Welcome to our January 2018 travel expense report!
Ever since we left our 9-5 jobs to travel full time, we get asked on a daily basis how do we do it, how do we afford to travel so much?
To answer some of these questions we bring you our first of an ongoing series of monthly travel expense reports.
In these monthly reports, we will dive into how much we spent and what areas we are currently traveling in order to give you a better understanding of what made up our travel expenses.
Spoiler alert: in January 2018, we spent $1,567.39 traveling full time through Mexico.
We’ll dive into what made up this number and how we pay for our costs in a bit but first, this is what we have been up to in January.
January Travel Highlights
This year started off with a huge change.
At the end of 2017, we finished working on a van conversion project that took us the majority of the year to complete.
After finishing our van, we immediately drove south from Los Angeles and spent the last few weeks of December 2017 driving through Baja California, Mexico. We really enjoyed the beautiful beaches of Baja California, its laid-back surf vibe, and friendly locals.
When we were ready to say goodbye to Baja’s blue beaches, we got on a ferry with our van to mainland Mexico and started making our way southeast from Mazatlan. On this route, we visited some awesome jungle areas – where we took a boat tour through the mangrove tunnels of a crocodile-infested river in San Blas — before heading to Tequila to visit the famous tequila distilleries.
The next big destination on our trip was arriving in Guadalajara which is the second biggest city in Mexico. Filled with amazing food and beautiful architecture, we ended up spending some time in this area visiting friends, exploring the historic downtown area, and trying many of the delicious restaurants (can you blame us?).
Then we were off to explore the Huasteca Potosina that’s famous for its turquoise blue water and endless waterfalls. What surprised us about this area is the lack of international tourists, although it has some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve seen on this trip.
January 2018 Travel Expenses
We ended up spending $1567.39 on our travels in January but the areas where we travel have a huge impact on our monthly travel expenses. The outdoorsy destinations like Baja California and San Luis Potosi tend to be much cheaper than staying in cities like Guadalajara. We have eliminated rent by traveling in a van, but in cities, we still often have to pay parking fees and other expenses that add up quickly.
Some of the highest daily expenses from our travels are gas, food, and activities.
|Gas & Car Stuff||$ 358.35|
|Visas, Permits, Ferry||$ 304.42|
|Cell phone||$ 67.77|
In most days we travel around 100 miles so gas is a huge expense in our budget. Gas in Mexico is about $3.30USD per gallon, and our van has been averaging about 18 mpg. However, the less than ideal fuel economy of our big van comes with the huge upside of rarely paying for camping or hotel fees. This month, we only paid for camping 4 nights, 3 of which were in Guadalajara.
We try to keep food costs as low as we can, but we love eating out especially in cities where their food is amazing compared to our own “eeeh” cooking.
Going on tours and activities in Mexico is relatively cheap except for the super touristy locations where visitors are being charged “American” prices. We have found that the more international tourists are in an area, the more expensive things will be. For this reason, we try to avoid any major tourist traps and stick with the less visited off-the-grid locations.
Overall our January travel expenses were around what we expected them to be. We did pay a big sum ($237) to ship our car inland from Baja to Mazatlan and had to replace a fried computer charger and power inverter, but those are some of the things that come up during life on the road.
The one question everyone usually wants to know is how do we cover these expenses? While we do make a small side income from social media gigs and the website, we don’t have full-time travel jobs so the majority of our travel is covered by our personal savings. If you want to learn more about how we saved up to travel full time, check out our article here.
Our goal for this report is to give you a better real-life example of what it means to travel full time. We hope that by sharing our experience with you it can help you plan your travels (full time or not) and answer some of those most asked questions.
We appreciate everyone’s support as we venture into this new and exciting journey and we thank you for following along.
Laura & Joel