The Costs of a South American Vacation

I’m back from my vacation to South America and I had a great time! I am documenting the vacation expenses this time around, which is something I regret not doing last year.   The one thing I love about South America is that it’s very affordable. During this trip the most I paid for a meal was $15. This was at an upscale formal-attire restaurant. In the US $15, may not even cover an appetizer at a similar restaurant.

Now to summarize my spending:

Day 1: Travel Cost Description
Food $37 No lounge access, a delayed flight and stomach problems resulted in sizable food purchases.
Uber $15 I Ubered to the airport due to Metro construction
Day 2-10: Fun Cost Description
Credit Card Transactions $127 These were mostly food purchases but I did buy some souvenirs.
Cash Withdrawal $195 I withdrew local currency from my checking account
Currency Exchange ($135) But I didn’t use all of the currency I withdrew. I ended up having free lodging for my entire trip!
Day 11: Return Cost Description
Food $7  I ate breakfast in the lounge ($0) and for lunch I was only charged for my drink due to an error with my entree.
Souvenirs $12  I bought some last minute souvenirs at the airport.
Day 12: Delay Cost Description
Lodging $157 About 4 hours into my 5 hour layover on Day 11, I learned my second flight was cancelled. I ended up with an extra day of “vacation”. Since I insured my trip, I got a hotel.
Food $33  Eating is a thing that I tend to do.
Ubers $15  Prior to my departure I made a pharmacy run.
Pharmacy Run $36 I had an ear infection. I bought extra toiletries since I knew these were reimbursable.


  • If I don’t include the extra day of travel, I spent $258 on my vacation. Or $122 below my stretch goal.
  • My extra day bumped up my vacation costs to $499. Which was $119 above my stretch goal but $118 below my realistic goal.
  • I anticipate spending no more than $110 the rest of this month, meaning I’ll easily stay within a typical month’s budget (if I don’t include the costs of the extra day).
  • I need to start the claims process with my travel insurer to be reimbursed. I’ll never second guess purchasing travel insurance again!



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