The RTW trip we are currently on can be done for less money but we are choosing to take the middle road. We offer these expense reports as a baseline for others to plan with.
We spent a total of $2,388.46 on living expenses and $2,967.69 on one-time expenses. We spent 46-nights in Thailand and drove 1,903 miles. We spent 50% of our time in hotels (23-nights) and 50% of our time being hosted by friends and at the volunteer week at the dog sanctuary (23-nights).
|Total – US$||Daily Average*||Percent of total|
|Fuel price per gallon||$3.02|
|*Camping and hotel average is per night based on number of nights camping or hotel.|
The average exchange rate we received was 35.05 Thai Baht per US Dollar. We use ATMs to retrieve our funds and we do not have ATM fees as they are reimbursed to us (Charles Schwab checking account).
The average daily spend was $51.92 ($25.96 per person) that was below our $55 ($27.50 per person) daily budget. There is a caveat we were hosted for 16-nights with friends which included at least some of our food and 7-nights we were volunteering at the dog sanctuary in Northern Thailand. The volunteer experience was not free; we paid $140 per person that included housing and all meals for 7-nights. This expense is listed under “incidental”.
As usual our food and sundries compromise the largest portion of our budget at 37% of spending while hotel was only 14%. Our incidental spending was high in Thailand at 36% of total and included the $280 for the dog sanctuary, medicines, shopping (t-shirt, book, postcards), laundry, tuk-tuk rides, movies, and massages. We returned to Thailand a couple additional times (once to go the hospital for Shannon’s broken leg and another on our way back to North America as it was much less expensive to fly from Bangkok rather than Bali or Jakarta). As medicines are so expensive in North America we did stock up on a number of things in Thailand that are available without a prescription. Our communications costs were a little higher than normal because on each of our returns we got short-term data SIM that ended up being more than we needed but were the minimum we could purchase.
Our one-time expenses
Border: We paid 64.88 for two one-month visas (purchased in Nepal), 2.74 in bank fees, 13.02 for photocopies, 26.71 for taxis, 100 for US embassy notary for required letter for Thai vehicle permit, and 412.30 for the first Thai vehicle permit and insurance and 456.46 for the second that included an extra expedite fee. Other than Europe due to Green Card Insurance this was the most expensive country for overland travel. We were only in Thailand for 38-nights with the motorcycles, that meant we paid 27.98 per day in order to have our vehicles in the country (not worth it).
Repairs/maintenance/parts: We purchased oil, lubricants, chain, sprockets, brake pads, and spark plugs.
Shipping: We purchased a cheap suitcase for airline travel.
Other: There was a lot of spending under ‘other’ during this period. We spent 846.74 for health screenings (blood, stool, urine, physical exam, EKG, ultrasound, and more) at Bumrungrad hospital in Bangkok (we are healthy). We were refunded 500 from our insurance company for wellness visits so in the end it only cost us 346.74. We also spent 154.75 for the annual registration of Shannon’s bike, 190 on annual credit card fees (we save more than that during the year so it has been worth the expense), 84.99 for caving in Northern Thailand, 40.28 to send a large box home to Seattle (all our winter riding gear and other bits/pieces), and 95.49 for some gear replacement. We returned to Bangkok from Jakarta because of Shannon’s broken leg so we spent an additional 530.60 on a hospital visit and walking boot. At this time the reimbursements for the broken leg have not been processed so we are not sure what our final responsibility will be. We again returned to Bangkok on our way back to North America and took advantage of good dental care services to have our teeth cleaned for 101.90.
Fuel consumption: These numbers are estimates, as we don’t track per motorcycle but a mixture of both and not every fuel purchase did we have full information on mileage/liters purchased though we always had amount spent. We received an average of 44.67 miles per gallon per bike. Average cost was $3.02/gallon or $0.80/liter.
Miles driven: this is based on Zippy’s odometer and not the total miles of both bikes. Occasionally we ride two-up or Mike may take Donkey to do some errands and these additional miles are not accounted for. When providing miles per gallon averages this is an important caveat as we are not tracking both motorcycles odometers.
Fuel: petrol for two motorcycles and minor use of gas for our MSR camp stove
Grocery: food and incidentals purchased at grocery stores/markets/butcher that may include batteries, toiletries, etc. as well as food.
Prepared Food: anything that we haven’t made ourselves such as meals purchased at restaurants, food stalls, or prepared food from local stores.
Camp: camp ground fees
Hotel: hotel fee
Communications: local SIM cards, Skype credit, USB modems, recharging for minutes and data, internet cafes, etc.
Incidental: anything that doesn’t fit into other categories with notes made as to the actual expenses but anticipated as park fees, other fees, postcards, shopping, etc.
Border: border fees for people, motorcycles, and pet as well as insurance required, and any other border expenses.
Parts/maintenance: anything purchased for the maintenance or repair of the motorcycles.
Shipping: expenses for moving ourselves and motorcycles between continents
Other: gear replacement, excursions, and other one-time expenses.