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Sunday, August 17

Taking a Frugal Trip to Ecuador

In 18 days we depart for Ecuador for three weeks!  This has been something I wanted to do for quite some time, and while there is the obligatory anxiety, I'm also super excited to spend some meaningful time in a foreign country.

One advantage of not being tied down by a traditional job is the flexibility my schedule provides.  I leveraged that flexibility by waiting until flights were reasonable.  For most travel, getting there can be the biggest expense.  We're paying less to fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador than we paid to "discount" airline Southwest for our recent trip to Las Vegas.

Save Money on Travel

  • Our two roundtrip flights were $772.  This was considerably less expensive than the other times I have looked at travel to Ecuador.  To keep costs low, we are flying non-stop from Miami to Guayaquil.  I chose an evening departure flight and overnight return to avoid overnight lodging in Miami.  
  • We will be leaving the car at the house, avoiding parking fees.  We will board a bus outside my neighborhood, then transfer to an express bus to Tampa.  From Tampa, we are taking the Megabus to the Miami International Airport.  Since I booked far in advance, our two way tickets on Megabus were only $6.00.   It actually costs less to travel by bus from Tampa to Miami than it will cost from our house to the Tampa bus terminal ($14 for both ways).
  • We will rely on public transit in Ecuador.  Taxis and buses are super cheap there.
  • I ordered two large backpacks so that we don't have to worry about moving wheeled luggage or paying extra to carry that luggage on buses.  

Save Money on Lodging

  • We will be in Ecuador for three weeks, but the accommodations should only cost $391 ($18.62 per night).  The first three nights I redeemed Hilton Honors points for the Hampton Inn in Guayaquil.  Then we spend two weeks at a hostel in Cuenca followed by four days at a hotel in Guayaquil.
  • The hostel in Cuenca provides bicycles, so we won't need a car.  Bus fare in Cuenca is only a $.25 if we decide to use that instead.  

Save Money on Food

  • We will adopt a locals diet (eating the local cuisine is part of the fun!).  
  • Eating from street vendors is common, but even a basic restaurant meal can cost about $3.

When we aren't busy moving and working on the new house, I'll be spending my time preparing for our journey.   This includes brushing up on my Spanish, planning our sightseeing, and figuring out how to travel ultra-light.

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