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….

Financial Friday 54

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

February is here, and so is another week of expenses….

Transportation

On Sunday, I was out with friends and we didn’t feel like walking up the hill to the hostel so we caught a taxi: $3.99.

Accommodation

I finally got off my lazy ass and paid for two weeks of staying at a hostel. It turned out to be $15.46 per night.

On Wednesday, I moved into an AirBnB apartment with someone I met at the hostel I was staying at. We got a huge discount (35%) for booking a whole month. If we take the straight-up price divided by two for 28 days (February), the price comes out to $12.54 per night. However, I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book the place and they applied my $300 travel credit (the card’s already paying off). If I take my half minus the credit, it comes out to $1.83 per night! That’s insane. The lesson here is use travel credit cards if you can.

Food

I went a little crazy with food this week. Maybe all the money I saved on accommodation has gone to my head…. Actually, it’s more like I’ve been spending a lot of time with people in ‘vacation’ mode. They tend to go out a lot and spend more money than long term travelers. I think that’ll calm down now that I’m in an apartment, and have made a couple grocery runs. We’ll see what next week’s food bill looks like.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN service: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: actually $0.41 per day now that my credit’s been used.

On Tuesday, I refilled the data plan on my travel SIM: $20.00.

Summary

Week 54
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel003.9900003.99
Lodging15.4615.4615.4615.4615.461.831.8380.96
Food20.312.2828.5212.5517.113.4224.48108.67
Other6.966.966.966.9626.966.966.9668.72
Total42.7324.754.9334.9759.5312.2133.27262.34

So, it’s pretty clear I’m not in Georgia any more. This is still far less than I’d spend on the US. Plus, my quality of life is significantly higher now that I’m not in ‘the West’. See you all next week….

Financial Friday 53

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 53 and the month of January are over. Let’s see how I did….

Transportation

Zero. I didn’t change cities, and I walked everywhere. In a hilly city like Θεσσαλονική (Thessaloniki), that’s a lot of exercise!

Accommodation

I haven’t paid my bill yet, but the hostel should be approximately $15.40 per night. It’s definitely 13.50 Euro, but conversion rates change often so….

Food

So food here is more expensive than Georgia, but still pretty good. Also, free breakfast being included by the hostel helps a lot. I’ve been getting the vast majority of my calories in the morning because of that.

To get a decent example of food prices at restaurants though…. I went on a date on Tuesday. We got 2 glasses of wine and 3 appetizers for $15.97. It’s not cheap, but it’s not Western Europe either.

Other

My first travel insurance plan finally expired on Sunday. So after that, the cost of only one travel insurance plan is $5.57 per day. I suspect it’s still a lot more expensive than most due to my ‘country of origin’ being the United States. Also, if you want to travel anywhere, just get a global plan in the beginning. Adjusting plans as you go is often not an option (as I found out the hard way, and ended up with 2 simultaneous plans).

VPN service: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: effective $0.41 per day.

On Friday, I went on a free walking tour (mainly to see Γιοργιος again), and tipped $4.56. It may have been the 4-5th time I’ve been on that tour, but I still appreciate what he does.

On Saturday, I bought a postcard to send to a friend: $2.74 (which includes shipping). I even wrote a short message in it with my limited Greek.

On Monday, I bought a Greek Language B1 book: $30.80. The woman that sold it to me said the book was designed to have a teacher helping, but I think I should be able to figure most of it out. And if I get confused about something, there are plenty of Greeks around I can flag down and ask for help.

On Thursday, I did laundry: $3.99. It’s those little expenses that sneak up on you….

Summary

Week 53
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging15.415.415.415.415.415.415.4107.8
Food7.9810.845.72.2815.9702.2845.05
Other14.5912.7710.0337.746.946.9410.9399.94
Total37.9739.0131.1355.4238.3122.3428.61252.79

As we can see here, this is a little less than double the price of one of my weeks in Georgia. It’s still under budget though so I’m happy.

And for the month of January….

Jan 19
Week 49Week 50Week 51Week 52Week 53Total
Travel00036.81036.81
Lodging11.2826.3226.3265.72107.8237.44
Food15.6455.4135.1455.5745.05206.81
Other29.8593.0469.98247.7999.94540.6
Total56.77174.77131.44405.89252.791021.66

That’s not terrible either. See you all next week.

