This is a summary of our expenses for the 281 nights that we spent travelling during 2019. You should keep in mind that if one travels at a slower pace it's easier to make savings as especially transportation can eat into your budget quickly. That said, we found that if one can contain accommodation costs and avoid up-market restaurants, travelling need not be an expensive affair. This budget report excludes all international flights between countries but includes all local transportation within each country.
If it's individual country budget reports you're after have a look at:
Taiwan Budget Report (31 nights) 2019
South Korea Budget Report (39 nights) 2019
Malaysia Budget Report (70 nights) 2019
Indonesia Budget Report (29 nights) 2019
Philippines Budget Report (56 nights) 2019
Cambodia Budget Report (27 nights) 2019
Travelling full-time changes the way one travels and it becomes less of a quest to tick off the 'popular' sights than it becomes a way of experiencing your surrounds in a slower, relaxed fashion. Many further cost savings are indeed possible, but one should also not completely deprive oneself of uniquely local experiences that ultimately add value to your visit to a foreign destination. However, more often than not, it's the encounters and connections with people that stand out, those that you do not foresee or could even have planned for. Like most things in life, a balance between being frugal and making use of opportunities should be sought.
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During 2019, we spent time in a total of 8 different countries and slept in a total of 51 different beds! However, this budget report is only for a period of 281 nights spent across 6 countries. Four of these countries were new to us. We have previously visited the two countries of Malaysia and Indonesia and chose to return to these countries to explore further. We spent the remaining time of the year in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. We have chosen to exclude these nights from this Budget Report as we were staying with friends during this time and want this budget report to be a reflection of realistic travel costs without these 'free nights' affecting the daily averages.
South Africa - excluded from this report
United Arab Emirates - excluded from this report
Taiwan (new) - 31 nights
South Korea (new) - 39 nights
Malaysia - 70 + 30 nights
Indonesia - 29 nights
Philippines (new) - 55 nights
Cambodia (new) - 27 nights
Our budget report expenses include accommodation, all food, snacks and drink, all transportation costs within the country, cell and data costs, general daily costs such as toiletries, medical, laundry & small shopping items and all sightseeing expenses. The costs do not include extreme / disproportionately expensive activities such as scuba diving.
Which was the most expensive country we visited in 2019?
We spent the most on average per day in South Korea, with our average spending coming to $62 per day for both of us over our 39-night period there.
Which was the cheapest country we visited in 2019?
We spent an average of only $46 per day over our 29-night stay in Indonesia, making it our cheapest country per day for the year.
Which was the cheapest destination we visited in 2019?
Our cheapest destination for the year was Penang, where we spent an average of only $38 per day over our 28-night stay there. This is a good example of how long stays can reduce your average daily costs.
We slept in a total of 51 different beds over the 365 days of 2019! We consider 281 of these nights to be ‘travel nights’ as we paid for our accommodation for all except 21 of the 281 nights. The 21 ‘free nights’ were spent volunteering at an Eco Jungle Camp in Borneo and we have included these in the budget report as it was part of our travel experience and a great way to save on accommodation costs while travelling. Our average cost of accommodation per night over the 281 nights came to $25 per night for both of us. If we exclude the 21 free nights and take the average of paid nights’ accommodation only, the average increases to $27 per night for the two of us.
Our minimum requirement for accommodation is a double bed room with private en-suite bathroom and with air conditioning at the very least in the bedroom. Our 2019 accommodation varied from extremely basic to some very luxurious VIP suite rooms. For longer stays, we found apartments with full kitchen facilities and if possible also laundry facilities. Most of our accommodation included free WiFi, although the actual usability of this WiFi varied from country to country.
Our experience throughout 2019 was that finding accommodation for two people sharing for under $30 per night is easily doable. If you want to spend less than $25 per night for two people, then you may need to consider accommodation without a private en-suite bathroom and may even need to consider hostel rooms in some countries. If you are prepared to spend over $30 - $35 per night, you will have a much wider variety of accommodation to choose from.
We book all our accommodation via one from the following service providers:
On average, we spent the most on accommodation in South Korea ($32 per night), but this was also by far the country where we stayed in the nicest, most modern, western-style accommodation. Our cheapest average stay over a month period was in Penang, Malaysia, where we spent 28 nights in a lovely apartment for only $20 per night. We found accommodation to be, on average, the cheapest in Cambodia, where we spent an average of only $22 per night and had pretty good accommodation. We found Cambodia to by far be the overall best value for money accommodation.
Our most basic accommodation for the year was by far the Eco Jungle Camp that we volunteered at in Borneo. This was, however, an experience on its own! Our two worst accommodations were extremely small rooms (only just larger than the double bed!) one of which was horribly dirty and the other which was in a rather bad area. Still, on average our accommodation was comfortable and well suited to our style of travel. A few places stands out as excellent value for money and are places that we would happily return to. Accommodation highlights per country for the year are:
Clean and compact for budget travellers: Arch Inn (Hualin)
Spacious and best value for money: One Plus One (Taipei)