Four Deadly Travel Budget Sins

My budget paid to cell phone Companies is out of control I am Travel Budget Sinning. I have rewritten this opening paragraph five times trying to explain what is happening with my Cell Phone,, BlackBerry and USB Wireless Internet access cost. I must accept, these cost are unexplainable, because there is no way to understand what I am paying for, I just pay and hope I have enough money. I am angry and frustrated, this is not right, these telephone companies create traps, one false move and I have an explosion of expenses.

Writing about a subject forces me think clearly, my mind become annoyed with ambiguous sentences. Sometimes I have to just give up, and say,
"This is how I mismanage my Cell Phone,, BlackBerry and USB Wireless Internet access."

I give up; I cannot write clearly about this subject, it is not possible

NEW Ghana people can win 100 Dollars in Hobo Scavenger Hunt

Ho, Ghana West Africa --- Thursday, February 10, 2011


Writing my Book as Stalled, Live in Paradise on 500 Dollars per Month
This cell phone business is helping me to understand why I am stalling and have not finished writing this book. It is 85 percent done, I can see the finish line, but there is a problem in paradise.

I do not want to write a book saying,
"You can live in Paradise on 500 dollars per month."
Then when you arrive, you pay, 2000-5000 per month.

It is a little difficult to stay at a 500 dollar per month budget, but 100 percent possible. However, I also know the four reasons why people may go over budget.

Four Deadly Travel Budget Sins

1. Beer, Wine and Alcohol cost.

2. Cell Phone,, BlackBerry and USB Wireless Internet access."

3. Paying for love, dating, gifts, paying expenses, etc.

4. Paying for tourist attractions, because we had to see it.

Preachers try to convince people they can stop sinning, and because the person gets a warm and fuzzy feeling, they give the preacher man money. It is obvious to me, that maybe 1 in 300 got what was promised from the Preacher, the other 299 need to get a refund because they are going to Hell.

Somehow the teacher, the Preacher still is paid, when the student fails, and fails, falls to temptation and sins again.

I want a better than 1 in 300 success rate.
By writing this book, I want 50 percent of the people to read the book to succeed, I do not want them to fail because of one of the four deadly travel budget sins.

I need to write some clear rules, something like:

1. No credit cards.
2. Go to the ATM machine two times per month.
3. Do not eat in restaurants.
4. Stop your ATT and Verizon bill before you leave, dump the BlackBerry.

The writing challenge is this, to make the rules simple, but 100 percent clear, then when a readers do not follow the directions, they know why they had problems. The fortunate thing is this, most people will be able to live on 1500 dollars per month, and that budge is simple, they will try for 500, and end up at 1500 and still feel satisfied.

Again, my challenge is to write simple rules, which control the four deadly sins of the travel budget.

Scavenger Hunt Opened to Locals from Ghana
I stopped and talked with a family that live behind the fish smokers, we talked about this, we talked about that, and one person asked,
"How do you make money?"
I said,
"I have a large travel site."
One man behind me asked,
"What is the web site?"

From experience, I know that only 1 in 100 people actually go and look at my site, they lose focus, forget, it just skips their brain. What used to save me is this; a web site address needed to be typed in perfect, there was no forgiveness. E-mail addresses are the same, you need to do it perfect, there is no reward given for being close. People are not perfect, therefore they seldom found the perfect path to my site.

Oops, go figure, is now rewarding people for being close.

The Ghana gentleman was exceptional, I told him, Hobo Traveler, I try to be helpful. I said Traveler, not Travel; it is Hobo Traveler DOT com. From 12 years, 11 months and 10 days of experience I know, if the person asking questions, does not write it down, I am still safe. When the pull out a piece of paper, then I know they are serious, this seldom happens.

Well, again, the Ghana man was exceptional, he found the page, he then found the Blog, and he read about the Scavenger hunt. When I returned to my new found well of Ghana friends, one of the women said,
"I am coming down to the Tarso Hotel on the 22nd to win my 100 Dollars."

