Our expenses in the Americas 2013-2014

We are getting better with our finances! On our 5 month trip over to the Americas (US, Mexico and Guatemala), our daily spending was considerably less than in South East Asia or Europe. In this post I share the details of where our money went, maybe it can help you planning your own (digital nomad) travels.

Time: bit over 5 months in total, from November 28th, 2013 to May 3rd, 2014.

Countries visited: USA (Louisiana and Florida), Mexico and Guatemala, plus on a cruise (Spain), Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and (Azores)

Cities visited: New Orleans, Cancun, Merida, Chicxulub, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Guanajuato, Mexico City, Antigua, and San Pedro

Total spend (for 2): 9953,54€ = 63,40€/day plus 2898,37€ for travel between countries/cities (This does not include business related costs like conferences, books, skype, etc.)

We finally managed to get our daily spending down, ending at 63,40€/day (vs. Europe 78,60€, South-East Asia 78,30€). We ate really well and didn’t skimp on drinks, and still ended up paying only 27€/day for food and drinks (38€ in Europe, 28€ in South-East Asia).

Our accommodation costs were about the same as in South-East Asia, 23€/day (Europe was 33,50€/day, or if including the free accommodation in Finland, 19,50€/day.) In most of the cities we rented an apartment or a house.

Our other costs were much lower than before, only 13€ per day (vs. 20€ in Europe and 27€ in Asia). And about half of this was created in two days in Florida, shopping and visiting Kennedy Space Center & Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Americas trip overall costs 2014

Moving around

Flights

New Orleans (USA) >> Cancun (Mexico) 381€ = 190,5€ p.p.
Cancun (Mexico) >> Mexico City (Mexico) 182€ = 91€ p.p.
Mexico City (Mexico) >> Guatemala City (Guatemala) 309€ =154,5€ p.p. Guatemala City (Guatemala) >> Fort Lauderdale (USA) 266€ = 133€ p.p. (incl. luggage fee)

Cruises

Barcelona (Spain) >> New Orleans (USA) 500€ = 250€ p.p. (total cost of 15 night cruise 1428€)

Miami (USA) >> Southampton (UK) 500€ = 250€ p.p. (total cost of 14 night cruise 1158€)

Car rentals in USA

Louisiana 8 days 155€ + gas 48€
Florida 3 days 127€ + gas & tolls 94€

Transportation in Mexico 

Bus Cancun >> Merida >> Cancun 99€ = 49,5€ p.p.
Bus Cancun >> Playa del Carmen >> Cancun 20€ = 10€ p.p.
Bus Mexico City >> Guanajuato >> Mexico City 103€ = 51,5€ p.p.
Taxi in Mexico City from airport to bus station 12€
Ferry Cancun >> Isla Mujeres >> Cancun 17€ = 8,50€ p.p.



Taxis and shuttles in Guatemala

Taxi airport >> Antigua 18€
Shuttle Antigua >> San Pedro >> Antigua 40€ = 20€ p.p.
Taxi Antigua >> airport 28€

Country-by-country

Americas trip 2014 costs country by country

For the cruises, I have calculated 250€ per person per cruise as a travel cost (because flying would have costs at least that), and then divided the remaining evenly between accommodation and food. On top of these, we hardly spent any money. On the first cruise, Mirje did some snorkeling at Bahamas, and Antti got a haircut. On the way back, we only spent money on board for a few drinks and ate out at few of the ports. - On both cruises, we did use some money for the wi-fi, but those costs were covered by our company as business costs.

We spent almost 4 weeks in Louisiana at the end of the 2013, but only paid accommodation for 8 nights, since we were house sitting for the rest of them. On our Louisiana road trip we used on average 44€/night for accommodation, while in Florida we scored accommodation for 34€/night. The food costs went the other way, Louisiana roadtrip averaging at 34€/day and Florida at 40€/day. In both places we normally had breakfast included with the accommodation, but ate out for all other meals.

During our house sit we had a nice kitchen, so we didn’t eat out. But since the local grocery store had very nice food (and beer) selection, we still spent 30€/day. Other costs for our USA part were big (34€/day), but this is mostly because for our 2 days in Florida we used a total of 250€ for activities and 380€ for shopping.

There were quite big differences in our spending in Mexico. Our few vacation days at Isla Mujeres were by far the most expensive, us spending 119€/day. This included some diving and snorkeling (84€), and lot of nice eating/drinking (53€/day). Mexico City was also expensive for us, since even without accommodation costs we used 56€/day in museums and restaurants. On the other hand, in Guanajuato, we spent 47€/day: 22€/day for accommodation and 17€/day for food (and we did eat out several times a week!). Other places were somewhere in between (Chicxulub 55€/day, Playa del Carmen 56€/day, Merida 60€/day, Cancun 75€/day).

For our 3 weeks in Guatemala, we spent on average 70€/day. Out of this 26€ are accommodation costs, but it’s good to notice that for our first 8 nights in Antigua we paid 14€/night for a house shared with friends, 11€/night in San Pedro for our own private room, and for the last 5 nights in Antigua, at the time of the Holy Week (when prices skyrocket), 36,5€/night for a room with shared facilities.

Out of the countries we visited in during this trip, we spent most on food and drinks in Guatemala, total of 36€/day. This may sound weird, since Guatemala was one of the cheapest destinations, but we really took advantage of the great price/quality ratio. We ate out at least twice a day, often also for breakfast. We had steaks, gourmet breads, and fancy cocktails. So yes, we went a bit overboard.

All in all, we spent 1934€ per month during our stay in the Americas. Woop! For that we ate and drank well, had good standard of accommodation and did some activities. It would have been moderately easy to spend even less, since we weren’t really trying to find the cheapest of the cheapest deals. As revealed already, we are a bit lazy, and do like to keep things easy.

If you want to know more about our trip to the Americas, check Our time in the Americas for the highlights and Our accommodation in the Americas for, obviously, the accommodation we used.

Antti and Mirje

We are Mirje and Antti, a 30+ digital nomad couple, entrepreneurs with restless feet and passion for experiencing the world. more »