When I found out I was going to have to stay in Vancouver an extra 6-8 weeks longer than I thought, I somewhat impulsively bought a plane ticket to Roatan for next month to go for a quick 8-day trip to tide me over until I can get there long-term at the end of September. I also want to go again before quitting my jobs, leaving my apartment, selling everything I own and traipsing to Central America with a dream fuelled by a 3 week holiday that has a lot of hazy memories due to extreme quantities of rum punch… just to make sure this is what I really want to do. I would hate to get there in September after busting my ass crazily the way I am, and walking away from the life I have here just to realize “oops, I was looking at this with my vacation glasses on and not my reality glasses, and I don’t even want to do this”! I don’t think that’s the case, but it’s better to spend a little money now with no risk than a TON of money later with a lot of risk.
How does that fit into my “saving every penny for Roatan budget”?
Well, it doesn’t really. Although staying an extra 2 months will still put me ahead as the cost of this trip will be less than a month of savings from my two jobs…. and as realized yesterday, I am going to be making WAY more money than I anticipated (along with probably getting some stress-related illnesses).
Still, it will pay to be frugal on this trip, as money saved this time can go towards next time.
So how am I going to take an 8 day holiday to Roatan cheaply?
Let me tell you!
1. I got a great deal on a plane ticket. This is a big one, obviously.
2. I more than likely have free places to sleep, and if not, the place I stayed last time will give me a $15/night room.
3. I am going to bring Clif bars from home for breakfast, they often go on sale for $1/bar and I can easily pack 10 of them. They won’t melt, and don’t take up much room. I am also going to frequent the baleada and taco stands and not the $10/plate restaurants this time.
4. I am not going to drink as much as last time! (one of the infamous 3 Lies of Roatan, we’ll see how I do on that one)
5. I am not doing any dive courses, just fun diving. This was a huge cost on my last trip.
6. I am going by myself this time, so I won’t be able to split the cost of things but I also won’t be going out if I don’t feel like it or eating when I’m not that hungry just because we’re already out to eat and my travel buddy might not want to go out for dinner again later. I had this problem while travelling with my ex-boyfriend…he needs 3 huge meals a day and when I’m travelling I usually just eat two, but I ended up eating with him all the time just because we were already at a restaurant. This adds up!
7. I already did a big shopping trip before my trip to Roatan in February so I am mostly stocked up on bug spray, sunscreen, summer clothes, bikinis, etc. Although I did have to pick up a few more “necessities” while I was shopping in the States last week…some of them I really did need, like tons of hydrocortisone cream and Reactin… I am determined to beat the sandflies this time! I came home last time with my legs looking like ground beef. It was disgusting. I still have huge scars and one bite is still itchy over 3 months later. Yikes.
8. I have already been all around the island and seen what I wanted to see. I don’t need to pay for cabs to the “city” (Coxen Hole… certainly a hole) to get groceries or souvenirs. I know how to get to West Bay for free and exactly how much a cab to and from the airport should cost. This knowledge should bring my extra costs wayyyyyyyy down.
9. One that most people don’t think of – my plane tickets this time are SO MUCH BETTER. Last time I went, we went Vancouver -> Salt Lake City -> Atlanta -> Roatan and then Roatan -> Atlanta -> 11 hour overnight layover in Minneapolis/St. Paul -> Vancouver. So not only did we spend tons of money on snacks, magazines, coffees, etc. at each the airports and what I like to call ‘airport caesars’ (ie. a celebratory caesar at every airport on the way), we also paid for a hotel in Minnapolis because we had a layover from 10pm to 9am. This time I am going Vancouver -> San Francisco -> Houston -> Roatan and then Roatan -> Houston -> Vancouver. This is going to cut the airport costs down considerably (especially on the way home…wow! Last time we traveled 26-28 hours each way, and this time it is 17 hours there and 12 hours home! Such a treat!) However, the airport caesars will continue.
What does the trip budget look like then?
ticket (YVR -> RTB return)
shopping (Clif bars, some summer clothes, etc.)
(maybe, might be zero)
dives (including tips)
I’ve already paid for the plane ticket and most of the pre-trip shopping out of last month’s budget. So if I have to pay for a hotel, I need to bring about $450 for the trip. If I don’t, I need about $350. Very manageable! And with saving well over $2000 a month even if I spend $1200 on this trip, I will still be up if I leave 2 months late. Or that’s how I’m rationalizing this trip to myself anyway.