Stat’s Boy

June 27, 2007 Andy 2 Comments

You’re sat in the office on a dull afternoon reading this immensely interesting blog and quietly wondering to yourself, how can he afford all this?

This round the world trip has been a long term plan of mine ever since uni when Jon and I said we would travel once we graduated. Well that didn’t happen due to money and the fact that I was enjoying Spain too much when Jon did set off. For this trip Espe and I had been saving for about a year, helped out by a pay rise (and an unexpected bonus a month before I quit my job), a tenant in the flat and a limited social life. The later was part self inflicted in an effort to save, part due to so many people leaving Madrid (120 European ex pats worked in my department when I got there, when I left this was down to single figures thanks to the joys of out sourcing).

The real reason I can afford to be away for so long is as because it is so cheap to travel in many parts of Asia. I was fortunate to have been born British, thus everywhere seems cheap by comparison. This also enabled me, although I’m not sure why, to command a decent wage in Madrid. To give you a rough idea of prices in Asia, the following are our average daily costs for the countries we’ve been to so far. We have had to be strict on ourselves, trying to eat like the locals at food stalls rather than restaurants and settling on the most basic accommodation. Also bear in mind that this is for two people sharing accommodation, so dividing the cost for one person would not be realistic.

Country Average Daily Cost
India £18
Thailand £23
Laos £14
Vietnam £20
Cambodia £17
Malaysia £27
Singapore £34
Philippines £55

These are just my rough calculations and not necessarily a true indication of travel in the respective countries. For example, in India the Rickshaw Run saw us spend more money than that required for regular day to day travel, while four days volunteer work helped keep the cost down in Laos. Diving, although cheap compared to other parts of the world, put us way over our daily budget. This, however, in Thailand was cancelled out by the ultra cheap (£2 per day) meditation course that we at Suan Mokkh. The Philippines has worked out way more expensive than planned. The place does not cater well for backpackers. Most tourists are there for two to three weeks but the real reason it was so expensive was because we did nothing but diving and the transport connections are neither easy or cheap. That is not to say, however, that it has not been worth every penny (another Philippines annoyance was the lack of international ATMs leaving me to be stung with credit card charges on several occasions). Also note that these costs do not include toys such as camera and diving equipment (why are all my hobbies so expensive?).

Flight tickets are cheaper than most people think. We bought as a Round the World alliance ticket which offers savings over individual flights. Check people like STA Travel and Travelbag to get and idea of costs. Generally speaking you can get multiple flights for the same price as a return to Oz. I was however very lucky with the cost receiving news in April of a gift from my mother / grandmother that effectively cleared the debt of the tickets. Jammy bugger, I know.

Equipment costs before we left did add up (think rucksack and suitable clothing), but I’d recommend to anyone starting in Bangkok or Saigon to leave home with hand luggage only. Everything else you need can be picked up out there at a fraction of the cost. Basically what I’m trying to say here is, with a bit of effort you too could indulge in such a trip.

My only income has been from Google Adsense, which although not a great deal, is bringing in about £30 a month for zero effort on my part.

Oh look, there is one now. Interesting hey? This is clearly not enough to keep me travelling indefinitely, but not to be sniffed at. That is three free dives a month!

We are soon to enter the southern hemisphere where prices will be much higher. We’ve not had to work yet and with a few budget ideas for Oz and NZ we may not have to. Time will tell.

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