We’ve been traveling full time now for almost eight years.  Over the six years we spent trekking around North America by RV, and now a year cruising by sailboat, the first thing most people ask is how do you afford this?  Which is almost always followed up by how much does it cost you to live this travelin’ lifestyle?

Our answer to these questions usually goes something like this:  We’re not rich or retired.  We work from wherever we are.  As for how much it costs…well, it’s not as much as you might think.  Most likely whatever your budget is right now, you could be living an alternative lifestyle for the same or less.

I know some people find the subject of one’s finances to be terribly offensive and rude, but I don’t mind. Our western society associates travel as something people do while on vacation.  People often assume long term travel is for retirees, gypsies or the uber wealthy…it’s not thought of a legit lifestyle.  That may have been true in the recent past, but a nomadic lifestyle is definitely coming back into fashion.

Since the wonderful worldwide internet was born, it has become significantly easier for people to work remotely.  Thus, slowly increasing the number of working, full time travelers like ourselves.  Granted, the internet isn’t the only way to make money and travel but it is the source for many.  If you haven’t checked out our Make Money and Travel series yet, there are some inspiring people, ideas and stories to be found there.

So, if I bumped into me ten years ago, my piqued curiosity would have lead me to ask those same, seemingly financially invasive questions.

Which is why we don’t mind sharing our financial lives, despite the sometimes harsh judgement that comes along with it.  We shared what it cost us to live the RV lifestyle and now we’re sharing what it costs us to live the sailing lifestyle.

You can always see all of our expense related posts and videos by clicking the our expenses tab on either our RVing or the Sailing page.

Ok, let’s get to it.  Please keep in mind this is our personal expenses and is not an exact guide or budget.  We all spend money differently, your costs could be the same, much less or way more.

What did you think?  Was it more or less than you expected?

We were pleasantly surprised to see we easily kept our expenses down under 1k per month.  If you want all the details and additional notes, it’s all down below.  This is every penny we spent over the six months.  If there is something you think we missed or would like to know more about, please let us know in the comment box below.

We are breaking our sailing costs down by country because it’s what seems to make the most cents (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) to us.  Then we have a good idea of what it costs us on average to cruise each country in our sailing catamaran.

This does not include: Boat cost (because we’ve already covered that), service or repairs because we didn’t do any here.

It’s good to note that during our travels here in 2017 the exchange rate was one US dollar to 1 Bahamian dollar.  All the stores would happily accept either form of cash.

Cruising Permit for six months:  $300  This was the fee for our entry into the country and a fishing license for us both.  November 4th 2016 – May 4th 2017

 

provisions

This category covers everything from groceries, dried foods, coffee, spices, beer, wine, liquor, cat stuff (litter/food), toiletries, cleaning products, beauty & health products, etc.

  • Pre-Provision in the USA before crossing over – $1000
  • Provisions While in Bahamas –  $1989.38
  • Average Monthly Costs – $489.23

Examples of our provisioning experiences:

 

fuel for cruising

Total Fuel Costs –  $1019.59  Monthly Average – $169.93 

  • Diesel – $669.18  Monthly Average – $111.53
    • Engine Hours: Sometimes we only run one engine, other times we run both.  We know it’s important to try and keep the engine hours the same but after the first week in the Bahamas our Yanmar Hour Display screens stopped functioning, so it was a guessing game.  We do plan on getting the engine hours closer before our next oil change.
      • Starboard Engine – 72.7 & Port Engine – 157.7  
      • Monthly Average – 15 hours of Engine Use.  We sailed a total of 2111 nautical miles in the Bahamas, with a monthly average of 351.6 miles.
    • Generator Hours – 191 total, Monthly Average of 31.8.  We must use the generator to run our water maker. We usually wash clothes while running the water maker and anything else that is a heavy draw.  We do this every four days as per our watermaker manufacture recommendations.  You can learn more about our watermaker here:  gonewiththewynns.com/product/watermaker 
  • Dinghy Gas – $136.78, Monthly Average  $22.79  We use our dinghy a lot.  We didn’t keep track of our dinghy hours or nautical miles very well.  We will try to do so in the future.
  • Rental Car Gas: $213.63  We used a car for around five days total during the six months.

 

 dining costs in the bahamas

Eating Out – $664.44  Monthly Average – $110.74
We didn’t eat out often, but it was always nice to sit down and have a meal prepped for us, or enjoy interacting with the locals and business owners throughout the islands. The main reason we didn’t spend much on eating (or drinking) out is the majority of our time was spent at anchor, far away from any restaurant or bar.

 

cell phone and data costs in Bahamas

Data – $349.24  Monthly Average – $58.20  We didn’t buy any phone minutes but opted for just the data packages. If we needed to make a call, we did so using the wifi.

 

CC Fees – $76.51  The fees from the few times we used our credit card in the Bahamas.  Cash is king and cash is the preferred way to pay in the Bahamas.  The more touristy islands will accept credit cards but be cautious of International fees.  Smaller islands sometimes accept credit but often charge a 3-5% premium along with a minimum amount.

 

entertainment in the Bahamas

Entertainment:  $45  There were only a few adventures we had that required a fee.

 

In Total, that’s almost $5500 for six months of cruising in the Bahamas. 

