Expenses in Columbia (31 days of travel)

We travelled in Columbia between the 24th of July and the 23rd of August 2017. In total we spend 31 days travelling on our two motorcycles riding about 1600 miles. All our expenses are included in the overview in this post. Every penny we have spend together or for personal use are included. We are aware that we might have forgotten to add few expenses during our travel – nobody is perfect. Our budget is 66 USD per day including everything. On the 1st of August 2017 we had overspend with 426,68 USD, so in order to keep our budget we had to stay below the 66 USD per day.

In total we spend 1,352.96 USD in Columbia, which calculates into 43.64 per day. We use an app called TOSHL FINANCE (https://toshl.com), which we could customize to our travel expenses. We decided to buy TOSHL PRO for 19.99 USD (https://toshl.com/pricing/) which gives us access to an online account where all the pictures are from.

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To save money we have tried to follow these basic rules (3. edition for Columbia)

  1. Camp in our tent when we felt like it. Sorry, we are getting tired of living in our tent. Through Columbia we decided to stay a little bit longer each place (3-4 nights), so we had time to relax and exercise a little bit more. It worked for me, but Esben still needs more rest, and he didn’t have enough energy to exercise as much as I had. We still looked for cheap hotels, love hotels and hostals. Using www.ioverlander.com to find other travelers recommendations for cheap accommodations or we just stopped and asked for the price. We usually get a private room (2 persons) with shared bathroom, because it is cheaper than having a private room with a bathroom. Some places you can negotiate the price, but don’t push it to far. This time we have also used Airbnb.com and pre-booked our stay in Cartagena and at Life-Break Finca just outside Guatape. A lot of places on Airbnb have discounts if you stay 7 nights or more, so remember to check that out.

  2. Stay with other people for free. This is possible by using www.adv-rider.com and www.couchsurfing.com. We have also made friends during our trip, and have been invited to stay at their place for free. This didn’t happened in Columbia.

  3. Cook our own food. It is cheap to eat at the small food stands by the road by it is still cheaper if you cook your own meals. There is a few exceptions fx elotes and tamales or if we could find a set lunch menu for 5,000 pesos per person (1,75 USD). Don’t buy imported groceries they are expensive. Canned food are expensive in Columbia, so whenever you can cook you own meals from fresh produce, you can save money. When you buy a snack, just buy one and share (do you really need one each?), you never know if it is good, and you can always buy another one after the first one. When you have the opportunity to cook fresh produce the cheapest place the go grocery shopping is at the local markets (Mercado), where you can by pretty much everything. Meat is more expensive, so buy 100-125 grams per person per meal. You can also replace meat with eggs or cheese (the local fresh cheese), which is cheaper.

  4. Activities: pick the ones which are the most important for you. We try to explore areas by hiking, which doesn’t cost anything. Some places you have to hire a guide, when you go hiking. Explore the towns and cities by walking around, and don’t spend money on expensive tours fx segway tours.

Categories for the expenses

Overview of how we have spend the 1352.96 USD in Columbia. We have used the same categories for Columbia as in Central America and Mexico. Our expenses have been allocated into 10 categories not using the category “Camping” which includes camping equipment and camping repairs. I also put in the overview for Central America and Mexico to compare how the categories are ranked after how much money we spend in each category. Remember we spend 89 days in Mexico, 49 days in Central America and 31 days in Columbia. What springs to my mind is that we only used 2.99 USD on our motorcycles, because the motorcycles didn’t needed any spare parts or oil change through Columbia. We Spend 16.3 USD on food per day in Columbia, which was only 11.9 USD in Central America, I think it was because the canned food was more expensive. We spend a lot less on activities, because in Columbia it was easier to do hiking on you own and we didn’t do any multiday tours.

From the left Columbia (43.64 USD), Central America (59,56 USD per day) and to the right Mexico (49,72 USD per day)

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All the categories have subcategories (called Tags), which makes it possible for us to get a more detailed overview of the expenses within the different categories. In the top each picture you have the total amount of expenses in the category, and underneath you have the amount of expenses allocated into the subcategories. Remember that you can compare the expenses in Columbia with Central America and Mexico.

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In total we are satisfied of how we spend our money in Columbia. Maybe we could have saved a little bit on food, but we don’t think that it would have been a lot. It is all about keeping track for your expenses so you don’t overspend and spend money on the things that are important to you.

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