Follow The Money

By Jane Mountain | September 24, 2013

Today I did something I have been avoiding ever since we arrived in Berlin: I checked our bank accounts.

Tomorrow it will be six months since we left home, so I wanted to see two things.

  • Do we have enough money left to keep travelling?
  • How much have we spent so far?

The answer to the first question is the heartening Yes! Quite a relief since we’ve already booked and paid for our tickets to China.

The answer to the second question, however, was less thrilling. We’ve spent Way Too Much.

When we were planning this trip, I referred to articles by other cycle tourists about how much it would cost to travel by bike. The average for Europe seems to range between $40 and $70 USD per day for two people.

I guess we are the major spendthrifts of the cycle touring world then, since we clocked in around $110 USD per day. Ouch.

Here’s where I lay the blame.

  • We didn’t keep a strict budget and didn’t keep track of how much we were spending per day. This meant we probably spent more than we noticed.
  • We always put having fun and being comfortable ahead of saving money. I think this is OK, since when we backpacked around Europe in the 90s, we were more miserly and are still kicking ourselves for missing out on certain experiences.
  • We spent a lot on hotels in our first months, when the weather was uniformly yucky, and we were entirely wimpy about it.
  • Our fondness for fine foods and eating at expensive restaurants always gets the better of our budget.
  • Stephen drinks a lot of beer. This is a little tongue in cheek, but only a little. A couple of glasses of beer can easily add 25 to 50% to a restaurant bill.

If I could go back in time, I would have pushed us to wild camp more often, since I actually liked it a lot when we did. I would also spend less on B&Bs in Italy and less on hotels in Poland. But I probably wouldn’t cut back on our food consumption, since that has been one of the great joys of this trip (and is one of the great joys of life in general).

When it comes to China and Southeast Asia, reports would have us believe that we can live pretty well on $35 per day for the two of us. I’m hoping this proves true, since it would be nice to not be totally bankrupt when we get home.

I have resolved to keep better track of our outgoing funds on the next leg of our journey, and am going to try to stick us to a daily budget.

Since Stephen will hate the beer in Asia, we might even be able to do it!  

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  1. Comment by Tony Giuliano

    Tony Giuliano September 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Stephen you have a sponsor! Where do I send the check? Love you guys.xo

  2. Comment by Dave morrow

    Dave morrow September 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    The beer is good in Asia so long as you like lager. The good news is it only costs about $1.00.

    Also there are roving dog packs in asia though not in china as in china thay eat anything that moves except people, so camping in the wild may not be as attractive as you envision. Past experiences in another country is not a good barometer to assess a similar situation in a different country.

    Glad you have enough money to continue the trip and for sure Asia will be much cheaper.

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane September 27, 2013 at 1:01 am

      Don’t worry Dave, we are not even planning on bringing our tent to SE Asia. We have heard from other cyclist that it’s probably not worth the added weight. As for beer, Stephen is not a lager fan, so most Asian beer won’t be to his liking, even if it costs nothing!

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