Financial Breakdown of My Mexico-Belize-Guatemala Trip

A popular topic of conversation for travelers is money. From how you work it to travel (if you are on a longer trip or travel frequently) to daily budgets, it pretty much all gets covered. Luckily for me, instead of feeling like this is an intrusive topic, it is one that really interests me. How do other people find funds to travel? How long with their saving hold out? What do they plan on spending per day and what do they actually spend?

For this last trip, I gathered up all my recipes and compiled them to have a better idea of my travel budget (which could help with future planning). I post them here not only for posterity and for my own reference's sake, but also because the finances of travel are a big part of it all, so it is just another piece of the puzzle.

CountryLength of stayMoney spentDollars per day
Mexico (Yucatan/Quinta roo)8 days$243$31
Belize5 days$217$44
Guatemala2 days$130$65
Mexico (Chiapas)8 days$247$31
Total23 days$837$36

Flights
Portland, OR -> Cancun, Mexico$159
Tuxtla-Gutierez, Mexico -> Seattle, WA$355
Total$514

Overall, this trip cost $1384 (on ground expenses, flights, and getting home from the airport). Not bad for 24 days of adventure. Some interesting observations:
  • in general, the longer time spent in a country, the lower cost per day. I attribute this to transportation costs, mostly, but also getting to know where to eat cheap and learning the ins and outs of cheap travel in that place.
  • Flight costs are more than 1/3 total trip cost, in this case. Again, a longer trip will help offset that and allow for a lower cost per day.
  • Compared with what a person might spend on average during their normal life back home (rent, food, concerts, etc.), these numbers can definitely start to look more doable
  • I know I could bring down the per day costs by staying in sketchier places, eating fewer ice creams, not bringing home one of each bill as a souvenir, etc., but those small additions to the enjoyment of it all totally seem to be worth it when looking at the distribution of it all
  • Next trip, it would be interesting to break down costs even further, maybe into lodging, food, transportation, and entertainment (ruins, circuses, museums, etc.)

Monday March 29 2010File under: travel, Mexico

Toggle Comments (3)comment?
on Tue 30th Mar, 2010 06:19 am PDT Horge said:
I just heard this weekend of a way to cut costs even more, and in a way that I think you'd be very cool with, though I figure you probably heard of it years ago: couchsurfing.org I just met 2 Latvians who are couchsurfing/hitchhiking from Greece over to Spain - now that's gotta be a cheap way to travel and an effective means of maximizing ice cream intakes...
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on Thu 01st Apr, 2010 12:11 pm PDT Saxtor said:
Hmmmm...$1384 / 3 = $461.33. Pretty close.

Couchsurfing was all the rage when I was traveling in Spain last Winter, at least with the hostel peeps I kept bumping into. Like anything else on the internet, it sounds like a mix of good and bad, and people have figured out how to game the system, so you can never be quite sure. But those with positive reports really made it sound like a whole lot of fun.
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on Tue 06th Apr, 2010 09:12 am PDT rus said:
Where'd you get those recipes you gathered up? The Joy Of Kooking?
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