"Hey Nicole, how about if I do a blog post on how much money we've spent thus far on our trip?" "Great idea, Travis! Can you also post a screen shot of our bank accounts and copies of our previous year's tax returns, too?!"
So I had to convince my better half that this post would be a good idea. :) My sales pitch included that (1) whenever I read about someone else's travel experiences, whether on Tripadvisor or a blog, my number one thought is typically, ok that sounds cool but how much did it cost? (I then usually think, oh I could do that or nope, I should have been a hedge fund manager :) ) and (2) big time bloggers such as Mr. Money Mustache regularly spill the beans regarding their family spending, so we should too! :) Moreover, I seriously wondered going into our trip if the budget we had set was realistic or if we were going to get over here, blow it wide open, and come crawling back to the States (or rather hiding away in a shipping container), broke and needing to sleep on friends' and family's couches.
Joking aside, I was really curious to check out our spending one month in and figured, maybe others would be interested, too! The good news is that we're pretty much on track with our budget so we don't have to head home yet. :). Here's the breakdown:
- Hotel/Airbnb/Cruise Accomodations. $1,582. This amount included our hotels and Airbnbs in Hoi An, Phong Nha, and Da Nang, and our Halong Bay cruise fees. We paid for our shorter hotel stays in Hong Kong and Hanoi using some of Nicole's hotel points. In general, this expense has been inline with what we planned prior to the trip. However, if we wanted to save money, this would be the area to do it. Almost half of the expense was for the Halong Bay cruise and, moreover, there are plenty of hotels available in Vietnam in the $20 to $30 range (and hostels typically cost $5-10/person), but we've opted to pay a little more for nicer digs.
- Cash Spending. Approximately $772. This included food, entertainment, taxis, motorbike rentals, etc. We have paid for most everything here in cash since most places do not accept credit cards. This expense is actually a little lower than we imagined prior to the trip. For the most part, we've tried to balance our spending (if we have a more expensive meal, we will eat a few cheaper meals, etc.). We also have shared a lot of meals at restaurants and don't order drinks that often. I don't feel like we've missed out on much because most of our favorite experiences here, food or otherwise, have been free or extremely low cost.
- Amazon/Shopping Purchases. $694. Approximately a quarter of this expense was for books for our Amazon Kindle e-readers. Nicole and I have read like a couple of fiends. (Nicole alone has read 16 books already) The remaining three quarters of this expense was for some purchases we wished we had brought with us that our friends are delivering when we meet up with them in a week (a phone case for my new phone, travel cribbage board, some clothing items for Nicole, etc.). We sort of figured there may be some items we realized we wished we had once we got here and that proved to be true.
- Transportation. $210. This expense was for a six hour private car ride we booked from Phong Nha to Hoi An and our train tickets from Da Nang to Nha Trang. Overall, we've kept the transportation costs pretty reasonable. Setting aside the six hour private car, I'm not sure what we could have done to lower this expense.
- Paradise Cave 7km Tour. $210. Totally worth it!
- Phone/Spotify/Hulu/Netflix. $173. Most of this expense was for our phones. I got a new Google Fi phone for the trip to take advantage of the lower fees and Nicole kept her iPhone. The monthly fees we have incurred thus far are basically a joke since neither phone works without wifi, but since Nicole and I enjoy donating our money to struggling corporations such as Apple and Google, I am fine with paying the phone bills each month. :) Regarding the remainder, we've used Spotify regularly to play groovy tunes in our hotel rooms but could probably cancel our Hulu and Netflix accounts since we haven't watched any TV on our devices.
So overall we've spent approximately $3,600 during our first month. (Of course, this doesn't include the plane tickets that got us from New York to Hong Kong) We're pretty happy with this inasmuch as it is inline with what we had planned prior to the trip. We could definitely travel throughout Vietnam cheaper than what we have done, but, one thing we've discovered is that most of the western-type comforts we enjoy aren't Vietnam priced. For instance, at the coffee shop where we stayed in Da Nang which caters to ex-pats, my morning cup of coffee cost approximately $2.25, or roughly what I would pay at Starbucks in New York. Although I could have got a cup of Vietnamese coffee at any number of places near there for roughly fifty cents, I haven't really acquired the taste for the local coffee and really enjoyed my daily "long black" made with specially sourced beans. In instances such as that, Nicole and I have been happy treating ourselves.
So there it is, the spend thus far for those interested.
Like this post? Want to read more about Travis and Nicole's travel adventures? Check out After Three Months On The Road In Asia And Europe ... How Nicole And I Imagined It Versus The Reality.
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