Financial Friday 60

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 60….

Transportation

Zero! I win!

Accommodation

On Monday, I paid for 12 days of my stay at the hostel. It ended up coming to $15.32 per night. So I went back and adjusted my spreadsheet.

I’m not sure what it will end up being going forward, and I don’t want to assume I’ll get another discount. So, I’m putting in the standard $17.81 per night. It will probably end up being quite a bit less than that, but estimating high never hurt anyone.

Food

I went a little crazy on Wednesday. I bought a round or two of drinks for some new friends, and went out to a restaurant. It wasn’t so great for the budget, but it was fantastic in the ‘new friends’ department.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: 0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Tuesday, I refilled my mobile data: $20.00.

On Wednesday, I did laundry: $4.00.

Summary

Week 60
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging15.3215.3215.3215.3217.8117.8117.81114.71
Food2.866.286.287.2017.593.4343.64
Other6.966.966.966.9626.9610.966.9672.72
Total25.1428.5628.5629.4844.7746.3628.2231.07

That’s actually better than I expected it to be. Winning? Catch you all next week.

Financial Friday 59

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 59….

Transportation

Zero. This is why you travel slowly.

Accommodation

It’s probably going to be less than this, but for now, I’m going with the standard $17.81 per night at the hostel. It’s not the cheapest, but it comes with free breakfast!

Food

I’ve been getting over a cold this week so a lot of the days involve me ordering something from the cafe that’s run by the hostel. I’m too lazy to go out, and I can stay warm if I don’t go anywhere. It also tends to keep the food bill relatively reasonable.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Monday, I went sightseeing with some friends. We visited the Rotunda along with a few other monuments. Admission was pretty cheap: $1.14.

On Tuesday, I did laundry. The washing machine I used already had some money in it! So I was able to get away with spending less to clean my nasty cloths: $2.28.

Summary

Week 59
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging17.8117.8117.8117.8117.8117.8117.81124.67
Food5.7106.6212.566.289.146.2846.59
Other6.966.966.968.19.246.966.9652.14
Total30.4824.7731.3938.4733.3333.9131.05223.4

So…it’s been a pretty standard week. See you all next week….

Financial Friday 58

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 58 on the road….

Transportation

Zero. This is why you stay in a place that’s walkable for a while.

Accommodation

Tuesday was the last night of the AirBnB: $12.54 per night.

On Wednesday, I moved back into a hostel. The normal rate is 15.50 Euro per night, but I’m probably going to get a discount. For now though, I’m going to put in the standard rate which comes to $17.81 per night.

Food

This was relatively low since I was trying to finish the groceries I’d bought. I managed to finish most of them, but there were a lot of spices left for the next tenants. You’re welcome next people that will definitely not be reading this.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Tuesday, I did laundry: $4.02.

On Thursday, I bought more mobile data: $20.00.

Summary

Week 58
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging12.5412.5412.5412.5412.5417.8117.8198.32
Food011.7816.097.28005.7540.9
Other6.966.966.966.9610.986.9626.9672.74
Total19.531.2835.5926.7823.5224.7750.52211.96

That’s actually pretty good for Greece. See you next week.

The Kutaisi Airport

It’s March, and that means people are starting to make their summer travel plans (at least those people that only travel in short chunks). For those of you considering Georgia (and I’d encourage everyone to give it a try), there’s more than just one airport that will get you into the country. Most people are familiar with the one in Tbilisi (the capital city), and some are familiar with the one in Batumi (a ‘resort’ town). However, there’s often a cheaper option for us budget travelers: Kutaisi.

Location

So first, I have to say that the airport may be called David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport, but that’s just the closest ‘city’ name. It’s actually a half hour by car outside of ქუთაისი (Kutaisi). So if you’re thinking about showing up and walking into the city, that’s not likely to happen. I love walking, but when it gets to over an hour with my backpack, that’s a bit much.

However, it is more centrally located than თბილისი (Tbilisi). The capital is in the South East of the country while Kutaisi is (more or less) in the middle. So if you’re going to see the countryside (especially the Svaneti region), this is going to be a better location.

Getting around

Despite this, it’s actually pretty easy to find transportation from here to anywhere you’re going. There will typically be buses and taxis waiting after every flight’s arrival so you can just walk out and find something.

Taxis are pretty standard wherever you are so I don’t need to go into too much detail there. I will make a quick side note though to say that (if you have data) there’s an app called Yandex that works in Tbilisi and Batumi (and only those cities). So if you end up in one of those places and don’t want to get charged double (or more!), it might be worth a download.

Buses are the cheaper way to go, and are fantastic if you don’t mind being a little crowded. You might get lucky (if you’re going to a larger city), and get a full size bus. However, most buses in Georgia (often called marshutka which is the Russian word) are the size of large vans, and they’ll cram as many people in as there are seats available.

