The seven months we spent in Belize in 2022 were much simpler, we had one housesit that was five months, and spent the first month on Caye Caulker, so we didn’t have many location changes (or hotel bills).
This UK/Europe excursion was very different and much more complex. Here’s some of the numbers:
- United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Wales, Cornwall)
- Luxemburg (for dinner 😊)
I split out the accommodations into five categories:
Housesitting and staying with friends cost us nothing, except for a few nice meals for our friends. So we paid $0 for 70% of our days traveling. Points aren’t free, but we didn’t have anything out of pocket for another 10 days — total points redeemed: 139,054.
That leaves 73 days of paid accommodations at a cost of $8,379. That’s an average of $116/night, though we splurged on a few of the places we stayed like the Bodmin Jail Hotel at ~$300/night. We could have been more frugal with choosing our accommodations, but when given the chance, we picked a moderate hotel with a nice view and/or king-sized bed.
Total Days: 274; Total Cost: $8379 and 139,054 points
Transportation – Flights
Our original plan had us flying Delta to NY using points, then IcelandAir to London by way of Reykjavik, Iceland. We were then going to return to the US via Norwegian Cruise Lines Transatlantic 14-day cruise from Rome to New York in November. We had our reservations for the cruise, but hadn’t paid anything by the time we set off in January. Best laid plans, indeed.
When we learned of the August arrival of a new grandbaby, we altered our plans to return earlier by plane. Then we changed the dates, so we had some change fees. You could certainly pay less for the same travel plans if you booked round-trips and didn’t need to change anything. I’m glad we had the flexibility to change, so it was worth it to me.
NOTE: We had enough points to fly from Atlanta to New York.
Transportation – Car
I discussed our car buying experience on the post Long-term Nomading – Lessons Learned. But here are the highlights:
Total miles: ~7,000
That works out to be $267/month for the use of the car. In January, there was still a rental car shortage and hiring a car was running about $1,000/month. So this saved us a huge amount of money and gave us the freedom to roam and accept housesit assignments that were not on public transportation.
NOTE: I did not track fuel cost or insurance, as those will vary based on your own trip, fuel costs at the time, and insurance carrier.
I am not going to post any costs for food or entertainment. Housesitting gives you the opportunity to cook at home which can save a good deal of money. We did cook at home quite often, but we are foodies, so we wanted to try the local cuisines and enjoy a pint at the local pub too. Most of our entertainment funds went to visiting historic sites, the City Sightseeing buses, and other touristy things. Since we were not very concerned with trying to cut costs on these categories, I don’t think it would be relevant to anyone’s planning to break that down.
I will say that we regret not buying the National Trust Membership when we first arrived. A joint membership for two adults is £139.20 for the entire year. We spent quite a bit more paying at each location, but the money is going to a good cause, so <shrug>.
That said, Iceland is hideously expensive for food and drink. Be sure to get a hotel that includes breakfast!
Major Costs = Flights + Car + Accommodations
Add it all up and you get $14,138.14. An average of $1,571/month (does not include food, fuel, or entertainment).
The key to getting the cost this low, was of course, the 169 days housesitting. Sitting assignments in the UK are plentiful. We also were helped by staying with friends and using points for another 25 days.
We’re in the planning stages for 2024, hitting the road in the USA. I’m finding it much more difficult to find sits in the areas we wish to visit. So we’re going to combine sitting with car camping to keep our costs down.