I like to imagine myself a practical sort of person. I like to think that I won’t naturally do really stupid stuff. So when I decided I will travel, that it is within my reach, it came hand in hand with watching a recent broadcast from tv.jw.org about the bible history display in Brooklyn, New York.
I have never really been able to give excuse for myself to travel, but going to the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses for a tour and seeing the history displays, well that was worth it. I honestly have never wanted to visit USA in my life before, I’ve always thought the prettier and more fringe places would be way more fun to visit. The Mediterranean, or the pacific islands. And cheaper too. But if I’m going to go all out the way across the great Atlantic pond, I might as well spend a month or so there visiting family, and friends.
On the plus side, I have family and friends in the states, and it’s generally considered a fairly safe country. That said, I’m from Africa, I watch my back all the time and trust no one. I like to think if the need arises I’ll be able to take care of myself.
Counting the costs
What does a single South African girl need to budget for a usa trip? Well before sharing with family and friends the ideas, heck even before wasting time to get a visa I decided to put together a rough estimate of what this is gonna cost. Because you know, if it’s over my budget, I won’t even bother. So for starters the very basic I came through with was the following.
- Visa R2000 (well just under, more on that in the next post)
- Airfare Durban – NYC (R10,570, which a couple of weeks later after I had started the ball rolling for the trip jumped up to R12,140, but have figured out that’s mostly the cost they give if you wat to book 3 months in advance. If you book anywhere from next week to one month it’s still +-10 G)
- Hostels/accommodation in NYC $30 per day (+-R11 to $1 at time of my calculations), so for a week about R2000 (that changed since)
- Hiring a car about $150 for three days (this plan has since changed)
- Flight from NYC to Cleveland (to visit my family, hoping that I can count on their good will to stay with them for less than the cost of a hotel) $300 or less. Unless I take a bus which is $85 or less,tempting, very tempting.
- Flight Cleveland to Minneapolis, as above with the family. Again close on $300.
- Feeding my face daily (food costs), I don’t eat at restaurants if I can help it, so going to the store and buying decent nutritions food, $10-20 per day (I try to over estimate everything in order to make sure I have a little leeway)
- International driver permit…. Can’t find the price online
That price was racking up real quickly! Total estimates came to about R30,000. What have I forgotten to count in? All that said, I decided I’ve got just enough in the bank to scrape by and make this trip a reality! Then I’m going to get back and be flat out broke.
Getting the visa, fund raising, trip changes, planning the clothing, more fund raising, booking the trip, and so much more!
Ready, set, fly!