Behind the Scenes of a RTW Trip – Month 3 Travel Review

Posted By Jeremy in Europe, Planning, Reviews | 3 comments


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Rila Monastery outside of Govedartsi, Bulgaria

Just like that we’ve now finished 3 straight months of travel on this RTW trip.  Thankfully it feels like time slowed down more than month 2, thanks in part to spending more time in Turkey (about 3 weeks) and one of our friends coming to visit!

As with our last report, each month we feature a travel review of the highlights, lowlights, and spending we had during the course of our adventure.  These are provided as a snapshot of what our RTW trip is like for your reference, although we know that every trip is different.

Spending

Budapest Gypsy Orchestra Playing in Roman ruins in Plovdiv, Romania

During our third month of travel we spent three weeks exploring Turkey (Cappadocia, Fethiye, Dalyan, Pamukkale, Izmir, and Istanbul) and 9 days in Bulgaria (Plovdiv, Govedartsi, Sofia). We also spent two days in Bucharest this month, but we’ll cover that in more detail on our Month 4 Report with the rest of Romania.

Our total out-of-pocket spending for the month was roughly $3,900 USD, much lower than our previous two months and under what we were projecting ($4,270).

This spending includes the following breakdown on a per day average for the two of us combined (in USD):

Accommodation Food Sight Seeing Transportation Souvenirs Misc.
Turkey $34.95 $27.84 $23.51* $19.88 $8.98* $6.29
Bulgaria $24.64 $24.35 $27.28 $15.91 $6.23 $3.66

*Excluded from the above table is roughly $400 in partnerships in Turkey that covered one hot air balloon ride (we paid for the second) and a walking tour.  In addition, we bought a Turkish rug which we did not include in our souvenir average for Turkey just because it would be an incredibly absurd amount.

In this particular breakdown, we have to note that we split some costs with our friend who visited us in the Istanbul and Bulgaria segments of the trip.  This led to some cost savings in accommodation and food where we split costs, but also increased our Bulgaria sight seeing and transportation spending by about $200 due to taking private tours.  Considering we only spent $900 for the 9 days we were in the country, this accounted for a rather large chunk (going the public route would have been less than a fourth of that $200 figure).

As always, our full spending log is available from our menu under “Plan Your Trip.”

RTW Tally Snapshot

Street food candy in Istanbul, Turkey

We did pretty good on this month’s tally increase, and have now officially filled in every single slot.   The biggest highlight of this month was that our spending is coming down rapidly!  But of course, with our Turkish rug purchase, we still spent quite a bit more than you would have to for the same adventure.

Days Traveling: 93 (+31)
Countries Visited: 11 (+3)
Dollars Spent (USD):  $24,206 ($3,972 due to this month only)
Pictures Taken (Jeremy):  6,874  (+1,685)
Miles Traveled: 9,912  (+2,413)
Planes: 7; Trains: 30
Vehicles: 12; Ferries: 2
Days of Rain: 1.5  (+0)   We saw rain once…for 5 minutes…while on a bus.  It was awful.
Sick Days: 1  (+0)   We both technically were “sick” but not bad enough to stop travel.
Itinerary Changes: 1  (+1)   Silly Egypt.
Arguments: 1 (+0)
Days Apart: 2.5  (+1)   Oh needing to work..
Nights in a Dorm Bed: 10  (+3)
Combined Books Read: 10  (+4)
Bottles of Wine: 19  (+1)   Coincidentally, Bulgarian wine is very good.

Another good month for the tally, and even better on the wallet.

Random Thoughts

Royal Balloon Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

As with the last RTW trip covered on this site, these monthly updates are a great place to put in the little random details that we found interesting in the countries we visited that may not find their way into a full blog post.  The following are some of our favorites from the countries we visited in Month 3:

  • We had the (mis)fortune of traveling to the beaches of Turkey during the August vacation rush.  During this time Fethiye and, more notably, Dalyan were completely overrun with foreign visitors.  Prices were jacked up, nearly everyone was from England or Germany, and it somewhat felt artificial over what other people have said.  Either way, we made the best of it.
  • Our biggest shock of the trip yet was the realization that we just don’t like Turkish food.  The mezze was great, and we had some pretty amazing meals in Istanbul, but the rest of it was just a resounding “meh.”  If I had to eat one more kebap I was going to snap, as they are quite inferior to Greece’s gyro.
  • One of Angie’s friends came to visit us during this month of the trip for two weeks.  Our original plan was to go to Egypt, however recent protests changed that.  Instead she flew into Istanbul and we spent a few days there and 9 days in Bulgaria.  I’m a firm believer that you cannot travel with all of your friends, but we were lucky that she just wanted to travel and would do anything we wanted to do.  Easy!
  • On a similar note, Bulgaria was only chosen because it was between Turkey and Romania, our intended destination after Egypt.  Our friend could take a quick flight back to Istanbul to go home, and we only needed to take a cheap night train to Bucharest to resume our planned itinerary.  We thought we wouldn’t enjoy Bulgaria, and I am so happy to say how wrong we were.  Bulgaria has been the biggest unexpected highlight of the trip so far, and we’re dying to go back.
  • As we mentioned in this post, we got our Egypt airfare refunded to us, so I subtracted that from our RTW tally during the month.  But since we also bought a Turkish rug, it brought our spending up a bit too.  In the end, they somewhat negated themselves, but we’re keeping how much our rug cost private for now.
  • I’ve finally got Angie set up as manager of one of our social media accounts.   From here on out she’ll be running our Pinterest page sharing some of the best photos from our trip as well as other top travel photos.   I’m also bringing up our new G+ page for Living the Dream, which should be running full speed shortly.

