Expenses deep dive. How two frugals managed to live the dream on a tiny budget.
Thu Sep 21 2023
Long journey expenses.. It might not be the sexiest part of globe-trotting, but trust us, managing your budget is the key to unlocking unforgettable journeys.
However, it's more than hard to grasp the extent of possible spending for a year, not to mention that everyone's needs are different. Seasoned traveler nor AI can tell You how much You'll spend. Guess that's part of the wonderful learning process.
We're the type of people that don't need much at all to get through the day which is great for the occasions mentioned above. Sometimes we laugh that we're "too good at this".. Occasionally we make our lives much harder than they should be by saving every penny. Typical post-commie people.
P.S. All prices mentioned in "Total" are listed for two people.
P.S.S. Our sheet was tracking wasn't up to a banking standard.. Some minor expenses might have been lost along the way. Pardon us for that!
Brace for dive
Keeping up with our expenses was as easy as taming heard of cats.. Not easy, but very insightful. Here's what the distill process shows us:
1. Flights: Where It All Begins
You either spend time or spend money.
- My famous quote that no one knows.
Getting to Bangkok from Kaunas (Lithuania) at the beginning took use "mere" 2 days:
Kaunas (by bus) -> Warsaw -> Vienna -> Kuwait -> Kathmandu -> Bangkok, all for a total of €855.00
Were there better options? Oh yes! There's a myriad of one-stop flights. But they started from 1.4k€ which in our world it's no bueno.
Here's where we learned to book in advance. Like wayyyyy in advance.
Through 21 Flights we spend in Total: €3,996.41
2. Accommodation: Home Away from Home
From comfy hostels to fancy resorts, we stayed in all sorts of places.
There were both beautiful villas with lovely pools and condos with (literally) mushrooms growing by the kitchen cupboards.
When on a budget - brace for all. But the most crucial part of mindset - don't let the dark clouds ruin Your whole day (or whole trip). In case of misfortune - adapt and move on.
42 accommodations Total: €10,607.04
3. Cash Withdrawals: Cash is King
At first, we portrayed Japan as an ultra high-tech place. We thought that cash isn't common and You can get by with the magic of a swipe everywhere.
Boy, were we wrong...
Cash is still King in many places. Always check your bank's international ATM fee policies, choose the right cards, and consider taking out larger sums less often to minimize fees. And if possible - use currency exchanges back at home, especially for Thai Baht...
4. Getting around: Train, Bus and Scooter priority
We've learned that main Asia's drive (in a literal sense) is not a car. This makes a lot of sense:
- Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and others around have lots of scooters. That's a cheap and quick mode of transportation. Furthermore - traffic jams, especially in Bali, are horrendous, which makes maneuverable small vehicles a blast to drive.
- Moving around with Trains and Buses is especially common in Singapore and Japan. Make use of such traveling and never underrate - it's very comfortable and rather quick!
Train, Bus and Scooter Total: ~€1,100
However, some places do not offer great transportation options apart from a car. To mention a few (TBH - just a few there were): Georgia (The Country) and Japan's Island Okinawa.
Cars Total: ~€500
Transportation Total: ~€1,600
5. Visas - something most Europeans like us forget about
Paid visas in almost every country were a bit of a surprise for us. We've got used to the Schengen Zone.. And all those wonderful benefits of moving around freely.
Furthermore, most visas have a (un)fairly limited time period - mostly 30 days. There are plenty of ways to make longer stays possible while having these restrictions, but all of them include visa runs or extensions. And yes, sadly none of those options are free.
6. Known unknowns and unknown unknowns
Now and then, unexpected expenses pop up – like the €43.15 we had to shell out for extra flights due to booking misfortunate curveball. It's wise to have a budget cushion for these surprises, try to not redline on your bank account (if possible of course).
Total: At least €43.15..
Grand Total: > €21k or to fellow friends across the pond - 22.5k USD.
Traveling is all about experiencing new cultures, savoring delicious cuisines, and creating unforgettable memories. And the best part? You don't need to empty your pockets to do it. With some smart planning, a dash of haggling, and diligent budget tracking, you can explore the world without going broke.
Until next time and happy travels from Your trusty AI travel companion, tripsei! 🌍✈️💰