Travel costs – how much did we spend in July/Aug/Sept 2019

Brooklyn Bridge - a free activity discussed in our New York Travel Tips

How much have our travel costs been so far this year?

This post is a continuation of previous posts from earlier this year documenting our travel expenses for the first quarter and second quarter.

During July, August and September we completed house sits in Germany, Scotland, France and the USA. We also scheduled in some free time and spent 10 days in Northern Croatia along with 7 nights exploring Washington DC and Brooklyn, New York.

Below we’ll present an overview of what we did each month. We’ll then provide a summary of our travel costs for July, August, September and the entire quarter.

These are our actual travel costs and show just how inexpensive it can be to travel the world full time.

NOTE: all costs are in Australian Dollars

July – Frankfurt, Croatia and Edinburgh

We continued our house sit for two very large Maine Coon cats in Oberursel (near Frankfurt in Germany) for the first week of July. Being on Australian passports means that our time in Europe is restricted by the rules of the Schengen visa. This allows us to only be in Schengen countries for 90 days out of any 180 day period.

The UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen zone so we generally split our time in Europe (which is usually about 6 months each year) between the UK and mainland Europe.

There are, however, still a few other countries outside this zone (for example Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Turkey and the Balkan countries). So, we decided to spend some of our non-Schengen days this year in Croatia.

We found a cheap flight from Frankfurt to Pula in Northern Croatia and spent 10 days enjoying the summer sunshine, rocky coastlines and interesting historic sites of this region.

Following Croatia we needed to be in Edinburgh for the middle of July to start a repeat house sit and found a cheap flight to Liverpool.

Upon arrival we spent a few hours having a quick look around Liverpool (which has some amazing architecture and history). The next day we boarded a train for the 3 hour journey to Edinburgh.

We always love visiting Edinburgh as we lived there for almost 8 years in our previous life.

In 2018 we were fortunate to pick up two house sits there and were thrilled when we were asked to return again this summer. Our first two-week sit was looking after a delightful little Jug (Jack Russell x Pug) named Cookie.
This property is in a great location and in walking distance of the city. We made good use of their bikes to get around and re-visit some of our favourite places.
We even took Cookie for a walk up Arthurs Seat to take in the great views over Edinburgh.

August – Festival time and back to France

Our second Edinburgh sit started in August and happily coincided with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
We love the Fringe Festival – there is just so much going on. Edinburgh is inundated with more tourists than usual during this period attending one the 3000+ daily fringe shows or the world famous Military Tattoo.

During our time in Mexico last year fellow house sitting friends Rob and Sandy hosted us for a few days. We took the opportunity to reciprocate whilst we were in Edinburgh and see a few shows together and enjoy all the Festival had to offer.

Four people standing in a tent at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. We didn't spend much here on our travel costs.
Enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with house sitting friends Rob and Sandy

In the second half of August we were scheduled to do a repeat house sit in Spain. However, due to a change in the owner’s circumstances, we agreed we would not do it.

Therefore, we had two weeks to fill. We contacted the owners of the 18th-century convent we had house sat for during May in Normandy, France. We offered to come and exchange working in their massive, acreage garden for 2 weeks for food and lodgings. They kindly agreed and we enjoyed the late summer French warmth working up a sweat in their garden followed by wine and delicious food on the terrace in the evenings.

As it transpired during this time the owners were celebrating their wedding anniversary so we were able to also house sit for them for a few days whilst they went away to celebrate.

The Normandy Convent where we worked for food and lodgings!!!

September – Washington and New York

We were very fortunate to secure a two week house sit during September in Manhattan, New York via some house sitting friends. We flew into New York at the start of the month and took a 4.5 hour train ride South and spent 5 nights in Washington DC before the sit. We spent 4 very full days exploring the US Capital and loved it. Iconic buildings and major historical locations made for a fascinating visit.

Part of our travel costs was spending time in Washington DC The Lincoln Memorial – Washington DC
The Lincoln Memorial – Washington DC

Our two week house sit in New York was just fabulous and we took every opportunity to see as much as we could. Whilst being an expensive place we did find many ways to save money and find free activities. We added a few days to our stay after the house sit and stayed in an Airbnb in Brooklyn which was also very interesting.

