Travel Budget

How to calculate your costs for traveling

On my post about how to plan your big travel I said that I will share our budget for a 3-month travel in South East Asia and some tips about how you can set up your own budget.

In business school and in my studies I learned a little about budgets and calculation and I like setting up budgets and plans.

So here we go! Here is our budget for 3 months:


1. Flights and Public Transport

About 7 months prior to our desired departure date I searched for  the main flights to enter South East Asia. I compared different flights to the main hubs like Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. We went for a direct flight from Zurich to Bangkok return  for only 600 USD per person because we were not sure which countries we are going to visit at this time. I also did my research about domestic flights in this area which are about 50 each per person.

Look for the main flight as early as possible but book the domestic flights on sight

2. Daily Costs

As we wanted to spend at least a month in the Philippines and one month in Indonesia and maybe another month in Vietnam or Thailand I started by researching the daily costs in this countries as a backpacker. I found a very good article from 2013 on snippets of a traveller (German) and you will find a lot more articles if you google for “budget” or “daily costs” for your destination. As you can see we now decided to spend two months in the Philippines, three weeks in Indonesia and four days in Singapore.

Daily cost usually include food and accommodation

3. Running Costs

This is a big point which a lot of people forget about. These are costs you still have to pay “at home” even when you are absent: rent, health insurance, utility bills, tax, travel insurane and subscriptions. Fortunately we found someone who rents our flat for this three months so we don’t have to pay the full rent by ourselves, what makes a huuuuge difference.

Calculate all your monthly running costs!

4. Trips, Shopping etc.

We also calculated costs for diving, daily trips, equipment, going out and shopping. Of course you actually don’t know how much exactly you will need for this, but just think about how much you would spend at home and you are good to go.

Calculate the costs due to the activities you want to do.

5. Buffer

When it comes to saving money for your travel, I think it is always better to exaggerate. I always calculate a little bit more because you will be very happy if you have some money left when coming home. Especially if you have no job yet… like me. And if you notice that you have spent much less than expected in your last weeks, you can treat yourself with a very nice hotel or an extra trip or shopping or what ever you like.

Take account of a buffer for the time after.

I did the first version of our budget about one year before because we had to know how much money we have to save. I updated it every now and then when our plans got more precise. I hope this gives you some lead to set up your own budget.



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