How much does it cost to go cruising? This is undeniable the most frequently asked question we get. Obviously this will vary greatly from cruiser to cruiser, as it all comes down to how you live. Do you motor or sail? Do you eat out at restaurants? Do you hang on the hook or live dockside in a marina? Where are you cruising; the inexpensive islands of the South Pacific or the more expensive regions of the Mediterranean? Do you travel inland and/or participate in tours?
We don't have the energy to track our expenses daily (tried once, but it was too time consuming), but we are able to get our monthly reports - which include ALL charges made; from clothing to souvenirs, marinas to boat parts, maintenance to dining out - it is all here. You should understand a bit about how we live; first we do eat/drink out occasionally, second we are slaves to our hobbies (mainly fishing & photography), thirdly we buy A LOT of souvenirs and fabrics; and finally we tend to get a little crazy when we reach the mainland - really enjoying the larger cities and doing a lot of inland traveling. In the following reports we have separated out some of the larger and/or more personal or frivolous charges. We've also provided some explanations for larger expenditures and our location for that month. The location is extremely important; land touring in Australia costs about 100x hanging on the hook in Tuvalu.
Cruising in the South Pacific can be very inexpensive. Once we hit New Zeeland though we figured our monthly budget just about "doubled" (on average).
From January through March we purchased a van, converted it to a camper and drove or 15,000km around New Zealand. While we tried to live "cheaply", obviously there were a lot of extra costs (gas, camping sites, site entry fees, tours, etc). Also during these months Billabong was moored in the Whangarei Marina. Then in April there was a huge provision, the purchase of some additional boat spares, and some maintenance. Once we got back out to the Islands our costs once again went down.
Late January through to early March we were home visiting in the States. Of course the budget got out of whack with all the eating out and shopping! April was another high month with the additional "getting ready" costs, before things settled down back in the islands.
Australia is probably one of the most expensive countries we have been too. We spent about four weeks land touring which meant campervan rental, campsite fees, attraction site fees & tours, additional food & drink costs, gasoline costs, flights and so on. In July we joined the 2007 Indonesia Rally, which was about $400. We did a lot more motoring in Indonesia than the South Pacific, so overall our costs went up due to additional fuel purchases.
The Red Sea can be pretty inexpensive. We did stay in a marina for two months, and had to pay the canal transit/pilot fees. Now that we are in the Mediterranean we suspect our costs to increase quite a bit.