December 21, 2006 GMT
150 Days on the Road

If anybody is wondering what it realy costs to do a trip like this, here are my expenses for the trip so far.

What it costs (me) to live on the road for 150 days.

Since I took today off in Punta Arenas to enjoy being dry and warm for the first day in about the last 12 (it has rained at some point every day but one since I entered Chile the first time near Puerto Montt), I thought I would take a stab at seeing what this trip really cost me. I have not been doing any accounting as I go, but thanks to internet banking, and free wi-fi at the hostel I am at, I looked up my checking account activity. These are expenses since I crossed from the USA into Mexico back in July.

Total withdrawn from checking accounts or paid on my credit cards: $7400

Still have $400 cash on hand, leaves $7000 expended for 150 days.

big ticket items:

shipping bike, Panama to Bogota: $501
shipping me, Panama to Bogota: $260
Pair of motorcycling pants: $180
3 tires: $280
Fuel: $900
Spanish lessons: $180
Machu Picchu trip $130
Camera/storage card/reader to $280
replace the originalthat died

Total: $2711

That leaves $4569/150, or $28.59/day, that went into daily expenses, like lodging, food, beer, internet access, border crossings, oil and chain lube, mountain bike rental, laundry, whatever. I don't think there is too much fat in that $29/day figure, although I'm sure people have done similar trips on much less. Most days I had a private room, although there were probably 15 nights that I spent in shared room hostels, and probably another 25 where I had no cost, either camping out or staying at someone's home. I ate pretty good most of the time, usually 2 restaurant meals per day, and didn't skimp on the beer, which is surprisingly expensive in a lot of places. I can't think of anything I bought for the bike, other than oil and tires, so I was lucky in that respect. Without going to a lot of effort to pin it down exactly, I would guess I spent $20/day in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru and Bolivia, and maybe $30 in Colombia and Ecuador, and $40 in Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Panama, I only spent a couple days in, and most of my time in Costa Rica I had a free place to stay, so it's harder to estimate for them.

Of course, I still have 2 or 3 weeks to go, and have to get home, which will be by far the most expensive part of the trip. I think I will get myself and the bike back home with a total trip cost of about $10k. I originally thought this would take $10-12k, so I was right on the money there.

If I have any decent weather tomorrow, I should get to Ushuaia on the 22nd. Merry Christmas to all.

Posted by Andy Tiegs at December 21, 2006 11:14 PM GMT

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