Budget blues… overspending in November

After boasting about how we were $1,000 under budget in October and even going so far as to write a blog post on how you can save money when travelling, we blew our budget in November!

We were $638.31 over our budget in November.

Confused photo Double-Barrelled Travel

Travelling too quickly

In October we finished our last house sitting assignment in the US and were on the move. We had to cut our road trip through the US by three weeks in order to make it to our next house sitting assignment in the Caribbean.

(We’re now living on the island of Dominica for the next two months.)

Middleham Falls Dominica Double-Barrelled Travel

This beautiful island of Dominica is our home for the next two months

When we first applied for The Caribbean house sit we decided it was worth cutting short our USA trip if it meant we could live in a mansion on a tropical island rent-free for two months.

But as a result, we had just as many things to do and see in the US but a lot shorter time to do them in. This meant that during November, the longest we stayed in one spot was for three nights.

And travelling this quickly is a LOT more expensive than taking your time.

Why?

Your travel costs are higher

By travelling every few days, you end up spending a lot of money on gas. We were filling up our car more than once a week because we were driving a whole heap, probably about four hours a day every two days or so.

We spent more than $400 on fuel for the month.

You eat out more

When you’re on the move so much it can be difficult to organise a supermarket trip and put time aside to cook a meal. So we were eating out a lot. Also, catching up with friends in Santa Fe, Austin and Miami meant we were eating out with them too.

We spent a whopping $860 on dining out in November, which was more than double what we spent the previous month.

Ouch.

Dish from Jamba restaurant in Santa Fe Double-Barrelled Travel

Yes we ate out more… but this goat’s cheese salad was totally worth it!

Drinking goes with eating

Socialising and eating out also means more booze. We spent $300 more on alcohol in November than in October. For some reason, when we house sit we seem to spend hardly anything on alcohol. I guess it’s because we spend this time working hard and not going out as often.

You can easily see that we didn’t house sit in November…

Tim and Dave Double-Barrelled Travel

Eating (and drinking) with our mate Tim in Miami

But some expenses were totally worth it.

We were lucky enough to get complimentary tickets to Disney World in return for a post on our blog (stay tuned!) and this saved us $200.

Carmen and Dave at Disneyworld Double-Barrelled Travel

The obligatory Disney photo

Unfortunately I didn’t get my butt into gear quick enough to score us some tickets for Universal too.

But we went anyway… and it was totally worth it.

Ok, so the tickets cost us $200 but we had the best day. For some reason there was hardly anyone in the park and the longest we stood in line for was 15 minutes. We got to ride the Hulk rollercoaster seven times.

Awesome.

And we got to experience Harry Potter World – a place I have been dreaming about since it opened. It certainly lived up to expectations and we plan to return when the new section opens.

Drinking butterbeer and pumpkin juice at Disneyworld Double-Barrelled Travel

Drinking butter beer and pumpkin juice at The Three Broomsticks Inn in Harry Potter World

Parking… not so awesome

The thing I don’t really like about the theme parks in Florida is that they charge you for parking. Visiting the Kennedy Space Centre, Disneyland and Universal cost us more than $40 in parking alone.

Oh and Florida certainly seems to have the most tolls out of every state we drove through in the US. Sometimes they stick a toll both in a completely random spot on the highway for the fun of it. (Or that’s what it felt like.)

Epic road trip through North America in six months Double-Barrelled Travel

A map of our epic road trip through North America over the past six months

Unexpected spending

When we arrived at Miami airport to fly to Dominica we were asked to show our return ticket.

We didn’t have one.

We were asked to show proof of where we were headed after Dominica.

We had no idea.

They told us that we couldn’t check into our flight to Dominica until we should proof of how we were getting off the island when we left.

Trying to remain calm, I asked them to check us to Puerto Rico – our stop off location on the way to Dominica – and then we’d check out and figure out what to do from there.

Thankfully, we were spending the night in San Juan, Puerto Rico, so we had some time to sort out where we’d go next.

Beach in Puerto Rico Double-Barrelled Travel

We tried to relax on this beach in Puerto Rico as we got our ferry tickets sorted

In the end we decided on Guadeloupe. It’s about a two hour ferry ride from Dominica and we thought we could get there and then go from there to Central America. We still haven’t figured our route from Guadeloupe yet.

Unfortunately, you can’t book the ferry tickets from Dominica to Guadeloupe online and after many flustered phone calls back and forth between the ferry company, we managed to score our tickets for $227.

We printed them out at our guest house about 10 seconds before the cab arrived to pick us up and take us to the airport for our flight to Dominica.

Talk about cutting it fine!

Although, of course, it turns out all that stress was for nothing because of course the Dominican border security didn’t ask to see any evidence of when we’d be leaving the island.

Life on Dominica

December should be a less-expensive month because even though it’s Christmas we’ll be spending it in a rather low key fashion on the island. My parents are coming out from Australia and we’re really excited as it’s the first time we’ve spent Christmas with them in five years.

But I can’t see us spending a whole heap of money here. Rum punch in the bars costs around US$3, and beer is even cheaper, so we will probably live on that.

Groceries are a little more expensive than in the US because they have to ship them so far but we don’t have a car anymore (she’s still in Miami and we’re trying to sell her) so we don’t have car costs. And we’ll try and eat local food where we can because it’s cheaper (and the fruit and fish are delicious!)

Beach in Dominica Double-Barrelled Travel

We’re very excited about spending Christmas in Dominica… just check out the sunset!

My parents very kindly bought us both a PADI certification course for Christmas so we are learning to become qualified divers and are having a lot of fun in the process.

When my mum arrives (she’s also a qualified diver) we’re probably going to spend a bit of money diving around the island – I’m sure that’ll be worth it though!

In the meantime, we’re going to have a relaxing two months thinking about where we should adventure to next.

Do you have any ideas?

A breakdown of our (expensive!) spending in November:

Gas $416
Parking and tolls $86.70
Tips $27
Accommodation $332.37
Eating out $860.12
Groceries $434.30
Alcohol $334.64
Attractions $296.66
Other $695.89
Total $3,638.31

 

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

1 comment on “Budget blues… overspending in November”

  1. Pingback: Looking back on 2013 - Double-Barrelled Travel

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