budget: £30 GBP / $45.6 USD per day
total budget: £900 / $1368
total spent: £751.7 / $1126.3
avg. daily spend : £25 / $37.5
all costs are for two people in £GBP and $USD, converted from local currencies at the rate at time of travel.
DAYS ON BUDGET: 7%
DAYS UNDER BUDGET: 63%
DAYS OVER BUDGET: 30%
where were we?
Punta del Este, La Paloma, Rocha, Cabo Polonio, Punta del Diablo (Uruguay) | Florianopolis (Brazil)
After last month's disastrous overspend, we were hoping that this month would result in a surplus and, thankfully, we came in under budget. That might come as a surprise to some of you who are au fait with travel costs in South America, given that the only two countries on our route were Brazil and Uruguay, traditionally two of the more expensive countries in the region.
However, the present economic situation in Brazil has resulted in the local currency weakening to the tune of almost 50%. For budget travellers like us, that's meant the country is back on the radar! In fact, if that shift hadn't occurred, then it's very unlikely we would even have visited the country at this stage in our trip or been able to spend such a long time there.
The second reason that we were able to come under budget is due to our decision to partner with a number of hostels in Uruguay. This is something that becomes more feasible as Along Dusty Roads grows and, given the situation last month and that Uruguay is expensive, we were happy that so many companies were interested in hosting us.
So, what did we do on the twentieth month of the trip? We hung out on beaches, saw dolphins and seals in the wild, stayed in a shack with no electricity or running water where we got to watch the stars with friends around the bonfire, trotted through the Uruguayan countryside on horseback before spending the night in the beautiful wilderness. We made a little home in a Brazilian beach town, binged on caipirinhas, fed two little monkeys who visited us in the afternoons, caught up on a lot of work and Spanish study and ate copious amounts of excellent home cooked meals!
The only thing we would change? The weather. Despite what people may think about South America, it is certainly not 24/7 sunshine and samba. In the entire month, we actually only had around 7 days of proper sunshine, with the remainder being a mixture of ugly grey skies and drizzle. When the only thing to do in most of the places is be at the beach, that was really quite annoying.
£314.5 / $470
Aside from one night in a pricey dive hotel in Uruguay and another night in a Brazilian dorm, the rest of our accommodation was split between AirBnB and partner hostels.
Accommodation in Uruguay, particularly on our budget, is a challenge. We got a great response from hostels looking to host us in exchange for some promotion and, aside from that one dive hotel, we didn't pay for anywhere else in the country. This was fantastic for us as we were able to dedicate more time to exploring the coast and experience Uruguay for much longer than we should have been able to.
So why does accommodation still comprise such a big chunk of our monthly spend? The last 14 nights were split between two AirBnB apartments - the first worked out at £23/night and the second at £17/night - both were quite a bit cheaper than double rooms in dorms. And, because the weather wasn't exactly great in those two weeks, we actually spent very little money on anything beyond the accommodation.
£135 / $202.5
Uruguay is a nice, little compact country to travel around, with only a couple of hours between each beach town - and its modern bus network makes it a breeze. From Cabo Polonio, we also saved a bit of money when two English guys with a car rental gave us a lift to Punta del Diablo. Our only other costs in Uruguay were transport to and from a ranch with whom we were working.
The largest cost by far this month however was the five bus, 24 hour journey from Uruguay to Florianopolis, Brazil, which cost £72.
The most unique transport? A open-aired double-decker 4WD truck which carried us through the forest and along the beach to reach Cabo Polonio, a curious and secluded little community only accessible to the public with these trucks.
The most frustrating? An idiot taxi driver who, without malice, stubbornly insisted that our apartment was in another town 8kms in the wrong bloody direction.
£32 / $48
It's become really apparent to us over the last few months just how little we actually eat out. A lot of this is due to preference, rather than stinginess, because Emily is a pretty awesome cook and, particularly when we have an AirBnB, we can make almost anything we want - especially those meals you miss from home! So, the majority of this section is actually not from eating at sit-down restaurants, but rather snacks and coffees on long-distance bus journeys and the odd empanada on the street.
EATING OUT: 4.3%
£175 / $262.5
Given the above numbers, and that we were in our own accommodation for half the month, we're not surprised a lot of our funds went on food. Uruguay is great for fresh, cheap gnocchi, whilst the fruit on offer in Brazil was incredible - we were back to having cheap mangoes available for the first time in ages!
One of our memories from this month will definitely be cooking all our meals in Cabo Polonio in pitch dark, save for our little headlamps. The town doesn't have any electricity at night, so we played Russian Roulette whilst chopping veggies and just about survived.
£41.4 / $62.3
You love caipirinhas right? Well, during our time in Brazil a 700ml bottle of good cachaça costs only £1.30 and limes were ridiculously cheap. So you can guess what our drink of choice was for most of the stay.
In Uruguay, we were delighted to find that the trend from Chile and Argentina had continued, in that sometimes the cheapest bottle of wine is also bloody delicious.
£5.6 / $8.4
You may be asking yourselves 'what the hell do you guys even DO during the month if this is all you spend on activities!?'
Well, not for the first time, this figure masks a lot of action. We spent the vast majority of the month in beach towns, so hanging out at the beach and just wandering around in nature was our main activity. And catching a beautiful sunset with your best friend or watching dolphins and sea-lions playing right in front of you cost us absolutely nothing!
A highlight of the month was collaborating with a horse-riding collective in the Uruguayan countryside who take people on hikes through the beautiful sierras - it was really lovely experience.
£27.7 / $41.6
We've somehow fallen into the awful habit of eating a pack of biscuits between us each night whilst watching a few episodes. This has no positive impact on our waistlines or budget, but we're not the only ones who do this, right? Right!?
SWEETS & TREATS: 3.7%
£16 / $23.7
Thankfully, we stil had stocks of suncream available, but nevertheless we were due a top-up on some other essentials.
£4.4 / $6.5
We decided to treat ourselves to a beach bag in Brazil.
£0 / $0
MEDICAL EXPENSES: 0%
£0 / $0
For UK passport holders, there are no visa or entry fees for Brazil. Aussies and Yanks, sorry but you guys are going to have to pay up!