Gap Year Spending Month 9 – $3,640.03

Another month of traveling around the country full time is in the books and spending time in New England wasn’t cheap.  Honestly, it wasn’t that expensive relative to a typical month of living in Seattle either!

We started the month outside of beautiful Acadia National Park and finished it in Richmond Virginia after a whirlwind tour of New England.  Major stops included Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and several cities in between!

Parking expenses were a common theme this month as we stayed in or near major cities, but being within walking distance of numerous attractions was well worth the cost.

Let’s dive into the details on every dollar we spent this past month:

Lodging – $981.96

This month, we took advantage of Hyatt’s cash+points option multiple times to stretch our points further.  Unfortunately, that won’t continue into the future because Hyatt recently devalued their cash+points offering to make it a much less attractive option.  It probably wasn’t our fault…

Lodging Breakdown by Nights:

  • Hotel nights booked with points – 16
    • See below for breakdown
  • Hotel nights booked with points+cash – 14
    • All Hyatt
  • Hotel nights booked with cash – 1
    • Other – 1

Our points bookings were spread across several brands as you’ll see below, but all of the points+cash went to Hyatt this time around.  The additional non-chain hotel that we booked was the tail-end of a 4th night free booking with our Citi Prestige card.

Points Spent by Brand:

  • Hyatt – 14 Nights – 56,000 points (+cash)
  • IHG – 8 Nights – 60,000 points
  • Hilton – 5 Nights – 120,000 points
  • Wyndham – 3 Nights – 45,000 points

The primary motivation for booking points+cash was to stretch our points a little further through the end of this year-long adventure.  We’ve been fairly consistent with maximizing value and utilizing offers to boost our points balances throughout the year, but our totals are starting to dwindle as we head into the final stretch.

It was nice to finally find a good use for the 3 free Wyndham nights we earned nearly a year ago and a hotel that normally runs $300+ per night near Times Square was the perfect opportunity.  IHG and Hilton were once again timed to take advantage of their respective 4th and 5th night free benefits.

Points Earned per Brand (excluding credit card spend/bonuses):

  • IHG – 7,100 earned
    • 6,000 from 10% points rebate via the IHG credit card
    • 1,100 from welcome bonuses
  • Hyatt – 4,951 earned
    • All from regular earnings on the cash portion of our stays

Nothing too exciting on the earnings front this month.  We still have the opportunity to spend ~$1k on cash IHG stays to earn a bonus ~56k points during their promotion that runs through the end of the year, but I’m not sure if we’ll utilize it or not.  We’re also only a couple nights away from getting top-tier Spire status with IHG which will happen by year’s end.  The ongoing benefits aren’t a big jump over Platinum status, but the free 25k points will be a nice perk.

Transportation – $494.93

  • Gasoline – $125
  • Parking – $307.59
  • Tolls – $30
  • Uber – $20.34
  • Public Transit – $12

Our mileage for the month was down because most of the major cities we visited aren’t too far apart, but we more than made up for the gas savings with parking costs.  The majority of the parking costs came from hotels we were staying at, so I debated putting them in with lodging, but ultimately decided to separate it out here instead.

Tolls was a reload of our prepaid iPass account that has worked on most highways during our adventure.  Uber and public transit got us around when driving was less than ideal.

Driving Stats:

  • Miles Traveled – 1,079
  • Gallons of Gas Purchased – 43
  • Average Miles per Gallon –  24.98
  • Average Price per Gallon – $2.89

Food – $1,201.14

  • Eating Out – $1,037.62
  • Groceries – $163.52

Nothing too surprising here, but we did find some delicious pizza along the east coast!

Entertainment – $479.97

  • Attractions – $186.65
    • Acadia National Park
    • The Freedom Trail in Boston (Free!)
    • Coney Island (Free!)
    • Central Park (Free!)
    • An Off-Broadway Musical Parody of The Office!
    • Various Smithsonian Museums in DC (Free!)
  • “Sports” – $136.28
    • Mini Golf
    • Candlepin Bowling
    • Bouldering Gyms
  • Bars – $140.04
  • Movies – $27
  • Gambling – (+$10)

Most of the locations and attractions we visited were absolutely free (and amazing!), but we did spend some money on an off-broadway show that had us laughing all night.

Candlepin bowling near Boston was a new experience and very difficult.  We also found time to indulge in our usual mini golf and bouldering hobbies that have shown up here on a monthly basis.

Our bar tab for the month was approximately the cost of 2 drinks in downtown NYC. 😉

The fantasy football “investment” I made last month is already paying off with a $10 bonus for being the high scorer of week 5!

Everything Else – $482.03

  • Shopping – $185.69
    • Shoes
    • Sunglasses
    • Puzzles
    • New iPhone Battery
    • Pull-Up Bar
  • Gifts – $36.90
  • Laundry – $17.50
  • Storage Unit – $57
  • Health – $4.65
  • Cell Phone Plan – $74.29
  • Nursing License Renewal – $106

Most of these expenses are our typical recurring ones, but we did spend a bit in the super generically named “shopping” category.  I was due for some new shoes, Becky’s favorite sunglasses broke, we love puzzles, and a Pull-Up bar will be nice for the many hotel gyms without one available.  We also got Becky’s iPhone battery replaced to take advantage of the discounted price between now and the end of the year.

The other unusual expense this month is the cost of keeping Becky’s nursing license active.  An unfortunate reminder that we’ll return to work at the end of this adventure.  Luckily, our progress towards financial independence means we’ll be working on our terms instead of grinding it out to make ends meet.  That small mindset shift has the potential to make all the difference.

The Total at the 9 Month Mark

After 9 months of living an adventurous life on the road, we’ve spent a total of $28,225.

It’s still kind of surreal that we’re living on the road full time and visiting brand new corners of the country on a weekly basis.  It’s unfortunate that it all has to come to an end at some point, but I’m also excited to begin the next chapter of our lives together.  There’s something to be said for settling into a routine that just isn’t possible while traveling full time.

Our savings are sufficient to finish out the year with just enough of a buffer to let us settle into a new place while looking for new jobs.  Our plan of not tapping into our investments will come to fruition and we’ll be able to pick up our savings goals right where we left off.

It’s still too early to start hammering out the where, when, and how details for the end of this trip, but it has been a popular topic of conversation for us lately.  Stay tuned over the next few months to find out how we plan on wrapping this gap year up and what’s next.

In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Instagram for some awesome photos and mini-recaps of the places we visit!

 


4 thoughts on “Gap Year Spending Month 9 – $3,640.03

    1. It will certainly be interesting settling into a new life at the end of this adventure. We’re both a little nervous but also excited to start our next chapter. Thanks for following along!

  1. Seriously was bummed to miss you both while in DC but glad you had a good time! It really is crazy how close the east coast cities are to each other when you compare to the west coast. Only a few hours separates them!

    1. It was unfortunate we missed you! Crazy how our trips lined up almost perfectly, but I’m sure we’ll run into each other in the not too distant future.

      It was hard to believe how many of the big east coast cities we visited this past month! At the start of our trip, we had a lot of “filler” cities between the big ones, but there’s been no need for them lately.

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