After four months of traveling it is time to review and sum up our travel budget. Are you curious to know how much traveling in Asia costs? Well, we can say that it is possible to travel Asia for only 20 euros per day, including the flights! Keep reading to learn how we have managed to do that. So far, we have traveled mostly in expensive countries: 6 weeks in Japan, 9 weeks in South Korea and 11 days in Vietnam. The following text will include lots of numbers and cold facts about the money spent, so take a cup of coffee and lean back.
We want to share our travel budget here on the blog because we want to show that you don’t really need that huge amounts of money to travel even the in more expensive countries. Most websites and blogs we have read claim that the average daily budget for Japan and South Korea is 50-100 USD. When we read this we were quite shocked. Luckily, we realized that we CAN travel Japan and South Korea for much less money.
One thing we must say is that traveling on a budget does require lots of discipline and tracking your budget on a regular basis. From time to time this is hard, especially when you meet other travelers who are traveling for a shorter period and with a looser budget. It’s nice to do stuff together with new travel buddies but also easy to forget that you maybe cannot spend money the same way as others do. One danger is also that you lose the control in cheap countries – everything feels so cheap but small extra things can burn a big hole in your wallet in the long run.
When we started traveling, we had moderate savings that we had earned during the last years but not any big amounts. We knew that we couldn’t travel for a long time using only traditional, mainstream methods like sleeping in hotels and paying for all the transportation. These two factors raise the travel costs significantly even if you choose the cheapest options. As our goal is to stay on the road for an undefined time and not just a certain period, we cannot really calculate how much our daily budget is but rather just keep it as low as possible.
We have summarized our expenses country by country by checking our account history. We also use free My Finances application (click here to download it on Google store) to categorize the expenses in detail. This requires using a moment every day to write down all the money spent but we haven’t been that disciplined all the time. We recommend this though because it is a good way to prevent impulse shopping. You also see right away if you spent too much money and can balance it by spending less the next day.
Summarizing all the costs was at the same time revealing, eye-opening and a bit shocking for us. With this analyze we also learned what our weak points in spending money are (undoubtedly it is food and drinking, oops). Anyhow, we think we have spent a quite reasonable amount of money in Asia altogether. All the costs in this post are given per person.
Costs for six weeks in Japan
In Japan we were extremely disciplined, wrote down every purchase and followed our budget on a daily basis because everything felt unreasonably expensive. We barely went out and didn’t do almost any extra shopping. We didn’t have any standards for the accommodation, ate lots of instant noodles and hitchhiked almost all the time (read our Japan budget accommodation, budget eating and hitchhiking in Japan posts for further tips). With these methods, we surely saved more than 1.000 euros each.
Duration: 42 days
Costs per person: 878,60 €
Flight Copenhagen – Tokyo: 209,20 €
Others (food, accommodation, entertainment, transport): 670 €
Daily budget incl. flight: 20,92 €
Daily budget excl. flight: 15,90 €
Unfortunately we don’t have detailed data stored about Japan, but the biggest expense was the food (over 50%). As the second one comes accommodation. In Japan we spent about 1/3 of the time couchsurfing, another 1/3 in hostels or Airbnb apartments and the rest in internet cafes, karaoke places or in McDonalds’. The third biggest cost was the transportation mainly by local trains. With our average daily budget we proved that it is possible to travel Japan for under 20 euros per day. This is quite a lot less than most of the travel sites claim!
Costs for two months in South Korea
Duration: 62 days
Costs per person: 861 €
Flight Osaka – Busan: 50,20 €
Transport between cities: 16,75 €
Others (food, drinks, entertainment, public transport): 727,14 €
Daily budget incl. flight: 13,90 €
Daily budget excl. flight: 13,10 €
During our six weeks volunteering we didn’t pay for the accommodation and got two free warm meals from Monday to Friday. So basically all the money we spent in Busan was for food and leisure in the evenings and weekends. After volunteering we spent two weeks traveling Daegu, Jeonju and Seoul and spent about half of the time couchsurfing, two nights in a Korean spa and the rest in hostels and Airbnb. The biggest individual expense was the North Korean tour which cost 63 euros each. Anyhow, also in South Korea the average daily budget stayed easily under 20 euros per day.
Costs for 11 days in Vietnam
Duruation: 11 days
Costs per person: 180,75 €
Flight Seoul – Hai Phong: 48,50 €
Accommodation: 25,10 €
Transport between cities: 14,20 €
Others (food, drinks, entertainment, public transport): 92,05 €
Daily budget incl. flight: 16,45 €
Daily budget excl. flight: 11,90 €
Total travel costs for 4 months
In total, we have spent 1904 euros each and our average daily budget in Asia has been 14 euros excluding the flights. Before starting the trip, our biggest expenses were the travel insurance and vaccinations (hepatitis and typhoid). Apart from them, we didn’t have to buy anything big, just stock up on some cosmetics like contact lenses.
With this budget we feel like we have managed to enjoy lots of stuff but of course also made sacrifices and i.e. skipped visiting places that have high entrance fees. Nevertheless, visiting museums and stuff is not that important for us and fortunately the best thing in traveling – meeting new people – doesn’t cost anything!
4 months costs per person: 1904 €
Average daily budget incl. flights: 16,70 €
Average daily budget without flights: 14 €
Travel insurance: 251 €
Vaccinations: 84 €
Travel costs altogether per person: 2239 €
For the next months, our plan is to stay in South East Asia and travel Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. We will update our expenses in these countries later on.