The month of January was a busy one for us. We finished our stay in Kiveri, Greece, spent one week in Israel, 10 days in Jordan, and then flew to Bangkok, Thailand. During the month of January, we saw some amazing places and also learned a little about the history along the way.
So how did we do with visiting so many places? Sadly to say this has been our worst month yet since starting our around the world adventure. Our total expenditures for the month of January were $5,791.06 or $186.81 per day or $62.27 per person per day. Yep, you read that right. We didn’t even come close to our budget of $100 per day.
Several things contributed to us going over budget including a big jump from the Middle East to SE Asia and some splurges like spending 2 nights in a Bedouin camp and 2 nights on the Dead Sea in a resort. We were also caught off guard by how expensive Israel was, which I will detail later in this post.
For the month of January 1.36 USD equaled approximately 1 Euro, 1 USD equaled approximately 3.49 Israeli Shekels, 1.41 USD equaled 1 Jordanian dinar and 1 USD equaled 32.97 Thai Baht.
Not surprisingly our biggest expenditure for January was for transportation given we had a big jump from the Middle East to SE Asia. Our total expenditures for transportation were $2,107.52.
While in Kiveri, Greece, we rented a car. Most of the car rental cost is reflected on lasts month budget. But for a matter of convenience we kept the car an extra day for a total of $20.40, which is reflected in this budget. The total fuel cost was $116 and tolls were $33.50.
We flew from Athens to Tel Aviv, Israel. The cost of the flight was $320.83. We took a shared van from Tel Aviv, Israel to Jerusalem for a total of $55.59 and then the bus from Jerusalem to Eilat, Israel for a total of $65.78.
Due to the lack of consistent buses in Jordan and after looking at the cost of taxis, we decided to rent a car during our time in Jordan. A 10-day car rental in Jordan cost us $293. We also had to pay a hefty one-way rental fee of $49.44 to return the car at Amman airport as we picked it up initially in Aqaba. Our total fuel expenditure was $41.74 and we did not have to pay any tolls while in Jordan. Overall, driving in Jordan was easy, as main roads are well maintained. There are very few main roads, so getting lost is not an issue. We also found fuel to be relatively cheap.
After our time in Jordan, we then flew to Bangkok, Thailand, which cost $1,023.97. I must say here, although we had to take 3 different airplanes to make it to Thailand, it was actually pretty pleasant. We flew on Etihad and SriLankan Airlines. I have not experienced airline services like this in a long time. They had free drinks, including alcohol, and meals and free movies. It felt luxurious compared to some of the other budget airlines we have flown while in Europe.
Our total expenditures for local transportation were $87.27. Jerusalem has an excellent tram and bus system. Each ticket costs $6.90 shekels and is good for 90 minutes. But beware, don’t make the mistake we did. You can purchase multiple tickets at a time, but they are only good for the day they are purchased on. Also, if you get on the bus first, you cannot use the tram tickets for the bus. However the bus ticket works for the tram and the tram ticket will work for the bus if you validated it on the tram first and it is still within the 90-minute time frame. Did you get that?
Our next biggest expenditure was for lodging. The total cost for lodging was $1,859.91. This is a lot more than we typically spend on lodging. Most of the time we will try to find apartments to rent, as apartments tend to be cheaper and help us save on food costs. However due to difficulty finding affordable apartment rentals while in Israel and Jordan, we stayed in hotels. We also found the lodgings in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, to be incredibly expensive and basic for the amount of money spent.
While Kiveri, Greece we stayed in a lovely house along the Argolic Gulf, which cost us $411 for 10 days. We then spent two nights in a hotel in Delphi, Greece for a total of $149.60 and one night in a hotel in Athens for a total of $43.62. We then spent 4 nights in a guesthouse in Jerusalem for $350.72. The guesthouse included breakfast. We spent 2 nights in a hotel in Eilat, Israel for a total of $139.83. We then spent 1 night in a hotel in Aqaba for a total of $49.35.
