(A few more comments by Vero about our final budget.)
Before leaving for Bangkok, we had planned a budget of £3599/€4100 to cover our Calamyti trip (see our page Planning the Trip for details).
At the end, we spent only £2918/€3324, bringing back home £681/€776 (19% less), so much saved for the next trip !
The first table below shows a detailed list by country and expenses of our Final Budget, with a daily budget by country as information for those planning a trip in those regions (please note that the final figure under "Total" of £24/€28 includes the money spent in the UK for flights, insurance and other minor stuff). The second table shows the Planned Budget for comparison.
Where do the most savings come from?
Local Transport: £269/€307 spent less than planned (35% savings):
- Cambodia has been key with 58% saved: we had planned to tour the north of the country to visit Prasat Preah Vihar, returning via Koh Ker, which would have involved a lot of additional transport, from the more expensive type, ie chartering moto-drivers and private taxis as no public transport is available in those legs. That made a difference.
- Next was Laos with 33% saved: weary of lengthy and annoying bus trips, we considerably shortened our itinerary deciding not to do the Phonsavan/Sam Neua loop and to exit the country via the Mekong instead of taking the tortuous roads via Sanyabuli and Hongsa.
- Finally Thailand with 35% saved, mainly due to the fact that we tend to budget worst case ie 1st class/AC buses and expected a price hike due to petrol prices. At the end, the prices were as quoted by our LP and we ended taking mostly 2nd class/AC buses, saving quite a bit there.
Accommodation: £208/€237 spent less than planned (26% savings).
- Most expensive was of course Singapore, where a night in dormitory cost us incredible £25/€28, but this was expected, so no big savings there ;-)
- In Thailand (£4.5/€5 per night) and Malaysia (£5.5/€6.25 per night), we kept to budget hotels and always managed to find acceptable rooms (always double), although they were mostly with shared bathroom and not always the best.
- Compared to that, hotels in Cambodia were very cheap and extremely good value for money: a nice and clean room with attached bathroom cost us 5$ a night (£3.1/€3.6) in every place we went, even in Siem Reap: an incredible bargain.
- The average price for a night in Laos was the same as in Thailand (£4.5/€5 per night), but offered better value with most of the rooms having attached bathrooms. We managed to find a room in Luang Prabang with attached bathroom for £4/€4.5 which was very good indeed .Vientiane was the most expensive: we ended up paying £8/€9 for attached on the first two nights before downgrading to £6.2/€7 for a room with shared bathroom...
Food: £151 spent less than planned (32% savings).
This is easy to explain once you know our eating patterns while travelling:
- Breakfast is taken in the room: we have an electric heating spiral to make our own tea and we eat some local biscuits, this is quite cheap.
- During the day, we have some snacks and fruits, all local stuff bought on markets and we watch our pennies, ie no expensive imported foreign goodies such as Mars bars, McVities cookies or Pringles. We like to indulge with Coke, but then again, we always go for the local brand.
- We do not drink any beer or alcohol (except for a few BeerLao in Laos, but that was the exception).
- In the evening, we stick to local stalls or night markets. First because the food there is tasteful and cheap, and also because portions in restaurants never quite match our appetite for the price we have to pay ;-)
Planning the food budget is always tricky as indications in guide books always assume breakfast, restaurant at least once a day, regular beers, etc... We take this into account while planning and decrease the recommendations accordingly, but we always end up spending less as planned... This time we had a good idea for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, having been there before, but we had planned way too much for Malaysia and Singapore, ending up saving £88/€100 just in these countries.
Entry Fees: £86/€101.5 spent less than planned (40% savings).
- Malaysia: after a while, we discovered that most museums there were not really worth the money spent, so we skipped a lot.
- In Singapore, we ended up visiting only one museum (Asian Civilisation) instead of the three planned: the city had so much to offer, we preferred to spend the time exploring than going through museums.
- Thailand has significantly increased the price of most monuments in Bangkok. Since we had already visited them during previous trips, we decided to give them a pass this time
- In Laos, changing our itinerary meant not visiting the Plain of Jars and the Vieng Xai caves in Sam Neua: more savings done.
- Last but not least, our decision to take a 7 days pass in Angkor (instead of the 3 day pass budgeted) did not really affect our budget, as it was compensated by the fact that we did not visit the temples of Prasat Preah Vihar and Koh Ker
That's it for Calamyti 2011. For information, we have included some more charts below comparing final and planned budget as well as a final budget structure showing type of expenses as percentage of the total value.
- Final vs Planned Budget details by country and type of expenses:
- Final Budget structure showing type of expenses as percentage of the total value (the second chart shows the Planned Budget):
$updated from: Miscellany.htxt Thu 22 Nov 2012 14:35:19 trvl2 (By Vero and Thomas Lauer)$