WOW, what an amazing second month on our trip. We finally left the protective bubble of our friends’ home in Otavalo and started exploring more of Ecuador. As we have mentioned, we are focused on slower travel and spent the rest of November in Baños, Ecuador.
As we expected, the expenses are creeping up this month as we added in the cost of accomodations and more meals out. We were not able to secure a place with a kitchen in Baños so we ate all our meals out. However, the price of food here is quite cheap so even with a couple of splurges (splurge = $20 dinner) we stayed under our $100 budget each day.
- Accommodation: $249.70
- Alcohol: $30.10
- Entertainment: $61.00
- Food: $416.82
- Intercity Transportation: $20.30
- Living Expenses: $101.00
- Local Transportation: $40.25
- Souvenirs: $50.25 (gifts)
- Tips and Handouts: $10.00
- Water: $4.00
Grand total: $983.42
Daily Average: $32.78
Antarctica (why don’t you include that?):
In addition to the daily expenses above, this month we had to pay the full balance of our trip to Antarctica. As you may recall, we chose to take advantage of Gap Adventure’s 35% off sale and bit the bullet and booked this dream vacation. The total cost of this adventure is $10,788.70 (it hurts to type that) which is obviously a HUGE piece of our budget. However, to pay for this trip we applied the money earned through our separate company, MWL Development. We had enough money in our business account to cover this trip separately from our primary trip fund. Betsy and I debated this for some time over beers last week and I encourage anyone that would like to continue the debate on how we dealt with this to join us for some $1.50 grande Pilseners here in Ecuador.
Additional lessons we have learned
- Dining out can quickly eat into your budget. Scoping out local markets where they serve food or finding restaurants that cater to the local population can greatly reduce the amount you must spend each day.
- Always double-check your bus tickets. We bought ours from Quito to Baños and were instructed to go to platform 28. Once we got on the road, however, that bus was from a different company than what was on our ticket. We had to pay for the entire trip again on the bus. Thankfully it was only a $7 mistake (I love Ecuadorian bus prices) but we learned to verify our ticket with the driver before getting on. One poor man was going the opposite way and had to be let out on the side of the road to catch another bus!
- Discussing our next day’s spending the night before helps keep us in check and helps us avoid crazy spending. We decide based on our planned activity level when/where we’ll be eating. A low-activity day usually just means a big breakfast and mid-afternoon meal, while a full activity day means 3 squares and probably an ice cream cone.
If you have any additional tips we would love to apply them and include them in future monthly updates. Please just drop us a comment below.