Ooops, I thought I was clear, but I was not, it is my fault, the Scavenger hunt was only going to open to foreigners with a passport in hand. So now, the Scavenger hunt is open to all people from all countries, sorry, I did not mean to confuse.

I want the Scavenger Hunt Rules Easy
You find the damn thing; you get 100 dollars, only one diehard proviso.
"You must record a video and put on"

This is the only way I can see with my own eyes that the person truly found what I am hiding in the Tarso Hotel here in Ho, Ghana, by me watching of the person with the object in question, there is no way to fake a video.

Ok, again, if you know anybody in Ghana who wants to win 100 US Dollars, you can now tell them to read my Blog, and one day unexpectedly, I will announce.
"The Scavenger Hunt is Open."
After opening day, one lucky person will walk around in the Tarso Hotel and find something worth 100 US Dollars.

I saw the man yesterday, he said, I am coming down on the 22 to win my prize. I said,
"Ok, but it is not going to be that easy, and you need to read my Blog daily to know he exact date this Hobo Scavenger Hunt starts."
Read Daily Please

If a Scavenger hunt was easy, then it would not be fun, it is the hunt, the challenge that makes life interesting.

Please, I beg you, read this page closely if you want to win 100 U.S. Dollars:
Hobo Scavenger Hunt

Four Deadly Travel Budget Sins


By clicking on the "Subscribe to Comments" you will receive an email when members post new comments on this page

What, in your Solomonic wisdom, will you do if two or more videos (depicting two or more different people, but each in the exact location of the prize, and each appearing to find the same prize) are posted on YouTube?

I suppose it is possible a person takes a video with themselves in the video, then for some strange reason gives the proof to another person. This person could in turn make a second video.

I suppose the first one to send a video will win.

Any suggestions, I know people are always looking for ways to cheat on games?

I will change the rules to say, first one to send location of video.


My friend "Esteban" and I used to dive on Spanish Galleon wreck site. I accompanied him more out of getting into the water and finding another treasure--ADVENTURE, than from any real thought of recovering gold and silver treasure.

Well this wreck had been properly excavated by a company over two seasons in the late 80's. ( I found out years later, one of my former GFs who I dated in Hawaii had been an undergrad. arch.intern on that underwater excavation for one season, although I didn't know it when we were going out.)

Nearly twenty years later, my buddy "Esteban" had some friends, "Ricardo" and "Erico" who went diving on the same site and had been finding gold buttons and other artifacts from the wreck. "Esteban" caught the Gold Bug and immediately went out and bought a metal detector, and some other gadgets. He needed a dive partner and I decided to join him, without buying any expensive equipment. Not telling Erico and Ricardo, Esteban too was going to go after the "motherlode."

The original excavation had followed all of the archeological best practices of the time, Really a first for a private company. They spent about $3M and only broke with selling the restored loot. People often have this mis-Concepcion (the Concepcion is actually the name of the wreck) that gold jewelry and objects survive intact after 300 years under the sea. They do not. Much of the cost of going after the treasure goes to restoring what is found. Melt value is not that great. Even if we had found the missing half of a 1kg solid gold plate...I figured it would only be about $30K in gold anyway hardly worth the tank refills and time investment.

Well, one day, Ricardo came over and started calling us "scabs," I guess seeing us diving at the same site. Well, it destroyed a good relationship between the two of them, although I later befriended Ricardo, never mentioning the incident again.
My two friends who still don't speak to each other lost an invaluable friendship. The gold, silver, and bejeweled trickets that Ricardo and Erico managed to gather and accumulate over countless years of scouring on the seabed was lost to burglars at Ricardo's house. Pawnshops bought the loot, but when Erico and Esteban went to claim what they thought to be theirs' found the Historic Preservation Office wanting to investigate "an unlawful excavation." Needless to say, years of weekend dives--to gain the treasure was lost.

Esteban and I did find some interesting Spanish artifacts with little economic value but exciting to just find the same. There were many WWII war relics. The real excitement and treasure was finding and reuniting a U.S. Naval Academy ring to the descendents of it's owner who had lost it during world war II off this invaded island.

Just my treasure hunting experience.

