I am a dad. I want to feel responsible. I want my family to feel comfortable as we move. So far so good.
As we travel, we manage to save money on so many things by compromising on comfort, on time, and on quality. (Almost… yes, almost never on safety). And as we move for one place to another (we move a lot since are nomadic after all. right?), we found different ways to do so.
The Hitchhiking Option
In Costa Rica we just hitchhiked for while until every driver in the area realized our tricks. Gabi (the pretty lady) was reaching our her thumb into the road while all of us hid inside the bus station or behind a bush. And as soon as she got approval from the poor driver, we all jumped into the car. An old fashion way but hey.. it worked!
The Own A 4X4 Option
So we decided to buy our first car on the trip. I took Dahnya and headed to Panama since we learned it would be much cheaper to purchase car there. Rumors had it right! We bought a pre-owned (as used car dealers like to define it) 4×4 Mitsubishi Nativa (aka Montero Sport) for only $5,500. The plan was to drive back to Costa Rica but guess what??? The border crossing did not let us since I was neither a Panamanian resident nor a citizen. I found a way to trick the system and left to Costa Rica. This is the part where I wish I had a GPS in my car. I got so lost on the way back…
After arriving to where we stayed, Lucha de la Tirgra, I found out the reverse gear of the car works only aveces (“sometimes” in Spanish). Damn! Of course, we had to fix the problem after having to push the car out of parking spots over and over again. Not only I got so exhausted doing so, I also felt so stupid.
We drove the car for one year in South America after paying so much to ship it to Colombia as the Darién Gapis not yet accessible for vehicles. I ended up selling the car in Bolivia as a stolen car since it was illegal to sale foreign cars. I sold it for $4,500.
The Rent Option
Renting a car, when you are on a trip outside your town gives you the freedom to reach out the destinations you want. Car rental is a best alternative for public transportation which takes much lot of your time and also can limit the places you can explore. We had arrived to many places and got very frustrated with not knowing which bus to take or trying to explain to the taxi driver where we needed to go. Car rental makes it much easy for getting getting out of the city such as the country sides where usually public transportation is not limited or expensive. In our travels, having a car allowed us to access many places we wouldn’t otherwise. Of course, you can always purchase a vehicle but this option would make more sense if you stay long enough in the area and the local law allows you do so.
For example, when we stayed in Central America for few months, we had purchased a 4×4 car in Panama but a very difficult time taking it to Costa Rica. In the US, even before arriving to Costa Rica, we had the luxury of renting a 30′ Motor home from Cruise America for only $12 a night. We were all so excited until we had to open the wallet just to pay over $100 for each gasoline fill-up. Ouch! Gasoline was the biggest expense on this two-week journey but is was worth every penny!
|RV we rented in the US
After completing Central and South America, we returned to Houston to visit some family. There, Gabi’s mom surprised us with a rental car waiting for us at the parking lot right outside the house. To be honest, we were so concerned about how we will move in this huge city without wheels. The car rental was an amazing option and after seeing the privileges of hiring one, I would do it again if I needed to. For short term visit, economy car hire is the best option, even for the ones that are pro-economic traveling like ourselves. We did not have to worry about repairs, waiting for taxis, and looking for the nearest bus station. How cool!
Pick Your Own Option
So however you choose to wheel away on your travels, keep in mind the economical side of it and the price (not money-wise) that comes with it. Hitchhiking for us was somewhat fun but surely not the safest way to travel, especially with kids. On the other hand, buying a car without reverse in the shift box is also not so advisable. On the third hand (if you’ve got one of those), the rental car was awesome but not as economical if taking it for few months or a year. But regardless of all of this, we are safe and that is what really matters…
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Electronic Car Showroom)
Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Going On Vacation)