While I was answering the question of how much I spend per day in each country – I’ll tell you in this post on what I spend the money to travel around the world, especially in Asia. Sometimes it is exciting on how these expenses vary from country to country. And like this, it’s possible to find out what you spent most of the money and find ways to reduce these costs.
The app that documents everything for you
I can tell you exactly how much I have spent and on what because I use an app called TravelSpend which allows you to monitor all your expenses and that with minimal effort. Every time I buy something, I type the amount and for what purpose I spend the money in my app and the app gives me all the details. A friend recommended me the app in Macau so for China I, unfortunately, didn’t get anything so detailed as for other countries, but it should still be accurate.
In my other post, I described how my travel style is more in detail so to make it short; I do budget travel, but I still want some comfort, and I’m willing to spend a little more to get that.
General discoveries I made about my budget during the trip
There are some things you can save a hell of a lot of money on. Transportation for example; busses instead of flights, morning flights instead of day time flights, slow boats instead of speed boats and walking instead of taking short taxi rides are just a few examples. Ok, I have to be honest, I have a lot of time and time is the last thing I care about; that may not be the case for anybody, but there is still a lot of saving potential for transportation, even with less time.
Another thing you might save a fortune on is tours; the best is to organize everything by yourself. It’s a lot more flexible, of the beaten paths and a lot cheaper. And instead of wasting time on finding the best tour company with reasonable prices and good reviews you can plan the trip to go by yourself. And renting own scooters or cars is also an excellent way to save money — more on these saving tips in my next blog.
As you can see it is the most significant expense the transportation (Add the flights and transportation, and it makes up 30 % of all costs). The second biggest one is food, and accommodation and activities rank third and fourth places.
As I said that’s the most significant point, but also the position you can save the most money on. I traveled already so much; 11 countries, 8 planes, 36 busses, 18 trains, 20 boats and 5000 km by car. Adding all the scooters I rented and all the km I drove with scooters, it must have been over 3000 km. For all of that together I only spend 3200 euros which is not too much as I find. To be honest, transportation is at the same time the biggest pain in the ass; busses are uncomfortable, long and warm, boats are slow, and some journeys seem to never end; that’s also the case while flying. I always say “traveling is the not so funny part about traveling” but it is necessary to see everything and after a time you get used to it. And for me as a 1,90-meter tall guy it can sometimes be even harder as for smaller people with a better bladder, but that’s how it is.
Food ranks second place in my expenses, and I think that’s fine like that. Meals is one thing you shouldn’t save too much on. Especially in Asia where the food is cheap anyways, you should eat what you want and what looks good to you and don’t pay attention too much to the price. Rather take a bus instead of a flight and spend the extra money on food. For me, one of the best things while traveling is food and you definitely don’t want to miss out on that. Food is part of the culture; food connects people and food makes you happy. I may even spend a little bit more on food as my fellow female travelers for example as I can eat so much food and with all these activities, I’m always hungry. With food the only way you should save is to eat street food instead of restaurants – it’s a lot better and a fraction of the price.
Surprisingly I don’t spend much on accommodation at all. That may be because I sleep in Hostels in 90 % of the cases and in Australia I even sleep on free camping sites most of the time. So, accommodation is also an excellent way to save some money. You don’t have to take the cheapest hostel you can find, in Asia especially the difference is often only a few cents or one euro between a good and lousy Hostel. You don’t break the bank if you take the better one and a night of good night sleep is worth spending some extra cash sometimes.
Activities is another point you shouldn’t save any money on. Of course, you don’t have to take the most expensive tours every time, but you shouldn’t skip activities just to save some extra money. Remember traveling is all about experiences and activities, you won’t remember the shit bus on which you saved some money, but you will remember your diving sessions, trekking tours, elephant bathing, volcano sunrise tours and the tour to Nusa Penida. As I said in the beginning; you can save money on organizing the trips by yourself, but that’s the only thing you should save money on. Sometimes I met people who do extreme budget travels and so they don’t do any of these activities and tours – then I ask myself why these people are even traveling.
Under other expenses, I put anything that hasn’t any place in any of these other categories. These include travel insurance, Gym session fees, Sim cards, medicine, Visa fees, hairdresser, fees for toilets or massages, etc. These expenses are often necessary and not avoidable like visa fees, Sim card fees or toilet fees. I personally spent also a lot of money on Gym sessions as it is important for me, that money can be saved for other people, but most of these things in this category are just necessary.
I rarely buy some new things, but sometimes it’s also necessary like new underwear or new shoes because my shoes where so outworn. I try to keep the costs as low as possible and like that I only spend 300 euros in 6 months on new things.
This point might be a lot bigger for other people, but as I stopped drinking alcohol after only two months of traveling, I saved a fortune on alcohol. Especially Australia is famous for the high prices of alcohol. I then instead spent 10 euros on a gym session in the morning then for 2 beers in the evening.
Here are all costs included for ATM or exchange fees. Of course, with a little research, you can avoid a lot of these fees, do a little research on free ATM in your next destination. However, sometimes like in Thailand it’s not possible to avoid these fees, and you are forced to pay some ATM or credit card fees. And 54 euro in 6 months is still a moderate amount.
Especially Asia is so cheap to do the Laundry. 99% of the Hostels offer such a service, and it’s just unbelievable cheap. In Australia, you better find Landry shops with coin-operated washing machines, but even with these machines it’s still more expensive than in Asia, so you better wear your T-shirt twice.
These are my expenses, and of course, your costs might change, but this should give you a good overview of what you spend money and where you can save money. In the next blog entry, I give you some more tips on how to save money.
- How much I spent in China
- How much I spent in Macau
- How much I spent in Vietnam
- How much I spent in Cambodia
- How much I spent in Thailand
- How much I spent in Laos
- Total countries I visited until now: 34
- Planes: 8
- Busses: 36
- Trains: 18
- Boats: 20
- Km driving: 5500
- Km running: 1876