Gap Year Spending Month 10 – $5,096.87

Month 10 marks the most we’ve spent to date during our Gap Year Adventure (and not by a small margin). November started out similar to many of our other months, but we decided to splurge a little bit towards the end and hopped on a long cruise around the Carribean!

The mini-vacation within our vacation was absolutely amazing, but it did come with a higher cost per night than a typical day on land.

Other noteworthy expenses this month include tickets to our first ever NFL game and another 6 months of car insurance, but I’ll break down all of the gritty details below.

Lodging – $1,946.45

This month included a variety of different lodging situations, including our first stay at an Airbnb. Up until now, Airbnb has been more expensive than the alternatives, but downtown(ish) Atlanta was a significant exception.

Lodging Breakdown by Nights:

  • Hotel nights booked with points – 15
    • See below for breakdown
  • Hotel nights booked with cash – 2
    • IHG
  • Airbnb nights booked with cash – 3
  • Cruise ship nights booked with cash – 6
  • Nights spent with friends and family – 4

The cost of the cruise includes all of our food and entertainment as well as lodging, but I chose to include the entire cost here instead of attempting to break it up.

Points Spent by Brand:

  • Hilton– 5 Nights – 140,000 points (5th night free)
  • Marriott – 5 Nights – 50,000 points (5th night free)
  • IHG – 4 Nights – 30,000 points (4th night free)
  • Hyatt – 1 Nights – 5,000 points

As you can see, we continue to structure our travel and hotel nights to maximize the Nth night free benefits of the different chains. The single Hyatt night helped us avoid competing with an Alabama football home game and the related increase in hotel costs.

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

  • IHG – 31,090 earned
    • 25,000 from IHG’s Q4 promotion
    • 3,000 from 10% points rebate via the IHG credit card
    • 2,090 from regular earnings
    • 1,000 from welcome bonuses

The only points earned this month came from IHG, the majority coming from the ongoing “Double Points + more” promotion. Finishing the spending requirement of the promotion in December will give us an additional ~50k bonus points to help keep our costs down as we make our way back west at the end of this journey.

Our hotel points haven’t dried up yet! Thanks to a credit card upgrade offer (+150k Hilton points) and the current IHG promotion (+100k IHG points), we should be able to stretch them far enough to close out the year with reasonable lodging costs.

Transportation – $947.19

  • Gasoline – $139.88
  • Parking – $304
  • Insurance – $459.89 (6-month premium)
  • Uber – $39.17
  • Bird Scooters – $4.25

We started this month in Charlotte, North Carolina and made our way through Atlanta, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa before settling into New Orleans. The month ended off the coast of Roatán, Honduras in our luxury cruise accommodations.

Parking was a big expense this month, especially during the 11-day cruise. Even bigger was our auto insurance renewal, but we knew that one was coming.

This month also marked the first time we tried out one of the electric scooters that find themselves spread across several major metropolitan areas. It was fun zipping around on them and being able to leave them wherever our destination was.

If you happen to find yourself living somewhere with these scooters, there may be a major side hustle opportunity available keeping them charged up.

Driving Stats:

  • Miles Traveled – 1,462
  • Gallons of Gas Purchased – 58
  • Average Miles per Gallon –  25.24
  • Average Price per Gallon – $2.41

The month ended just shy of 20,000 total miles for this trip, so we should be crossing that barrier in December as we hop around Florida.

Food – $1,134.80

  • Eating Out – $960.13
  • Groceries – $174.67

This category remains fairly consistent month to month and is the result of us eating out for nearly every meal. Despite that, the per person per meal cost of ~$6.30 isn’t too outlandish.

Our food spending habit is something that should be much easier to reduce once we settle back into a single location.

Just outside of Atlanta, we tasted the best pizza of this trip at Antico! It’s also in the running for best of all time, but comparing it to Chicago deep dish is an apples and oranges situation.

Entertainment – $695.24

  • Attraction – $69.70
    • World of Coca-Cola Tour
  • Event – $387.96
    • Panthers vs. Bucs NFL Game
  • “Sports” – $89.13
    • Mini Golf
    • Bouldering Gyms
    • Disc Golf Discs
  • Bars – $140.45
  • Movies – $8

The only major attraction we paid for this month was the World of Coca-Cola tour and it didn’t disappoint. Sampling different sodas from around the world was one of the highlights, but don’t ever subject yourself to the taste of Beverly! Check out YouTube for clips of people trying the “World’s Worst Tasting Soda”.

We also watched the Panthers take on Fitzmagic and the Bucs at our first NFL game. Even the cheap seats were over $100 each for whatever reason, so we splurged for some nicer seats in the 6th row on the sideline. The game was a great experience overall, but we’re not dying to attend more anytime soon. It’s hard to beat watching in HD from the comfort of our home hotel room for free.

A good chunk of our bar spending can be attributed to exploring Bourbon street in New Orleans. The street was particularly lively during a Saints game next door in the Superdome.

Everything Else – $373.19

  • Shopping – $113.18
    • Basketball Shorts
    • USB Car Adapter (our existing one died)
  • Haircuts – $37
  • Gifts – $3.20
  • Mail Forwarding – $3.87
  • Laundry – $10
  • Storage Unit – $57
  • Health – $4.65
  • Cell Phone Plan – $74.29
  • Nursing Certification Renewal – $70

The majority of my existing basketball shorts (which I wear most days) were ~10 years old and the elastic was starting to give out. I’d tried to replace them a few times, but could never find the right material, length, and pocket depth combination.

After years of searching, I’m happy to announce I finally found what I was looking for in some Xersion shorts from JCPenney. Needless to say, I stocked up and should be good for the next decade or so when it comes to casual shorts.

Most of our other spending this month was par for the course with the exception being Becky’s Nursing Certification renewal. After several hours finishing her continuing education, she is officially ready to rejoin the workforce. Luckily, we still have a few more months of not working before that happens!

The 10 Month Total

At the 10 month mark of our Gap Year Adventure traveling across the country (and beyond), we have spent a grand total of $33,321.

Before this month, it looked like we would comfortably end the year under the $40k mark, but now we’ll be cutting it really close.

We did set aside more than $40k to start the trip, so it wasn’t a make or break number by any means. Just a target that seemed about right once we settled into a routine on the road.

Returning to our monthly average of ~$3,000 to close out the year will bring us in under $40k, but I’m certain December won’t be much lower than November (if at all). I do predict January will be on the lower end as we start making our way back west, but we haven’t planned that far ahead yet.

As always, this year-long road trip is still much cheaper than our lives in Seattle, so we do have that going for us.

Be sure to follow our adventure on Instagram for even more amazing pictures!