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How to budget for each country?

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How much should I budget for each country?
8 years ago, May 3rd 2011 No: 1 Msg: #135381  
I realise I need to budget for each country we go to. Thing is, I don't really know how to do this. I don't budget in my everyday life, although I am responsible with money. I think I should have a spreadsheet or something for the trip, so we know we aren't spending too much and will have enough for the whole trip, even though, I don't really want to be worrying about keeping tabs on everything we spend, I think I will need to.

So, my question is. Did you budget and use a spreadsheet or similar? If so, how/what?

Below is a list of the countries we are going to. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me what your budget was, for each of these countries. This way I can maybe find an average and use that amount as a guide.

Brazil
Argentina
Bolivia
Peru
Chile
New Zealand
Australia
Philippines
Indonesia
Malaysia
Thailand
Laos
Vietnam
Cambodia
Nepal
China
Mongolia
Russia
Ukraine

or , if you could post your spreadsheet or financial records for your trip, if you kept one (although I realise many people would not want to do this)


Thanks all. Reply to this

8 years ago, May 4th 2011 No: 2 Msg: #135429  
Hey Tina and Rob,

Well this will vary greatly from person to person. It will depend on what you are planing to do on each trip also. Hotel or hostel or couchsurfing, partying or not, do all activities or some.

I know that Aus and NZ will be the more expensive places and $60 per day will scrape you through using hostels. But going to places like Peru or Nepal $20 per day can be enough.

Below I will have a more of a guess for each country staying in a hostel for a daily budget.

Brazil $50
Argentina $50
Bolivia $25
Peru $25
Chile $35
New Zealand $60
Australia $60
Philippines $20-30
Indonesia $20-30
Malaysia $20-30
Thailand $20-30
Laos $20-30
Vietnam $20-30
Cambodia $20-30
Nepal $20
China $20-60 (depends where you are)
Mongolia $20-30
Russia $20-60 (depends where you are)
Ukraine $30 Reply to this

8 years ago, May 4th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #135432  
B Posts: 460
I would whack up the Russia value considerably - as mentioned, your budget will vary depending on the kind of accommodation, etc that you use, but from a relative point of view I would say that Russia deserves to be up there with New Zealand and Australia rather than down near Vietnam and Cambodia. Reply to this

8 years ago, May 4th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #135463  
Hey Tina and Rob,

As John & Christopher and Diana have pointed out this will vary from person to person. Your entertainment can influence this greatly. The exchange rates will impact you more than you think. We traveled in 2007 and 2008 and by the time we reached Australia the dollar was not holding up well and things cost more than we expected.

There are travelers on this web site who have made spreadsheets. I think there was a forum question similar to this a couple of years ago and I remember people posting their budgets.

Our budget was much higher than most budget travelers. We are a bit older and only stayed in one hostel. We stayed in many low end hotels and guest houses. We always had a private bath.Our room prices ranged from $12 night to $200 (not often).

We rented a car for a month in NZ and two months in Australia. Cars and gas were expensive. Plus we did some upper end trips. In the Outback we did the sunset dinner looking at Uluru and another sunrise breakfast in another location. It was expensive but we didn't want to miss out. We flew to Tasmania, we took the train across Australia from Sydney to Perth....all expensive items. In SE Asia we took cooking classes and had massages frequently. It was a good life. The week of Christmas we rented an apartment so we could veg out and do some cooking. We were tired of eating on the road.

We had a budget for the trip but we are fortunate in being a little older we had additional money we could use on the trip if we decided to .... and we did.

Remember our budget was for two people. We budgeted $4000 a month for SE Asia and kept well within that amount. We budgeted $6000 a month for NZ and Australia and did not stay within the budget.

We met a young couple in Cambodia who's daily budget was $22 and most days they were sticking with it.



I hope you find this information valuable. Only you can decide what you want to experience while you are away.

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8 years ago, May 4th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #135474  
Thanks for your responses. Sorry I didn't explain right. I realise that people spend differently and do trips others don't but I am not really looking for this info, more info from people who set a daily budget as they travelled, for the usual things like accomodation, travel and food. I am probably being too detailed! but I have read alot of blogs where the traveller has set a max daily budget for that country (often not including excursion/trip money). Obviously some peoples will be higher than other, so from this info I was going to find an average and use that figure as a guide.

