Financial Friday 5

It’s official: I’ve been traveling for over a month! Plus, this week has been the friendliest to my wallet yet. Let’s break things down….


On Sunday, I took a train to Μετέωρα (Meteora): $22.61. It was far cheaper and more enjoyable than the bus. Conclusion: trains are awesome.

I got to the train station via the Αθήνα (Athens) metro. I would never encourage people to do this but…. If someone was to not validate their ticket, there’s a high probability that no one would catch them. In the two times I took the metro, I didn’t see anyone checking passengers for validation, and there are a high number of locals that just don’t bother.

On Monday, I shared a taxi going up and down Meteora: $3.10 up, $2.17 down. These were well worth it as that was the day of the ‘blizzard’. You can check my blog post for details, and pictures.

On Tuesday, I caught a train to Θεσσαλονίκη (Thessaloniki): $30.27. This one was a bit more expensive as it wouldn’t let me book the direct path online for some reason. I suppose I could have bought my ticket at the counter, but then I would have had to talk to someone. Who wants to do that?


Friday night was at Athens Backpackers: $17.80.

Saturday was at Athens Studios: $16.55. The 6 person rooms actually filled up at Backpackers so I had to move. This is the downside of booking last-minute.

Sunday and Monday were at Meteora Central Hostel: $21.70/night. FYI, this hostel is nice, and the owners are awesome. I highly recommend it.

The rest of the week has been at Little Big House with the price of accommodation going up on the 1st: $17.29 and $19.22 in March. We’re in spring, and getting closer to high season!


This is pretty boring…mostly gyros and pitas. There’s one blip on Wednesday when I went to a sit-down restaurant with a friend in the evening: $13.64. It was worth it; especially since I’m getting an awesome breakfast included in my stay at Little Big House.


Travel insurance: $3.07/day.

I took free walking tours on Wednesday and Thursday when I tipped the guide 2 euro each time: $2.48 each. He was definitely worth it; particularly for his knowledge of art, music, and the financial crisis. His name is Γεώργιος (George); more on him in another blog post.


Week 5
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 22.61 5.27 30.27 0 0 58.15
Lodging 17.8 16.55 21.7 21.7 17.29 17.29 19.22 131.55
Food 12.53 10.18 8.19 8.31 6.45 13.64 7.32 66.62
Other 3.07 3.07 3.07 3.07 3.07 5.55 5.55 26.45
Total 33.4 29.8 55.57 38.35 57.08 36.48 32.09 282.77

Hello, best week so far! If they’d all been like this, I’d have been a happy camper.

As this week wraps up a month, I can show you how February looked as well. Remember my ‘weeks’ start on Friday, and this break-down only includes expenditures from the days in the stated month.

Feb 18
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Total
Travel 0 242.11 0 0 58.15 300.26
Lodging 30.44 233.47 127.84 123.7 112.33 627.78
Food 10.68 44.67 95.52 115.11 59.3 325.28
Other 19.57 91.27 325.21 125.98 20.9 582.93
Total 60.69 611.52 548.57 364.79 250.68 1836.25

This is a fair bit above my goal of $1,500/month. But considering it was the first month of travel, I’ll take it. I expect subsequent months to be far better.

I hope at least someone enjoyed this. The next financial post will be…on Friday; which surprises no one.

Financial Friday 4

OK so…it’s getting slightly better, but still more expensive than I’d like. Let’s get into it.


Zero again! I didn’t move all week.


Stayed in the same place, but extended so the numbers changed slightly. I didn’t go over $18 a night though so that’s reasonable.


This varied greatly depending on whether we went out or not. Friday we went to the cozy little bar down the street: $10.46. Brunch also cost me a bit as I had a burger (those are expensive here) while I waited on my laundry: $11.07.

Monday was trivia night at the Sports Bar so a few drinks there set me back a bit: $14.72.

On Wednesday, we played drinking games, and shit got a little crazy…. Like streaking crazy. So the food category is almost all alcohol. I really need to stop going out so much.

Tuesday and Thursday were tour days so we went to somewhat nicer restaurants.


Friday was laundry day: $8.61. It’s a bit much for a laundromat, but what are you going to do? My cloths need to get cleaned.

Also on Friday, some of us went to the Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης (the Museum of Cycladic Art). It was good, but short: $8.76.

On Tuesday, I did a tour of the Temple of Poseidon: $36.90. I wrote a blog post about it you can check out if you’re curious.

On Wednesday, I bought a comb because someone stole mine: $1.24. I’m pretty sure they thought it was theirs so not malicious or anything. But I’d spent a sold week without being able to properly groom myself which was slightly annoying.

On Thursday, I went on a tour of Corinth (among a few other things): $43.40. I’ll make a post about that soon.


Week 4
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lodging 17.62 17.62 17.62 17.62 17.62 17.8 17.8 123.7
Food 24.48 3.07 7.99 20.05 17.1 29.4 13.02 115.11
Other 20.44 3.07 3.07 3.07 39.97 4.31 52.05 125.98
Total 62.54 23.76 28.68 40.74 74.69 51.51 82.87 364.79

So yeah…not the worst, but I can definitely do better. Next week, the month wraps up so I’ll have a nice end-of-month summary for you guys.