Financial Friday 52

Locations: Tbilisi, Kutaisi [Republic of Georgia], Thessaloniki [Greece]

My one year anniversary of when I started traveling will hit this week. Let’s see how my finances shook out this week; it’s been a busy one….

Transportation

On Sunday, I took the თბილისი (Tbilisi) metro to the train station: $0.19. Then, I took a train from Tbilisi to ქუთაისი (Kutaisi): $3.02. It was a 5.5 hour ride on the mostly empty train. It took about an hour longer than the vans that go everywhere, but far more comfortable. I highly recommend train travel in Georgia when it’s available.

On Tuesday, I took a personal van from the city of Kutaisi to the airport: $1.89. It was a half hour ride, and (since it’s low season) I was the only customer. Winning!

Also on Tuesday, I took a flight from Kutaisi to Θεσσαλονίκη (Thessaloniki): $28.00. A 2.5 hour flight on a budget airline for that price; hell, yes! I think I was the only one on the plane that isn’t Greek or Georgian. I also got to see first-hand how much easier it is for me to travel verses a Georgian. They had to present their passports; bank statements; and answer questions about where they were staying, for how long, what the purpose of their visit was…. The border control agent just looked at my passport, commented on how different I look from my picture, asked if I’d just flown from Georgia, and gave me a new stamp. I only got one question, and it wasn’t even a ‘real’ one.

After flying in, I look a bus from the airport to downtown Thessaloniki: $2.28. It’s not Georgia prices, but it’s still pretty good.

On Wednesday, I went out with some French guys from the hostel. They got really drunk, and we decided it would be best to take a taxi back rather than try to walk since half of us were stumbling (I’ll let you guess if I was part of the wasted half). A 10 minute ride later, and $1.43 less in my wallet (that was my split), we arrived back safely.

Accommodation

Friday and Saturday were my last days in Tbilisi: $3.76 per night. I ended up spending about 2 months in total time there, and I made pretty good friends with the manager. When you spend a while somewhere, you can save a decent amount of money and even make some friends.

On Sunday and Monday, I stayed at a hostel in Kutaisi: $6.00 per night. Off season in Kutaisi is pretty dead. I’m not going to say I was the only foreigner there (since that’s ridiculous), but I was the only person in a rather large hostel. I got the staff all to myself!

Tuesday to Thursday were at my favorite hostel in Thessaloniki: $15.40 per night. Hostels in Greece are far more expensive than in Georgia. I miss those half Asian prices already….

Food

So you’ll notice my food bill pretty much doubled when I hit Greece. Going out’s still cheaper than Western Europe, but it’s got nothing on Georgia (or Turkey for that matter). I do get to enjoy all my favorite Greek food now though. That’s something.

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype number with US calling: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: effectively $0.41 per day.

On Saturday, I had my ‘holiday shopping’ along with a few miscellaneous things (mostly credit cards) dropped in the mail: $64.94. International shipping is a bitch. It costs more than the actual items. But there are some things that are hard to come by outside the West. I’ve saved enough money staying away from the expensive part of the world to more than make up for it though.

On Monday, I hit up the dentist for a cleaning before leaving Georgia: $56.56. That’s the most expensive cleaning I’ve had out of the three times I’ve had it done there. It’s still reasonable though, and I sure didn’t want to try a dentist in Greece. Drug prices are great here, but the health care….

While my teeth were being cleaned, the dentist discovered a cavity! That’s the first one I’ve had in years. I don’t know how that happened, but I decided to get that fixed before leaving the cheapest country I’ve found so far: $26.39.

On Tuesday, I topped up my mobile data on my travel carrier: $20.00 for 1G of data. For Europe, that’s not bad.

On Wednesday, I bought some socks: $5.70 for four pairs. They’re not the best socks in the world, but they’re thin and sturdy which is all I need for being constantly traveling.

Also on Wednesday, I did laundry: $3.99. Because staying clean is good.

Summary

Week 52
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel003.21032.171.43036.81
Lodging3.763.766615.415.415.465.72
Food10.7107.321.761.8913.5820.3155.57
Other10.0374.9710.0392.9830.0319.7210.03247.79
Total24.578.7326.56100.7479.4950.1345.74405.89

So I went over budget this week. I blame the dental work. Next week, should provide a better picture of about what Greece is costing me. See you then.

