Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cheap flights or is traveling expensive?

I do love calculating expenses and it makes me inexplicably happy if I eventually end up spending less than originally budgeted. When I go over my budget even a little bit, not so much.

I think it’s essential for successful travel to keep track of expenses. Because the less you spend on one trip, the more trips you’ll be able to have as a long-term result. At least that’s a philosophy that has been working fairly well for me.

I divide my travel and expat life expenses into several categories, namely:

accommodation – typically the lowest of all when traveling as I mostly use Couchsurfing. I couldn’t praise it more, it doesn’t cost you anything AND you meet the most amazing, generous and evolved people AND you are able to share some great experiences with them

food – this includes my trips to the supermarket and all things grocery

entertainment – this is an umbrella term for a lot of things and could include: movie tickets, coffee&cake at a café, entrance fees and the like

transport – all expenses for transport excluding airfare, typically the category that brings me metaphorical headache as I find most means of public transport severely overpriced

airfare – flight tickets

IT– all things computer and cell phone related, like hours spent at Internet cafes and money spent on text messages

clothes – it used to be the major spending category, however in the recent months I have found myself to start thinking material possessions like clothing are exuberant and not as important as my travel experiences (although it doesn’t mean I wear shabby clothes, I just don’t shop for the sake of shopping)

other – anything that couldn’t fit into the above category, might include things like shampoo, toothpaste, books, etc.

And now the breakdown for my 10-day trip to Norway, France, Spain and Portugal in EUR:

accommodation 0
food 54,44
entertainment 6,25
transport 92,25
airfare 114 (previously thought to be 93EUR, but I used a calculator this time around…)
IT 3
clothes 28
other 5,6

Which brings the grand total to 303,54EUR.

Now, I actually think it could have been lower, but I mentioned this some to a couple of friends and they were amazed at the cost. Just a couple of comments:

I feel it's worth mentioning that out of this sum, I spent 70EUR on my first day in Oslo (including return bus transfer from the airport for 29 EUR) on nearly nothing, be careful with this place, it's a destination for oil tycoons.

114EUR is the price of 7 flights with Ryanair, I actually took 6 of them, because the first two I bought back in December were Berlin-Oslo and Oslo-Berlin, but I didn’t take the latter one as I eventually moved to Paris from the Norwegian capital. I do believe it’s an amazing price. That being said, Ryanair is controversial, Michael O’Leary, the CEO, is as well, the environmental policy seems good to me, I don’t necessarily agree with O’Leary on the fact that the global warming doesn’t exist, but he has interesting opinions and a sense of humor. He’s probably impossible as a boss/partner though.

But back to my expenses. Transportation is the one category that I feel discontent about, of course most of that money is the airport transfers and that’s the price you pay for Ryanair’s cheap flights, what I could suggest though is that the EU lowers its insane prices on subway/bus/tram.

But overall, I think it's an okay amount of money spent on a trip covering 4 cities in 4 different countries.


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