Let me start by saying, my friends and I did the trip CHEAP but we could have done it even cheaper.
We recorded ALL of the costs to flights/ food/ accommodation which is how I came up with the figure $7,000. My friends and I used Excel Sheets through Google Docs which was super convenient to have on our phones.
Before leaving we spent about $3,000 on all the flights, some pre-booked accommodation/ activities, visas and travel insurance. This is a list of the flights and prices (we also paid for flights to Brunei but didn’t end up going):
Additional costs on top of the flights were the Visas for Vietnam (last minute purchased in the embassy in Sydney) which cost $210 and then for Cambodia which was $45. I got my travel insurance through the NRMA and it cost $401 for the 13 weeks travelling Asia.
I think I had about $3,000 in my bank account for the trip and wanted to try to keep to $1,000 a month but halfway in I realised I needed a little bit more so borrowed an extra $1,000 from my dad. During the 13 weeks of travel, I spend about $4,000 in total. To some it may seem like a lot, to others, nothing but please keep in mind we were travelling to a new country or new destination every couple of days so transport was a big cost factor.
|Country||Hostel Average Per Night||Food Average Per Day||Average Spending Each Day|
Besides the flights, we got on a lot of buses to get to more distanced destinations. In some of the countries, we stayed in one spot, whilst in others, we travelled around the country. There was so much more we could have seen and done if we had a bigger budget- we did miss out on a lot. After this experience though we learnt how to be wise with our money and how not to waste it on non-essentials. We also found that at the hostels there were always free activities to do and it was easy to make friends and then organise other low expensed days out.
Obviously, countries like Thailand and Vietnam are known to be cheap. On average we were spending less than $8 (AUS) a day on food in these countries. In every country, we would try to stick to a budget- more when it was the last month of the trip and this helped dramatically. I remember when we were in Kuala Lumpur for almost two weeks and I wanted to try and spend less the $10 (AUS) a day on everything. I wouldn’t eat anything for breakfast but would wait until lunch to eat and then had something like local fried rice for dinner. I didn’t buy any snacks because they were basically the same price as an actual meal. I also tried to avoid buying any other drinks other than water.
During some periods of the trip we would just relax at the hostel and not actually go out and do anything, whilst other times we would figure out exactly what we wanted to do and if it was in our budget. Sometimes one of us would choose to miss out on an activity whilst the others went and other times we stumbled across a tour that was a lot cheaper than what we were expecting. An example was the Canyoning Tour we did in Cebu, The Philippines. Online it was at least $99 (USD) to do this but at our hostel, we noticed a sign and they organised it for $35 (USD). Therefore, I would recommend not booking activities or tours until you are actually in the country because most hostels/ hotels will have deals.
My biggest tips from what I learnt on this trip about saving money:
- If you’re in a group, prices will be cheaper etc taxis, tours
- Almost all accommodation is the same, so always book the cheapest places
- Only eat when your body tells you and don’t waste money on snack foods
- Avoid alcohol and soft drinks
- Make the most of free breakfasts included in the accommodation
- Eat locally, not in Western restaurants and not in main tourist areas.
- Know your exchange rates and local prices so you don’t get ripped off
- Wait until you get to your destination before organising any activities
- Find the cheapest way to do an activity which will probably mean not doing a tour but doing it yourself
- Try to limit souvenir purchasing
- Find the cheapest transport options
- In countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia it is so easy and cheap to just get a bus into each country