Travel Logistics 2 - Face Your Pocket

In this last of my catch-up posts, I wanted to share with you some overview financial figures of my trip in Turkey and Iran last year and my nine months living in Sweden. Some of you might see this bookkeeping as obsessive and tedious, but once my tables are setup, I rarely spend more than 1 minute per day feeding the spreadsheet with the latest information, though please appreciate that this is done while still categorizing my costs with exaggerated detail. I do this to help you plan your trips you know!  

TURKEY & IRAN - 2010


Average daily amount spent & daily expenses

  • The average daily total of 50 Turkish lyra (TRY) was equivalent to roughly $33 US, including all costs, using an August 1st 2010 conversion rate (Iranian rials were all converted from cash TRY so I converted them using my own compounded in-person rate).
  • Compared to my trip in India, in this one I was able to save a lot on the accommodation thanks to my wonderful CouchSurfing hosts in Istanbul, Tehran and Diyarbakir. I also got to know the places where I was a lot better.
  • I justified spending a little more at the beginning and end of my trip to take advantage of Istanbul's incredible nightlife. It would have added up to a lot had it been accessible the whole time (as usual!).
  • As in India, any souvenirs (most of the red) quickly blew the daily average, but transportation proved exceptionally cheap for most of the trip, especially given the distances covered.
  • Food generally cost much more in Iran but was a lot less appealing, so I still ended up spending more in Turkey - in terms of delicious food, it beat every other place I have been to.


Proportion of total costs for each category: for Turkey, the total trip and the Iranian leg (green)


STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - August 20, 2010 to June 3, 2011

My financial year in Sweden showed the following behaviour: a very slight but mostly illusionary reduction of costs over time, in truth mostly influenced by one-time gift, gadget or furnishing purchases, travel plans and also lower rent starting in December. This means that I am either very good at keeping my day-to-day costs low or stubbornly stick to particular consumption standards. The total costs histogram demonstrates that it's more the second, with both a high life cost and still significant one-time purchase total, artifacts of a previous life of stable income and symptoms of age denial. The three pie charts were easy to generate and provide some fairly obvious insights:

  1. Stockholm's medium-to-expensive public transportation system came nowhere close to affecting my tributes to Europe's low-cost airlines.
  2. I was fairly successful at keeping to a 60/40 at-home/outside food purchase distribution (probably equal to 8:1 in terms of number of meals), but given the uninteresting offerings of Stockholm's restaurant scene, this should have shown more bias towards home cooking, although I suppose I did regularly eat at Lantis (campus cafeteria)
  3. Produce costs a lot in Sweden and I eat a lot of it! So does meat, but I ate a lot less. I was successfully turned into a Scandinavian dairy fiend.

I hope these figures can provide you with some insight or give you some ideas about how we manage our money, travelling or at home. I was lucky enough to get a lot of work for the two months that I returned to Canada this summer: having this spreadsheet system proved essential to me meeting my targets, as it gave me daily feedback on how I fluctuated with regards to my expected income and expenditures over such a compressed time period. For anyone who is in a fluctuating financial solvency situation, which I would bet most working and travelling students are, this gives you the flexibility of always precisely knowing where you stand with regards to your bankers!