If you’ve been following this site for a while, you know that Whitney and I usually do a lot of international travel. Back in 2018, we decided that we wanted to spend at least 4 months out of the country each year following semi-retirement that year. I also decided to track my expenses on each of our long international trips to show that it’s possible to take amazing long term trips for a relatively low cost. In 2018, we traveled around the world for 5 months and I spent less than $37/day. In 2019 we spent about 4 months traveling all over Europe and I spent less than $46/day. Then came 2020… We had a 5 month trip to Latin America all planned and mostly booked, scheduled to leave in mid March… and needless to say, that didn’t work out. We ended up spending all of 2020 in the US due to the pandemic. We even bought a house during that time to have a more permanent place to be during the uncertainty throughout 2020. During 2021, we cautiously dipped our toes back into international travel with a 2 month trip to Mexico. Now in 2022, nearly two years after our original trip to Latin America was cancelled, we’ve planned part of it again.
We definitely learned our lesson about planning and booking things too far in advance in 2020, with the chance of cancellation and COVID uncertainty. So this trip, we’re remaining very flexible and booking things no more than a couple weeks at a time in case of any major changes, and we’re making sure to check cancellation policies for all flights and accommodations before booking. We do have a rough outline of where and when we hope to travel this trip, since we are planning around some other obligations, but we don’t have it all booked yet.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sessions Meeting (CSM), which is the biggest PT conference of the year, is in San Antonio, Texas this year at the beginning of February. We’re being sponsored to go this year by a couple of the travel therapy staffing companies that we work with: one to stand at a booth in the exhibit hall at the conference to answer questions, and the other to have a social meet up for PTs and PT students interested in travel therapy. Since San Antonio is on the way to Latin America, we decided to make the conference our first stop on the trip before heading further south.
Then, in early March, we have a 5-day all-inclusive trip to the Cancun area that’s paid for by a different travel therapy staffing company that we work with, so we need to be around the eastern Mexico area for that. Then, we plan to return back home to Virginia by early to mid-April in order to finalize and file our taxes. So our plan is to visit a few places in Mexico, Central America, and South America between those three constraints. Given our time limitations, we know that we won’t be able to go to as many places this trip as we had planned in our original Latin America trip, but we’re okay with that because we also want to enjoy our time and not rush around too much.
Here’s a rough outline of the trip which is definitely subject to change:
- San Antonio, Texas (CSM): 5 days
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: 1 week
- Mexico City, Mexico: 4-5 days
- Guatemala: ~10 days
- Costa Rica: ~10 days
- Cancun, Mexico (“work trip”): 5 days
- Colombia: ~2 weeks
- Peru: ~2 weeks
This is obviously a very abbreviated and shortened version of our original Latin America plans in 2020. One reason for this is our time constraints while planning around other obligations, but also after two years of being only in the US and Mexico, we want to make sure that it’s still feasible and safe to do long international trips with all of the changes and fallout from the pandemic. Also, COVID restrictions and testing to get in/out of countries makes travel to many different countries much more difficult and potentially more costly right now. Our main goals with this trip are to get a feel for the amazing Latin American culture that we’ve heard such great things about and determine if a longer trip to many more countries would be possible later this year or around the beginning of next year.
Keepings costs reasonable while traveling is always a concern of mine, but now much less so than on our prior long international trips. The main reason for that is that our websites have grown more in the past couple of years than I ever could have imagined, and they now bring in multiples of our usual expenses despite only working part time on them. This has caused my net worth to continue to increase quickly despite not working full time as a PT since 2019. With my assets equal to more than 50 times my annual expenses, and lots of income coming in each month now from something I enjoy doing part time, it seems ridiculous to be overly frugal like I used to be on prior trips. Also, with needing to do at least a couple hours of work each day while traveling, having a good WiFi connection and a little extra space to work is a necessity for us, so taking the very lowest cost accommodations no longer makes sense. With all of that being said, I’m a naturally frugal person, so even with spending significantly more it’s hard to imagine this trip will be “expensive” by any normal standards. I’ll keep track of all of my expenses throughout and write about them at the end though so you’ll be able to see what happens.
If you’ve been to any of the countries on our planned itinerary above and have recommendations, let me know in the comments! We’ve talked to many friends and followers about places to go, but we’re always open to learning more and hearing about the experiences of others. So far we don’t have set plans for which locations we’ll visit in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Peru.
Whitney will be posting pictures regularly on our Instagram if you’d like to follow along with our adventures!