The fabled silk road. We completed Istanbul to China, our last great overland adventure of this trip. Traveling our modified silk road proved to be far more expensive than we thought it would be. Visas ate up a huge amount of our budget (about $10/day between us), but there’s really no way around that. Turkey was every bit as expensive as any place we ever went in Europe. Add to that the transportation challenges we faced and these rather cheap countries ended up being quite expensive. To see our spending for the entire trip visit our RTW budget page or if you’re interested in finding out how to save and budget for a trip around the world, check out our other finance pages.
|MEX & C. AMR.||111||$17.76||$10.33||$23.31||$20.50||$9.96||$79.25|
|AFRICA & LEVANT||174||$16.44||$12.09||$39.90||$36.35||$19.84||$124.63|
TURKEY: Despite the high price Turkey comes with, we allowed ourselves to have a very nice time there. Springing for a small cruise drove our activity budget up but helped to bring everything else down as the tour was all inclusive. Overnight buses were expensive for transportation but those, combined with couchsurfing in both Istanbul and Trabzon helped to keep lodging down. Actually, hostels in many parts of Turkey were over $30 for the two of us, more than many places in Europe, and we spent most nights in dorm rooms.
GEORGIA and ARMENIA: Both of these countries are quite cheap and represent a great value while traveling there. The biggest difference between the two with regard to our budget was that we were able to couchsurf while in Yerevan, Armenia and didn’t buy the same amount of Soviet era souvenirs in Armenia (Misc. Budget) that we purchased in Georgia. Both countries use alternative (read: cheap and dangerous) fuels for cars meaning that transportation is surprisingly cheap and spending time hiking is always easy on the budget. Our biggest expense in the whole region was our lodging in Tbilisi, Georgia.
UZBEKISTAN: The country itself is one of the cheapest we’ve been to. There were always just enough choices for lodging to keep prices below the $20 mark for a night and food and transportation were both quite inexpensive. The obvious big budget item were our visas, costing us nearly $200 each. Had we stayed a couple of days longer and moved a touch slower our numbers here would look quite different but as it was we didn’t move particularly fast. We’d been told by several people that a week would be plenty of time to see the sights and that was quite accurate. Spending additional time in the countryside with locals is difficult on account of government restrictions.
KAZAKHSTAN: The home of Borat is not so poor after all. There is a natural resources bonanza taking this country by storm and many of its cities are quite pricey. That being said, we really only used Kazakhstan as a transit country for getting into and out of Uzbekistan and our lack of lingering pushed our cost per day up quite a bit. With two overnight trains and one night couchsurfing, we only paid to sleep 2 of our 5 nights, but this meant our transport was quite expensive. Food was the big shocker here, but like I said, it’s not such a cheap place. The multi-entry visa cost us $60 each, plus shipping fees, accounted nearly all of our miscellaneous spending for the country.
NOTE: Our flight over the Caspian Sea, from Armenia to Kazakhstan, are not applied to any single country, instead that cost is only included in the transportation totals for the Silk Road leg of the trip.