We made it! And even better, we’re not completely broke! (although I think Cara might consider that last part a loss, not a win… as in why not travel until we’re at $0 in the bank accounts?)
But in reality, we did way better than I could have expected. Now that we are back in the States we have rolled into using the money we tucked away just for this purpose, the cushion we left to float until we get jobs. I can officially close out our books on the travel portion of the trip, and lay out exactly how well we stuck to our planned budget. The starting available budget might seem like a strange number, but we ended up having more vacation time to cash out when we left then we thought and since I have been nerding out over the finances, I used the exact amount we actually had in the bank after subtracting our return cushion and car funds, rather than rounding off to a nice number. Hooray for spreadsheets doing math for you so it doesn’t matter if the numbers don’t look nice!
Now for some cold hard numbers (as of 7/2/17, the day we flew back to the USA):
Starting Funds: $54,840.33
Total Spent: $54,941.89
Our average spent per day: $134.00
Total Days (Departing Virginia to returning to USA post Bahamas): 410
Difference in budget and actual expenses: $101.56
So in traveling for 410 days, we spent a hundred dollars more than we wanted to. Or if you break that down, about a quarter a day extra. I wouldn’t have guessed that we would be that on the money. Ever. Looking back, I thought we would be under budget around the halfway point, but then we allowed ourselves a few more expensive stops/dinners/rides/etc. since we could afford it.
The three cheapest? England (thanks to our wonderful friends Phil, Mavis, and Winter for hosting us for so long), Ireland (WWOOFing…), and Thailand. An honorable mention goes to Finland, the daily total there gets skewed pretty far due to my method of including transportation into a country in the total for that leg of the trip and the plane tickets into Finland from the USA being really expensive. If those were eliminated it would be really cheap, thanks again to staying with awesome friends!
So what’s next now that we’re back in the States? Cara and I just bought a car (hooray diving right back into the “real” world), and since we put all the money from selling our cars when we left aside just for that purpose, it was a pretty painless cash purchase. Now we’re just bumming around staying with friends and family and going on job interviews, hopefully settling on the West side of Michigan. Time to get back to work saving up and refilling the coffers, so hopefully we can put a down payment on a house in the next couple years. It will be great to have some positive numbers in the bank accounts again soon…