Financial Friday 51

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 51 on the road….

Transportation

Zero. I didn’t go anywhere.

Accommodation

The hostel is $3.76 per night. Not too shabby.

Food

I managed to not go out for food at all this week. All the expenses here are from grocery shopping. For reference, I buy mostly eggs, liver, vegetables, nuts, and the occasional seasonings. I don’t do complicated….

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

On Wednesday, my Skype subscription renewed: $29.94. It gives me a US number people can call if needed, and enables me to freely call US (and I think Canadian) numbers for free. Annualized, that comes out to $0.08 per day!

A couple weeks ago, I applied and received a new credit card: the Chase Sapphire Reserve. My readers from the US will probably recognize it as one of the better travel cards. For the $450 annual fee, I get $300 in travel credits, access to Priority Pass (airport lounges), a nice sign-up, and a lot of other cool travel perks. The original charge comes out to $1.23 per day, but I’m going to assume I use all the $300 travel credit and go with the effective rate of $0.41 per day. It’s a bit pricey, but I think worth it.

On Friday, I did laundry: $1.13.

Summary

So what’s all that look like?

Week 51
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging3.763.763.763.763.763.763.7626.32
Food2.35012.17012.953.763.9135.14
Other10.129.959.959.959.9510.0310.0369.98
Total16.2313.7125.8813.7126.6617.5517.7131.44

It looks like one of the cheapest weeks ever! I’m going to miss Georgia….


Financial Friday 50

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 50 on the road! Let’s see what my wallet has to say about this….

Transportation

Zero. I didn’t go anywhere.

Accommodation

The hostel is super cheap at $3.76 per night. It’s awesome.

Food

Yeah…nothing exciting going on here….

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

On Friday, my local phone plan renewed itself: $0.38. How convenient.

On Saturday, I bought a new coat: $11.28. Because…why not? I was getting annoyed with the old pull-over jacket I have been using as a coat. Plus, the ‘new’ one looks amazing. It’s that puke, military green that seems to be popular in these parts, and looks like an absolute piece of shit. Nothing to steal here would-be thieves; I’m just a random hobo.

On Thursday, my local data plan was renewed: $11.73. That’s for 15G of mobile data. There’s no way I’d get a deal like that in Europe.

Summary

Week 50
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging3.763.763.763.763.763.763.7626.32
Food12.82014.62011.693.1613.1255.41
Other9.9220.829.549.549.549.5421.2790.17
Total26.524.5827.9213.324.9916.4638.15171.9

So, that’s pretty good. I’m going to miss these prices in a few weeks. See you all next week….

Financial Friday 49

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 49, and the end of the year….

Transportation

Zero. I went nowhere this week, and walked when I left the hostel.

Accommodation

For December, it’s $3.75 per night. I’m not sure what I’m paying in January as I haven’t paid yet, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be under $4 a night. So to err on the high side, I’ve gone with $4 per night.

Food

So….parties on Sunday and Tuesday aside, there isn’t much happening here. It’s so cheap!

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Summary

Week 49
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging3.753.753.753.7544427
Food7.947.5616.142.269.476.17049.54
Other9.549.549.549.549.549.549.5466.78
Total21.2320.8529.4315.5523.0119.7113.54143.32

So New Year’s week was pretty cheap! Let’s have a look at December….

Dec 18
Week 45Week 46Week 47Week 48Week 49Total
Travel0.930.190.19001.31
Lodging22.526.2545.2326.2515135.23
Food46.0455.8639.0368.7433.9243.57
Other78.595.6365.2398.8738.16376.39
Total147.97177.93149.68193.8687.06756.5

This was the second least expensive month so far! My wallet is looking really good.

And for the year…. I started traveling in late January so this is roughly a month short of a full year, but…. In 2018, my expenses came out to $12,097.80! That includes a week in Iceland, a little under 3 months in Greece, a bit over a month in Turkey, and about 7 months in Georgia. So, for all my fellow Westerners that think full time travel in affordable, well…you’re just wrong. I’m pretty sure most people earn more than this with their side-hussle(s).

So my challenge to everyone is to get out, and see the world. It’s a fascinating place that’s full of opportunities.

I’ll see you all next week….