Financial Friday 3

It’s week 3, and I still haven’t managed to significantly bring down my spending. I’ll get a handle on this eventually, I swear…


Zero dollars! I stayed put in Athens the whole week so bonus!


I remained at the hostel, but I discovered a fun little trick to bring down my expenses. If you’re traveling to an area, using hostel/hotel aggregation websites is great. But if you’re already in an area…

Travel hack: ask the front desk for an extension and/or new booking.

This saved me $0.90 a night in website fees. So the price per night came to $17.62.


Most of this is gyros so I’ll save you the agony of going through each one. They typically run about 2.50 euro (~$3.00) a piece, and there are 3 shops that sell them within 2 minutes walking distance of the hostel. So I’ll usually order one, bring it back, and try to find a dinner date in the hostel’s common area. Plus, tap water is free! This also works with the pastry shops hanging around. They’ll typically stuff spinach or cheese between some filo dough, and it costs about 0.50 euro less than a gyro.

When I’m feeling like I need to bring the party to the hostel (this is usually when we’re playing cards and drinking), I’ll go out and buy a tin of what I call ‘chocolate cigars’. They’re chocolate cream-ish wrapped in chocolate pastry in a long, cylindrical shape. A ‘big’ can runs around $4, and typically goes over pretty well with everyone.

On Friday, a bunch of us went out with a vegan friend to a vegetarian restaurant. Surprisingly, those exist in the land of endless meat. It was good, but a bit pricey: $13.55.

On Wednesday, a few of us went to a local bar called Σφήκα (Sfika). If you’re around the south end of the Acropolis, it’s a fantastic place to visit. An appetizer and a glass of wine ran me $11.07. And the atmosphere was amazing.

Last night (Thursday), some new friends and I went to a sports bar for karaoke night. I spent a lot less than the others: $7.38. By the end, most of the place was singing along, and generally having a good time.


Travel insurance: 3.07/day.

On Friday, I tried a walking tour for 7 euro ($8.82). I blogged about it, but amazing would be a good summary.

On Saturday, I bought a phone since the cheap one I had in the US won’t receive the signal range used by cells (or mobiles) over here: $270.32. Then on Monday I bought a SIM and an initial package for it: $24.58. The reason I didn’t get them together is you’re required to provide your ID (passport for non-Greeks) to get a number issued. We have human traffickers to thank for this. So there’s one more reason (not that we needed another one) to hate modern slavery.


Week 3
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lodging 18.52 18.52 18.52 18.52 18.52 17.62 17.62 127.84
Food 32.07 7.93 6.81 5.63 9.66 20.18 13.24 95.52
Other 11.89 273.39 3.07 27.65 3.07 3.07 3.07 325.21
Total 62.48 299.84 28.4 51.8 31.25 40.87 33.93 548.57

So yeah, a few under $50 days! If it wasn’t for the phone, this would have actually been a pretty good week. I could have not done the phone thing, but having one has made staying in touch with people so much easier. Everyone out here uses WhatsApp.

Financial Friday 2

Welcome to the second installment of Financial Friday. Where I tell you how much I shouldn’t have spent traveling…or at least that’s what it felt like this week…


Nothing happened here until Tuesday when I went back to the airport super early. The return bus trip to Keflavik was $24.35.

The flight from Keflavik to Frankfurt via WOW Air was $109.28 after the baggage fee for my carry-on.

On Wednesday, I hopped a flight from Frankfurt to Athens via Ryanair which should have cost me $33.96. Except I was a dumb ass, and forgot to check in until it was past the 2 hour window. Yeah…that little blunder cost me an additional $62.18. Bringing the total cost of the flight to $96.14.

Since the Athens airport is quite a ways from the city center, I caught the train into town: $12.44.


Bus hostel was still $30.44 per night for 4 nights this week.

The Meininger hostel in Frankfurt set me back $74.68 for one night…but at least I was close to the airport…. I guess. Still, ouch.

And Athens Backpacker hostel ran me $129.61 for 7 nights which comes out to $18.52 per night. This is, by far, the best price for accommodation yet!


I managed to get away with 1 more grocery run in Reykjavik: $13.30. Between what I got then and on the previous grocery runs, I was able to feed myself for the remainder of my time in Iceland. I even had 2 bananas left over that I put in the ‘free food’ box.

I was pretty stuffed trying to finish off my food in Iceland so I only got one meal in Frankfurt: a personal sized pizza, a cheese pretzel, and some water…that turned out to be sparkling water. I should have known better, and read the label more closely. Anyway, that was $6.72.

When I got to the Athens airport, I got a salami sandwich with some water: $9.92.

When in town, I stopped by a couple gyro places. The first was with chicken: $3.65. The second was with pork: $3.78. And both those prices include the $0.50 bottle of water.

