Since 2010, I’ve annually published my full-time travel expenses; an uncensored breakdown of all my expenses for the year, demonstrating that the travel lifestyle is much more achievable than most people think. (At the end of this article you’ll find links to full-time travel expenses reports from previous years).
2016 was an odd year for me on many levels. Luckily it was more than sustainable financially, due partly to the fact that I didn’t move around too much. The pace of travel that I kept this year (although boring for some) is very comfortable for me, and ultimately sustainable (financially and otherwise).
What I Did in 2016
Here’s a basic summary of where I was in 2016: (See Also: 5 Countries and 30,000 miles: This Was 2016)
- 2 months in Peru
- 1 month in Canada and Ireland
- 2.5 months in Peru
- 1.5 months in Florida
- 1 month in Canada
- 3 months in Ecuador
- 1 month in Florida
Full-Time Travel Expenses for 2016: $23,216
All amounts have been converted to US Dollars for ease of comparison.
January was a quiet month in Peru. Thus my expenses were very low and nothing was off the radar.
Although February was also relatively quiet in Peru, I was neck-deep in the process of applying for residency in Peru (with the help of my teacher), which accounted for the “Peru Residence” category expenses along with the transportation expenses involved in making a special trip from Cusco to Lima. Almost half the month’s expenses! Sheesh.
Peru Residence $677
MARCH (Canada, Ireland)
March was much more active for me, and also the most expensive month of the year; I traveled to Canada to pick up my mum and take her on a trip to Ireland (I actually won a trip to Ireland!). While in Canada I also bought a new laptop, hence the large business expense. And of course, before I left Peru I managed to spend a couple of hundred more on my residency efforts.
Peru Residence $162
I’m a wee bit bitter about all the money (and time, and effort) I spent in applying for Peruvian residency, since it was all for naught as soon as I returned to Peru in April. I didn’t do much in April other than feel sorry for myself, with the silver lining that I didn’t spend too much money. The transportation expense was my flight back to Peru from Canada.
May was my cheapest month of the year, as I continued to hole up and feel sorry for myself. My accommodation expense is lower because once I moved out of my place I mostly stayed with friends and house-sat until I left Peru in June.
JUNE (Peru, USA)
Considering June’s expenses include a $600+ flight from Peru to Florida at the end of the month, I didn’t spend much. My accommodation was a whopping $18 (for laundry and cleaning service) while staying with friends. Everything else was business as usual, with an extra massage or two in the Medical category.
Staying with a generous friend in Florida, I had zero accommodation expenses for July.
The transportation expense is kind of bogus, but was money spent (or lost): early in the year I bought flights to the jungle in Peru (from Cusco), but I never ended up using them, nor could I receive a refund. The flights were supposed to be for July travel, so they went into the budget anyway.
AUGUST (USA, Canada)
In August I spent almost the same amount as in July, except this time I got on the flight I booked (to Canada)! Again in Canada I was staying with family and friends and didn’t have to worry about accommodation.
Take out my annual expat insurance premiums ($1,130), and September was a pretty low-cost month as well, especially considering the transportation expense from Canada to Ecuador. I also had some inflated business expenses in September since I hired somebody to do some web projects, and also had to pay the annual dues for some web services I use.
I had some extra business expenses this month; mostly in the form of the annual premium for my Aweber account (which I use for newsletters).
And when my house-sitting gig ended in mid-October, I spent the rest of the month (and then some) at a retreat centre, which accounts for the tours/activities expense (which also included accommodation and food).
NOVEMBER (Ecuador, USA)
November was the second most expensive month of the year for three key reasons:
- I did another retreat at Gaia Sagrada (tours/activities)
- I flew to Florida towards the end of the month (transportation)
- I bought a new smartphone (business)
I also bought a few extra things for my business including a microphone and some gear for my new vlog, which rounds out my business expenses.
I spent most of December with my friend in Florida, with about a week in California visiting friends in San Diego and Los Angeles. Thanks to these lovely people, accommodation was gratis for the month. This allowed me to spend extra money on a few personal and business items, gifts, and lots of nice food, and still feel like it was a cheap month.
I don’t have much to say about 2016 from the perspective of full-time travel expenses. A few thousand dollars were lost in my Peruvian residency efforts and the loss of use of some flight tickets. But it’s way better than the many thousands I lost to life circumstances in 2013! (See below if you’re curious – it sticks out like a sore thumb in the list!).
In looking at my full-time travel expenses from years’ past, it seems I’m finding a sweet spot around $24,000; it’s not anywhere near what I used to spend to live in Canada, but enough to be comfortable and in style (around the world). And you’ll see from my income report (to be published next month) that I could have spent more money had I chosen, but there wasn’t anything I wanted or needed to spend more money on!
I don’t have any idea what 2017 will hold for me monetarily. I don’t think I’ll be moving around too much, but I may have some extra expenses in Ecuador living at a retreat centre and doing plant medicine ceremonies. No matter. By tracking my expenses as I go, I always have a finger on the pulse of my spending and can make adjustments as needed.
For previous annual reviews of my full-time travel expenses, check these posts out: