Having finished our 6-month journey, during which we visited 12 countries (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, China and Nepal), we often get questions regarding the cost of such a trip. In this post you will find information that will help you to realize that you don’t need a lot of money (which does not mean you need very little of it) to make your travel dream come true. Of course now we can call ourselves smarter and advise you which country you could skip right away if your budget is very limited; and this does not mean that it must be Australia, which many people associate with gigantic travel expenses! Sit back comfortably and make yourself decide after reading our tips whether a long travel is something you could go for taking into account various destinations and travel costs:)
Going straight to the point we can say that our estimated budget for the 6-month trip across 12 countries was: 6.500 EUR per person, but as it often happens in life, we slightly exceeded it, which does not mean that it would not be possible to fit in the budget of 5.000EUR per person when traveling for 6 months. As far as our preparations for the travel are concerned, we were fortunate that we did not have to spring for vaccinations because we had them arranged a few years ago (this included: hepatitis A and B, tetanus, rabies and typhoid and even yellow fever (which was necessary before our journey to Africa and South America)). There are no vaccines available for malaria and dengue so we used mosquito repellents, especially during trekkings in the Sumatran jungle, West Papua, or the Philippines, and we bought them on the spot. In addition, in case of diarrhea or other post-food consumpion ailments we had some Polish medicines with us but in fact alcohol and coca-cola turned out to have the best effect and let our stomachs undergo a turbo-cleansing 🙂 As for the vaccinations mentioned above the minimum cost you have to be prepared for is 200EUR (the cost in Poland), but the good thing is that some of them are valid up to 10 years.
As for the travel insurance, we arranged a family insurance in PZU (one of the most popular insurance agencies in Poland), which we actually regret: it cost us less than 500EUR for 6 months. After the fact we learned about ”Karta Planeta Młodych” offering a 1-year insurance package for around 17EUR per person – next time we will certainly use this opportunity and save a lot of money.
During our trip, which lasted over 190days we had as many as 45 flights – yes! We did not make any mistake in our calculations, and in fact the flights were the ones that cost us the most: about 4250EUR for 2 people. Counting it per person per flight you will get: 48EUR and you will probably say that it is not much and wouldn’t believe that it’s feasible. Believe us, it is possible because we had a lot of flights between small islands (which lasted 30 minutes up to 1 hour), which did not cost more than 20EUR per flight.
In most countries we managed to fit in a daily budget of 13EUR / person, which included accommodation and 3 meals a day, so the rest of the money: about 250EUR / person / month was enough for us for land and sea transport + visas + entrance tickets + alcohol & entertainment. We wanted to see as much as possible, so it was a lot of money for the attractions, but we did a great job taking on a variety of trekkings without a guide (which allowed us to save a lot of money), such as the one during 4 days of wandering through the villages of West Papua, where our daily budget did not exceed 6EUR/ person counting accommodation and food..
On the other hand, during our trekking in the Himalayas we spent only 1 USD / person on accommodation, but had to spend more on food (about 10EUR / person), but anyway we managed to do it all within our estimated budget.
What cost us much more were entrance fees to attractions, and surprisingly not to those in Japan or Australia, as you would most probably guess (in Japan we visited many places for free in fact), but those in China. For example, counting the entrance fee, transport to and from, cable car when visiting the Avatar Mountains we spent together over 100EUR, and we personally regret it. Moreover, we traveled about 9000 km by train in China, and although Chinese trains compared to the Polish ones were slightly cheaper taking into account the distance that we passed (mostly in night trains), all the expenses turned out to be high when summing them up. As for the JR Pass, which of course we had to buy online before visiting Japan, we spent almost 250EUR / person / week for the ticket available for almost all kinds of transport, but it was necessary. In our post about all the costs of our 8 day stay in Western Australia you will read that the budget: 400AUD /person was absolutely everything including car rental, gasoline cost (we traveled 2500km), accommodation in Perth and 1 night in Albany, sleeping in the car + attractions + food; that is 38EUR/ person / day.
In Asia, including accommodation, food and attractions on a particular day when we moved a lot from one place to another, we sometimes spent 25EUR / day / person, so WA didn’t actually turn out to be that costy … Same thing with Japan: 10EUR / person / night in Osaka in a private hotel in a room with futon (Japanese mattress) is probably not a fortune, and with JR Pass you can actually sleep ”for free’ in night trains (only on declining seats but anyway; you have to pay extra for sleeping berths). As for the food in Japan the least we spent was 3-4EUR for a pre-prepared meal sold at a discount at a supermarket after 8pm. In other countries we used the option of sleeping in dorm rooms in hostels, or in tents for 4EUR. In the Philippines in Port Barton one host left us his entire wooden house for 5EUR per day / the whole one !!! Remember that in Asia it is often not worthwhile to book early, especially in Laos, where you will find some place to sleep on the spot for 3USD. In Myanmar it was a bit different as we paid a bit more: 6EUR for bed and breakfast in a hotel (with a poor standard but the one you could endure), but on the other hand we could eat street food for 0,50EUR!
So now getting to the final calculation of the above expenses per PERSON for 190 days:
45 flights per person: 8.500PLN / 2.125EUR
Travel insurance: 1.000zł + vaccinations: 1.000zł = 2.000zł / 500EUR
Budget for accommodation + 3 meals a day – 50PLN / person / day = 9.500PLN / 2.375EUR
Budget for visas, tickets, attractions, transport, fun: 6.200zł / 1.550EUR
JR Pass: 1.024zl / 250EUR
Visa to China: 409zł + visa arrangement (so called: promesa) to Vietnam: 122zł = 531zł – arranged before departure (necessary) / 132EUR
So the final cost is around: 6.933EUR/person. Of course, because of higher costs of some attractions in China we spent more money in fact, but at least from the above info you can obtain a rough picture to know what you should be prepared for more or less. In addition, we didn’t exceed our daily budget in the following countries: Myanmar, Indonesia (especially Sumatra, Sulawesi / Celebes, West Papua) and Nepal.
And here is how much time we spent in each country:
Thailand (where we have been before): 12days
Laos: 2 years
Australia (WA) – 8 intensive days
Japan – 1 intensive week
Indonesia (where we have been before): more than 1 month
China: 1 month
Philippines (where we have been before): over 2weeks
Sri Lanka (where we have been before): 2weeks
Malaysia (where we have been before): 1 week
When reading our blog entries you have probably noticed that we are not hardcore travellers carrying our own tents, and even though we were to sleep in our sleeping bags somewhere in the woods in the open air, in general we always tried to spend a night at somebody’s place and pay for it. The conditions were not always even average, it seems to me that on the fingers of two hands we can close the number of places where we slept, where there was no air-con or hot water. And in the Philippines during the high season we were greeted with disbelief when we didn’t want to change a room with a fan for the one with air-con – the price was more important for us than the comfort itself. But finally at the end of our trip we decided to spend 3 nights in Thailand allowing ourselves for a bit of luxury and made a booking in a typical resort 🙂
We hear many times: where did they get the money from? After all, a regular Pole can never dream of such a trip at all! And you know what? We often laugh at such an approach. In such moments Michal always mentions the example how much a regular Mr. Smith can save per year if he gives up smoking and stops buying 1 packet of cigarettes every day .. Supposedly Mr. Smith spends 5EUR for a packet of cigarettes every day. If we multiply it by 365 days, we will get: 1825EUR savings in a year! So Mr. Smith after 2 years of saving will already be able to afford a 2-3 month trip to Asia. What’s more, he does not have to jump from one place to another like crazy, he can stay in one or two pleaces, even the cheapest ones, and there is a chance he will spend less money and stay there longer. The best part is that very few of such explanations will help, as after a while he will probably say that he can’t leave his job, his house, family .. personally we know a lot of people traveling with children who are satisfied with their lives the way they are. A lot of people also work remotely for example, or take a half-year free vacation/sabbatical leave – we got such a proposal ourselves, but we did not want to feel restricted to returning to a given place at a given moment. While traveling many people take up some jobs in Asia. They work for locals and get accommodation and food instead and continue their travels this way, they meet new people and enrich their lives with new experiences, learn from Asians how to live peacefully as opposed to being a participant of a rat race in our European reality. We think that if you really want something you can do it. The question is whether someone really wants to set off on such a journey or whether he or she prefers to complain that they can not afford it but choose a comfy and well-paid job in Europe.
Everyone risks something. Michał risked getting isolated from his passion for cooking in a restaurant, but gained new culinary experiences during the trip and realized what he really wants in his life. Me, tired of working in a corporation (someone would say: ” A typical case! For sure it was easier for you. ” To be honest, it was not easy to leave a well- paid position of Teamleader and get rid of financial stabilization not knowing what will be waiting there ahead of me.) After my 30th birthday I realized that if I didn’t absorb myself in traveling, it would be harder for me to pursue my dreams even later in my life.
But going back to the point: what did we do to get off on such a trip?
- We quit our jobs: I was working as a Teamleader in a banking corporation and also worked as an English tutor, and Michal was a chef in a 4star hotel restaurant; we decided to leave: we did not know when we would actually come back from our trip, although we bought return flight tickets.
- Our savings that we collected were to be spent on a new car. We were working really hard for the last 2 years. At last we sold our old car, and we decided to spend our money on a journey through Southeast Asia, which of course we do not regret 🙂
- We did not have any credits or financial obligations – so in this sense it was easier for us
- We weren’t the only residents in our large house in Cracow so our apartment was very well watched over and looked after by the others during our absence 🙂
And it happened. Great adventure and valuable life experience behind us. It was not a perfect trip, not everything went our way, but we managed. Staying together 24 hours a day, you can simply kill your second half at some point, especially if you’ve never lived this way before: those who know us closer know perfectly that even though we have been married for a long time, we lived separately (moving between Krakow and Rzeszow) for the last 2 years before setting off on a journey.
For those who dream of longer travels but still get paralyzed when thinking of making the first step, don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams! Collecting money little by little with a concrete aim in your head will help you move this forward and make it happen 🙂 We wish you the right kicks in your lives that will help you in fulfilling your dreams! We have another one in our head, but for the time being prefer not to reveal it 🙂
Does anyone know this quote? 😀
IN LIFE YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT, IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH COURAGE TO PURSUE YOUR DREAMS !
Ask yourself how many times you dream of doing something big. You can spend all your life sitting and waiting for happiness. But be aware of the fact that nothing will be done without you. Dreams don’t come true like that. Dreams have to be pursued!