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Finance and money forum

Budgeting for 6 countries in four months?

Posted by mari111 on 14/3/2013 at 02:06

I want to visit Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Thailand- 4 weeks ($30 Canadian a day)
Laos- 3 weeks ($30)
Cambodia: 3 weeks ($30)
Vietnam: 3 weeks ($30)
Malaysia: 2 weeks ($40)
Indonesia: 1 week ($40)

Does this look realistic? I drink, but not a LOT.

#1 mari111 has been a member since 9/3/2013. Posts: 4

Posted by antoniamitchell on 16/3/2013 at 14:05

I assume you're travelling alone?

With the Canadian dollar roughly on par with the American dollar, that budget's do-able.

You'll have to be a bit careful with money - you won't have the cash to eat in fancy restaurants, do lots of tours, or go on benders every second night (but it doesn't sound like that was your plan anyway :) ) and at that budget you'll be in cheaper accommodation, rather than anything flashbacker.

Remember for budgeting purposes - popular islands and big cities are more expensive than more out of the way places, and the more you move about from place to place, the more you'll spend.


Have a great trip!

#2 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Location: Singapore. Posts: 515
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Posted by Geer1 on 16/3/2013 at 15:36

I just did Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and stuck to my budget of $30 for the most part. Here are some comments on shooting for $30.

Try not to spend more then $10 on accommodation for the night, every once in a while this isn't possible but most of the time you can find something. Note $10 accommodation means staying in hostels in some places and staying in cheap fan cold water rooms or shared bathrooms in others. Most of the time you can find a decent enough place but sometimes at this rate they will be a little dirty or smell and may have bed bugs so check the beds and bring a sleeping bag sheet in case the bedding is questionable(most times is fine).

Food is something you have to be willing to go cheap on to meet $30. Depending on what you do during the day(sights you see, entrance fees and tours etc) you might not have all that much to spend on food and that means that quite often you will end up eating stir fried rice, fried noodles, soup or plain rice with a little bit of meat/vegetables(usually can find the above for $2 at cheap restaurants). Even sticking to the cheap restaurants you will be looking around $6-10 a day for food and drinks, you can find some gems for $3-4 and on days when not doing a little can "splurge" and get quite a good meal for usually $5-7.

Drinks are the tricky part. If you like to go hang out in a bar/club I would say $30 won't be enough, drinks aren't that much cheaper especially in bars/clubs. Cocktails especially are not cheap in lots of places(imo not worth it in most). If you are ok with drinking a beer or two with supper or buying beer or local spirits and mix at a 7/11 or corner store then it isn't too bad though and you will probably find yourself drinking 1-2 beer a day. Some places offer cheap local spirit mixes that are ok if you want to get buzzed but taste usually isn't that great.

The one thing that I went over budget on(but had extra allowance for things like this) were the odd tour/entrance fee. If you want to do stuff like go scuba diving, rock climbing, halong bay tours, snorkelling tours, kayaking tours and even some trekking tours then $30 isn't enough to cover stuff like this and at least part of it will have to come out of an extra fund or you spend a weak cheaping it up to try and make back costs... The Angkor temples entrance fee and maybe the odd other place falls into this category as well.

Another thing to note on $30 a day is that when it comes to travel you can't move too fast or you will go over budget. Longer bus rides cost a fair bit(especially in Vietnam) and although night buses save on accommodation they still usually cost $20 or so so limit what you can do the day before or after. Also when in towns etc you will have to do lots of walking, rent cheap bikes, take local transport etc.

So long story cheap, if you are a cheap sob like myself then you can make it for $30 a day but if you want to live it up a little more, stay in nicer or private accommodation, or want to do multiple tours then $30 is not enough. That said it doesn't take all that much more to make things noticeably more comfortable. At $15 a day for accommodation you will never have trouble finding something unless in Vietnam during TET(been there done that...), an extra $5 for food leaves you eating great and or drinking your fair share if not more, and an extra $5 a day allows for more tours etc(don't need it every day so it adds up over a week say and gives you an extra $35). Depending on how you want to travel and what you are willing to put up with $35-$40 would probably be good enough for most people, if you really want to live it up a bit more then $50 should be lots to make sure you are comfortable in every regard.

Oh and flights, vaccinations, visas, health insurance etc all have to be on top of those daily allowances as well so remember that when planning as they are often some of the most expensive parts of a trip.

#3 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by mari111 on 19/3/2013 at 13:13

Thanks for the advice!

Yes, I'm travelling alone, but after reading what you've said, I'm thinking it's better to go for a shorter time, or cut one country off the itinerary- Indonesia, maybe.

#4 mari111 has been a member since 9/3/2013. Posts: 4

Posted by chinarocks on 20/3/2013 at 05:52

Yes, absolutely do cut Indonesia and use this week to build in some flex to your schedule. In 4 months of travel, you will need minimum one week flex for staying somewhere longer than planned or travel delays etc. Also there seems little point in travelling so far and to such a big and varied country for only one week. And getting there would require a flight or boat.

While I like the look of your itinerary, if I had to add time onto somewhere then I would say do it to Vietnam. 4 weeks > 3 weeks there for sure.

#5 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

Posted by Geer1 on 21/3/2013 at 20:11

Yes definitely leave some extra time just in case, you never know what might happen. I for example spent a week in Vientiane recovering from dengue fever.

Your 1 week in Indonesia could easily be added to Vietnam as a month would allow you to see almost all the main attractions.

#6 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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