Budgeting for Seven Months in Asia
So, how do you budget for seven months in Asia?
Simple: $30 a day!
I have to credit a fellow Bostonian, Lillie from Around the World L, for her excellent post: The $30 a Day Budget Secret. While traveling through Southeast Asia, she budgeted $30 for each day: $10 for lodging, $10 for food, and $10 for everything else, from transportation to entertainment to random expenses.
That’s an awesome system, I thought. Very easy. I’ve since adopted it myself. Mine varies a bit: since I eat from street stalls about 75% of the time, there’s no way I come close to $10 a day on food. But I definitely spend more on the “other” category.
So, is it possible to travel through Southeast Asia on $30 per day? For day-to-day expenses, absolutely. Especially if you have separate funds for flights and special activities, like trekking, diving or a tour.
But know this:
Booze will take your budget and absolutely wreck it. Alcohol is definitely cheaper here, but not by the same margin that everything else is. A large beer starts at $2; cocktails start at $3. Have a few and they’ll add up.
And also this:
Solo female travelers get drinks bought for them all the time. God, I love being a girl.
So, after a few out-of-control spending days in Bangkok (I still can’t believe I bought a new iPhone), I’ve been sticking to it, staying under $30 most days. Could there be any problems?
Yes. I don’t have any extra money saved.
I had a plan. $1,000 per month for ground expenses. $1,200 for the flight. A separate $1,500 for plane tickets, travel insurance, visas, and special activities. $2,000 for reestablishment funds, untouchable until I get back.
And then I left my job a month early. While I haven’t regretted that for one second, that month would have earned me another $2,500 toward the trip. And then my car needed some expensive repairs.
So after buying a round-trip ticket, I ended up leaving with $7,000, plus an incoming $760 car insurance refund: enough for day-to-day expenses for the entire trip, but nothing else.
I’m taking an enormous leap of faith here because I genuinely believe that I can earn enough on the road, from freelance writing and from ads on my three sites, to cover the rest of my expenses through May 23, 2011. If not, well, I’m in trouble. Going home early would be humiliating.
I’ve already booked two cheap flights, from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur to Krabi. (Yes, my itinerary has changed already!) Cheap as they were, they were WAY over the $30/day budget.
But I think I can do this.
And don’t forget — it’s always a worthy investment to advertise with AdventurousKate.com!
This post was sponsored by a third party.