We spent 5 nights in Wadi Musa (Petra) for a total of $300.33. Breakfast and dinner were included in the cost. We then splurged and spent 2 nights at the Dead Sea in a 5-star luxury resort for a total of $283. A word to the wise here, always read the fine print. Initially it looked like the room at the Dead Sea would cost $100 a night, however, at checkout this bloomed to $141.50 per night. We also made the mistake of using our credit card. We have rarely used our credit card since leaving, preferring to pay with cash. However we were running low on money and decided to put it on our credit card instead. We made the mistake of having the hotel convert the charge to USD and they gave us a terrible exchange rate.
After the Dead Sea, we spent one night in Madaba, Jordan before flying out to Bangkok. Our hotel cost $62.04 and it also included breakfast. While in Bangkok, we rented an apartment for a week. Two of the nights are reflected on this month’s budget for a total of $59.42.
We also had $10.60 in miscellaneous cost for laundry while in Jerusalem.
Our next biggest expenditure was for food for a total of $775.50. We spent $432.11 on groceries and $343.39 for dining out. Our cost for dining out was higher this month, since we spent the majority of our time in hotels. We found several hotels that included breakfast, which helped offset our food costs.
We added a new category this month, as I was not sure where to include our time in Wadi Rum in our budget. During our time in Wadi Rum, we spent 2 nights in the desert on a jeep/camel trek and sleeping in a Bedouin camp. The total cost was $423. Although this was expensive, it has been one of my favorite experiences since leaving on our around the world adventure. My only regret is we did not spend longer in Wadi Rum.
We spent a total of $364.59 on entrance fees. This included seeing Mycenae, Olympia, Lerna, Tyrine and Delphi in Greece, the City of David, Church of Ascension, Israel Museum, and walking the ramparts of Jerusalem. We also went to the Coral Beach Reef in Eilat, Israel and while in Jordan, we saw Petra, Church of the Map, and the Archeology Park. By far the most expensive site we visited in January was Petra. A 4-day pass cost us a total of $169.20. Despite the expense, it was well worth it. Petra is very large and really needs at least 2 to 3 days to be able to see it without exhausting yourself.
The other place that we found to be expensive, but still worth seeing was the Israel Museum. It cost us $35.82. The Israel museum houses some of the Dead Sea scrolls and also has an amazing archeology collection.
The only place we regretted going this month was to Coral Beach Reef reserve. I am sure it is fantastic place. However, due to limited time, we did not go on an ideal day. The day was really windy making the water very choppy. It was difficult to snorkel, as the snorkel gear that we had did not have a one-way valve. Jason and Sydney got a mouth full of salt water. It was also very difficult to swim in the swells.
Our total expenditures under miscellaneous were $107.21. This including shipping a box full of journals home, a gift, and playing air hockey in Eilat.
We did not have to pay for a visa for Jordan as we came across the border at Aqaba. Apparently, they are trying to increase tourism to Aqaba, so they are issuing free visas. However upon exiting Israel we were surprised by an exit tax of $89.11
Our total expenditures under communication were $33.56. This includes the cost for postcards and stamps.
For entertainment, our total expenditures were $25.16. This included a boat ride in Nafplio to the fort in the harbor and a walking tour in Jerusalem. The boat ride was okay, but would I probably not pay for this again.
- Although we enjoyed seeing the sites of Israel, if were to do this again we would have stayed longer in Jordan and less time in Israel. Both are expensive, but Israel by far was much more expensive. Your money will buy a lot nicer accommodations in Jordan versus Israel.
- We absolutely loved our time in Wadi Rum and wished we had spent several more days in the Bedouin camp. It was well worth the cost.
- Always read the small print when booking a hotel. Also if you are using a credit card don’t have the hotel convert it into USD. The exchange rate will likely be very poor.
- Don’t be afraid to rent a car in Jordan. Driving in Jordan is easy with great roads and the gas was the cheapest we have seen since leaving on our around the world trip.
- Sometimes budgets are just that, a budget. Sometimes it is okay to splurge.
Despite our budget woes this month, we saw some amazing places and had a wonderful time. However, it really goes to show the slower you travel the cheaper the costs.