Expenses in Brazil (60 days of travel in a van)

We travelled in Brazil from the 26th of April 2018 to the 24th of June 2018 (in total 60 days). 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. In total we spend 5,680.36 USD in Brazil, which calculates into 94.40 USD per day. This means that we overspend with 28.4 USD per day, so in total we exceeded our budget with 1704 USD during the 60 days that we traveled in Brazil (spending 43% more than planned). We visited the Iguazu falls first on the Brazilian side, then we drove across the border into Argentina on the 22nd, and visited Iguazu falls from the Argentinian side. So included in our budget for Brazil is 2,5 day, that we spend in Argentina visiting the Iguazu falls before we drove to Paraguay. 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 (7. edition for Brazil)

  1. Wild (free) camp as much as possible. This is one of the most efficient ways of saving money, when you don’t have to pay for camping, hostels or hotels. Using www.ioverlander.com to find places, where we could camp for free. This time we used Airbnb.com, when we planned our visit to Rio de Janeiro (but had to cancel because of the trucker strike, because of no gasoline and lost some money), because we don’t like to wild camp in a big city. 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. Wild camping in Brazil is more difficult, so staying with locals was a good alternative to wild camping. Brazilian Overlanders have a network on Facebook, which is a closed group called “Apoio as Pessoas que Viajam de Motorhome”. We got in contract with the network through a family in Brusque (they are on www.ioverlander.com). When we stay with other people for free, they sometimes offer, that we can do some laundry for free, we really appreciate this. This time we would like to thank our new family in Brusque and Sao Paulo. This is also possible by using www.couchsurfing.com, which we didn’t use in Brazil, mostly because couch-surfers are located in the bigger cities, which we didn’t visit.
  3. Cook our own food. It is way cheaper to cook your own food in Brazil. In the van we have a 12 volt cooler, which we use to keep fresh produce, meat, cheese, milk etc. this makes it so much easier to cook our own fresh food. The cheapest place to go and buy fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and eggs is at the small stands next to the road, because it is cheaper than buying it in the supermarkets. Unfortunately we didn’t visit the local markets (Mercado) in Brazils. We go for the cheaper cuts of meat or chicken, depending of what we feel like. Meat is cheap in Brazil, so we ate more meat. Don’t buy imported groceries they are expensive, Nutella is a very good example. Canned food are still more expensive (corn and peas come in foil packages, which are cheaper), than fresh food, 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. Eating out in Brazil is about 5 USD per person per plate, at one of the “self-service” restaurants. It works like this, you pay for the plate and fill it up at the buffet once.
  4. Activities: pick the ones which are the most important for you. We try to explore areas by hiking, which doesn’t cost anything but here in Brazil, but a lot of places you have to have a local guide, which is not always cheap (not if you compare it to hiking for free). We did do some free hiking on Isla Santa Catarina, but as soon as we got to the National Parks, it was mandatory to have a guide. What made it even more complicated was, that it was almost impossible for us to pre-book and plan head, because we had trouble finding contact information for the guides. Our conclusion is that activities are expensive in Brazil, because there is only few things you can do for free.

Categories for the expenses

Overview of how we have spend the 5,680.36 USD in Brazil (94.40 USD per day). We have used the same categories for Brazil as for Chile and Argentina traveling in our van. Our expenses have been allocated into 12 categories. We to drive long distances in Brazil, but in total our expenses for transport was only 19 %. We only spend 16 USD per day on food and drink, that is cheap. Our top post is activities (1648.53 USD), this includes 3 scuba diving trips of 743.70 USD in total. Again I was running out of medicine, and bought medicine for the next 6 months, which will last until we get back home, in total: 501.57 USD. New hiking boots for Esben 305 USD (Clothing & footwear). Replacement of equipment (things wear out and you pictures add up): new bladder, new charger for the camera, extra hard drive for pictures and two protection lenses for camera equipment, in total: 180.83 USD. In total the bold numbers add up to 1731.10 USD.

Is was very easy to buy all my personal medicine over the counter in Brazil (I need prescriptions at home). If you choose the “genéricos”, you can save about 20-30%

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I chose to highlight these expenses, since they may not all be relevant to you. Scuba diving is an expensive activity, and something you should have a separate budget for. Running out of medicine, and have to replace some of the things that just wear out happens when you travel for more than 9-12 months. So we had extra expenses for 1731.10 USD and overspend by 1704 USD: 1731.10 – 1704.00 = 27.1 USD to spare. 5680.36 – 1731.10 = 3949.26 USD (65,8 USD per day). If you don’t have these extra expenses, you can keep within the budget of 66 UDS per day.

Overview of expenses in categories, when traveling 60 days in Brazil, in average we used 94.40 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 (the darker grey area). 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.

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We used a lot of money in Brazil! Overspending with 44% is not a good thing. In Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru we hope to spend less money on activities. We have no scuba diving plans, and are doing research about different hikes, that we can do for without a guide (for free). Our plans is to end our trip in Santiago de Chile in November, and fly home for Christmas in Denmark this year. 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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