Financial Friday 18

Locations: Ankara, Samsun, Trabzon in Turkey; and Batumi, Georgia

I’ve been on the road for a third of a year! Also, this week finishes off the month of May. Let’s get into it.


On Friday, I went to Samsun. I took the Ankara metro: $0.68. Then a bus to Samsun: $13.53. Once there, I bit the bullet and caught a taxi: $5.64. I estimate it would have taken around an hour to walk to the hotel, and I was having trouble finding landmarks close to it to ask the bus drivers about. So I took the easy, expensive way.

On Monday, I went to Trabzon. I took a taxi to the bus station: $4.51. And a bus to Trabzon: $9.02. It was a nice day out so I decided to walk to the hostel.

On Wednesday, I changed countries and went to ბათუმი (Batumi), Georgia. I took a bus to the border: $6.76. Then, I took another bus into Batumi: $0.95.


Friday to Sunday, I stayed at a hotel I found via AirBnB. I think this is the first time the owner got a hit from AirBnB as he sent me an additional charge for the price of the room after I checked out. I sent back a message asking what the charge was for, and haven’t gotten a response yet. We’ll see how that turns out.

Monday and Tuesday, I was at a hostel in Trabzon. The location had moved, and Google Maps knew the old location. After wandering around for an hour, one of the locals I asked figured out how to pull up a map on Hostelworld’s app. Fortunately, the location was correct there so I was able to find the new spot. Lesson: Google doesn’t know everything.

Wednesday and Thursday, I was at a hostel in Batumi.


So you’ll probably notice my food bill was considerably larger in Georgia. This is primarily due to being in a heavy tourist area, and going out to try all the new local food. I’m sure it’ll calm down once I’ve had a little fun with the new delicacies.


Way too expensive travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

On Friday, I used a public restroom: $0.23. I’ll pay that for a clean bathroom.

On Tuesday, I had my laundry done: $5.64.

On Wednesday, I bought a data plan for Georgia: $25.00. For some reason, it’s its own region, and not included in the Europe or Asia plans.


Week 18
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 19.85 0 0 13.53 0 7.71 0 41.09
Lodging 14.96 14.96 14.96 14.69 14.69 15.41 15.41 105.08
Food 4.05 3.36 5.82 1.92 4.62 9.96 10.91 40.64
Other 8.87 8.64 8.64 8.64 14.28 33.64 8.64 91.35
Total 47.73 26.96 29.42 38.78 33.59 66.72 34.96 278.16

So things got a little more expensive this week. It’s still not bad though.

And for the month of May:

May 18
Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Total
Travel 0 14.73 40.78 2.07 41.09 98.67
Lodging 32.53 77.83 71.7 72.36 105.08 359.5
Food 6.81 52.08 21.17 32.55 40.64 153.25
Other 25.92 192.36 71.82 90.07 91.35 471.52
Total 65.26 337 205.47 197.05 278.16 1082.94

That makes May the best month so far. If this is indicative of how Asia is going to be, I love it.

Financial Friday 17

Location: Ankara, Turkey

Let’s see what I spent this week….


I stayed in the same city all week so there isn’t much here. On Sunday, I wandered around the city with a friend I made from Russia. We took the metro twice: $0.71 per trip, and a local bus once: $0.65. Normally, I walk everywhere as I have time and don’t mind the exercise, but this time I decided to be nice to my travel companion for the day.


I stayed at the same hostel the whole time. The second group of numbers is considerably less expensive. I’m pretty sure Hostelworld’s cut isn’t that large so I’m going to attribute this to [mostly] a favorable move (for me) in exchange rates. When I first got to Turkey, it was almost exactly 4:1 Turkish Lira:USD. The last time I pulled money out it was 4.4:1. Thanks Turkish economy for struggling?


I ate out a lot and got groceries on Friday so that bill looks quite a bit higher than the rest. The zero days are where I just ate groceries from previous shopping. When ‘cooking’, my diet has consisted of mostly pasta, cereal, some fruit, and bread with tahini.


Insanely expensive travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

On Saturday, I went to the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations): $4.59. It covered from the beginning of human settlement on the Anatolian Peninsula (11,000 BC) to around the 1600s. I thought it was pretty interesting. My favorite piece was a stone statue roughly twice as tall as a modern human.

On Monday, I topped up my mobile data plan: $25. It’s expensive for Turkey, but it’s far easier than getting a local SIM. Not speaking Turkish, it’s been hard enough trying to order food; I can’t imagine what it would be like at a mobile phone store.


