“How much does it cost to go cruising?” Anyone who has flirted with the idea of cruising has wondered (or obsessed) over this simple question. Us included. The most honest answer, though least helpful, was “as much as you have”. It is true, just like living on land it can be done within a widely wide range of budgets. Perhaps the better question to ask is “How much will it cost for us to cruise in a manner we will enjoy?”. Here the variables of type of boat, cruising ground, dining preferences, amenities (marinas), and land touring begin to get sorted out. Is “dinner out” sitting on a deck at a table draped in white linen, or is it an overflowing styrofoam container of local food that you eat on the curb in the parking lot? Does touring include rental cars, guides, and hotels or hitchhiking and maybe splurging on a scooter?
In our planning days I found the most valuable information from reading blogs by couples already out cruising and who graciously shared their costs. Here was were we were able to compare the differences between a $1000.00 per month budget to a $4000.00 per month budget and get an idea of which lifestyle most closely matched what we were envisioning for ourselves. Whew…we didn’t need $4000.00 a month!
So here is our little “Pay it forward” to all those blogs whose budgets I devoured and studied. We don’t have a monthly budget per se, as our costs can vary dramatically depending on where we are and what we are doing. Instead we try to find the balance between fun and comfort and stretching out our savings. The faster we spend, the shorter the cruise-at the same time the whole point is to be enjoying this experience to the maximum. I’ve included all of our costs, not just those related to cruising but did round to the closest dollar. So, here is how we did that this month:
February was a pretty average month, no surprises. Our food and beverage bill was higher than it has been yet partially due to the fact we are starting to exhaust our onboard provisions and partially because we spent the month in non-fishing grounds that also happen to have been quite a few decent “take-away” shacks and markets. Still, nothing crazy.
FOOD AND BEVERAGES $580.00
PERSONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS-$0.00
It seems that we can’t go a few hours without someone asking “So, when are you leaving” or, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be in the islands by now”. To that we’ve been stumbling through vague answers “soon” and “after hurricane season”. The truth is we no longer know when. We no longer have a date on the calendar circled. For me, the one who needs a list, needs a plan, this is difficult.
Keith’s promotion has turned out to be a game changer for us. And here is where the game–the gambling– begins. In a matter of weeks he has been able to put into savings what previously took us an entire year to accomplish. It is impossible not to imagine what another six months could do to our cruising kitty-or a year-or…..more. We’ve exceeded our savings goal for this trip and it’s not like we can’t go now but we will, admittedly, be sliding into home base pretty darn broke. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. But………but, it all comes with a risk. We know oh-too-well life can be short, or health too frail. We’ve seen too many dreams crumble due to death, illness, or age and we have been so adamant about going as soon as possible and not waiting, and yet here we are-questioning what to do. How much do we wager?
Right now, we just don’t know.
Then there is the little detail that I have already been replaced at work. I don’t know when my last day will be, but probably quite soon. Timing. Messed that one up! We are going to make it work though, I will be going full throttle on the remaining to-do list (which is still quite large) so that the boat will be ready and waiting for us to pull the trigger. I am also going to be devoting a large amount of time and energy into getting both of us healthier and living more wholesome lifestyles. Fast-food and sodas have been on the menu daily for both of us and we kept saying it would change when we got underway but this isn’t something we can’t put off as well. The gambling game, this risk needs reduced now.
So, if it appears in any way that we are losing sight of our lifetime dream, we are not. We are (or at least I am) just a little weary from trying to make the best decisions for ourselves. It is a good dilemma to have, but all I really want right now is a plan again-or a crystal ball. But I don’t have either so my focus will have to just be on today and making today an absolutely wonderful day.
What do the following photos have to do with this post? Nothing. I was just looking at some old underwater photos from trips past and thought I’d share because I haven’t taken any current photos lately.
Where were we ONE year ago: Haul out-preparations