Budget Budget Budget!

One of my favorite things to talk about. The Budget! See this post for our projected budget.

John and I budgeted $4000 per person all inclusive for this trip. As we are approaching the halfway mark (Sunday 27 November is the official halfway point) I think an update is in order.

Capital Costs: We have a number of Capital costs for this trip, things that had to be acquired before we could even leave the US, mainly flights, insurance and visas.

  • Flight to Hong Kong: $533
  • Insurance: $243
  • Vietnam Visa: $110

The visa to Vietnam was… a project. In late August of this year, the Vietnamese government changed their entry rules to only allow Americans a 1 year multiple entry visa that cost ~$175. Then in October they changed the rules again and reverted back to their old model where Americans could purchase 1 month, 3 month or 1 year single or multiple entry visas. These could only be acquired from the embassy or consulate prior to departure. Luckily there is a Vietnamese consulate in NYC and John and I planned on going to NYC to have dinner with three of my good friends from high school + their husbands. So in about 45 minutes we both had 1 month single entry visas for $80 plus $30 to get them back on the same day. As we had already planned on heading in to NYC I did not include transportation costs.

Capital Cost Total: $886

Flights: We’ve taken/ will take far more flights than I anticipated. Domestic flights are quite cheap, $20-$35, and are much more comfortable than an overnight bus or train. Flights are actually less expensive than overnight trains. International flights though, even 1.5 hr flights, can be pricey.

  • Hong Kong to Hanoi: $88
  • Hanoi to Da Nang: $31
  • Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City: $31
  • Ho Chi Mini City to Da Lat: $27
  • Da Lat to HCMC to Bangkok to Chaing Mai, Thailand: $150
  • Bangkok to Bali: $112
  • Bali to Hong Kong: $200 (not yet booked)

The three flights at the bottom have not occurred yet and are therefore not included in our Flight Total.

Flight Total: $177 (I estimate this will be ~$650 by the end of the trip once the final three flights are included)

Everything Else: We use cash to pay for everything else so it’s hard to keep track of the exact dollar amount we’ve spent on food vs. hostels vs. activities.  Since we started with $6,600 in a checking account and we pull all our cash from there, it’s easy to keep track of the total amount we’ve spent.

Cash Total: $758 per person

If we sum the capital costs, flights and cash total, we get the halfway total.

Halfway Total: $1821 per person

Keep in mind that this includes our capital costs that we only have to shell out once. The amount that we’ve spent since we arrived here is $935 per person over a period of 24 days. That is just under $40 per day. If we include the capital costs, it’s comes to $76 per day.

The biggest savings have come from hostel and food costs. I’d guess we’re averaging $15-$17 per night for a hostel (budget is $30 per night). Hanoi and HCMC cost ~$22 for a double, while everywhere else has been $9-$14 per night. Food we budgeted $20 per person per day. I estimate we spend $12 per person per day ($4.50 for lunch, $4.50 per dinner, $3 for water, coffee and snacks). Breakfast is included at most of the hostels we’ve stayed at.

Moral of the Story

We’re doing really well with the budget. At this rate, including the remaining $450 in flights, we are projected to come in at $3200 total, 20% under budget. However, Thailand and Bali are more expensive than Vietnam. Plus, Bali has loads of (pricey but fun) things to do. I project that we’ll come in either right on budget, or just a few hundred dollars under.


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