Travel Expense Report: Italy, Istanbul, Israel

In January of 2015 we quit our jobs, sold our house, cars and most of our possessions to devote a year to travel with the belief that slow travel can cost less than staying home. I have shared all our expenses in these reports. Access the last report HERE.

Slow travel…Enjoying the Autumn flowers in an olive orchard in Puglia, Italy.


Here are the Expense Reports for the one month rental in Lecce, Italy (12/4/2015 to 1/4/2016) and 24 traveling days in Italy, Istanbul and Israel.

The expense reports are separated by country.  I have separated the cost of travel to each destination from the cost of living because transportation costs are a fixed expense regardless of whether one stays one day or one year in a location. My goal is to compare the cost of short term living in each destination, especially in regards to accommodation and food expense.  All totals are for the two of us.

Lecce, Italy’s baroque Basilica di Santa Croce built in 1695.


The Cost of Travel: A Month in Lecce, Italy

$1671.55 = an average of $53.92 a day for two people over 31 days. This does not include the $244.83 expense to travel to Italy by ferry from Montenegro.

Accommodation and wifi: $740.10 = $23.87/day

Food: $676.78 = $21.83/day

Car Rental: $101.35 = $3.27/day (3-day rental to take some day trips.)

Entertainment: $32.93 = $1.06/day

Miscellaneous: $120.39 = $3.89/day includes the typical overhead expenses of life insurance, cell phone, VPN, Netflix, and iCloud storage.

A month stay in a roomy apartment gives us the option of not always having to go out for coffee and meals.


The Cost of Travel: Italy Road Trip (Matera, Naples, Rome)

$616.46, an average of $123.29 a day for two people over 5 days. I wanted to return to Rome and Naples so we splurged! Traveling is always more expensive than staying put. The rental car really jacks these numbers upwards, but if not a rental car there would be trains, buses and taxis – and the car offers more flexibility. Monthly overhead expenses are not included.

Accommodation: $225.32 = $45.06/day

Food: $118.99 = $23.80/day

Car Rental and Transportation: $235.48 = $47.10/day

Entertainment: $35.92 = $7.18/day

Miscellaneous: $.75 = $.15/day

In Rome we stayed 3 nights at the lovely Teatime (guesthouse) for less than $54 a night. To return here after long days sightseeing was so comforting thanks to the memory foam mattress and electric kettle and assorted teas in our room.
Coffee, our enjoyable, albeit expensive habit.


After traveling 10 months and with our allowable time in the Schengen Zone soon to expire, we needed to make some decisions and travel plans. The criteria:

1) Find a warm place outside the Schengen Zone 

2) Find a budget destination to stop overspending

3) Visit our son in Korea before the weather gets too hot and humid.

A) Should we catch a cheap west-bound transatlantic cruise and fly to Korea?

B) Should we continue traveling East and do a complete RTW trip?


We decided to go East!  

A winter stay in Turkey might’ve fulfilled the first two criterium, but I really wanted to see if S.E. Asia was the budget destination it was reported to be and the ideal season to visit was quickly passing. We decided on devoting 2 months to SE Asia en route to South Korea. (Since Turkey is closer to Europe I reasoned that a future visit may be more feasible than a return to Asia.) We had a small taste of Turkey with only a few days in Istanbul.

The Cost of Travel: Turkey

$386.04, an average of $74.34 per day for two people over 6 days. This does not include the $141.45 expense of our flight from Rome to Istanbul. This was the first country requiring us to pay for a visa which was good for 90 days but because of our short stay added $6.90 to our daily budget. Monthly overhead expenses are not included.

Accommodation: $179.86 = $29.98/day

Food: $93.22 = $15.54/day

Transportation: $10.88 = $1.81/day

Entertainment: $59.45 = $9.91/day

Visa: $41.40 = $6.90/day

Miscellaneous: $1.23 = $.21/day

Checking into the Blue Istanbul Suites they said they upgraded us to a room that would cost $100 a night. It was nice to have the extra space, but I wouldn’t have paid $100 for the room – or the neighborhod. That is our bedroom window on the second floor (photo lower right). We paid $28.30 a night.

The Cost of Travel: Israel

$1215.58, an average of $86.83 per day for two people over 14 days. We rented a car for one week and found our accommodations on AirBnB. This does not include the $114.04 expense of our flight from Istanbul to Israel. Monthly overhead is not included.

Accommodation: $484.12 = $34.58/day

Food: $341.41 = $24.39/day

Car Rental and Transportation: $215.46 = $15.39/day

Entertainment: $169.26 = $12.09/day

Miscellaneous: $5.32 = $.38/day

An $18 burger, fries and water meal in the Galilee! It tasted great, but the price was hard to swallow!


Above are 2 very different types of accommodations in Israel: one comfortably basic and practically free and the other at the Dead Sea resort area that had a great Israeli breakfast and an indoor Dead Sea Salt Pool. Usually our accommodations fall somewhere in-between these two extremes.


List of Accommodations:

Lecce, Italy:  VRBO, 31 nights, $20.67/night

Naples, Italy:  Garibaldi International, 1 night, $65.87

Rome, Italy:  Teatime, 3 nights, $53.15/night

Istanbul, Turkey:  Blue Istanbul Suites, 6 nights, $28.30/night

Livnim, Israel:  Flenner Zimmer, 5 nights, $14.50/night

Ein Bobek, Israel:  Oasis Dead Sea Hotel, 1 night, $108.54

Jerusalem, Israel:  AirBnb, 4 nights, $48/night

Tel Aviv, Israel:  AirBnb, 2 nights, $44/night

And Now for a Little Taste of Korea 

Lots of different flavors in Korean food.

Reunited with our son!

Thanks for following! 

Coming soon: Thailand’s Expense Reports. I’m really happy with them!

Meet You in the Morning next time with more from the South Korea – “Land of Morning Calm.”


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