Traveling Southeast Asia on a budget isn’t as hard as it may seem. Planning a trip to Southeast Asia can be challenging, especially when you don’t know how much money you will need. In this blog I’ll be talking about how much we budget per day, including food and accomodation costs, as well as tips on how you can save while traveling Southeast Asia on a budget.
Our daily spending for traveling Southeast Asia on a budget
$60 AUD per day as a couple ($30 AUD per person)
We currently budget $30 AUD per person per day, totaling around $850 AUD for the month. This $30 each includes everything such as food, accommodation, transport, shopping and any activities we do during the day. There will be some days when we go over the daily spending like when we go to a bar for dinner or we need to pay entrance fees at temples. We always balance it out by spending less over the next few days.
We have a spread sheet in Microsoft Excel. At the end of everyday we write down what we bought so we can keep to our budget and keep a close eye on our spending.
$3 AUD – $4 AUD per meal
Despite how our Instagram feeds may look, this kind of budgeting isn’t very glamorous. We sometimes spend up to 1 hour driving around town walking into restaurants, reading the menu, then leaving because they are all too expensive. Finding cheap food is probably one of the hardest parts about traveling Southeast Asia on a budget. We often eat at locally owned stores as restaurants are very overpriced.
Our ideal price for a meal is $3 which includes a drink. Meals at this price aren’t too hard to find. You just have to be more open about trying small local stores which often have great tasting food. It can be very intimidating at first walking in a store where you are the only foreigner, especially when you don’t know what any of the food is, but the people in the stores are always happy to help you.
The food in the picture below is an example of what you can get for around $3 in Asia. It doesn’t always look this good but sometimes you’ll stumble upon a hidden gem. Food typically consists of rice, veggies and chicken.
Maximum $20 AUD for a private double room
As we are traveling as a couple, we prefer to stay in guesthouses that have private double rooms. We spend no more that $20 per night on a private room ($10 each). We’ve found that the average price we spend is roughly around $15 AUD. These rooms are not the prettiest but any place that has a bed and a fan will get the job done.
In the less touristy areas you’ll even be able to find a private double room for $10 or less. When visiting very touristy areas it can be challenging to find a decent place for this price. However, with the help of asking locals and a bit of walking around we’ve always managed to find a place that suited our budget.
If you’re traveling with a friend or as a couple, it’s actually cheaper to stay in a guesthouse than at a hostel. Hostels charge per bed so if it costs $10 per bed then thats already $20 between the 2 of you. The best app for cheap guesthouses is definitely Agoda because they have the best deals. This is the only app we ever use for accommodation. For the best deals on all types of accomodation, check out Agoda here.
Canggu, Bali has been the best place for us to base ourselves. Accomodation in Canggu is very cheap and affordable, especially for long term stays. There are plenty of affordable villa’s around Bali that are very modern and clean. The villa that is pictured above is the best accomodation that we’ve come across so far for this price.
How to afford plane tickets while traveling Southeast Asia on a budget
When we started traveling we thought that plane tickets would be the most expensive part and that they would cost a couple hundred to get from country to country. The most expensive ticket you buy will be your first ticket out of your home country. Once you’re in Southeast Asia all the flights are very affordable between surrounding countries.
We are very lucky to have so much freedom and no plans to be anywhere. One way that we avoid expensive tickets is by planning where to go based on how much plane tickets cost. We go onto Skyscanner and search ‘everywhere’ to check which country would be the cheapest to fly to.
Another way we save money is by checking which day of the week would be the cheapest. The price can drop $50 just for being 1 day apart. The most recent plane ticket we bought only cost us $100 including baggage, although be prepared to have long layovers and long flight days. To us a long layover is worth the massive price difference.
We always fly with budget airlines, but sometimes budget airlines don’t include check in baggage in the ticket price. This means that when you arrive at the airport you will have to pay up to $80 per check in bag (this happened to us once). Always double check that baggage is included and if its not, there will be an option to add it online. It is far cheaper to do it online than at the airport.
We hope you found these tips helpful!