in Belize, even the buses are old and horrible)
Train = 0 (there are no trains)
Commuter = 8 (the municipalities are not so big, usually one do not need to go by local bus)
Taxi = 612 (some times one need to take a taxi, they are not so cheap as in Mexico, but not very expensive either; do not take a taxi at the border, there are local buses and combis going. The taxis take overprices and the commuters are much cheaper)

Accommodation
Hostel = 2,203 (12 nights, in Belize I had no many opportunities for couchsurfing; a three days homestay at a Maya family with full board is included)
Hotel = 1,873 (4 nights, one of them was a B&B and the other one did not have a high standard either. They are much more expensive than in Mexico. Unfortunately there were no hostels.)

Food
From Supermarket etc = 915 (a host did not even offer coffee for free. The hospitality of the Belizeans is not as hearty as of the Mexicans)
Meals at restaurants = 1,701 (there are a lot of Chinese restaurants, where one can get a cheap and big meal. I tried to eat on markets or small stalls as well)

Activities = 2910 (this amount is so high, because of the tours. I did not only visit nature reserves and the Belize Zoo, but also was zip-lining and cave-tubing.)

Souvenirs = 113 (not a big amount)

Health
Insurance = 0 (I trusted my guardian angel)
Care = 156 (repellent against mosquitos)
Medicine = 0

Others = 744 (It includes the laundry etc)

 

New York, USA

Transport
Flight = 0
Ferry = 0 (the State Island ferry, from where you can see the Statue of Liberty, is for free)
Bus = 0
Train = 0
Commuter = 497 (Subway and a few buses)
Taxi = 0

Accommodation
Hostel = 1,688 (4 nights, it was a HI-hostel and very clean, but you could sleep at a 4* hotel in Mexico for this price)
Hotel = 0

Food = 1,011 (mostly from supermarkets – once I had a snack at a coffee shop)

Activities = 1,170 (three walking tours + the Phantom of the Opera)

Souvenirs = 199 (I found the souvenirs of a lifetime ;-))

Health
Insurance = 0 (I hoped the insurance for the flight by my credit card will work and also trusted my guardian angel)
Care = 27
Medicine = 14 (cough drops, it was so cold)

Others = 2424 (I needed new suitcases, though I had not to pay an extra fee on the flight. Afterwards I think it was a bad decision, the extra fee would have been cheaper.)

Costs per day:
Mexico = all included: 309 SEK or 32 USD or 29 EUR
Belize = all included: 399 SEK or 45 USD or 38 EUR
New York = 1758 SEK or 194 USD or 171 EUR

Mexico = Transport, accommodation and food only = 199 SEK or 21 USD or 18 EUR
Belize = Transport, accommodation and food only = 269 SEK or 28 USD or 25 EUR
New York = Transport, accommodation and food only = 799 SEK or 88 USD or 76 EUR

For the whole periode = all included: 334 SEK or 35 USD or 31 EUR
– ” – = Transport, accommodation and food only = 212 SEK or 22 USD or 20 EUR

I read a lot of the travel writer “Nomadic Matt”, who always write how one can travel for less than 50 USD a day, I think I made it even much better and, avoiding all my mistakes, you can have a great time traveling Mexico under 30 USD/day even you go on tours. Belize you may be able to travel for less than 40 USD/day and anyway go on tours. Just New York is very expensive and in my case I did not count the cost for the flights in the calculation for New York, because I anyway had to take it for Mexico, but if you save money meanwhile you are traveling Mexico, you may be able to see New York as well – like I did.

By the way, if you are interested in the breakdown of all my expenses, you can reach me by email: dorotheeinternational [at] gmail [dot] com and ask for the file.

Last but not least I did avoid too many flights by making this long lasting trip and hope I did save the environment somewhat. The only chance to zero impact is not to travel to other continents at all, which would be very hard for me.

3 Comments

  1. You probably had the best time in your life with that series of tour. Congratulations! 👍

    • Thank you for your comment. I hope I can visit Mexico soon again. I made friends there. I also would like to see the rest of the Americas.

      Have a great time yourself.

    • You are welcome, Dorothee.
      I have never been to North or South America, but I think that there are really nice places there to visit.

      Thank you. Likewise.

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