what we spent: month seventeen

budget: £30 GBP / $46.5 USD per day 

total budget: £930 / $1447

total spent: £806 / $1248

avg. daily spend : £26 / $40

all costs are for two people in $USD and £GBP. Conversions correct at time of publication.

days on budget: 3%

days under budget: 68%

days over budget: 29%

where were we? 

San Pedro de Atacama, La Serena, Valle del Elqui, Valparaiso, Santiago

This was the month where we got to slow down. Our housesit in Santiago started on August 19th, so this is really a budget of two halves. 

The first two weeks were spent travelling the north of Chile. We cycled the desert on the cheap, saw the stars and tasted pisco in Elqui before spending a wonderful three days discovering Valparaiso with our camera. Chile has an expensive reputation for travellers but, with a bit of effort, our average spend for that travel period came just over budget at £32.5. 

The second half of the month meant a complete change in our spending patterns. No accommodation costs meant we could devote more of our funds towards groceries, which comprises 25% of August's spending. We also splurged, quite a bit, on a fancy gym membership for the duration of our stay.

So, although we're under budget - a boon given we're in Chile - we probably could have spent a little less. 

total: £134 / $207 / $144,000 Chilean peso

We usually have private doubles but these were mostly out of our price range in Chile, so we spent a number of nights in cheap dorms. 

We also saved on accommodation costs by taking two night buses and working with a new hostel in Valparaiso (securing three nights free accommodation)

accommodation: 16.6%

total: £137 / $212 / $147,200

Chile is vast country, so lots of hours were spent in buses in the first two weeks. Thankfully, the price of transport wasn't as expensive as we anticipated.

We also had to purchase a BIP transport card for the Santiago metro.

transport: 17%

total: £62 / $96.5 / $66,960

As we were already spending a big chunk of our daily budget on accommodation and transport, we ate out very little. In San Pedro de Atacama, we found a nice cheap vegetarian restaurant which had a lunch deal for £3 each and ate there a couple of times.

The rest of the expenditure was due to gorging on delicious fresh empanadas as much as we could! In Valparaiso, we discovered some great artisan ones (which had lots of veggie options for Emily) and went there every day.

eating out: 7.7%

total: £202 / $312 / $216,900

Our biggest expenditure. As noted above, we cooked a lot whilst on the road and, due to having our own kitchen in Santiago, spend a bit extra to cook some treats we'd been missing (lasagne, peanut butter, pad thai!) Our first big shop this month was a lot of money (about £100) but a lot of the items will be used well into September.

The cost of a daily shop in Chile is certainly more expensive than previous countries we've travelled in South America, however it actually has a number of more luxury foodstuffs at more affordable prices than elsewhere. 

groceries: 25%

total: £31 / $48 / $33,600

If you follow us on Facebook, you'll know how delighted we were to discover that wine is cheaper here than every other country in Latin America. You can buy a very decent bottle for £2 / $3.5 / $1,800.

We once went six months on this trip without wine, so we've been making up for lost time!

alcohol: 3.9%

total: £129 / $200 / $138,760

We couldn't afford the tours in San Pedro, so decided to rent some bikes and cycle the desert on our own - an excellent choice! We also had a star-gazing tour in Elqui and sampled some Pisco at lovely countryside distillery.

However, the big hitter here is our gym membership to try and get us back in some sort of shape during our housesit. It was definitely way more than we had hoped to pay, but it is a lovely place to work out.

activities: 16%


total: £28 / $44 / $30,500

sweets & treats: 3.5%

total: £35 / $54 / $37,360

We had to spend an outrageous amount to a hostel for some much needed laundry but, aside from that, all our spending here was during a big shop at the start of our housesit. After staying in hostels for so long, it's a luxury to have our own bathroom and shower, so we stocked up.

toiletries: 4.3%

total: £48 / $74 / $51,700

Arriving in Santiago at the tail-end of their winter meant some very chilly nights. If you've been following our journey, you'll know that our packing list hasn't seen too many additions on the road. However, we had to bite the bullet to buy some cheap, warm house clothes.

clothes: 6%

total: £0 / $0 / $0

Same country - no borders to cross.

crossing borders: 0%

total: £0 / $0 / $0

Woohoo, another month free of diseases and accidents. Always good!

medical expenses: 0%

how did our budget fare on the rest of our trip?