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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
7 yrs and 6 days - end of the road

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Expenses: Mainland Mexico

Jun 1, 2016
by John

It was obvious to us that mainland Mexico was going to cost a bit more then Baja, the free beaches really spoiled us before we boarded our ferry to Mazatlan. Surprisingly we were able to stay really close to our expected expenditures, spending $9,692.29, $81.45 per day, during the 119 days we tromped around the mainland. The exchange rate fluctuated a little, averaging about 17.5 to the U.S. dollar over the duration. All of our expenses are reported in U.S. dollars so we did our best at tracking the different exchange rates every time we withdrew pesos.

Knowing we were within our projected Mexico budget, we decided to make a few large purchases such as ordering a pair of Kermit wide chairs, picking up a couple eReaders, changing our jackknife sofa and counter top, adding a water separator, and having our chassis cleaned and coated to protect it from corrosion. We also bought some other gear and souvenirs to replace things we already owned including a handmade Mexican blanket, the one we started the trip with was given to a great family who needed one. Removing all miscellaneous and transportation upgrade costs, but keeping in all the other unique anomalies like our 3 night stay on Isla Mujeres and our new spare tire, our overall expenses would be reduced to $7,167.32 or $60.23 per day.


Our communication costs remain higher then most as we are trying to stick with our U.S. cellphone plan as long as we can. We never got around to reducing our DeLorme account and they recently introduced a weather feature, we live by the weather, so we decided to continue with our current unlimited texting plan. Both services were paid four times for a total of $494.99, $4.19 per day.

We had a decent amount of entertainment costs, but nothing really outrageous. Our time exploring the mainland of Mexico had us visiting many places from the Monarch Butterflies, a mummy museum, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs, cenotes, and 10 different sets of ruins. Our bigger splurges were our whitewater rafting trip, the lancha to reach Yaxchilan, and the horse drawn cart at Tres Cenotes. The $408.04 we spent, $3.46 per day, isn't much compared to all of the places we visited.

Dining out has become one of our favorite parts of traveling and it shows in our food expenses as we almost spent twice as much than we did for groceries. We are not sure how much cheaper cooking in could have been but Mexican street food is very affordable and delicious. While food amounted to 24% of our entire expenditures, the $2,303.45 we spent equates to $19.36 per day. At some point we started getting garafons of drinking water instead of always locating a purificada but the higher cost doesn't really affect the budget, it's also much easier most times.

We were pleasantly surprised with our total living expenses. The $1,174.23 breaks out to be $9.87 per day. Not bad considering we shared a house with two other couples for a week and spent three nights on Isla Mujeres. The bulk of our medical expenses were massages, with contact solution and some ear drops being the rest. Considering how little we free camped, we are extremely happy with coming in under $10 a day.

As previously stated we knew we were doing well with our budget so we spent quite a bit on miscellaneous items. Getting our Kermit chairs delivered to Mexico after I broke our two Alite Mantis chairs in Baja was the most expensive endeavor, two eReaders the second. We also picked up a few handmade things for the van and some regional clothing. The $1,163.94 we spent, $13.98 per day, is not something we expect to do very often.

Once again transportation was the biggest chunk of our expenses at $3,643.98 or $30.62 per day. That was partly due to all of the upgrades we decided to make as mentioned above. Our unusual and erratic route totaled 5,353 miles and consumed 353.87 gallons of diesel. We managed to average just over 15 miles and $3 per gallon. The ferry from Mazatlan was only $245.53, we ferried to Isla Mujeres twice at $16.98 each. Our necessary repair was fixing our springs in Tule. We purchased a new spare tire the day before we left for Belize which we recorded as maintenance, the van was also serviced twice on the Mainland. We mostly avoided the toll roads but used them and collectivos on a few occasions. The only real anomaly is the $121.45 for a two year Florida vehicle registration renewal. It came due while we were in Mexico so that's where we decided to report it.


The pie chart and expenses table are programmatically added to this page. Meaning, if we update our expense information then those will automatically reflect the change possibly creating a disparity between the textual breakout and the actual expenditures. This information has been provided to assist others in planning a long-term trip so use accordingly, by all means contact us to ask any questions or to point out any errors so we can remediate them.

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