To all those Ghanaians who are thinking about spending their hard earned dollars to travel to the hotel. Save your money and buy and hold onto out of favor property. I made about $9,000 purchasing Ghana's Ashanti Gold shares about 9 years ago which was soon merged with Anglo Gold. My modest investment nearly doubled. The best thing to do is to buy property that everyone hates, that is selling at 50-90 below net current asset value. You will certainly get rich...moderately slowly...but fast by Ghanaian standards. Keep an eye open on the tumult in Egypt, Tunesia, and Jordan. Thousands of gallons of bath water are being thrown out with a baby...The two liter bathers can find this potential opportunity today.

Hat tip to Andy, what a great marketing device had the hotel thought up this one. After all, would be treasure hunters may want to spend the night some place before returning home empty handed.

Sounds like we are suffering the same sort of frustration about technical services available, collecting for the services being marketed and after payment has been completed the glitch or bug or inability to use or understand the service requiring even more time trying time and time again with technicians over the phone to receive the pre-paid service. I have admired how connected you have become and the content in your mobile office section and have yet to really read, learn and retain what you have so often explained in detail.

I often visualized Jesus entering most organized churches, looking into the hearts and actions of the membership and how they claim to worship him and the Holy Trinity and vomiting openly on his way out ASAP.

I've learned that making any kind of proposal which requires tasks before reward only in remembered as the rewards offered and any type of correct behavior or tasks completed are not only ignored but fail to even register at all. The children's book starts off with a series of "Who wants to plow the soil?, plant the wheat?, harvest the wheat?, make the flour?" answered by all the farm population of animals with a "Not I said the rooster" and so on until the question is asked "who wants to eat the bread?" answered by " I do" I do, I do" really describes basic human nature. When I read about your treasure hunt I thought it sounded FUN and CREATIVE but guessed it might not materialize. I've been thinking about giving something away each day FREE to one of our Manila guests but haven't come up with the doable idea which my partner / wife would also approve.

Regarding your book, maybe increasing the budget or wording it something like Life in a 100 havens for under U$1000 / month. I have advised guys that here in the Philippines and S.E. Asia they can live simple but pleasant lives from U$400 to U$700 / month but would need some sort of savings for the initial fixed one time purchase expenses like wheels, furniture, appliances etc which also help attract female companions drawn to "nesting" in a comfortable environment. Most people do not want to live life as hermits, loners or gurus so the ability to live and support another person is part of the "paradise " package which would help sell your book. Even if you as a person do not need such things you need to get into the head of potential readers / buyers of your book. Hope you finish and publish it. I just though about printing a tarpaulan sign with your group of websites so the 3000 to 4000 guests which pass thru our place in Manila might see it and be inclined to visit your creative, energetic and useful blog.

LIVE IN PARADISE ON $500 AMONTH The concept is attractive Andy and certainly doable: There are plenty of poor folks living in third-world, palm-waving, sea-waved paradises on much less than to them the fantastic income of $500 monthly. However, your formula (for the would-be expatriate to whom $500 monthly seems incredibly cheap) for living in paradise, e.g., "don't eat in restaurants," indicates achievement must come with a not so unparadisical lifestyle, at least from most of your readership's viewpoint.

Most people eat in restaurants, and live in Hell.

The people who can live in Paradise locations have the ability to make good decision, I eat in restaurants daily, I do not even need to think about a budget.

I just make good decisions all day.

Of course a responsible person can have a credit card.

I also will carry a BlackBerry, and use the Internet, I use three of the four deadly sins of travel budgets daily.

However, there are people who need to stop cold turkey until they can one day learn. These four sins are what people do, if you have trouble with one of them, you better not become a world traveler.

This is a guide, and that is always the problem with a guide, it recommends what to to stay on the path, and people make their own, then wonder why they have problem.

If is all fun stuff, but as I said, I expect people will try to stay at 500, then land at about 1500 per month, and realize 1000 was falling to temptation of the four deadly travel budget sins.

Or you they can continue to work, while I do nothing, there are people outside, that are quite positive the people inside are crazy.

