Baht, Ringgit, Dong & Kip

They say “money makes the world go around” for us it should be “money makes us go around the world”.  Although, before we even confirmed if four years of family travel was possible we invested a lot of time into ensuring it was financially viable for us and not just a pipe dream. We were in the fortunate position to own a house in Auckland, which because of massive recent capital gains in the value of houses, we are able to fund our world adventure, hopefully without going completely broke

Now I have never been one to budget my expenses, let alone stick to a budget, but knowing the importance of having one for our awesome world adventure I needed to make some serious changes.  As a result I found myself spending many hours trawling through the depths of the internet, reading other travel blogs and travel forums, before converting any found dollar figures with the XE currency converter app back into NZD.  We found many families had and are still travelling the world together who illustrated the importance of a budget and kept great records which made it a lot easier for us.  Because of this we are relatively confident that we have arrived at a very manageable budget for us.  The whole idea of our awesome world adventure is for it to be a once in a lifetime event for our family and although money plays an important part of this we also did not want it to be the only part.

As we intend on travelling slow and long it allows us the ability to maximise discounts on accommodation.  The majority of Air BnB properties throughout Asia offer large discounts for stays of a month or more, these discounts can total 60% off the nightly rate for the duration of the stay, meaning considerable savings for us.  We are also planning to stay in places that are close to local eateries, and transport hubs to cut our daily expenses even further.

As each leg of our world adventure is budgeted completely different we will only look at our Asian leg of our journey here; which includes, Singapore to Japan and everywhere in between.  In the end we came up with a daily figure of $172.50 NZD, this includes all accommodation, food, travel and activity costs throughout Asia.  We already know that the likes of Singapore and Japan will without a doubt come in well over this figure, but we expect it to be significant less when we are in countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, where we will be staying for a lot longer periods.  So how did we get to this daily figure?  First off we broke it down into five separate categories –

  • Accommodation ($60) – this affords us a quality 2 or 3 bedroom city apartment or house using Air BnB in most destinations.  We also plan to make use of some the great range of family guest houses in South East Asia, the majority of which come in well under $40 a night.
  • Food ($40) – we expect to be eating like the locals everywhere we visit, which means lots of amazing cheap street food and buying groceries.
  • Activities/Attractions ($30) – to be honest we don’t plan on doing a lot of the touristy things where we go, and I think we will go more days without touching this fund than we do.  We are also already reminding ourselves that as travellers, not tourists, we don’t always need to visit the top rated Trip Advisor attractions every where we go.
  • Transport ($20) – this will cover us getting from A to B and could include trains/buses from one destination to another or a TukTuk ride to the local markets.  We are not planning to fly between countries due to the higher cost involved and instead will be travelling by everything else whether it be trains, buses, cars, boats or bikes.
  • Contingency ($22.50 extra 15%) – we have budgeted this amount for any unplanned extras that we come across, whether it be an unexpected doctors visit, clothes, or a new app for the iPad to keep the kids busy.

Seperate to our daily budget is a number of one-off or annual costs that we have put money aside , this includes our initial flight to Singapore, vaccinations, visas, education, and even purchasing a new laptop in Singapore.

We have already started tracking our accommodation costs in both Singapore and Malaysia, as we both realise the importance of keeping an accurate record of our budget if we want to reach 2021 with some money left in the bank.  So whether we are spending Baht, Ringgit, Dong or Kip every transaction will be recorded and only time will tell if we come in under our budget or not…..

– Logan

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