I liked the chicken gyro so much, I had them for two more meals on Thursday: $7.30. They’re so good…and so cheap!


There’s the obligatory travel insurance: $3.07 per day.

I broke down and bought a USB-C cable at the mall in Reykjavik: $23.80. Those are the cables that my GoPro uses.

I also had the GoPro cable I left at home mailed to the hostel in Athens: $26.17. Forgetting that cable was not a cheap mistake.

On Saturday night, a few friends I met at the hostel in Reykjavik wanted to go out dancing. We ended up hitting the Paloma bar/club downtown: $9.99. It was a good time, and a lot of dancing.

On Thursday, I ran down to the laundromat and did my first load of laundry since I’ve been on the road: $8.82. About a week and a half before I had to do my first cloths cleaning…not bad.


Week 2
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 0 133.53 108.58 0 242.11
Lodging 30.44 30.44 30.44 30.44 74.67 18.52 18.52 233.47
Food 0 13.3 0 0 6.72 17.35 7.3 44.67
Other 26.87 13.06 3.07 30.24 3.07 3.07 11.89 91.27
Total 57.31 56.8 33.51 60.68 217.99 147.52 37.71 611.52

So another week way over budget. Granted, about $100 of it was my own fault between the airport check-in and the GoPro cable. At least now I’m in a ‘cheap’ country though. I think I should be able to keep my expenses under $50 a day. And maybe…just maybe…I can make up for the expensive beginning.

Financial Friday 1

Welcome to the first installment of Financial Friday. In these, I’ll tell you what I spent on everything. Your spending may vary, but the general idea is for me to see if I’m meeting my budgetary goals…and a secondary benefit could be to show you about how much traveling costs (at least for me).


On Monday…. Uber from ‘home’ to the Greyhound station: $22.16. Greyhound bus from Indy to Chicago: $31.50. Uber from the Chicago Greyhound station to O’Hare Airport (Chicago): $37.11.

Overnight flight from Chicago to Keflavik: $139.98. Base price on the WOW flight was $100. A carry-on bag and a few taxes brought it up to the total.

On Tuesday, FlyBus from Keflavik Airport to the Reykjavik Bus Station, and back: $48.69. I saved about $5 by purchasing a round-trip ticket. Half of that for the inbound journey is $24.35.

I walked about 10 minutes to the hostel for free! I also walked all over Reykjavik to see things for free. Everyone loves free work-outs!


Bus Hostel Reykjavik, booked through Hostel World: $203.10 for 7 nights in a 10 bed room. As I don’t travel with a sleeping bag, I also had to rent a comforter (or as they call them, duvet) for $9.95. Add it all up, and divide by 7 comes to $30.44 per night.


On Monday, I got a burger and fries at O’Hare Airport: $14.31. In retrospect, I realize this was the only meal I had all day. Not the best decision, but it worked due to a huge dinner the night before, and sleep deprivation while traveling.

On Tuesday, I got a large sandwich from a local deli: $10.70. I don’t know if it was just that good, or being really hungry, but that was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had! The deli’s called Bakarameistarinn, and it’s just across 40 from the Kringlan Mall.

I had an afternoon tea at Te & Kaffi: $5.72. It’s expensive, but it’s also how I relax. So, for me, this is probably the best value out of the whole day.

For dinner, I got a chicken, feta burrito from the Kinglan Mall food court: $16.11. It’s expensive, but I didn’t want to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

Groceries from the Bónus in the Kinglan Mall: $11.96. I got some bananas, instant oatmeal, butter, and eggs. So basically, the cheap stuff. All food in Iceland is expensive due to the (relatively) small population and distance from the rest of the world.

On Wednesday, I got a light breakfast from the hostel: $5.69. Travel tip: always check to see if your hostel offers free breakfast…preferably before you order something.

And I made another grocery run: $11.88. This time I got some tea, a few ramen noodles, and some pears…because fruit.

On Thursday, I just made another grocery run: $10.68. Shopping list: more bananas, more oatmeal, and yogurt. After all those grocery runs, I think I’ve got enough food to not spend anything on it for a few days.


There’s always the obligatory travel insurance which comes out to $3.07 per day. And I lost my toothbrush. Purchasing one from the hostel was $3.62.

On Wednesday, there was the Þjóðminjasafnið (National Museum of Iceland): $19.88. On Thursday, there was the Landnámssýnigin (The Settlement Exibition): $16.50. More on what I saw there in a future blog.


Week 1
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 230.75 24.39 0 0 255.14
Lodging 0 30.44 30.44 30.44 91.32
Food 14.31 44.49 17.57 10.68 87.05
Other 3.07 3.07 26.57 19.57 52.28
Total 0 0 0 248.13 102.39 74.58 60.69 485.79

So yeah, this is way over budget. Even the ‘cheap’ day as over $60, but then, no one said Iceland was easy on the wallet. Time will pass, I’ll hit up cheaper countries, and I’ll likely travel much slower, so the average should come down significantly.

I hope at least someone other than myself found this helpful. Next post: Icelandic museum review…or at least that’s the plan.