July started where June ended (duh), in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I can not say enough good about it. So I decided to break the travel & expenses into two different posts. I’ll go into the details about expenses here and maybe people interested in ex-Yugoslavia aren’t as interested in how many Airbnb credits we used, or vice versa.
Yes, there are still 3 more days left in July but the hotel is paid for and accounted here. And food is cheap in Bosnia, so we’ll probably pay $20 more in food and that’s it.
- Hotels = $278.41
- Land Transit = $683.42
- Food = $392.71
- Misc. = $150.37
Total = $1504.91
Transit was huge again, and it’s never flights that seem to add up. It’s the land transit that kills me.
Oneway car rentals within Croatia were the same price as roundtrip, so we picked up a car in Dubrovnik and dropped it off in Zagreb. $20 a day for 2 weeks. It came out to $300.01, not including gas which was $149.44. Also tolls were $49.77 and parking was $8.67.
$507.89 is more than I’d like to spend but my hypothesis was that we could stay wherever the best deal was. After doing it, I’ve decided renting a car just doesn’t save money on housing! So really it gave us to the opportunity to see more in Montenegro, and Bosnia, but at a steep price.
Here’s what we drove:
The question is, how much time and money would we have spent to do the same route in buses? It’s kind of why lesser developed countries end up having high transit costs. There’s no infrastructure to make it easy.
I’m just not sure it was worth it, and it was slow driving when not on Croatia and Slovenia’s toll roads. Plus renting a car is stressful.
My bribe/near arrest story
Which reminds me, we will eventually share in our videos the story of how I quasi refused to pay a bribe in Bosnia. I got pulled over in the middle of the nowhere for speeding, seriously only going 64 kmh (40 mph). There was no sign either. And the cop was doing the “I help you” routine when he noticed I was filming with the gopro on the dash.
He got me out of the car, mad because I was filming. “Why you video!” he asked over and over. Then he tried to tell me that I had to drive all the way back to Trebinje to pay the fine and he was going to hold the car’s registration papers and our ids.
I couldn’t possibly see that going well, like hours later coming back to the country to find these guys? No way. Although it was probably an act to make me worried.
I refused to let this dope detain all our valuables while I go figure out how to pay a fine for going 40 mph in the country. His partner even got out his handcuffs and asked if I wanted to go to jail. For refusing to give up the ids I guess. Although, since they noticed the video they were clearly 10 times more nervous than me. He was literally sweating and nervously asking me about the video still over and over.
Eventually he flat out asked for 20 Euros (this time the iPhone was filming in my front shirt pocket). I paid it and got on the road.
That’s it. Not sure this belongs in the expenses version… but I hate renting cars. It’s like college kids and drinking, I always end a trip and going “I’m never renting a car ever again!”.
- 8,000 SPG points
- 4,000 Four Points Ljubljana
- 4,000 for Sheraton Zagreb
- 72,000 Club Carlson points*
- 45,000 for Radisson Blu Budapest (got a weird suite again, but no deer) for 3 nights
- 27,000 for Park Inn Sofia for 6 nights (made pre-devaluation)
- 55,000 IHG points
- Crowne Plaza Belgrade on PointBreaks for 11 nights
- $119 Orbits points
- to extend Crowne Plaza Belgrade 1 night
*As I said in June’s expenses, I calculate the earning of Club Carlson points at $0.00225/point. That really adds $162 to the total, but I wanted to keep it simple. Carrie counts the $162 towards our yearly goal and in the regular stats because earlier we technically paid to earn the points.
Due to wanting to go to places a little off the path, we didn’t have many hotel options. In fact, in some towns there wasn’t even a single hotel listed on Orbitz to use my credits with.
Airbnb was awesome this time. As I said, I don’t prefer Airbnb, and actually I had multiple people this month try to upsell me on a bigger place. “Sorry that amazing deal is no longer available, but I have this other apartment that’s a rip off, shall I book you in it?” Three airbnbs in a row! What the heck? If it’s booked take it down, right?
I finally caught another PointBreaks though, at the Crowne Plaza Belgrade in Serbia. This is where my lockdown happened (part 1 at least), and I can’t really say I spent my days site seeing. But the hotel was fantastic for getting work done and just a great hotel with amazing attention to detail.
Also, it’s funny how we usually spend as much money on food as we do hotels. Crazy right?
Not really. The hotel promotions didn’t interest me, so as you can see by the low hotel expenses, this was a month for burning not earning.
Our totals were under the average for $20,000 a year, but not enough for the goal to make up for high expenses early in the year.
Still, it’s a month that in total is nearly the same price as our rent used to be in downtown Charlottesville, VA. For the same price as our rent alone, we traveled around 7 countries and stayed in some very nice hotels.
I really can’t complain. Ignoring the car rental, our expenses were especially low and that’s almost entirely due to miles and points.