Trail Walleteer of the Month is our regular series where we talk to long term travellers and Trail Wallet users about all things travel budget related.
This month we have with us Celia and Jonas from the Nomadic Danes.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your travels.
We’re Celia and Jonas, a couple from Denmark. We started travelling in June 2013 and are enjoying every second of our journey. We have no intentions to return to Denmark to get “real jobs”. We’re enjoying being digital nomads and hope to be for the rest of our lives.
We did a crazy bike ride from June to October through Europe on two city bikes and covered 3744 kms through Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Monaco and Italy. Then we spent 5 weeks living on the Algarve Coast in Portugal, and are now living two months in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We love both adventure travel and slow travel and will hopefully do a combination of the two over the next years.
What do you think are the benefits of tracking your travel expenses?
We’re becoming more aware of how much we spent. When we didn’t track our travel expenses, we often “forgot” how much we’d spent in a day and were more likely to splurge on café visits or other treats. Then we wouldn’t understand where all our money went when we had nothing left by the end of the month!
Tracking our expenses forces us to be aware and it’s actually fun at the same time. Nobody likes to overspend, and for us this is sometimes even a game to try to save money. We love to save some money each day to actually be able to sometimes spend more money on tours and other things that create great memories for us. In the end that’s most important to us - not the many cakes we did not eat.
What categories do you have set up on Trail Wallet? Which is the most used?
We are using plenty of standard categories which were created when we bought the app. Like food, accommodation, transport and entertainment. We have also created our own categories because we kept spending money on certain things and we wanted to know how much we were spending on these things. The new categories are Coffee/Tea, eating out, internet, practical items, Jonas - not related and Celia - not related.
The big categories are accommodation, food and eating out. It so cheap to eat out in Mexico where we are right now. So we do that a lot even though we don’t spend a lot of money. But we have to admit that we are using a lot of money on coffee. In Playa del Carmen we have been drinking a lot of Starbucks coffee because they have very fast internet, so it’s a great place to get some work done.
Has Trail Wallet revealed anything surprising about your spending?
Well, we spend a lot of money on coffee and food! We love both, so that has not been so surprising.
What’s the weirdest thing you bought in the last year?
We seldom buy things because we don’t have any room for it. The weirdest thing was probably when we had to get Jonas’ bike home from Rome to Denmark. We had to pay some Italians to wrap it with some sort of green plastic. It was the only way the Airplane would allow us to take the bike home with us.
What’s the most and least expensive country you’ve visited and what was your daily budget?
Our daily budget has been the same for all of our trips. We overspent a lot when we biked through Europe, even though we were mostly camping and not eating out. But moving around everyday is expensive!
Our most expensive country was Italy and we went over budget by $28 USD a day on average - eek! Camping was crazy expensive in Italy, we had to pay a lot to live in Rome and then we added the airfare back to Denmark… It was a crazy time.
Our least expensive country is Mexico, where we are right now. We’re actually able to spend only $50 USD a day, even though we eat nearly every meal out and drink coffee at Starbucks almost everyday. And this month is especially cheap for us because we just had our housing expenses cut in half - the first month which was during Christmas and New Year’s turned out to be quite expensive.
Tell us your top budget travel tip.
Mexico has been our most luxurious place so far. We’re eating out a lot, we have a nice and clean studio apartment and we get a coffee at Starbucks almost everyday. It has also been our cheapest country to visit.
Europe on bikes has been the most crappy conditions we’ve travelled under. We slept in a tent, ate food out of cans and had to settle for McDonald’s coffee and wifi. And it was the most expensive.
Get the point? Slow travel rocks if you want to save money! Of course, travelling to cheaper countries is a great way to save money too, but if you can commit to a place for a month or even more, cook your own food when you want to and have time to find the best deals to eat with the locals, you can save tons of money.
And you might even find - as we have - that slow travel is actually a cheaper way to live than living in your home country.
Which feature would you most like to see in Trail Wallet?
A couple of months ago we really missed the opportunity to split up expenses on more days. But you guys just made that happen so we are even more in love with the app now. You just need to make it possible to also delete this way. Because we have sometimes written a wrong amount and then you have to correct it on every day because the app splits the expense on several days. But it’s not a big problem because we just double check before splitting an expense.
Many thanks to Celia and Jonas for more on their travels, visit NomadicDanes.com. You can also follow them on Twitter.
Celia and Jonas are our fourth Trail Walleteers—check out the complete list of Walleteers here.