Our most expensive month of travel yet

April was a brilliant month for us.

We spent half of it on play and half on work – the epitome of work / life balance.

However, it was our most expensive month of travel yet.

The first two weeks were spent in the Galapagos and that’s why April was our most expensive month of travel – you bleed money on these islands off the coast of Ecuador.

But. I. Don’t. Regret. It. One. Bit

Carmen and Dave in Galapagos Double-Barrelled Travel

Where else in the world can you post with these Giant Tortoises?

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are possibly one of the best places we’ve ever visited. It’s such a unique experience that it’s hard to explain. You see animals, fish and landscapes that you’ll never see any where else and it’s easy to see how the place caught Charles Darwin’s eye and influenced his life’s work.

We’ve been extensively covering our experiences in this magical land and you can read more about them below:

Review: Seaman Journey catamaran in the Galapagos

Exploring North Seymour Island in the Galapagos

Close encounters with the Galapagos Giant Tortoise

Snorkelling in the Galapagos with flirty sealife

Photo Essay: Animals of the Galapagos

Although the Galapagos will set you back – we spent more than US$850 just getting there – I felt it was worth every penny as it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But don’t despair if you decide to visit, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing you do. I learnt a lot on how to keep costs low on the islands and I’ve shared all these tips in a blog post on the website The Price of Travel. You can check it out here.

Dave diving in the Galapagos

Dave diving in the Galapagos

Diving in the Galapagos

One of our biggest expenses in the Galapagos was our diving. And when I think about it, if I take out the diving costs (US$1,500 and filed under ‘Other’ below) and our airfares, we would’ve spent our average budget of about US$2,500 in April.

Since we got our PADI certifications in Dominica, we’ve been obsessed with diving and the Galapagos is one of the best dive spots in the world. So we had to do it. It would’ve been a crime not too.

So of the 10 days we were on the Galapagos, four were spent diving. And it was worth every penny.

The highlight was swimming with hammerhead sharks!

Hammerheads in Galapagos Double-Barrelled Travel


Cheap food bill

We hardly spent any money on food in April, compared to other months. This is mainly because our food was included for the four days we were on the Galapagos cruise with Seaman Journey and then for the final two weeks of April we’ve been renting an apartment in Quito, meaning we’ve been cooking food bought from a supermarket rather than eating out, which certainly cuts down on costs.

Surprisingly, the food wasn’t at all expensive in the Galapagos. You could pay US$14 for a delicious slipper lobster and get a full breakfast for around US$4. Alcohol was expensive (so we didn’t drink much) but we were grateful that food was cheap. So food didn’t really contribute to our most expensive month of travel.

Typical ecuadorian food Double-Barrelled Travel

A typical Ecuadorian meal – pretty cheap too!

Press trip economics

Full disclosure – our four day cruise on the Seaman Journey was a press trip and so we didn’t pay a cent of the US$5,000 or so it would’ve normally have cost us for this trip. We’re seriously grateful to the company for chosing us to go onbard with them, as I don’t think we could’ve afforded a cruise in the Galapagos otherwise.

I would seriously recommend doing a cruise if you go to the Galapagos though, as you can experience islands that you wouldn’t be able to visit on your own. It’s also having a guide with you each day so you can truely appreciate the wonders of the Galapagos. We highly recommend the Seaman Journey after the first-class experience we had with them.

Seaman Journey in Galapagos Double-Barrelled Travel

We were really grateful for the Seaman Journey’s support for our trip to the Galapagos

Our business boom

Since we got back from the Galapagos and settled into our Airbnb apartment we’ve been working non-stop. Which is great, as it means more money for further travels!

It hasn’t been great for sight-seeing opportunities though. Since starting work 16 days ago, we’ve only had two days off – one was to explore Quito’s old town and the other was going on a day trip out to visit the Cotacachi National Park and surrounding lakes.

The good news staying cooped up in our apartment allowed us to cut down on costs. And working so hard has meant that when we invoice for May it’s set to be our most profitable month for Red Platypus yet!

For the first time since we became full-time nomads, our salaries will (slightly) surpass what we used to make in London working full-time jobs for other people. We’re super happy about this and excited about what the future holds!

Red footed booby in Galapagos Double-Barrelled Travel

A close encounter with a red footed booby in the Galapagos

Currency conversion rip offs

One thing that really got my goat this month was realising how expensive our Commonwealth Travel Card is. I complained last month about how it ended up costing us a small fortune in fees, and this month I discovered that the exchange rates aren’t close to the current market rates.

For example, by transferring AUS$2,000 on to our card, we lost US$60 in the process, thanks to the steep conversion rates.

We’ve decided to apply for another card and give up on using the Commonwealth one all together. One of our readers suggested the 28 Degrees GE Money Travel Card and we applied for it today, so hopefully we can begin cutting down on our bank fees shortly!

A breakdown of our spending in April:


US dollars



Public transport (buses and taxis) and parking




Eating out












Bank fees






What do you think? Have you been to the Galapagos? How much did it cost you?

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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.

3 comments on “Our most expensive month of travel yet”

  1. Gracey spurek Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. April is the month in which everyone plans a vacation so it is a obvious thing that all the things will be costly which ultimately leads to over budgeting. So to cut down your expenses you should avoid seasonal travels and wait for the right time.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Completely agree with you! It’s also best to travel outside of school holidays because all the flight prices rise dramatically. Thanks for the extra tip!

    • Sify Newton Reply

      Hey Gracey,
      I totally agree to you, april is the vacation month so everyone plan vacation trips.That’s why in this month jet owners increase jet prices.

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