Let’s take off the $3,000 I spent in Rio (one-sixth of that went to the worst hostel in South America for their six day Carnival package). That leaves $9500 for five months, or $63 a day. Out of that I’d estimate $30-40 was spent on lodging, food, local taxis, and going out. But it was the miscellaneous costs that rammed me: new camera ($300), hospitalization ($550), visas ($200), bus transportation, doctor visit ($150 for a dermatologist in Rio), clothing replacement ($100), new 220-volt shaver ($50), Machu Picchu ($120), etc. Plus I took Spanish and Portuguese lessons ($200). It was very hard to keep costs down.
If you want to take a long trip but don’t want to spend this amount of money, here’s my advice:
1. Don’t get sick, or take out a travel health insurance policy with the lowest possible deductible. Taking out a high $500 deductible like I did is retarded unless you plan on your appendix rupturing.
2. Stay longer in less cities. Not only do you minimize transportation costs but by knowing the city you can eat and get around more cheaply. I can live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle in a nice city like Cordoba, Argentina for around $1000 a month.
3. Don’t eat out more than twice a week. It saves you money and minimizes your chances of getting sick. Make big meals and save leftovers for the next day’s lunch and dinner.
4. Try to make friends on sites like Couch Surfing to lodge for free. I never did this but if I’m in a money crunch it’d make sense. Plus you’ll have a more locals experience. Or you can get an older girlfriend who has her own place. I can tell you right now that you will get tired of both hostels and gringos after a month.
5. If you really want to save money and get your costs down to $10 a day, bring your tent, wash your clothes, and never use internet cafes. Or sleep in hammocks.
On to the contest winner. First here is my favorite guess:
$0. I think you spent the whole time in your dad’s basement avoiding homosexual thoughts.
Wrong! In close second place with a guess of $12,000 was Rajia. She gets no prize. The first place winner, and champion of this contest, is Brian with a guess of $12,885. Here’s what he had to say about winning the book.
Man I really don’t believe it! I mean I’ve always wanted the book but I just don’t want to pay actual money for it. I’ve been hoping for some type of sweet contest so when you announced this one on Monday I almost shit my pants at the opportunity.
Just kidding I made that up, but I imagine that’s what he would say. Thanks for playing!
Postscript: What he really had to say…
Some of those guesses were downright retarded. How anyone could guess like $3000 or $4000 is beyond me.