Just a few days before this month’s travel anniversary, we had to say goodbye to a dear friend. We had completed the first segment of our journey, and boarded a plane that ended the European leg of the trip. But while this ending was sad, we have new destinations on the horizon as we will now be exploring central Asia for the next few months!
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.
During our fifth month of travel we explored Croatia (Zagreb, Plitvice National Park, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik), Montenegro (Kotor and Budva), Albania (Tirana), Macedonia (Ohrid and Skopje), as well as Dubai.
Our total out-of-pocket spending for the month was about $4,000. This is well under what we expected ($5,000), primarily due to the fact that we were under budget by $20-40/day in Eastern Europe for 27 days out of the month.
This spending includes the following breakdown on a per day average for the two of us combined (in USD):
|Accommodation||Food||Transportation||Sight Seeing||Souvenirs||Misc. Purchases|
*Included in the above table is a new camera and tablet we purchased in Dubai, worth about $600 that you will likely not have to spend. Excluded from this table above is roughly $350 in partnerships in Dubrovnik that covered our sight seeing in the city as well as a day trip to Mostar, Bosnia. We also used credit card points in both Dubrovnik and Dubai to stay in really nice hotels for 3 nights and 2 nights respectively, decreasing our average accommodation cost slightly.
As always, our full spending log is available from our menu under “Plan Your Trip.”
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RTW Tally Snapshot
This month was probably one of our lowest spending months yet. I am a big advocate of starting off a long-term trip in the expensive places, because when the cheaper ones come you’ll be incredibly excited for it (instead of dreading it). We’re finally getting to that point in our itinerary, and we couldn’t be happier.
Days Traveling: 154 (+31)
Countries Visited: 20 (+6)
Dollars Spent (USD): $31,458 ($3,918 due to this month only)
Pictures Taken (Jeremy): 10,900 (+2,107)
Miles Traveled: 14,272 (+3,017)
Planes: 8; Trains: 30
Vehicles: 23; Ferries: 2
Days of Rain: 2.5 (+0.5) We saw a few more showers, but they were brief
Sick Days: 3 (+0)
Itinerary Changes: 1 (+0)
Arguments: 1 (+0)
Days Apart: 3 (+0)
Nights in a Dorm Bed: 19 (+2)
Combined Books Read: 20 (+7) This must be the month of books
Bottles of Wine: 31 (+7) ..and wine too.
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 5:
- We’ve seen more Americans in the Balkans during this month than anywhere we’ve ever traveled. It is kind of odd to think that you can go months without seeing anyone, and then all of a sudden they’re everywhere.
- If anything, I would have loved more time in the countries we explored this month. Even though we spent 2 1/2 weeks in Croatia, a week in Montenegro, and a week in Macedonia, it felt like very little time where we could have easily doubled that. From nice people, gorgeous scenery, to delicious food, it is hard to walk away from it all.
- As soon as we left northern Croatia the weather has been much warmer, which is a drastic contrast from the weather of the last month. Of course, Dubai is incredibly hot, as always. Luckily almost every public space is enclosed with air conditioning (including bus stations and outside ATM machines).
- We’ve been spoiled by using our credit card points to stay in nice hotels in Dubrovnik and Dubai. We’re probably saving around $500 of our own money, which is a considerable sum when your realize that we’re getting rooms and 2 meals a day (the happy hour has enough food to be dinner). Unfortunately, we also bought a new camera in Dubai, so our savings were wiped away. But at least we got to stay in some $500 to $700/night rooms at no cost to us!
- We have mixed feelings on Dubai as a whole. It is a place we can thoroughly enjoy, and would even live here if it wasn’t unbearably hot 8 months out of the year, but something is off. The vast construction and urban sprawl of the city is larger than anything we’ve ever seen, and getting around is a very time consuming process. Or it could be the lack of real bacon. That gets us every time.
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 so far:
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residences Review – A Suite Upgrade
Ohrid Macedonia – Enjoying Village Life at Risto’s Guest House
Traveling the Western Balkans in the Off-Season
The Albanian Guesthouse that Locked Us Inside
Montenegro Travel – Scenery from High Places
An HDR Tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
European Food -6 Perfect Meals You Must Have in Europe
Strukli – An Eastern European Treat Not to Miss
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik Review – A Perfect Stay
Plitvice Hotels – Why You Should Stay Inside the Park
Our European Segment Summary
As we spent exactly 150 days in Europe on this trip, we have a lot of thoughts to share on the topic. While we will be publishing a rather large breakdown of the trip when it is over next year, we wanted to share some financial summaries today.
Overall, we spent $26,800 in 150 days during our European travels (inclusive of Turkey). This excludes pre-trip purchases, our entry/exit airfare, and comes out to be approximately $178/day for the two of us combined. Also excluded from this figure are about $1,500 in basic partnerships that we received that we would have paid otherwise (such as some entry tickets and transportation).
We were happy with this figure as we estimated a spending of around $32,000 for the same period of time. We’ll just roll those cost savings over into our 2014 Mystery Destination!
One of the largest expenses in Europe was for accommodations. Our full accommodation spending during this leg of the adventure was $8,200, or about $55/day. We could have easily saved $10-15/night by staying in dorms (or about $500 to $750 total), but chose not to because we were getting sick of rude roommates and snorers.
The breakdown of our accommodations by type is illustrated in the figure below:
For each country we visited, we had the following accommodation pricing. Our estimates we put together before we left are also included for reference:
- France – 14 nights – $72.60/night – Estimated $70/night
- Switzerland – 13 nights – $81.41/night – Est $90/night
- Italy – 18 nights – $87.05/night – Est $65/night
- Greece – 12 nights – $67.07/night – Est $40/night
- Turkey – 20 nights – $34.95/night – Est $40/night
- Bulgaria – 9 nights – $24.64/night – Est $30/night
- Austria – 11 nights – $61.16/night – Est $55/night
- Hungary – 4 nights – $50.82/night – Est $30/night
- Germany – 4 nights – $90/night (Oktoberfest) – No Estimate
- Romania – 10 nights – $38.25/night – Est $30/night
- Slovenia – 7 nights – $37.34/night – Est $30/night
- Croatia – 11 nights – $32/night (2 nights free from CC rewards) – Est $30/night
- Montenegro – 7 nights – $41.03/night – Est $30/night
- Albania – 3 nights – $35/night – Est $30/night
- Macedonia – 6 nights – $39.6/night – Est $30/night
So what will month 6 bring? We’re leaving Dubai tomorrow to head to the neighboring country of Oman! We’ve got one week there, and we hope to see a lot of old forts, beaches, and perhaps even take a desert tour. We’re then going to head to Nepal for about 4 weeks and should be finishing up the Everest Base Camp trek by the end of the month.
Will we survive a 12-day hike in the Himalayas? Stick around and find out!
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!