Second year finances

Another year and another 10 countries behind us. How time flies!

For those interested, here’s how our budget worked out for the past year.  Actually, the numbers in the charts below cover nearly 14 months of expenses from 1 July 2014 through 28 Aug 2015.  

These numbers include everything we spent while on the road except our trip to the Galapagos, including our expenses shipping the van from Panama to Colombia. They also don’t include our home expenses such as our storage locker. Here’s how it breaks down by country:


The per-country numbers don’t mean a whole lot. For example, Panama includes shipping the van, Peru includes new tires and batteries for the van, and Chile is where we happened to be when we paid for our health insurance for another year. Our time in Argentina includes a $700 refrigerator repair. So just because the expenses for a particular country are high doesn’t necessarily mean that country is expensive.

What I think is telling is the overall average of $94 per day. When people post the “how much should I budget” question to forums, the answer is often that $100 per day is a good ballpark figure. Our actual results support that. Based on how we travel, and the fact that there are three of us, I think two people traveling on $80/day is probably reasonable. If you have any must-see, big-ticket items on your bucket list (think Galapagos, Easter Island, or Antarctica) those are extra.

Here’s our budget by category:

Feel free to post questions in the comments, and happy trip planning!

7 Responses to 'Second year finances'

  1. Bobbie staggs says:

    Well now that was VERY interesting! Loved your little tiny slit for “clothes / personal”! Glad your van keeps on rolling along!

    • Witt says:

      Hi Bobbie!

      Yeah, you don’t spend much on clothes when you only have a 4′ by 2′ space to store clothes for a family of three!

      Yes, we’re also happy the van keeps rolling along! May she continue to do so!


  2. Debbie Slobe says:

    Super helpful Witt! Thanks!

  3. cath says:

    A great article, very interesting and realistic. Thanks for sharing.
    Is your first yer on your blog? And bonus question how do your bidget compare? Oh and my hubby is wondering if you found the fridge easily?

    • Jennifer Sparks says:

      Hi Cath! Thank you very much for reading our blog and for posting your questions and comments!

      The report of finances from our first year can be found here: The average daily expenses for that year were much greater than this past year since Alaska and Canada are so expensive and we had quite a few vehicle issues that we had to resolve.

      We bought our National Luna Weekender fridge through Paul May at Equipt Expedition Outfitters ( in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the only importer of National Luna fridges in the U.S. and he offers excellent customer support.

      Please let us know if you have more questions. Happy travels!

  4. Diana says:

    Nice post and summary! What do you do for health insurance on the road?
    Thanks! I enjoy following your adventures.

    • Jennifer Sparks says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Diana! We use World Nomads for our health insurance and have been happy with it. We made several claims in our first year of travel and they were all paid without issue. We have not had to make any claims since then. We really value the evacuation and expatriation coverage that is included in the coverage.