A good point regarding the exchange rates. So if people could also include the year they travelled that would help to.

The sunset dinner at Uluru looks ace! Dave and Merry Jo, is that American dollars? Reply to this

8 years ago, May 5th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #135580  
Yes, that was American dollars.

We did not have a daily budget but a monthly budget. That allowed us to stay in a few lower ends places for a bit and then have a little splurge before the month was over.

Plus we didn't want to spend the time to add things daily.
Reply to this

8 years ago, May 8th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #135708  
I'd up Australia, mainly because the Australian Dollar has increased dramatically recently. In February 2009 it was 63 cents, in May 2010 it was around 88 cents, now it is $1.07.

Thus any experiences of spending amounts from the last two years need to be increased by a likewise amount. Thus Dave and Merry Jo's cost of $6000 for a month in 2008 (when the exchange was around the May 2010 price) would now be 20% more.

After that rambling response - I'd budget on $80 per day in Australia.

How I budget is the following, I divide each country into these categories:
Accommodation
Food
Expenses (Museums, Souvenirs etc)
Major Transport (airfares, train travel - not a category for items such as local bus fares)
This allows me to come up with an average daily price for each country. Reply to this

8 years ago, May 12th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #136063  
So from peoples experience here, it seems that Australia is expensive. I'm from Australia and I'm wondering how much to budget for Canada. Our dollar right now is about $1.02 CAD. I was going to budget about $100 AUD a day, but it sounds like I could get around comfortably for less. Reply to this

8 years ago, May 12th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #136067  
Tina, when we were budget planning we didn't really do a separate budget for each country. We decided £60 a day for Brazil and New Zealand and £40 a day for elsewhere. In reality, it ended up being something like £60 for Brazil and New Zealand (mostly self-catering for food in both countries), £20-25 a day for the rest of South America, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam, around £25-30 a day for Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and China, £20-25 a day for India. Of course, it's sometimes less than this but it depends on what we were doing and if we decided to splurge! These figures are for the two of us, not each.

But this is with this caveat, most of these budgets were from when we first started travelling in 2006, when the British pound was wonderfully strong and it was US$2 to £1...sadly, now, costs have gone up due to inflation and rising food/fuel and the weakening of our £ by about 30%!a(MISSING)gainst most currencies.

If you read some of our latest blogs on SE Asia, we have put some costs in there which may help you. Unusually, we didn't have a spreadsheet for the budget - I say unusually as I (Donna) am rather OCD about most things including budgets. It's worked out that we both know instinctively how much we are spending each day, so we know when to reign it in. You will start budgeting and planning like crazy but as you go along, I think you'll just 'know' if you are going over budget, that's how it worked for us!

A tip for you though, make sure you have a list of currencies for the countries you are going to written down, as this helps you to know how much you should roughly be getting out at ATM's or if you need to use money changers, it helps to be one step ahead so you aren't ripped off!
[Edited: 2011 May 12 12:43 - Donna and Neil:22231 ]
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8 years ago, May 12th 2011 No: 10 Msg: #136082  
Dear Tina and Rob,
The budget for each country provided by Chris and Diana should be considered as food and lodging only. Entertainment (including excessive bar bills) and transportation should be budgeted separately (although I usually lump ground transportation for buses and taxis into my daily cash budget).

As an engineer and micromanager (I had to in order to know whether I could retire at 55 even though I had three kids going to college) I have spreadsheets for both my home budget (projected forward for 20 years) and each trip I take.

The travel spreadsheet has columns for:
- the date, the from, via and to destinations, means of transportation and reservation # and departure and arrival times, the cost of the transportation; and what I plan to see along the way and each day.
- hotel name, reservation # and cost for each night;
- food cost; and
- type of entertainment, including shopping, and cost for each item.
If I don't make reservations for transportation or hotels to allow for greater flexibility, I provide an estimate based upon the average price for such from transportation and hotel/hostel websites or guidebooks.
For food I always provide a daily estimate...some days I go over which means the other days I have to stay under.