  • Monthly Average of $916
  • Daily Average of $30

 

2016

Date Store Items Cost
11/06/2016 Customs 6mo. Cruising permit $300
11/08/2016 Rosie’s Food & Drink (WiFi) $19
11/09/2016 BTC 5gb of data & SIM card $71
11/21/2016 Sid’s Grocery Groceries $10.32
11/21/2016 Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar 2 Goombay Smash $15
11/21/2016 Plymouth Rock Liquor Rum & WiFi $19
11/22 BTC Online Top-Up Data $100
11/26/2016 Maxwell’s Supermarket Groceries $25.14
11/26/2016 Curly Tails Beer & WiFi $13.48
11/28 Abaco Groceries Grocery $21.03
11/29 Hope Town Lighthouse Entry donation $5
11/29 Firefly Grill Lunch $54.70
11/29 Cap’n Jacks Food & Drink + WiFi $29.00
12/01 Hope Town Coffee Food & drink + WiFi $32.99
12/01 Lighthouse Marina Fuel $96.79
12/04 Golden Harvest Grocery $12.55
12/13 Sabor Lunch + WiFi $29.40
12/13 Solomons Grocery $63.64
12/13 Liquor Lucaya @ Seahorse Rum $15
12/13 Grand Bahamas Yacht Club Fuel $28.03
12/22 BTC Online Top-Up Data $100
12/20 Old Bahama Bay Fuel $177.52
12/21 Coffees by the Bay Lunch $54.50
12/21 Solomons Freeport Grocery $15.13
12/21 Bristol Cellars Rum $13.60
12/21 Cost Right Freeport Grocery $34.63
12/21 Grand Bahama Car Rental 24hr van rental $80
12/23 Jimmy’s Liquor Beer & Rum $94
12/23 Solomons Grocery $70.01
12/23 Mr Baker Bread $3.50
12/27 Grand Sun Service Station Gas (Rental Car) $68.00
12/31 Solomon’s Grocery $159.65
CC Foreign Transaction Fee $13.24

2017

Date Store Items Cost
01/01/2017 Old Bahama Bay Gas (rental car) $41.31
01/04/2017 Old Bahama Bay Gas (rental car) $14.32
01/04/2017 Old Bahama Bay Marina & Rental Car fees $869.22
01/04 Solomon’s Grocery $46.57
01/06 Old Bahama Bay Marina, Fuel, Rental Car $324.40
01/19 Solomon’s Fresh Market Groceries $288.08
01/19 Keg Ranch Rum $64.50
01/24 Valentines Resort Snack, Beer & Wifi $25.12
1/27 Briland Vine & Sushi Bubbly & Sushi $93.66
1/27 Bahamas Coffee Roaster Pizza $32.00
1/29 Bahamas Coffee Roaster Coffee, lunch & WiFi $31.00
1/30 Spanish Wells Food Fair Groceries $46.01
1/30 Ponders market Fuel $56.70
2/03 Rock Sound Properties Groceries $43.18
2/03 Savannah Sound Gas Rental Car Fuel $42
2/03 Island Farm Greens & Bread $20
2/03 Tarpum Bay Service Rental Tire Change – Tip $5
2/14 Exuma Land and Sea NP Landing fee $20
2/17 Pink Pearl Market Staniel Cay Grocery (eggs & 1 apple) $5
2/22 Cru (George Town) Lunch & WiFi $56
2/22 Exumas Market Groceries $46.53
2/28 Cru Lunch & WiFi $30
2/28 Exumas Market Grocery $13.27
3/4 Lambs Shell Gas $36
3/4 Exumas Market Grocery $21.03
3/9 Exumas Market Grocery $44.88
3/10 Exumas Market Grocery $36.55
3/10 Lambs Shell Diesel $53.00
3/11 Lambs Shell Diesel & gas $93
3/11 Lambs Shell BTC Tele top up $3
3/11 Exuma Market Grocery $26.06
3/16 Hillside Food Supply (Salt Pond, LI) Grocery $76.26
3/18 Farm Market Salt Pond Fresh Veggies $29.50
3/18 Tiny’s Hurricane Hole Lunch & WiFi $59
3/21 Hillside Food Supply Grocery $54.32
3/25 Farm Market SP Veggies $24
3/25 Hillside Food Grocery $13.76
3/27 Cravin Haven Ice Cream $5
3/27 Judys Creations Tamarind $3
3/29 Max Conch Bar Lunch $33.10
3/29 Midway Mini Mart Groceries $35.16
3/29 Hamilton’s Cave Cave Tour $20
3/29 Cravin Haven Ice Cream $2.50
3/29 Long Island Petroleum Gas (loaner car) $48
3/30 Hillside Food Groceries $60.47
4/1 Farm Market SP Veggies $18
4/1 Long Island Petroleum Gas (dinghy) $23.51
4/7 BTC Ragged Island BTC Top Up (unlimited plan) $39
4/14 Staniel Cay Yacht Club Lunch (w/ the Viggers) $30
4/14 Burkes Grocery $48.46
4/14 Pink Pearl Grocery $7.50
4/19 Rubis Harbour Bay Gas – Dinghy $9.56
4/19 Fresh Market Nassau Groceries $210.80
4/24 Fresh Market Nassau Groceries $128.40
4/28 BTC 15GB Data $36.24
4/28 Atlantis Ben & Jerry Ice Cream w/Patreons $18.99
4/28 Rubis Harbour Bay Diesel $21
4/28 Fresh Market Nassau Groceries $24.16
5/01 Ben & Jerry’s Nassau Atlantis Ice Cream $18.99
CC Foreign Transaction Fee $63.27

 

Not to shabby for six months of cruising life.  Now to see if we can keep it up or possibly go even lower.  Only time and another country will tell.

Thanks so much for being a part of our adventure!  We sincerely hope you found this information helpful. If so please consider sharing it with a friend.