The most lofty goal of every good teacher is that their students will become better at what they are teaching than the teacher themselves. Very few students atain this. If you are trying to teach someone to travel on $500/ month, and they reach $1,500. That should be considered a success if without your help the person would have spent $3,000, IF they travelled at all.

Bob L

Living in Cuenca Ecuador on $500.00 per month.

It can be done. Right now I am in an apartment hotel, cable tv, wiifi high speed, small kitchen, stove, refrigerator, pots and pans, dishes, etc.furnished, cleaned daily, sheets, towels laundered once a week. $280.00 per month. I am moving into a new apartment next month, nice part of town. Two bedroom, bath, large kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry room, wired for internet and cable television. After I pay for internet, cable, propane($2.00 for a large tank), electric my monthly cost will remain the same, maybe a little less. Local cost for eating out, breakfast $1.50, lunch $2.00, dinner $2.00. These prices are for complete meals including beverage, fruit, lunch and dinner include soup, main course, dessert. If you cook breakfast, and an occasional meal you will have enough in your $500.00 budget for an occasional splurge. Most of the concerts here, performing arts, etc. are free. I walk most of the time but a cab ride any where in the city is no more than $2.00. The apartment I am moving into is unfurnished, I plan to be here for at least several months so I will furnish it, when I do leave I will have no problem selling for at least break even. Furnished apts this nice are hard to come by.



I feel your pain about the cell phone.

We also use ATandT and in our case, forgot to disable roaming, data, etc. when we traveled to Mexico last November. I know I should have read the fine-print, but I thought "unlimited" usage also applied to Canada and Mexico. My 11-year-old sent 1800 text messages during our 7-day stay. ATandT dinged us for $0.50 per text message. $900!!

Then there were the Twitterings and Flickr uploads that I was sending from my Blackberry. Basically our cell phone bill for that month ended up costing me about $1,600, AFTER calling ATandT numerous times to get them to apply and back-date various international options to reduce the charges on our bill, without which the total cost would been much higher at about $2,500.

Next time we leave the country, we will definitely be leaving our cell phones at home.

BTW, I noticed those GOPhones that are sold in Walmart and Fry's Electronics advertise a Mexico pay-as-you-go/"unlimited" option. We might buy a couple of those for our trip to Cabo San Lucas in June.

- anthony

The problem with a book title like that is, people open it up and then get frustrated when you tell them to live like a monk. It's the same way people get frustrated with diet books that promise the moon and then tell them they have to exercise an hour every day and cut out every single thing they like to eat.

For most of us, even cheap travelers like me, going to a place and not sampling local restaurants is like visiting a strip club and being told to sit in the kitchen. Skipping the sites and passing on any adventure excursions sometimes feels like you might as well have just stayed home. If the ONLY point in moving abroad is to save money, fine. But for most people there needs to be much more to it than that, a true experiencing of what the place has to offer beyond what you can do for free or super-cheap.

Raise the title to $750 or $1,000 and let people live a little: I bet you'll get more takers and get better reviews.

The book quickly explains that 500 is the starting point on the back cover and front. Then there is the couple thing, there is seldom an independent Monk traveler out there anymore, there is almost only couples.

Sampling the food is what you do in the first two weeks in a location, then finally after about 20 days you stop being a tourist.

"Skipping the sites and passing on any adventure excursions sometimes feels like you might as well have just stayed home."

This is living in paradise, not visiting a place. I am not writing a book about being on vacation, this is living in places for a minimum of three months. Few people have lived long enough outside, lived as a traveler long enough to stop being a tourist.

I am not on vacation, and I am not writing a vacation book, it is a living abroad book.