When I draw cash from an ATM I do so based upon the estimated cash, non-chargeable expenses for the next week or so. I use my credit card whenever possible, and keep the receipts, so that I have a record of my expenses...keeping track of where my cash goes is impossible. I can easily go over budget by withdrawing cash for a meal and then charging it. While this is useful for saving scarce cash, you need to know what you are doing to your budget.

The timing between cash withdrawals is dependent upon when I will have access to another ATM, how long I will be in the country using that currency, etc. If I withdraw cash earlier than the date for which I had already withdrawn to meet the estimated expenses I know I am going over budget and I really need to spend less, or adjust my budget upwards for following weeks if I can afford to.

Hope this helps. Bob Reply to this

8 years ago, May 12th 2011 No: 11 Msg: #136106  
Bob, this is very helpful information - using the weekly withdraw is something I employ as well. At the end of the week, if I still have money in my hand, it is a good sign and means I can afford a splurge if necessary.

Entertainment is another good category - the only reason for me not including it is that I rarely have any entertainment type expenses when travelling.

Donna and Neil - I agree re writing down the exchange rates of the different currencies you are visiting prior to travelling. I just returned from trip to Asia and had a list of exchange rates for Malaysian Ringitts, Philippine Peso, Indonesian Rupiah and Singaporean Dollars were in my wallet and it was helpful to refer to this list when exchanging money. Reply to this

8 years ago, May 13th 2011 No: 12 Msg: #136129  
I, like Shane and Bob, withdraw a fixed weekly amount and try to keep to it. For China my weekly budget is 1000 RMB, which comes down to about 140 RMB a day, which translates to roughly 21 or so US dollars a day. And I am travelling China now. This includes everything in my case, transport, accommodation, food, drink (including alcohol) and sights. But I have to say that while I sometimes am able to hold to the 1000 RMB budget a week, I mostly don't. My actual spending is higher because China is more expensive than expected and I am at the moment travelling faster. I have discovered that my actually spending is about 25 to 27 US dollars a day here.

A way to keep your expenses down is to travel slower, if you are not taking a bus or train every day you don't have that expense adding to your bill and it lowers the daily budget. Also bargaining helps and of course not going out to party every evening. If you do want to party every evening double this budget.

My budget for Nepal was 10 dollars a day, that was 2 years ago.

Reply to this

8 years ago, May 13th 2011 No: 13 Msg: #136183  
Our around the world trip in 2007 was the first time we had taken a long term trip and we discovered a few things we had not given much thought before leaving. We found that from time to time we were road weary and had sensory overload. You will go many places and see many things and one day you may wake up and not want to see anything new.

Our suggestion is that you upgrade yourself to a hotel with a pool for a few days and lay by the pool and read a couple of good books. In our case, we needed to find an apartment with a kitchen because we were tired of eating out. We needed to eat something that we cooked. This downtime is valuable. It gives you an opportunity to recharge your enthusiasm.

As others have pointed out, moving slower decreases your cost.

Reply to this

8 years ago, May 13th 2011 No: 14 Msg: #136198  
Great idea re the upgrading to a nicer place. A friend who travels a lot alternates backpacker/budget places with more luxurious hotels, so she is never far from a nice bed and room. I tend to do so at the end of a holiday so that when returning to Australia I feel refreshed instead of worn out through struggling through endless substandard accommodation.

Great idea to halt the travels for a while - find a nice place with a comfortable room - and stop - do nothing for a few days but for sleeping, eating, reading and lazing. Everyone has a different amount of travel time before they need to do this, and once you know your limit, it is easy to plan this within an itinerary. Reply to this

8 years ago, May 23rd 2011 No: 15 Msg: #136838  
B Posts: 19
Interesting topic! I'm old fashioned I guess, but I just write down everything we spend in a little notebook. Not because I'm obsessive about the budget,(OK, maybe a bit in the beginning), but just to have an idea of how much we're spending. We (me and my husband) have a daily budget of Euro 50 per day - we don't change it for each country, that's just how much money we can afford to spend. Some days we go over budget, then we just have a couple of easy days where we don't do much - to balance things out. I check exchange rates from time to time, and include things like bank charges in the budget. The daily budget includes everything - trips, accomodation, food, travel - I don't budget separately for each category. Last year we spend 7 months in India, and our budget averaged out to around Euro 30 per day. Now we're ending 6 months in South-East Asia and we'll just stay within the budget. Any surplus just goes towards our next trip. Reply to this

7 years ago, August 23rd 2011 No: 16 Msg: #142225  

We are beginning to look to the future for our next extended trip and we are approaching it a bit differently than we did the first time. This time around we intend to stick to a weekly budget rather than a monthly budget. Experience has refined our process.
We intend to categorize everything and track it on a spreadsheet while we are gone.
That will provide us with a nice visual. Reply to this

7 years ago, November 20th 2011 No: 17 Msg: #147216  
B Posts: 580
An update on prices - I remember reading this thread before we left home back in June, and being mortified by what was written - Of course these things are relative to who is travelling and how they do it.

