Traveling statistics

Our adventure has always consisted of three parts: 8 months of traveling in S America, 6 months of volunteer work – originally planned for Uganda – and finally 3 months or so in S E Asia. As we mentioned in a previous post, we changed our plan to volunteer in Bolivia, instead of Africa, but otherwise the outline is still valid.

We are now very rapidly approaching the end of the first phase of our adventure: we have promised that by May 24th, we will be in Sucre, Bolivia, where Karen will start her volunteer work. I will be working on some personal stuff to start out with.

More on Bolivia in a later post, this post is about reflecting numerically on the traveling we have been doing in S America so far. Or said differently: Monty, this post is for you…

Every day we log our expenses, our mileage, and where we have stayed (a list of where we have stayed each night is in the works; can be very useful information for other travelers). Yesterday I sat down and played around with our spreadsheet to get a numerical feel for our travels in S America – excluding our stay in Buenos Aires. First some numbers, then some commentary.

Grand road totals

202     Days on the road
100     Different places we have stayed

24,673    kms driven
15,297    miles driven

5,043     liters of fuel consumed
1,332     gallons of fuel consumed

Road averages

123    km per day
76      miles per day
2.1     hours per day driving
58      speed, km/h
36      speed, miles/h
20.4   fuel consumption, liters / 100 km
11.5   fuel consumption, mpg

Expenses, total

7,204     $ total spent on gas
1.43       $ / liter gas, average
5.41       $ / gallon gas, average

Expenses $ average per day

35.66     gas
23.18     groceries
14.52     restaurants
13.68     camping

104.50    total

The first thing that struck us was how close our original estimates were to what our actuals have been. When we sat down to plan this trip, we stated that we wanted to drive no more than 2 hrs / day – what most in Silicon Valley would call a regular commute…. Our actual is 2.1 hrs per day; not until yesterday did we know how close we were to our original guess. Btw, we don’t actually drive 2.1 hours per day, instead our averages show that we drive roughly every other day, and on the days we do drive, we average 4.3 hours in the truck.

We also guessed that we would average 40 mph – our actual is 36 mph – for a total of 80 miles per day – our actual here is 76 miles per day. Our average speed of 58 km/h, 36 mph, sounds like a very, very low number, but it accounts for the following: some of the roads are in bad shape and we’re lucky to average 25 mph. The number also includes “the rest of the story”. Our drive to where we are currently, Cafayate, Argentina, from Belen, Argentina, is a good example of the rest of the story. Not only does our average speed include the actual time spent on the road, where we were probably averaging 50 mph, it also includes i) driving to the tourist information; ii) driving to the supermarket; iii) driving to, looking at, and rejecting one campground; iv) driving to a 2nd campground and then parking there. We have found that no matter how well prepared we are, it typically takes us about 45 minutes of mucking around every time we come to a new town, hence the lower average speed number. So, we left Belen at 9.oo in the morning, and 4.5 hours roughly later, 1.30 pm, we were comfortably settled at our chosen campground in Cafayate where we will stay for at least two nights, and will probably do no driving, just walking / hiking.

Re average fuel consumption, the number 20.4 l / 100 km, may sound rather high, but for a vehicle that weighs 4,500 kg, and with time spent on bad roads, and at high altitudes, it’s not that bad.

Again, time spent driving, and average speed is nothing we have tried to control; this is just how things have worked out.

On the financial side, we do actively control our expenses. We had set a budget for ourselves of $100 / day, excluding certain fixed expenses that we still have at home in the US, and we monitor our budget at least weekly. If we are over budget, we actively work on reducing expenses: driving less, eating out less etc. Right now, we are a tad over, but laying still for six months in Bolivia, we will make that up.

The numbers may have been boring to you, dear reader, but they set the framework for a large part of what our lives have been for the past 8 months.

K & H in the Parque Nacional Sierra de los Quijadas, 3 weeks ago.


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