Turkey and Bulgaria Posts

Inside the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey

Since each month is limited on the number of days, we cannot write our posts fast enough to fit them all in!  But don’t worry, we’ve got ideas for a lot of great posts for after this trip ends (if it ever does).  The following are a selection of some we’ve published:

Bulgarian Food – 6 Delicious Meals You Must Try
Seven Rila Lakes – Hiking Tips for the Rila Mountains
Bulgaria Travel – Is It Difficult to Get Around the Country?
European Food – 6 Perfect Meals You Must Have in Europe
Hiking the Seven Rila Lakes and Mount Musala
Rila Monastery – Photos of the World’s Most Beautiful Monastery
My 3 Favorite Destinations in Turkey
Pamukkale Turkey – Don’t Miss the Iconic Spot Like Everyone Else!
Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon – Floating Over Turkey with Royal Balloon
Building a Travel Home: Hanging Our Turkish Lamp
Buying a Turkish Rug in Istanbul – It’ll Happen to You
Dalyan Attractions – Swimming in the Sulfur Pool and a Mud Bath
Saklikent Gorge – 4 Tips for Enjoying this Wonder of Nature
…and more!

State of Our Marriage

Originally I was planning on making the “State of Our Marriage” a posting series, but so far it hasn’t had enough drama or hilarity to warrant a full post.  Since our KEEN shoes are hanging in there as normal (yay), we are changing this month’s feature to focus on all things me and Angie.

So far we’ve only had 1 argument on the trip as you can see from the RTW Tally above.  But we have to take a moment to say that an argument is only a bad one, not the small bickering that most couples do every now and again.  If we counted that, well, lets say that our sidebar isn’t wide enough for that number.  The counter is only reserved for the doozies, and I’m pretty happy that we only had one so far.  For some reason I thought we’d only get more stressed with being together every minute of the day, but so far it is substantially less.

Neither of us are sick of each other yet, and we luckily haven’t got to the point where being with each other every day is a chore.  But while I (Jeremy) say this, I do think Angie was slightly relieved when her friend came to visit us for two weeks.  In a way we both were, as it had been a long time since we had a real conversation with anyone who spoke English as a first language.  But I still think Angie got a bit more out of it by getting away from all me all the time for a while.

As our friend pointed out, half jokingly, our conversation abilities have deteriorated a bit.  Angie and I know each other so well that we can just look at each other and know what the other is thinking.  Sometimes we finish each other’s sentences but our friend thinks it is going to get even worse.  By the end of the trip she is predicting that we’ll have deteriorated to only using short phrases and nasal grunts all while having a coherent conversation to each other.

Part of me is okay with that.  But figuring out how to publish blog posts could be tricky by then.  For your sake, we should probably keep our conversations going a few months longer.

So what will month 4 bring?  I’m actually really excited about month 4 for a number of reasons. First, we’re in Romania!  After a short stay in Bucharest we’re heading to Transylvania for the next week.  After that we are heading to Budapest where Angie’s parents are flying in to travel with us for two weeks!  But the fun doesn’t stop there, because after Budapest we are heading to Vienna where my parents are also flying in!  Yes, all parents will be together in Vienna!  We’re splitting up for a few days after that; my parents are coming with us to Munich for Oktoberfest while Angie’s parents do something different. Then we’re all meeting up back in Salzburg before they end their trips.  From there Angie and I are likely heading to Slovenia to finish the month.

Whew, that was a mouth full!  But parents, Oktoberfest, and a lot of great destinations all in the same month?  Sounds pretty awesome…and somewhat crammed too.  But what can you do when you have a limited time to get out of the Schengen Area before your limit hits?  By our count, 90 days in Europe is coming up fast and we have to move quick.

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You don’t want to miss this one, so stick around for Month 4!

Is there something you’d like us to cover in our monthly reviews? Or perhaps something you’d like to see more or less of in our posts? Comment below to let us know and we’d be happy to feature it!

Jeremy

Jeremy founded Living the Dream in 2008 to chronicle his long-term trip around Asia. Since then he has been on two long-term trips, visited 68 countries, and is just getting started. He is now on a Lifestyle Design quest to build businesses to pursue a life of travel.

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3 Comments

  1. Great pictures! Love your recaps.

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  2. Love that picture of the Hagia Sofia! I’m heading to Turkey next year, can’t wait.

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