Our Budget

Please see our final budget update post for more info!


Summary of Percentage Expenditure, by Five Biggest Categories

Countries Days Hotel Food Alcohol Transportation Activities
Thailand    29    15%  16%    7%          28%              30%
Laos           9     28%  19%    4%          25%              11%
Cambodia  10    15%  17%    6%          44%              11%
Malaysia    11    20%   22%   8%          36%              12%
Borneo      11    17%   12%   4%          49%              17%
Indonesia 16     15%   20%   6%          22%              26%
Singapore  6       —       23%   8%          44%             10%

Average Expense Per Day = $115.00
Summary of Percentage Expenditure, by Five Biggest Categories

Countries Days Hotel Food Alcohol Transportation Activities
Peru          14    17%  16%   2%            40%            23%
Uruguay     3     15%  21%   9%            39%*            6%
Argentina  48    23%  17%   8%            19%            30%

Average Expense Per Day = $125.00
* We flew from Peru to Uruguay, as a means of skipping the entrance fee in Argentina. The flight cost is shown in Uruguay, which skews this number a bit.

There were a few major questions we considered before we started making our budget and planning our trip:

1) How much do we need in savings for when we came back with the (hopefully conservative) assumption that we would not have jobs for the first six months back plus some cushion in the bank – not including any 401k or pension type accounts?

2) How long do we want to travel for?

3) What are we willing to sacrifice when we get back (buying a new house, delay having kids, our current lifestyle, missing important occasions in our friends’ and families’ lives, etc.)?

4) Given all of the above and our current financial situation, how much are we willing to spend on the trip?

Once we settled on a budget of around $25,000, it was time to narrow down where we were going so we thought about the following:

1) What countries would it be difficult to travel to when we had a family?

2) What countries were economically feasible to travel in for an extended period of time?

3) If we want to find a balance between “backpacking” (because, let’s face it, we’re not single and in our 20s anymore!) and staying in nice places (does Starwood have hostels?!), how long and where should we travel to?

4) What types of things do we want to see? What are our goals for the trip?

After we thought about it and did a WHOLE lot of research on the internet, we decided on Southeast Asia and South America! We figured with how we wanted to travel (a step above the normal backpacker on a shoestring budget), these two continents offered a lot in terms of what we wanted to do and see and that seven months would be a good timeframe to do this within given our budget and how long we were willing to be away from home for… keeping in mind that our major international flights (RT to India and RT to somewhere in South America) would be covered with Rachel’s miles. We tend to overestimate on the stuff we found on the net to compensate for not wanting to slum it the entire time we’re travelling. As we go through our trip we’ll post updates to the budget below!

Budget as of December 12, 2011 (pre-trip):

Pre-trip expenses:

Flights (fees for using miles): $300
Vaccinations: $300
Visas: $550 (not actually getting pre-trip but that’s irrelevant!)
Travel Insurance: $75/month = $525
Gear: $600 (including luggage, clothes, converters, guide books, etc.)
Electronics: $500 (netbook, media cards for photo storage, hard drives – not including Rachel’s new camera!)
Car insurance for 2 cars: $200/month = $1400
2 Cell phones (suspended – AT&T charges $10/month plus tax) = $30/month = $210

Total Pre-trip budgeted expenses: $4,385

Average Daily Budgets (for both of us):

1) India and Southeast Asia: $85/day = $11,900
2) USA: $50/day (for a brief hiatus between SE Asia and S Amer) = $750
3) South America: $100/day = $6,000
4) Additional expenses for transportation: $350/mo (while train and bus costs should theoretically be covered in the per day costs, this is more for flights we may need to take) = $2,450
5) Additional expenses for more expensive activities: $300/mo = $2,100

Daily Budget Total: $23,200

Total Budget for trip: $27,585

As you can see, before we even started our trip, we were already over our original planned budget. Our parents have already bought us the luggage and netbook as Diwali (Indian New Year) gifts, but we threw it in there just to get an appropriate total. We tried to be over-conservative with our estimates, but unexpectedly high transportation cost really killed our conservative estimates.


4 thoughts on “Our Budget”

  1. This is an amazing breakdown! I’m very excited to follow your journey. Did you not suspend your car insurance? That would save you $1400.

  2. We’re not going to suspend it completely – we’re just going to get the theft annd damage. Protection and take off liability which should reduce it a whole lot but I haven’t gotten my quote yet! Email us tips on thailand! The pics were amazing! I’m goin to talk to wifey soon!

  3. this is awesome – have fun and be safe! If you need any tips for any places let me know.

  4. Pretty cool trip you have planned and judging rom your photos , looks iike you are havinga great time!

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