A friend of ours was looking through our budget and he was fine with most of the numbers in it, except for the food budget. He shook his head a few times, and said, ‘There is no way you are going to keep to a $40 a day food budget!’ (Our food budget is $40 a day for two people). Thenix and I looked at each other surprised. We had assumed we had built a buffer into our budget items to account for miscalculations and wrong estimates. But we couldn’t be off by that much.
We asked him for a little more clarification. He said, that the only way we could keep to a food budget of $40 a day in USA is if we are planning not to eat out at any restaurants, we eat oatmeal (from a box) for breakfast everyday and cook pasta with tomato sauce for dinner most nights. He said, coffee or tea is out of the question, and any kind of produce, like apples, oranges, and such would be too expensive for us.
To say we were surprised was to say the least. We had assumed we would eat at iHop or some other restaurant in the morning – those portion sizes in the US are so huge, that we planned to eat one plate between the two of us, for around $10. That leaves $30 to play with. I assumed we would grab some bread, meat and cheese for lunch and have it somewhere in a green space, for about $10. Then, for dinner, we would choose some random restaurant and again eat one plate between the two of us for $20.
We also assumed that the prices for food would go down as go further south, and thus, we would be able to afford to eat more meals or more expensive items. I was hoping I would be able to eat fresh seafood in areas with water nearby and Thenix is definitely looking forward to Argentinian beef. After some discussion, we decided we would keep track of our food budget, and see how it goes. If we need to adjust down, we can eat noodles or tuna for a meal or two. We are willing to do so, to ensure that we are able to travel for the year or more.
In order to confirm our budget, we started doing some research. We found this post from the Never Ending Voyage, on how much they spend on a year trip around South America. This confirms that our food budget of $40 a day for 2 people is fairly accurate. Booyah!
What do you think about our food budget?
If you haven’t heard of the Big Trip yet, you are in for a treat. Boom and Thenix are travelling to the southern most tip of South America, through the West Cost of US, Mexico and parts of South America and back up the East Coast. We are planning on leaving on or around June 21st. We have made a detailed budget for the trip and we have included it here for those of you who are curious about how much a trip like this would cost. We will travel for a total of 50,000 kms to around 22 countries. If you have any other questions about the trip please see our post on The Big Trip or check out our Archives Page.