Sunday’s Sunjam post and Globetrotter Girls recent Central America budget breakdown were the cosmic kick in the pants reminder that after meticulously tracking our spending during last summer’s Honduras trip, I never posted the breakdown of our travel budget.
For the last few years I have been a strict budgeter at home, pinching pennies and recording every expenditure in order to pad my travel budget. Once I reached my destination, spreadsheets went out the window and while it was fun to be so carefree, at the end of the trip I was always curious where my money had really gone. So for this trip I kept note of every lempira that left our pockets. However, when we returned I was shy about posting my spending habits on the internet. What if people thought I was too stingy/too spendy/too braggy/too bold? Our culture is tight lipped attitude about money!
But the power of information wins out. I hope my spending breakdown is more than just a good reference for my own future trips and is also a resource for other travelers heading to the region. I am always deeply grateful when another blogger shares their budget crunching for the world to peek at, and I want to return the favor when possible. So here it goes.
In total, for a 14 day trip through Honduras, we each spent $1,157 with flights, and $790 without flights. Subtracting our flight costs, this works out to $56 USD per person per day. How did it all break down?
While not included in our $56 dollar per day total, flights we obviously a big part of our trip expense. We flew from Grand Cayman on Cayman Airways (free rum punch!) and paid $330 each for a roundtrip flight. Also included in this category is the $36 exit tax from Honduras.
Food and Drink: $215
For two weeks of eating and drinking (and we were doing quite a bit of drinking) we spent a whopping $215 each, or $15.35 per day. We switched between cheap roadside set lunches to dinners in decent restaurants. We didn’t splash out, but we also could have gone cheaper, I’m sure.
For two weeks of lodging we spent a flat $101 each, or $7.14 a day. How did we manage it? First of all, we travel as a couple which allows us to split our lodging costs down the middle. In La Ceiba, we had free dorm rooms included in our two nights of Jungle Lodge adventures. However, we paid the $10 a night upgrade for a private room. In Roatan, we stumbled upon the kindness of a stranger and paid another whopping $10 a night five nights in a great room on the water. Our only budget buster was in Utila, where we ended up paying nearly $20 a night after a friend’s change of plans left us with an extra room booked for a week. But it all evened out in the end and I think we got a great deal for our money! I’m glad we spent so little on a place to lay our heads, because we were out exploring at nearly every waking moment.
After flights and activities, this was our biggest expense. The big ticket items of ferry rides from La Ceiba to Roatan, a catamaran from Roatan to Utila and a ferry from Utila back to La Ceiba ate up a whopping $105 of our transportation total. The last $15 or so was comprised of taxi rides to and from the airport and ferry terminals.
Activities were our priciest expenditure, almost rivaling our flights! At $25 a day, this reflects our priorities and we wouldn’t have done it any other way. In La Ceiba, we went whitewater rafting and ziplining through the jungle. On both Roatan and Utila we rented motorbikes and explored the islands. In total we went for five dives (in many parts of the world this alone would cost several hundred dollars!). And of course, we attended pricey but fabulous Sunjam. This category also covers admission to various small attractions and beaches. For all we ended up doing I was thrilled with the price we paid.
The good old miscellaneous category for us was basically a combination of internet cafes and a few postcards.
Grand Total for Two Weeks in Honduras:
$1,157 with flights / $790 without flights
So now you know what we spent, want to know how we spent it? Here’s the system we developed on this trip, excerpted from my Managing Money Abroad post.
Traveling with another person can complicate things. It can be nit-picky and exhausting to split every bill and purchase down the middle, but its also easy to feel that one person is chipping in more than the other if you don’t. During our two week trip to Honduras this summer Mark and I used a simple system. We brought along a large envelope and each put in the same amount of cash. Every time it ran low we hit the ATM and each put in the same amount again. All joint meals, activities and purchases were paid for from the envelope and recorded on the front for my records. Any solo purchases (such as souvenirs or separate activities) were to be paid for out of our own pockets, but I we didn’t end up doing anything significant on our own. I highly recommend this system to any couples or friends wondering how to manage their cash on a joint trip!
If the information in this post helps one person realize how affordable travel can be, or assists someone in cobbling together a budget for a trip to Honduras, I’ll be thrilled. If it makes you think I’m a spenthrifty fool who blows way too much cash when travelling, then for the love of God, please tell me your secrets.
For the love of God, I cannot believe how much you did for so little! Great splitting the bills system, although I think I said before that a slight modification might be for people with dramatically different incomes or assets might want to agree on a fair percentage split for the joint activities envelope.
Great discipline you have for keeping track of every dime….and good for you to consciously spend where your priorities lie and scrimp on the things of lesser importance.
Luckily, we are both broke-ass backpackers, no income leveling needed. But I agree, that would make things more fair!
The system with the envelopes is great! Love it. For two weeks filled with activities you didn’t spend much at all, considering you also went to Roatan which busts a lot of people’s budget. Excellent budget breakdown!
Thanks for the kudos! Budget tracking is not so fun at the time, but I am always grateful I did it later
Not too bad at all.
Thanks! I like to think we did alright.
I truly agree with you. Travelling with another person can complicate things completely.
I love the budget breakdown!! This is very helpful for wanna-be travelers, like myself. I am considering Honduras, Belize, or maybe (if I save up enough) Asia, for a month this summer! I love your blog! Thanks for sharing!
Hey Kristie, thanks so much! I’m planning a budget breakdown post like this for my current trip to Thailand so stay tuned 🙂
I’m heading to the Caribbean and then Central America. This post is very useful to get a practical insight of what to expect while traveling in Honduras. thanks! bon voyage!
You’re very welcome, Joao! I’m hoping to do more budget breakdown posts in the future, glad this one helped!
Hi Alex, I’ve been reading your blog ever since I found it when searching for info about the honduras bay islands. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Roatan and were looking for places to stay, any chance you have the contact info of the guy who rented a room to you for $10 a night? Thanks for any help!
Hey Adam, I’m sorry to say that I don’t! Really though, the guy was just renting out his spare room in a small window between his last roommate moving out and a new one moving in. I don’t think he does that on a regular basis. Good luck!
No he doesn’t 🙂 The cheapest places to stay on Roatan these days are Buena Onda Hostel, Chillies Hostel, Georphis Hostel, and Roatan Backpackers Hostel. Adam – if you need any more info, feel free to get in touch!
Thank you for the info, Rika! You’re the best!
You’ve got some talent! Seriously, you have managed well your expenses without taking risks the fun, the lodging, the food and all. Could you give me some tips on how to do that? I wanna know if you don’t mind.
Hey Mark! I’d be happy to help but I’m not sure how to answer your questions beyond the details I shared in this post! What kind of budget help are you specifically looking for?
I just want to quickly say, thank you so much for your blog and insights. I’ve spent countless hours on your website, reading blog to blog, getting excited for my own adventures. You’ve helped me settle my interest in obtaining my Divemasters in Utila and comforted me in knowing that my bank account can handle living in Utila for an extended amount of time without making me a hermit crab whilst not diving. Just letting you know that someone will be reading as long as you’ll be writing because you’ve gained a lifetime reader out of me. 🙂
You’re so sweet Amanda! Thank you so much for your kind words — appreciate knowing you’ll be following along!