Should you end up in one of the more crowded vehicles, you can truly say you’re getting the local experience. Georgians will cram as many people into a vehicle as possible. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out with friends, and we crammed 5-6 passengers into a normal sized taxi. Don’t worry too much though; the whole seat-sharing thing only happens when you’re with friends. Among strangers, you’ll at least get your own seat.

If you don’t want to worry about finding cash for the bus as soon as you land, you can hit up the Georgian Bus website and buy a ticket before arriving. Now that I’m looking at it, it appears there’s an English section. I think that’s new since I don’t remember that when I was buying a ticket. Just remember to save the image of your ticket to show the driver when boarding.

Common destination names

If for any reason you do need to read some Georgian though, I’ll include a little table of translations for you. This also works if you want to ensure you’re getting on the correct bus as some of them don’t have their destination written in Latin characters.

ქუთაისი აეროპორთKutaisi Airport
თბილისიTbilisi
ბათუმიBatumi
გუდაურიGudauri
ქუთაისი (ქალაქი)Kutaisi (City)

Those are the 5 options on the bus website. If you need more, just let me know in the comments. I can read Georgian though I typically don’t know the meaning of what I’m reading. But I know what it sounds like! Winning!

Final thoughts

I hope this was helpful, and that I’ve encouraged you to add Kutaisi to your flight searches. You might save a lot of money. If you do, I’d love to hear your story…. Or feel free to share random stories about Georgia. It’s an awesome place.

Financial Friday 57

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 57, and the end of February!

Transportation

Zero. This is why you slow-travel.

Accommodation

There’s less than a week left on the AirBnB I rented with a new friend. It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a month.

Food

This week, I did a really good job of not going out much. I’m also trying to eat everything I’ve bought. It looks like I’m not going to get through most of the spices I bought…and there are a few cookware items that will stay. You’re welcome next guest.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Monday, I pre-purchased a game: $53.49. The makers of Age of Wonders: Planetfall did a really good job of advertising. This has also encouraged me to re-play Age of Wonders III. It’s such a good game. And all that playing has kept me inside and saving money. Not the ideal way to spend my time, but if it saves me money….

Summary

Week 57
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging12.5412.5412.5412.5412.5412.5412.5487.78
Food14.370013.7912.520040.68
Other6.966.966.9660.496.966.966.96102.25
Total33.8719.519.586.8232.0219.519.5230.71

So this has been the cheapest week of this trip to Greece. Maybe I should spend more time playing video games…. Just kidding. And for February….

Feb 19
Week 54Week 55Week 56Week 57Total
Travel3.990003.99
Lodging102.3887.7887.7887.78365.72
Food108.6785.9492.0640.68327.35
Other68.72178.4987.74102.25437.2
Total283.76352.21267.58230.711134.26

That’s not terrible. We’ll see how next month shapes up. See you all next week….

Financial Friday 56

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 56….

Transportation

Zero. It’s good to live in walkable cities.

Accommodation

The apartment comes out to $12.54 per day.

Food

I did pretty well for the most part about going grocery shopping, and cooking my own meals. Not being in a hostel makes this a lot easier. Though it does mean I have to try harder to socialize.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

On Tuesday, I did laundry: $4.02.

Also on Tuesday, I topped up my mobile data: $15.00.

On Tuesday night, there was a problem with the internet in the apartment so I decided to stream with my mobile data. That wasn’t a good idea as it burned though it all in one day. So on Wednesday, I bought some more: $20.00.

Summary

Week 56
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging12.5412.5412.5412.5412.5412.5412.5487.78
Food31.830014.74.8317.7222.9892.06
Other6.966.966.966.9625.9826.966.9687.74
Total51.3319.519.534.243.3557.2242.48267.58

It looks like my costs are going to range between $250-300 per week. Which isn’t too bad. Your mileage may vary.

Financial Friday 55

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 55….

Transportation

Zero. I didn’t go anywhere, and managed to avoid taxis.

Accommodation

Last week, I made a big deal out of my travel credit being applied to the AirBnB booking. While this is awesome, it shouldn’t reduce the cost since I effectively pre-paid the $300 with the annual fee. So, accommodation for now is $12.54 per night.

Food

Some days, I ate out and bought groceries. So the cost is rather high at times. Then, on other days, I used mostly what I’d previously purchased. This made food costs highly variable.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Saturday, I did laundry: $4.02.

Also on Saturday, I bought some knives: $5.75. The apartment only had butter knives, and those don’t work too well for cooking. So, 3 sharp knives for 5 euro. I think it’s decent.

On Tuesday, I got hit with a credit card late repayment fee: $25.00. Sometimes, I lose track of them. The lesson here: always try to keep track of your payment dates. It hurts when you don’t.

Summary

Week 55
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging12.5412.5412.5412.5412.5412.5412.5487.78
Food21.2629.31.154.419.6720.15085.94
Other6.9616.736.966.9631.966.966.9683.49
Total40.7658.5720.6523.9154.1739.6519.5257.21

So, not terrible, and still under budget. But it pains me when I look back at how much cheaper the last few months were. See you all next week….