Week 17
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 2.07 0 0 0 0 2.07
Lodging 11.88 11.88 11.88 9.18 9.18 9.18 9.18 72.36
Food 15.62 0 7.33 5.58 0 4.02 0 32.55
Other 8.64 13.23 8.64 33.64 8.64 8.64 8.64 90.07
Total 36.14 25.11 29.92 48.4 17.82 21.84 17.82 197.05

This has been a good week. It was also nice to take a few ‘down days’ where I didn’t do much of anything. Until next week….

Financial Friday 16

This week, I was in İzmir, then İstanbul, and ended in Ankara. Let’s see how my budget did.


On Monday, I took a bus to Bursa: $12.45. And from there to İstanbul: $10.57. It was such a memorable trip, my last post is all about it.

On Thursday, I took a bus from İstanbul to Ankara. I have to say Ankara looks unlike anywhere else I’ve been in Turkey. I’ll probably write something about it later.


Friday to Sunday, I was at the hippie/commune hostel. It was so nice and chill. If you’re ever in İzmir and are cool with a vegetarian kitchen, I highly recommend Shantihome. It’s location is also fantastic: one block away from a pedestrian street full of restaurants, two blocks away from the harbor.

Monday to Wednesday was in İstanbul. The hostel was fine; nothing too exciting. A lot of people like İstanbul; me not so much. Everyone has their quirks right?

On Thursday, I started my Ankara experience. I’m sure I’ll talk more about that in another post.


Food here is so cheap. I’d usually go out once a day, and supplement the rest of my hunger with cheap, circle bread. At less than $0.40 a piece, I just have to eat a lot of it. Plus, the fiber is quite necessary as I found out the hard way.


Overpaying for travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

On Tuesday, I bought a couple pairs of underwear: $4.23. See the bus incident post if you want to know why needed to replace some underwear.

On Wednesday, I did laundry: $7.11. Or rather, it was done for me. It was expensive, but at least it wasn’t dry cleaned like the previous time.


Week 16
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 23.02 0 0 14.21 37.23
Lodging 9.4 9.4 9.4 10.54 10.54 10.54 11.88 71.7
Food 0.88 2.23 4.4 2.46 5.87 3.91 1.42 21.17
Other 8.64 8.64 8.64 8.64 12.87 15.75 8.64 71.82
Total 18.92 20.27 22.44 44.66 29.28 30.2 36.15 201.92

So this was a pretty good week expense wise. See you all next week for another Financial Friday.

Financial Friday 15

Do I need an intro at this point? Off we go….


On Monday, I took a bus from Kuşadası to İzmir: $5.23. Supposedly, bus companies offer free transfers from the main bus station to the main train station. However, I was getting conflicting reports from locals as to how to get to said train station. Eventually, I gave up and just took a taxi: $9.50. Then, I walked 20 minutes to the hostel from there. Did I overspend? Definitely, but I was starting to get annoyed walking back and forth across the huge bus terminal, and getting different answers from everyone I ran into. So I’ll count that as a win for my sanity if not necessarily my wallet.


Friday to Sunday were at the BnB in Kuşadası. In retrospect, I think put less stock in when places say free breakfast as I had to ask for it every day. Given cheap bread and fruit are easy to find, I just went out and bought something. I did get the entire 5 person dorm room to myself though which was nice.

From Monday on I’ve been at a hippy-like hostel in İzmir. It’s a bit of a culture shock being in a place that emphasizes sharing so much. Also, we’re not allowed to keep meat nor cook it in the kitchen which is very strange for Turkey. It’s cool though. If I want meat, I can go out and buy some from the a plethora of restaurants. Oh yeah, Thursday’s number is a little off since I haven’t payed for that night yet. It’s about $10.


I already mentioned the kitchen situation. There isn’t much else to tell. The very low spending days are when I had groceries from a previous day. I absolutely love how I can go out and get a small cup of freshly squeezed juice for under $0.40. I think I’ve ordered a cup of mixed fruit every day I’ve been in İzmir. It’s so good!


Grossly overpaying for travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

On Friday, I payed for a guided tour of Pamukkale: $58.34. It’s expensive, but it came with 3 hour (one way) shuttle service, entrance, lunch, and the guide. So it wasn’t the worth thing ever. See the blog post for more details.

Also on Friday, I bought a coin purse: $1.47. Considering almost no one takes plastic here, I’ve been accumulating a lot of coins. I had been storing them in a small pocket in my jeans, but with the weather getting hot, I needed something that would fit in shorts’ pockets. Plus, it’s just convenient.

On Saturday, I bought a guided tour of Ephesus: $58.34. I definitely overplayed for this. The guide was nice, but not worth that much. Check my last blog post for more about that trip.

