Budget? How Do They Travel for a Year?
Traveling in Asia long-term is different than a week’s holiday in Hawaii or somewhere else close to home.
One important thing to consider on long-term travel is visa requirements and how long you are allowed to stay in different countries. Travel with a US passport is generally easy; for our current trip we arranged a two-month visa for Indonesia before we left home. But the thing that makes most traveling partners fight is usually money or different expectations about money and living standards while traveling. When George and I left for a year in 2008, we had very different ideas about what “great” travel was. George had been in Paraguay in the Peace Corps and dug his own latrine. During that same time, I traveled in five-star luxury working for Princess Cruises.
When we arrived in Bali four years ago, George brought me to a “great” hotel and I burst into tears. I said, “This is the great hotel I have been waiting to see?” He had been there years prior with two male buddies and the three of them split the $10 USD per night, which magically included breakfast.
I looked at the room with walls painted different colors, the threadbare window covering, the falling-apart single sheet on the bed, the lack of towels or toilet paper and the grimy bathroom, and said, “This is where you’ve brought me?” We had many discussions during our trip about the difference between what we each thought made a great room and the importance of using the word cheap or good value instead of great as a modifier!
Over our years of traveling together, we have met people who kept track of their budget to the penny, hoping to save enough each day that their trip could be extended from a 12-month trip to a 15-month excursion.
We met a couple last summer in Tonga, who were mainly WWOOFING and couch surfing and managed to have a long trip starting with only $12,000. I have watched a group of three guys bargain a room down in Guiling, China from $15 to $12 and then go out and spend $10 each on beers. Everyone seems to have a different important luxury, whether it is the room, the sites, the food, or the souvenirs.
Like our last long trip, our budget this time is $100 USD per day for the two of us. So far we are doing great on our budget and staying in some really nice places. Bakung Sari in Kuta and Bali Lovina Beach Cottages in Lovina were both great and both on Asiarooms.com.
We did find a lovely place in Lovina for 125,000Rp, which would be only 100,000Rp for multiple nights (about$10 USD) with a fan and a beautiful garden that includes breakfast, but I am not sure we are going to stay any more nights here.
Yesterday we ate lunch at Bintang Bali, right on the beach, with free wifi and a large bottle of water, watermelon juice, and two chicken satays for about $6 USD. For dinner we went to Triple 9 and enjoyed the live band and a great dinner with two juices (one pineapple, one watermelon), 12,000Rp each, with a cap cay and fried vegetables at 19,000Rp so, about $7 with tip. Including our trip to the store for some soda and a small bottle of rum, we spent about $65 for our room which includes breakfast and our day out in Lovina.
We had several long walks on the beach. We did not go on the dolphin tour as we rarely participate in adventures that include the word “sunrise.” At Angkor Wat, we did wake up to see the temples at dawn and the experience was worth it. But at Mt. Bromo, we went at 11 am and saw no crowds and no need for jackets. Last summer, we went on a whale-swimming adventure and swam with humpback whales as well as spinner dolphins—so no sunrise wake up for us in Lovina.
This sleepy beach town is enjoyable, with its great restaurants, live music, and lots of room for relaxing. Do not worry about shopping – the vendors will find you. We are a great disappointment to the ladies on the beach as we do not shop while we travel unless we need to replace something, and we rarely buy items to bring home.
Will we stay another day in Lovina? Are we off to Tulamben? I know we will have breakfast at our hotel and then we will see what the day brings as we relax and let the journey unfold.
July 9, 2012
Loving Lovina Video: