Here are some of the beautiful waterfalls we saw in Tahiti:
Archives For March 2013
This is another video from our Belize excursions… like I said in my Belize spending summary, the excursions were expensive but they were a lot of fun!
Overall score (Dan) = A
Overall score (Jocelyn) = A
Total days = 9 nights, 10 days
Total cost = $2,416
Cost per day = $240 / day
Flight costs = $1,100 each, but ticket also gets us to Auckland so it’s split
Areas visited: Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora
You read it right, we both scored ourselves as “A” for our time in French Polynesia! It’s probably the most expensive country we’ll visit on our RTW trip and we knocked it out of the park. As you can see in the per day spending, it was still pretty high, but it was much lower than it could’ve been. As you’ll see below, we had to spend $1000 just on inner-island flights, so without that we would’ve been at $140/day!
We made sacrifices by doing fewer excursions than we wanted and we probably sacrificed our health by our spending choices on food! Not really, but I’ll get more into it later.
How far does your money go in French Polynesia?
Each US dollar is worth approximately 83 XPF (French Polynesian Francs). You feel rich when you exchange $100 US dollars for 8,300 XPF, but as expected, everything is still super expensive in French Polynesia. A typical entre at a restaurant will run you 2500-3000 XPF.
Our biggest savings by far was from the hotel points we used in Tahiti and French Polynesia. Sure, not everyone can save money by doing this, but it is possible. I amassed quite a few hotel points through my years of traveling through work and my rewards credit cards and they definitely paid off.
Most notably, we stayed at the Hilton on Bora Bora for free because of our points. This would normally cost $700+ per night and we also got breakfast included due to my Gold Hilton status.
In addition to savings on lodgings, we were super cheap when it came to eating. We rarely ate out, and we did we did our best to save money by ordering food to go at restaurants and splitting on entre. It’s amazing how easy this is and it’s also scary to think about how much we typically overeat. In addition, we brough some Ramen noodles and oatmeal with us for cheap meals.
Finally, we moderated our excursions from the Belize trip and toured ourselves when possible. For example, we rented a scooter on Moorea and spent the day touring the island with local maps. We did do an expensive excursion in Bora Bora but it was definitely worth it as we checked many things off our “to see” list including manta rays, spotted eagle rays, and giant Moray Eels (I’ll post the link to the vidoe Jocelyn will make of it).
We didn’t have a way to get discounted lodging in Moorea, so we went to Kayak.com to review the cheaper hotels. We ended up picking the cheapest one (obviously my decision) and it was in pretty bad shape. The view was the best of the island, but the inside of the room hadn’t been updated (or maybe even cleaned) in decades. Jocelyn wasn’t real happy with that one, but we made it through!
Once again, the killer for any vacation is when you’re staying on islands and forced to fly between them. We took a ferry between Tahiti and Moorea for $30 total, but our flights from Moorea to Bora Bora costed $500! i was really not happy with that but it was the only way to get to the island unless we wanted to hop aboard a cargo ship… which I’d be hopping on alone as my wife went the other way.
In conclusion, we did really well with our spending in French Polynesia – which could’ve gotten way out of hand. The best part is that Jocelyn and I are on the same page (ok, close to the same page) as far as spending and where we’re willing to sacrifice. We’re currently debating how cheap we’re willing to go on the camper van in New Zealand… this should get interesting!
Next up: New Zealand
Remember when I told you my wife was very talented? Well, here’s the proof! Here’s a video she made of our Belize trip when we took the catamaran to Caye Caulker and stopped at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley on the way!
I thought it’d be fun to track our spending in each location and give ourselves a score based on the evaluation. Hopefully, it’ll hold us accountable to our spending and it should be fun to see how I score it versus how my wife scores it!
How much did we spend in Belize?*
Overall score (Dan) = D+
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B+
*The grade is what we gave our spending in Belize – not an indicator of how much we liked Belize 🙂
My very talented wife launched her new blog to track our progress around the world – Revealing World! She’ll post updates on our travels including reviews, crazy pictures, and even videos.
As we head out on our first leg to French Polynesia, I keep reminding myself her creations will be worth the extra thirty pounds of equipment I’m hauling around! Check out the site and subscribe at the bottom of the page if you’d like to follow our journey around the world. I’ll continue blogging on BREAK FREE while we’re traveling and will still focus on taking control of your money so you can pursue your passions. Also, I’ll post pictures of our trip to my BREAK FREE Facebook page quite often so check it out!
According to a recent survey By Bankrate.com, only 55% of Americans have more in savings than in credit card debt. I’d like to say I can’t fathom how anyone could have more credit card debt than savings and that I would never put myself in such a situation… but I was in the exact position when I was $50,000 in debt!
Debt sucks because it prevents us from doing the things we want in life; we spend too much time worrying about next month’s payments to begin to even think about pursuing what we love.
Here are some more interesting stats from the survey:
- 60% of men and 49% of women say they have more in savings than in credit card debt.
- 67% of people making at least $75,000 a year have more savings than credit card debt, while just 41% of those making less than $30,000 report the same.
“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive” – Robert Louis Stevenson
The day has arrived – after months and even years of discussing, planning, and executing, our Round the World trip starts now! We’ve packed and moved the last couple of weeks, and my last day of work was last Friday. I can’t believe we’re actually doing this.
In all, we hope to hit around 20 countries within four continents in our nine months of travel. To maximize our independence on the road, we’ve decided against trying to “pitch” our project to get it sponsored; although we’ve learned it’s really hard to do anyway. We didn’t even buy a round the world plane ticket because we want the flexibility to stay longer in places we really like.
One of the hardest parts for us will be to watch our money go one way – out. We don’t have any planned income for the next nine months, but we definitely have a lot of planned expenditures! I’ll wrote a post soon to discuss how much we plan to spend and we’ll track against that amount as we go.
Here’s our general plan: