So I have just started a 2 year trip. 3 months in Europe, 6 months in SEA, 3 months in north america and 12 months in south america. I'm about 12 days into the Europe leg and have been in Malta and Sicily so far. I've been carefully tracking my day to day expenses. I'm a 25 year old canadian teacher/writer who will be spending roughly a month in each of, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. I've read a lot of different opinions on budgets. i'll definitely be staying in cheaper range guest houses (Not always the absolute cheapest but closer to that then the top level) I have no qualms eating street food for most meals with the occasional restaurant stop. I'm wondering what my budget should be about on a daily basis. I don't drink, do eat too much, and will definitely want to see some temples and pay for some wildlife experiences, as well as very occasional luxuries.
To give you an idea of my spending habits so far 12 days in malta and sicily I have averaged 53 USD a day, not including flights but including everything else. Am I therefore reasonable to expect to be able to experience South East Asia with an average daily budget of 40 USD a day? Any thoughts and comments are very much welcome. Thanks,
#1 moss_11 has been a member since 8/2/2013. Posts: 4
$40/day is a decent medium budget for the SEA region. $10-15 for mid-range guesthouse room, plenty of street meals around $1-2 or sit-down restaurants $3-5. Scooter rentals around $5-7/day or take tuk tuks around town $2/ride or shared pickup taxis $1. Costs vary widely depending on location, e.g. southern beach hotspots like Patong/Phuket and Chaweng/Samui are expensive compared to northern Thailand. Stay slightly off the beaten path and save money.
Thanks very much for the feedback guys. If I can keep to roughly that budget this two year adventure may turn into a three year one. :)
#4 moss_11 has been a member since 8/2/2013. Posts: 4
You might even be able to do closer to $30 a day. On my trip I did $30 a day all except for a handful of nicer tours were extra(like a scuba diving trip).
Most places you can find housing for $5-10 and at most $15. A cheap day of food can be as low as $5 but on average probably closer to $10. Then you have your travel and sight seeing/tour expense. If you keep the travel to short distances or overnight sleepers(then don't need hotel) travel won't cost very much and will only be every few days.
I will say $30 a day is the cheapest I would aim for though. $40 will make things more comfortable as you can stay in hotels with air conditioning/hot water, eat better food, do more tours etc. If you are doing Sicily right now for $53 then $40 in SEA shouldn't be hard at all, probably feel like you are living it up in comparison.
"$10-15 for mid-range guesthouse room"
That's low end. Not many $5 rooms around.
"plenty of street meals around $1-2 or sit-down restaurants $3-5. Scooter rentals around $5-7/day"
Depends where you go and what you eat. Lots of places will be charging more than that for both food and scooter rentals in certain areas.
"Stay slightly off the beaten path and save money."
Not always true. Prachuap is off the beaten path and it's really cheap for food but rooms are overpriced and so too are scooters. Ko Kood is off the beaten path and all their rooms and scooters are grossly overpriced.
Trang is off the beaten path and hotel rooms there are more expensive than Ao Nang, Krabi (on the beaten path).
North and NE are cheaper but you may want to see the beaches and islands which are a major highlight of the nation.
$10-15 is for lower end bordering on mid range in some places. Rooms in this price range are available everywhere as long as you are willing to go without hot water or air conditioning or willing to sleep in dorm or share double room with stranger(did this a few times when I met someone else that is looking for a cheap room). On my 4 month trip I never spent more then $15 on a room. Aiming for $30 a day I realized quickly that $10 was the max I really wanted to spend on a room so that I had enough money for food, travel and sights. On average I spent probably $8-9 a night and my cheapest was a dorm for $3(although I saw a "dorm" for $1 but passed on it).
Overall Captain Bob's numbers are pretty much in line with what I saw. Like Leonard says you might find the odd place that is more expensive(usually islands) but if you look around and do your research there is often a cheap way to see a location, for example could rent a tent on Koh Kood for $7.
One other note about accommodation is that there are usually cheap options that you can't find/book online. Wikitravel will mention the odd good place as will this site (look up location and usually has a list of accommodation) but sometimes you just have to show up and check the outskirts of a town to find the really cheap places.
Thank you again everyone for even more feedback. Sounds like 40 dollars is a reasonable goal. If I go a bit over up to 50 I'm not overly concerned, but it would be really neat to add a third year of traveling in Africa, which seems like it might actually be possible now. Thanks for the tips on how to find cheap accommodation and such. I'm sure I'll have some days when I splurge but I'm comfortable in fairly basic hostels. The water is not a major concern and I definitely wouldn't need air conditioning on a regular basis, though some sort of fan would be ideal.
I do have one more question now that I think of it. I am an aspiring novelist and write a lot on my laptop as I travel. In these budget guesthouses and hostel type places is it likely I will be able to find an outlet to charge my laptop which I write on, or is this likely to be a big problem as it is one thing I will need most nights? This may be a silly question but while I've travelled extensively in Europe I've never done the backpacker thing in poorer regions of the world. Thanks for any input.
#8 moss_11 has been a member since 8/2/2013. Posts: 4
You should have a plug almost everywhere. On some smaller islands they won't have dedicated power though so may only have electricity during the evening(usually from sunset until 10-12 depending on location/business).
Thank you very much, that's one of my worries gone.
#10 moss_11 has been a member since 8/2/2013. Posts: 4
Im on my 111th day travelling sea, and interim soending is at $13 per day. You can do it too ;-)
#11 Limbonis has been a member since 10/8/2014. Posts: 2