I can see students, volunteers and long term travelers on a tight budget keeping it under $500 a month long term, aside from a medical emergency or civil unrest in the country which may require a person to move away, such as Egypt presently. Nothing wrong with being good to oneself once in a while going to a 'restaurant' and socializing once in a while, young persons may meet someone on the road they wish to date, also many couples, Baby Boomers from up north who receive well over $2,000 USD minimum just on Social Security alone, as well when people live the US, Canada, Australia, UK or Western Europe, I would nver tell them it is a 'sin' not to keep within a budget of $500 a person or less as an EX PAT not as a PT, there is a big difference, in some countries there are costs for aquiring residency and many people, like yourself, may have their own Internet online business, or may have special skills and language abilities and decide to look for full or part time employment, most persons are seeking hard common sense advice, and care little regarding your personal philosophy, political leanings or musings, taht may come later with online or f2f friendship, when nurtured. I would recommend to over 60 persons relocating and retiring anywhere in the world, with caution, to join first 'ex pat' bulletins, forums and websites, as well as read ex pat and travel bloqs relevant to the country they wish to emigrate to, do their own homework, and yes travel a bit around the. country or region they wish to settle in, making a few valuable contacts who may in the future be their friends and neighbors, in fact, at 65, with enlarged prostate I am unable to travel long lengths on public transport sans wc any more, I consider your site and this forum to have a lot of valuable information for budget travelers, especially long term RTW travelers who require to keep their budget down under $500, I was there there in the 1970s and early 1980s, however I 'cheated' in both Eastern Europe and Mexico and Central America where I had relatives, who had a lot of contacts and I got a lot of advice and help in a couple cases I got myself in trouble, live and learn, we are all different, all see the world through a different prism and many of us, due to circumstances from health, age to choice travel on different budgets, so those who wish go and sin, Andy I know what you make monthly more or less on your site, and know how to read between teh lines, recently you stated 'soon I may be a millionaire', you remind me of old Belize Walter who had hundreds of thousands in the bank up north, but Sam and I had to pay his taxi to the hospital in Mexico City,when his cataracts got worse and he was going legally blind, Walter had spent years on the road by himself counting pennies, finally his sister came and brought him back to the US. I live on about $700 a month, the extra $200 is for restaurants, ladie friends and nice clothing, etc. life is too short to constantly worry about every cent every minute, saludos. My experience and opinion only. Agree to disagree is fine with me!!!!

Andy, you keep saying that you have this site and hobo hideout. But Whosrush says you have 35 sites. Please explain..

I think I own or pay years to rent 35 plus domain names.

Maybe 10 of them have something on them, only maybe four could be called sites, and only two do I actively work on or with my coders.

It is normal for a web person to have many domain, these are reservations for future ideas or work.

However, we also need misspelled, I have with two LL, ect..

I never heard of

At least for myself, I have solved the cell phone problem. I only purchase prepaid minutes/SIM cards in whatever country I happen to be in. It is especially useful if that country has free incoming calls.

But it all comes down to the cell phone I have.

I have a Nokia E71 - which even though there are others out there that are newer is still the best cell phone for travel.

It comes unlocked and with the frequencies for GSM technology anywhere in the world. While I cannot access 3G speeds anywhere but the United States, since I don't use cell phone data it doesn't matter to me.

I then was able to go into the phone's operating system and set it to never use cell phone data. If I need to send an email or access a website, I can do so from free WiFi.

It has a GPS/maps app built in but will allow you to download and pre-load maps for entire countries from a WiFi hotspot and then have talking navigation when offline. This is not something offered on any other phone that I am aware of.

The Nokia E71 also comes with built in support for Gizmo5. This means that whenever I am in a WiFi hotspot, I can either use the on-board browser and my Google Voice account to place unlimited number of minutes call for free to a US telephone, or can use my GoogleVoice credit - priced about the same as Skype - to call any other country. If I didn't have a Google Voice account, I still could make a 3 minute telephone call over WiFi to a US phone number, which is usually long enough to say, "Call me back at the number I am calling you on." Then I can receive unlimited minutes of phone call through the Gizmo5 app so long as I am in WiFi.

This (above), alone, eliminates at least $50 worth of telephone charges.

You can also download a Skype app and from WiFi make Skype calls without having to take out your computer. But given the fact that not many people I know have Skype, and I was mostly using it to call a telephone number, I have found the Gizmo5 thing to be more helpful.

I hope that this helped.

My Account