Wow, two countries in one month (plus 5 days in January). Not the way we usually roll, but a fun month it was.
December’s travel expenses are crazy high because we took a house/pet sit in London for the holidays.
It was completely worth it because we were both feeling a little homesick after three months of foreign languages, new places to stay and so many new people. Hearing the English language for a couple of weeks was the turning point of us staying out on the road. Things got much happier after that.
Spending Christmas in London was great. By the time we hit Morocco in January, we no longer felt the urge to go home. AND new languages become just that…a new language. They were no longer foreign! Instead, they were just the language being spoken where we were living.
Another Month Over Budget
We spent $1847 USD in Chipiona and $1708 USD in London for the month of December and the first five days of January.
Compared to Chipiona, Spain, London is expensive!
In reality, if you are paying for a place to stay, it is nearly impossible to go to London for a month on a $2,400 budget.
We spent $252, plus a $100 Airbnb credit, for 4 nights in London. We saved a total of $2,500 USD on rent in London because of the credit and the housesit. Taking that into consideration, rent would have cost $2752 USD for the 19 days in London.
Our two bedroom flat in the heart of Chipiona cost us $482 for the entire month. It was still cheaper to pay a month’s rent than for the 18 days because Airbnb has a good discount for month rent versus day-to-day.
Needless to say, our expenses in December are way over our budget.
But that being said, worth it! We enjoyed London and will make up the extra money spent in Morocco.
December 2015 Travel Expenses Included:
(Some included vector images in infogram created by VectorOpenStock.com. All others created by David Medina.)
- A week rental car in Spain
- Museum of Modern Art, Cadiz
- Christmas Eve dinner in London
- Christmas lunch with Meetup group at the Grange Hotel, London
- London Street Art Tour
- Tate Museum
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- The National Gallery
We ate yummy tapas in Spain, ranging from traditional to fusion flavors. In London, we ate hand-pulled ramen, British mash, and fish and chips.
The shock of the cost of food in London was hard after spending three months in much, much cheaper countries. Where we would normally spend $30 in the grocery store in Spain, the same groceries cost $130 in London.
A really nice restaurant in Spain with a bottle of wine was around $60 USD for the two of us. In London, pub food without alcohol was in the range of $35 to $40 dollars. Ramen was the cheapest thing we ate at $24 for two bowls.
In both Spain and London, we enjoyed warm temperatures. So warm in London, the roses and daffodils were blooming at Christmastime. Both countries decorated beautifully for the holidays, with sparkly holiday lights everywhere and we got to hear Christmas carols sang live down the Avenida in Spain from our balcony.
The hardest part of the London trip was the exchange rate. One British Pound equaled right around the average of $1.50 US dollars. So we lost $0.50 for every dollar we spent.
Our travel expenses included $167.90 in Chipiona and $569.33 London for a total of $737.22 USD in exchange rates for the month of December. Now that I look at it, the exchange rates are what really tossed us so far over our budget. Without them, we would have only been looking at $393.78 over.
Still it’s a big OUCH!
Please share stories that you may have on dealing with high exchange rates or tips for living in an expensive city.
As always, we look forward to hearing your questions or comments.
This post originally posted in January 2015 and has been updated with edits and small changes.