Budget Sum Up: How Much Does 4 Months Traveling In Asia Cost

Posted on Posted in Accommodation, Budget, Food, Japan, South Korea, Transport, Vietnam

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 USD 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.

travel Asia for 20 dollars per day

The key to travel under an average budget is to use alternative budget travel tricks like couchsurfing, hitchhiking and volunteering. In our case, these methods have cut down our travel costs a lot! We have couchsurfed in every country so far, volunteered for six weeks in Busan and hitchhiked over 1.000 km in Japan.

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.

We have written everything down in USD because our bank account is in this currency. The costs 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 USD each.

Budget Sum Up Japan
Duration 42 days
Money spent per person 1050 USD
Flight from Kopenhagen to Tokyo 250 USD
Others (food, accommodation, leisure, transportation) 800 USD
Average daily budget including the flight 25 USD
Average daily budget without the flight 19 USD

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 USD per day. This is quite a lot less than most of the travel sites claim!

Costs for two months in South Korea

When we came to South Korea, we felt relieved because things were a bit cheaper than in Japan. Unfortunately, we got looser and spent an unnecessarily big amount of money for going out and eating in restaurants. If we didn’t go partying, drinking and eating so much, we could have easily spent at least half less. On the other hand, we had the best time of our lives and made lots of new friends so we don’t really regret that. At least we enjoyed every penny we spent there 🙂
Budget Sum Up South Korea
Duration 62 days
Money spent per person 1029 USD
Flight from Osaka to Busan 60 USD
Accommodation 80 USD
Traveling between cities 20 USD
Others (food, drinks, leisure, public transportation) 869 USD
Average daily budget including the flight 16,60 USD
Average daily budget without the flight 15,63 USD

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 75 USD each. Anyhow, also in South Korea the average daily budget stayed easily under 20 USD per day.

Costs for 11 days in Vietnam

Vietnam felt like a paradise after Japan and Korea! A warm meal for 1 USD and a beer for 20 cents, is that even real?! In Vietnam we didn’t limit ourselves too much but saved a little by couchsurfing three nights out of 11. Rest of the time we slept in hostels and in a guesthouse, mostly in a private room. We spent 16 dollars each for Halong Bay boat trip. The rest went to food, drinks and other stuff. The funny thing is that the daily budget is not that much lower than in Japan. This is exactly what we mean with losing th control in cheap countries 😀
Budget Sum Up Vietnam
Duration 11 days
Money spent per person 216 USD
Flight from Seoul to Hai Phong 60 USD
Accommodation 30 USD
Traveling between cities 17 USD
Others (food, drinks, leisure, public transportation) 110 USD
Average daily budget including the flight 19,64 USD
Average daily budget without the flight 14,20 USD

travel Japan for 20 dollars per day travel budget Japan Korea

Total travel costs for 4 months

In total, we have spent 2.276 USD each and our average daily budget in Asia has been 16,74 USD 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 Budget Sum Up
Money spent on traveling per person 2276 USD
Average daily budget including flights 19,95 USD
Average daily budget without flights 16,74 USD
Travel insurance 300 USD
Vaccinations 100 USD
Travel costs alltogether per person 2676 USD

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.

We would be happy to hear also other people’s experiences and travel budgets in Asia! What is your daily budget and from which things are you ready to save to keep the budget under control?

J&J