The Travel Dispatch

Financial Breakdown

Updated weekly, this page categorically breaks down every penny spent on the current Travel Dispatch expedition. Lasting a full 12 months, Season 1 kicked off on November 15, 2017 and is taking on the classic round-the-world route as I weave my way from Latin America to The Balkans, Eastern Europe to the Middle East, and Southeast Asia to the US.

The budget maxes out at USD 25,000 and I started counting trip expenditures the moment I arrived in my first destination – Panama. Check back regularly to see how it’s all adding up. I’m also opening up the floor to public shaming if you catch me blowing my entire budget following the Hugh Grant-circa-1999 look-a-like to luxurious destinations I can’t afford.

PSA: Pre-trip expenses are NOT taken from this budget; however, I have included a breakdown of how much $$$ I spent in preparation for this 12 month route at the bottom of this page.

After 21 Days on the Road

Total Spent = $1043.79

Leg One: Central and South America

Panama | Colombia


# of Days in Panama: 20

Total Spent in Panama: $1019.13

Places Visited: Panama City, El Valle de Anton, San Blas Islands

Accommodation: $211.35 (avg $14 per night*)

Long Haul Transportation (over 5 hours): $0

Local Transportation (under 5 hours): $39.38 (avg $2.50 per day*)

Food: $102.9 (avg $6.40 per day*)

Alcohol: $42.50 (avg $2.10 per day)

Misc: $4 (toothpaste and shampoo)

Big Excursions: $595

  • 6 day/5 night sail from Panama to Colombia via the San Blas Islands
    • $550 for the sail (includes 3 meals per day, accommodation onboard the boat, activities onboard)
    • $25 for the shuttle from Panama City to the sailboat anchored at Puerto Lindo
    • $20 Kuna taxes for visiting the tribes’ private islands

Local Activities and Misc: $24

  • $15 entrance fee to visit the Panama Canal at Miraflores Locks
  • $3 entrance fee for La India Dormida hike (El Valle de Anton)
  • $2 bike rental (El Valle de Anton)
  • $4 thermal bath entrance (El Valle de Anton)

*as I went on an all-inclusive (minus the alcohol) 6 day/5 night sail, I only divided the accommodation, food, and local transport totals for Panama by the number of days I was on land to get a more realistic daily average.


# of Days in Colombia: 1

Total Spent in Colombia: $24.66

Places Visited: Cartagena

Accommodation: $11.70 (avg $11.70 per night)

Long Haul Transportation (over 5 hours): $0

Local Transportation (under 5 hours): $0

Food: $10.30 (avg $10.30 per day)

Alcohol: $2.66 (avg $2.66 per day)

Misc: $0

Big Excursions: $0

Local Activities and Misc: $0

Pre-Trip Expenses

Total Spent = $2,638.14

Pre-trip expenses vary from person to person. Basics include travel insurance, packing gear, flights, and new international phone plans. There is no one-price-fits-all when it comes to these expenditures so it’s hard to give guidance on how much you’ll likely need to spend/save. Below I outlined all pre-departure amounts as they pertained to my specific situation.

ItemTypical CostTotal I SpentNotes
Flight From New Orleans to Panama$304.35$0I had enough travel credit card points to cover the full flight
Osprey 46L Porter Backpack $130.45$30.45Used $100 birthday gift towards it
Unlocked SIM-Free iPhone 7$649.00$750.10The total I spent includes tax and the screen protector ($39.95) I bought for it
12 Months of Travel InsuranceDepends on your needs$1617.59I use World Nomads for my insurance and bought the explorer package
1 Year's Supply of Contacts$280$240Acuvue gave me a $40 rebate in the form of a Visa gift card