We (a family of two adults and two small children) traveled for three-weeks in New Zealand in October in a hire-car, both islands, camping as much as we could (probably around half the time). We saw a lot of the country in that time and did everything we wanted. The total cost was less than $3000 (actually closer to NZ$3000).

This is important as we are still on the road - and money still comes out of the ATM!
[Edited: 2011 Nov 20 09:51 - aspiringnomad:90 ]
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7 years ago, February 1st 2012 No: 18 Msg: #151275  
Hi, i agree with the guys regarding accomodation. When we originally travelled through europe we iniitally went for backpackers...but very soon learnt that a private bedroom in a backpackers is 100 times better than sharing a room and even a 2 star cheapest hotel you can find with a shared bathroom is better than most backpackers. We also discovered we dont like staying in other peoples houses (a let room) or b&b's. So when we went to asia we instead went for really cheap hotels and over the years as we've gotten more money etc we now go for 3 to 4 star hotels. But...that ramble was all about really think about what you'd prefer to stay in....and the cost associated with it.

In Australia (where i live) you'd be lucky to get a shared youth hostel room for $50 and the cheapest 2 or 3 star motels near the airport start at $95. All in AUD$. Food will be at least $10 per meal so $30 a day on food...and that is cheap food hall type food unless you buy it to cook and even still... 500g of chicken costs $10!?! An average pint in perth is $10 and a coffee $4.50 so extras will Travel will be expensive so you might be better to look at something be expensive...especially alcohol or cigarettes if you smoke. Something like wicked campers which are around $80 a day but are your travel and yoru accomodation is good. Also most tourist things are going to cost you a lot...like $30 minimum. So.... i would budget at least AUD$150 a day in australia and sometimes you'll hang out at the beach for free and eat a meat pie ($4) and sometimes you'll go on a tour of the wineries ($150).

Asia on the other hand...cheap cheap cheap. well, it flactuates and you can work on the theory singapore, hong kong and kl will be similar prices to Aust or maybe a little cheaper but i think the cheap order would go cambodia, vietnam, indonesia, malasia, thailand... but all still quite cheap and easy to find accomodation in the AUD$20 to $40 mark...meals will all be $3...alcohol $3... taxies will be cheap as and you can hire one for an entire day for 4 or 5 hours driving for less than $50. So...i would budget at least $50 a day.

Have you had a look on th enet for accomodation in some of the key places? Its accomodationa nd transport that will get you...even if you look for cheap flights between the asian cities or east coast of australia now so you get some in the $20 range that'll save you heaps.
tam Reply to this

7 years ago, February 1st 2012 No: 19 Msg: #151278  

500g of chicken costs $10!?!


Wow, chicken is expensive in the West! Here in Brisbane, my local butcher has it for $10 per kilo, but normally one can find it elsewhere for around $12 per kilo. I can get by on a food bill of $50 per week but only if I cook every meal and don't buy anything at any cafe or take-away outlet. Without a kitchen, it would be a struggle to eat for less than $120 per week in Australia.


[Edited: 2012 Feb 01 14:13 - The Travel Camel:11053 ]
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7 years ago, February 1st 2012 No: 20 Msg: #151280  
mmm well things are expensive in perth...but i did mean skinless chicken breast and the woolworths brand today was $11 for 500g where mt barker chicken was $9.60. I WISH my shopping bill was $50 a week, ours is about $300 a week if we're lucky and that is with eating out once or twice a week and no lunches.... probably for 3 people plus baby stuff....

hmmm there is a state manager role going in my hubbies company in brisbane...maybe i shld tell him its ok to go for it lol! Reply to this

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