Based on inputs from friends who are experienced in traveling and from our own experiences, we decided that we will set a daily budget of $100. It’s sort of arbitrary (and sort of not). The logic behind it is this: Typically you can find bed & breakfast places to stay for about $60 per day which leaves about $40 per day for the both of us to use for food.
Of course, thanks to kindness of friends and strangers, we will not be paying to stay everywhere on the trip, which allows us a slightly larger amount for food, drinks, commute etc., and accounts for escalated cost of living in some of the cities in our world trip itinerary, namely, London, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington amongst others. We have to be mindful as well of the costs involved with intra-country travels we have planned in U.K., India and Australia.
You can do the math based on our daily budget and the number of days we are going to be on the road (255) as to what our target was when it came to saving before the trip. Of course, this doesn’t include the air fare for all the major destinations that we have already paid for. As I mentioned in the previous post, we didn’t reach the target, so we are going to have to stay a bit more tightly than we originally wanted to. We are also hoping we’ll get some gigs along the way to write about our travels. *Fingers crossed*
Today is the 5th day of our trip in Trinidad and we are averaging just about $100 per day. We took a taxi from the airport to Port of Spain, bought a SIM card at the airport, did a bit of grocery shopping (snacks, soda, candy, instant coffee etc.) That’s another thing I learned from Sharon and Patrick, I mentioned in the initial post of the trip. When I met them in 2012, they told me that they keep the cost down by eating almost all their meals to what they prepare – Cereals for breakfast, sandwiches they make with the stuff from grocery store etc. This keeps the daily costs down definitely.
In our case, we have restricted ourselves to pretty much two kinds of food so far: Doubles and Gyros. The first couple of days, I went to the Doubles stand just 100 yards from our B&B to get our breakfast. Doubles is like the national fast food of Trinidad. It’s basically two pieces of Poori served on a cookie paper with chana, cucumber cuttings and special sauces. It’s delicious and my former teammate from Penn State, Kingsley claims to be “arguably the best food in the world”. He’s from Trinidad, so he might be just a bit biased. A double costs about TT $4 (about 70 cents). So you can get a stomach full for two people with just US $7. [We’ll write about the foods to get, how cheap/expensive they are, different types etc., in a separate post.]
Trinidad is quite a multi-cultural place. Nearly half its population is of Indian descent (brought as indentured laborers), and the rest is a mixture of African, Chinese, and surprisingly Syrian descent. So, there are plenty of Gyro shops that open at 6 PM (till late) on the thoroughfare close to our place. A falafel Gyro is about (all in USD) $3.5, chicken Gyro ($5) and lamb Gyro ($6). We get Gyros for dinner; 3 between the two of us.
I was here in Trinidad in 2013 to cover the Celkon Mobile Cup tri-series and had developed a routine (Thanks Wisden India). I would walk to the Queen’s Park Oval at 8.30 AM, getting a few doubles on the way for breakfast, and pick up Gyros in the evening for dinner. There was a corner pub on my way back. I would stop there for a beer that allowed me time to collect my thoughts from the day’s play and start putting words to the feature pieces. This routine has come in handy for the discipline we needed to stay within our budget in this trip.
We have an app on the iPad to keep track of our expenses on the trip. So far we haven’t really extended ourselves, basically trying to stay frugal now so that when we get towards the end of the journey, we will have a bit more luxury and could indulge ourselves a little.