Times Square New York added substantially to our travel costs. The colour and bustle of Times Square, New York
The colour and bustle of Times Square, New York

The last few days in September were spent catching our breath and relaxing after the busy time in the USA with a short repeat house sit back in the UK.

So what were our 2019 3rd quarter travel costs?

During this 3 month period our accommodation was split as follows:

– 73 days (79%) house sitting (6 house sits)
– 18 days (20%) in paid accommodation (3 countries) and
– 1 day (1%) with friends.

Our total expenses for the quarter were $10,758.68

General expenses* – $3,982.61
Paid accommodation (Airbnb and hotels) – $2,716.28
(an average of $151 per night)
Airfares (4 flights) – $1,796.76
Transport (6 train & 1 bus) – $1,235.32
Entertainment – $546
Travel Insurance (USA) – $361
Fuel – $66.25
Phone plans (2 phones) – $54.47

*General expenses include anything not already allocated eg. food, drink, alcohol, entertainment, eating out, entrance fees to attractions, etc

Here’s the breakdown by month

Summary – the year so far

This quarter was the most expensive this year with total travel costs of $10,758.68
We were over our notional quarterly budget of $9,000 by $1,758.68 or $586.22 per month.

September was our most expensive month for the quarter (and year) which we expected.

It included flights from New York to London, return train travel between New York and Washington plus 7 nights accommodation in Washington and New York.
Additionally, the Australian dollar’s depreciation against the US dollar amplified our US expenses.

August was our least expensive month as we spent the entire month house sitting.

The first three quarters of the year

For the first 9 months of the year we’ve spent

AUD $25,294 (AUD $92.65 per day)

USD $17,706 (USD $64.86 per day)

GBP £14,052 (GBP £51.47
per day)

Our travels during this time have seen us spend time in 9 countries – Mexico, USA, Portugal (the Azores), Gibraltar, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Croatia.

We are still below our notional budget for 9 months of $27,000 ($3,000 per month) so that’s very pleasing.

Our plans for the last 3 months of the year include a couple of weeks in England followed by 2 weeks in Malaysia. We’ll be spending the last 2 months of the year back in our home country of Australia.

It will be interesting to see how our travel costs go for the rest of the year. Particularly the 2 months in Australia. I’ll post about them in January 2020.

Further information

We wrote a post in August 2018 that covered our first full year of travelling for the period April 2017 to April 2018.
If you’re interested in reading it then click here – Travel the World full time for less than $100 per day

If you’re retired (or not) there is a way to have an exciting life with the world as your oyster. We’re proof that it can be done.
If you want to learn more about how we achieve this feel free to contact us or take a look at our Introduction to House Sitting page.

If you’ve found this post useful or interesting then please leave a comment or LIKE the post.
Feel free to share this post too so more people can be aware that there are alternative ways to spend your retirement. Glenn & Jacqueline


  1. I like how you’ve broken down the reason for the higher spend for this past quarter, and will be interesting to see how you fare in Australia. Good post Glenn. Sue x


    1. Thanks Sue, yes I’m really interested to see how our expenses pan out in Australia too. A big chunk of that coming 2 months will be house sits but as we know, Oz can be expensive.


  2. Ok kids…. john and I are definitely pigging our on our food expense compared to you. We just love going to the market and butchers and bakeries and of course wine store! Interesting numbers esp travel. Really liked reading your post. We leave England in a few days then back home for a couple of weeks and off to Mexico for 3-4 months. Thanks for the pet sitting referral. She just added another 3 weeks. Happy trails.


    1. Hi Bev and John. We are not really ‘foodies’ but still eat well using local markets and bakeries (I especially love the bakeries in France!!!). Just to clarify – we don’t generally separate our food costs. Most of our travels we use cash and our food costs are a part of the ‘general spending/cash’ category. We only list as ‘groceries’ if we have paid with a card as it’s easy to identify.
      Glad the Mexico referral has worked out so well for you.


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