Every trip we do a “postmortem” travel budget to actual spending to understand where we landed in our planning and how it may impact future trips we have in the pipeline. Typically, Patrick is spot on with estimates, and where we may spend more in one area, we spend less in another. He is also into credit card churning which occasionally gets us free hotel lodging and flights. Below you will find our budget vs actual spending, and a bunch of finance-y cuts of data showing variance, forecast, etc. Did I mention my spouse does finance for work? Clearly. These are the key learnings we had for our Turkey budget:

  1. Budget more than usual on souvenirs. We are not big souvenir people, but we saw a rug purchase as an investment in our home as well. That was the main driver in our overage displayed below, and we took what we had planned for souvenirs ($350) and allocated anything in excess of the $350 to our home budget as part of monthly expenses, rather than considering it a travel overage.
  2. Food was way cheaper than expected in Turkey. The TL to USD is incredibly favorable, and unlike other countries that fully adjust the equivalent dollar value, the cost to eat out and drink was substantially cheaper than planned. We made up for it in more lavish meals, so not a total savings. If we were trying to tighten the belt (physically and financially) this is an easy area of the budget to cut down on and still get delicious and filling food. The best food moment was ordering a tomahawk steak with all the apps, sides, desserts, etc for our Thanksgiving dinner and it being $30 USD, if that gives you any indication. A meal like that in the US would easily cost $200. And like almost everywhere else in the world, the food quality is substantially better and the food is that much more vibrant tasting.
  3. Tours and tour guides are worth the money. Unlike the USA, there are not a ton of plaques to read at museums and attractions. There are often people associated with these attractions that can be hired for ~30TL to walk around and discuss the history. This is something I wish we had spent more money to get the background and history rather than googling or Wikipedia-ing after the fact.
  4. Three weeks is too long for boarding for a pet. Our pet expense was expected to be around $600 for boarding, but Reus had an emergency vet visit because of extreme hydration and exhaustion. Needless to say we need to figure out a new strategy for the next extended trip that doesn’t involve hospital stays for our best friend.

The Results

All these factors led to us being $1349 over budget for the travel category and $900 over budget for our home category. This sounds like a lot, but we use these numbers to adjust for future trips, reducing if we are over budget and increasing spending power of a different trip if we came under budget. Typically, this overage would freak me out, however there were some factors we couldn’t control: Reus’ emergency vet visit and unrecoverable Argentina flights, most notably. Turkey is not an expensive country to travel to and there are many ways to reduce cost if that is your goal. See below for detailed breakdown of our budget.

Did you have a similar experience in your travels to other countries? Surprisingly inexpensive or exactly what you planned?

Posted by:Allie

2 replies on “Turkey Travel Budget to Actual Spending

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