On Sunday, I did laundry…sort of. I wasn’t able to find a normal laundry place so I asked a waiter at the restaurant I went to every day while in Kuşadası. He had my laundry taken to a dry cleaning place: $11.88. Ouch! It could have been worse though. He told them it was his laundry so they only charged him the normal rate. If I’d tried it, I would have payed double. I should probably invest in a basin or something, and just hand wash my own clothes. We’ll see how badly I want to save money….

The Monday number’s a little off because I payed to use a public bathroom. Considering what it would look like if there wasn’t someone there cleaning it, I’ll gladly pay that every time.


Week 15
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 14.73 0 0 0 14.73
Lodging 13.29 13.29 13.29 9.52 9.52 9.52 10 78.43
Food 7.1 9.53 12.5 10.7 2.08 9.81 0.36 52.08
Other 69.94 66.98 20.52 9 8.64 8.64 8.64 192.36
Total 90.33 89.8 46.31 43.95 20.24 27.97 19 337.6

So the tours cost me over $100. I still kept it to under $50 a day though so I kept the week under budget. Until next week….

Financial Friday 14

Week 14 has come and gone, and so has the month of April. Here we go…


On Monday, I went from Marmaris to Muğla: $3.04. And Muğla to Bodrum: $5.71. The route covered 186 kilometers (115.5 miles). The buses were tiny (think large van), and picked people up even if they were standing on the side of the road. This was also their drop off policy; if you wanted to get off at any point, just let the driver know to stop. The driver on one of the routes even stopped to let someone puke real fast, and jump back on the bus! That has to have been the most considerate thing I’ve seen from a public transportation service. I can’t say it was the best bus experience I’ve ever had, but for that price, I’m not complaining.

On Thursday, I went from Bodrum to Söke: $5.14. And Söke to Kuşadası: $1.49. The second bus was like the others, but the first one was nice. There were comfortable seats, LCD screens on the seat backs, power outlets (both European and USB), and they even gave out free snacks and drinks! I chose a bread thing with a cheesy surprise inside over the energy bars, and I had my own water so I didn’t take the water or tea they were offering. Hell considering it was only a little over $5, I’m tempted to take that route going back the other way…just kidding, but it was a very pleasant journey.


Friday to Sunday was at the Maltepe Pansiyon which is by far the best deal I’ve gotten on a hostel. I wrote a little about it in the previous blog post. If you’re ever in Marmaris, I highly recommend it.

Monday to Wednesday was at Bodrum Backpackers. It was a good deal price wise, but I don’t recommend it. There was no official staff, and the place was falling apart. The rooftop ‘bar’ (which was not open) had an excellent view though. I enjoyed chilling out there in the shade watching the world pass by while ‘working’ on my laptop. Or at least, as close to working as I get these days.

Thursday, I arrived at a BnB. It’s a bit more expensive than the other places, but there’s free breakfast. And it’s still far cheaper than my accommodation in Greece so…winning.


Food usually involved going out once a day, and buying some fruit to hold me over for brunch. There are also bread circles with sesame seeds they’ll sell for roughly $0.30 a piece. Once I even got 2 scoops of ice cream (good ice cream) for $1.50. Money goes a lot further here to say the least.


So, I jacked up my travel insurance royally. I figured I could just go in and add countries as I went. This assumption was incorrect. So I went in and bought a second policy for the world (since I don’t know where I’m going to be a year from now). Both policies come out to $8.64 per day, and I’m stuck with both policies for another 9 months. It seems they won’t cancel active policies. So in summary, I’m an idiot. Hopefully, others can learn from this and ensure they either purchase a world-wide policy or list every country they’re going to for the duration of the policy.

On Saturday, I went to Marmaris Castle and Archeological Museum: $1.99. It was OK for two bucks. I think I’m becoming a snob though. 5000 year old relics just don’t impress me as much as they did a couple months ago. Sorry history.


Week 14
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 8.75 0 0 6.63 15.38
Lodging 9.98 9.98 9.98 9.62 9.62 9.62 13.29 72.09
Food 7.69 10.52 0 6.76 6.81 6.76 12.17 50.71
Other 8.64 10.63 8.64 8.64 8.64 8.64 8.64 62.47
Total 26.31 31.13 18.62 33.77 25.07 25.02 40.73 200.65

So cheapest week yet thanks to Turkey being an extremely affordable place. I estimate it’s at least half the price of Greece (which was already a lot cheaper than western Europe). And for April:

Apr 18
Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Total
Travel 30.96 33.5 82.31 249.74 8.75 405.26
Lodging 65.5 131.45 137.34 104.74 39.56 478.59
Food 42.65 76.17 129.45 65.82 24.97 339.06
Other 19.68 57.5 26.43 89.01 36.55 229.17
Total 158.79 298.62 375.53 509.31 109.83 1452.08

Even after The Ferry Fiasco, I managed to stay under $1,500 so win! Until next Friday….