Cost of Travel

So how many of these will you need to save for that dream trip?

How Much Does it Cost to Travel?

Its useful to know how much to budget when planning and saving for a trip. Here I give a brief rundown of my average costs in India and South East Asia.

My costs reflect my travel style. I have to admit I am not the kind of person who obsessively records every penny, cent or rupee I spend.

I traveled on a budget but not rock bottom shoe string and splashed out on nicer accommodation or meals every now and then but these are average guideline prices.

Your costs of travel could be less or more depending on your style of travel and comfort level.  If you travel as a couple or with a friend it is cheaper as you can split accommodation and taxi costs. These costs are for a average guideline only and it is always, always better to take more money to account for incidentals, emergencies, impromptu shopping sprees or a splurge on a posh hotel or internal flight. Doing activities like scuba diving, trekking, courses and tours will also push your budget.

I have displayed costs in local currency, British Pounds and US Dollars but be aware that exchange rates change. In Vietnam and Cambodia US Dollars are widely used.

The Average Daily Budget (per person) takes into account;

  • Accommodation shared between two people, (apart from in countries where dorm beds have been the only budget option)
  • 2 restaurant meals per day,
  • A street food or convenience store like 7/11 snack,
  • 3 bottles of water,
  • A couple of beers,
  • A long distance (12 hr) bus or train journey
  • 2 short taxi or public transport rides
  • Visiting an attraction.


Cost of Travel: India


India’s Taj Mahal is the ultimate symbol of love and described as the most beautiful building in the world

ItemCost in RupeesCost in GDP £Cost in US$
Guesthouse Room for 2700 Rupees£7.00$11.60
Restaurant Meal150 Rupees£1.50$2.50
Street Food50 Rupees£0.50$0.80
Long Distance Bus/Train150 Rupees£1.50$2.50
Local Transport & Taxis70 Rupees£0.70$1.15
Bottle of Water20 Rupees£0.20$0.35
Beer100 Rupees£1.00$1.65
Attractions250 Rupees£2.50$4.15
Average Daily Budget Per Person1500 Rupees£15$25.00
Average Weekly Budget Per Person10,500 Rupees£105$175.00
Average Monthly Budget Per Person45,500 Rupees£450$755.00


Cost of Travel: Thailand

bangkok grand palace-4

Stunning Wat Phra Kaew at Bangkok’s Grand Palace is the most golden, glittering and elaborate of all Thailand’s temples.

ItemCost in BahtCost in GDP £Cost in US$
Guesthouse Room for 2500 Baht£9.25$15.50
Restaurant Meal150 Baht£2.75$4.65
Street Food70 Baht£1.30$2.15
Long Distance Bus/Train275 Baht£5.10$8.50
Local Transport & Taxis80 Baht£1.50$2.50
Bottle of Water20 Baht£0.37$0.60
Beer80 Baht£1.50$2.50
Attractions200 Baht£3.70$6.20
Average Daily Budget Per Person1475 Baht£27$46.00
Average Weekly Budget Per Person10,325 Baht£191$320.00
Average Monthly Budget Per Person44,742 Baht£828$1,386.00



Cost of Travel: Vietnam


People live in floating fishing villages between the karst limestone peaks of beautiful, mystical Halong Bay

ItemCost in DongCost in GDP £Cost in US$
Guesthouse Room for 2250,000 Dong£7.00$12.00
Restaurant Meal120,000 Dong£3.40$5.70
Street Food40,000 Dong£1.15$1.90
Long Distance Bus/Train150,000 Dong£4.25$7.10
Local Transport & Taxis30,000 Dong£0.85$1.42
Bottle of Water15,000 Dong£0.40$0.70
Beer15,000 Dong£0.40$0.70
Attractions50,000 Dong£0.85$0.70
Average Daily Budget Per Person740,000 Dong£21$35.00
Average Weekly Budget Per Person5,180,000 Dong£146$245.00
Average Monthly Budget Per Person22,447,000 Dong£636$1,065.00


Cost of Travel: Cambodia


No where does temples quite like Cambodia. Angkor Wat is the largest religious building in the world and an magnificent sight

ItemCost in RielCost in GDP £Cost in US$
Guesthouse Room for 236,000 Riel£5.40$9.00
Restaurant Meal20,000 Riel£3$5.00
Street Food4,000 Riel£0.60$1.00
Long Distance Bus/Train28,000 Riel£4.20$7.00
Local Transport & Taxis4,000 Riel£0.60$1.00
Bottle of Water2,000 Riel£0.30$0.50
Beer2,000 Riel£0.30$0.50
Attractions20,000 Riel£3$5.00
Average Daily Budget Per Person128,000 Riel£19$32.00
Average Weekly Budget Per Person896,000 Riel£135$225.00
Average Monthly Budget Per Person3,882,667 Riel£585$980.00


Cost of Travel: Laos

Courtesy of my partner Kevin from

ItemCost in KipCost in GDP £Cost in US$
Guesthouse Room for 2100,000 Kip£7.50$12.50
Restaurant Meal35,000 Kip£2.60$4.35
Street Food12,000 Kip£0.90$1.50
Long Distance Bus/Train85,000 Kip£6.30$10.55
Local Transport & Taxis15,000 Kip£1.10$1.85
Bottle of Water4,000 Kip£0.30$0.50
Beer8,000 Kip£0.60$1.00
Attractions40,000 Kip£3$5.00
Average Daily Budget Per Person315,000 Kip£23.50$39.00
Average Weekly Budget Per Person2,205,000 Kip£164$275.00
Average Monthly Budget Per Person9,555,000 Kip£710$1,188.00



Cost of Travel: Malaysia


The icon of Kuala Lumpur – the Petronas Twin Towers

ItemCost in RinggitCost in GDP £Cost in US$
Guesthouse Room for 240 Ringgit£7.40$12.35
Restaurant Meal15 Ringgit£2.75$4.65
Street Food5 Ringgit£0.90$1.55
Long Distance Bus/Train30 Ringgit£5.50$9.25
Local Transport & Taxis5 Ringgit£0.90$1.55
Bottle of Water3 Ringgit£0.55$0.90
Beer10 Ringgit£1.85$3.10
Attractions15 Ringgit
Average Daily Budget Per Person139 Ringgit£26$43.00
Average Weekly Budget Per Person973 Ringgit£180$300.00
Average Monthly Budget Per Person4,216 Ringgit£778$1,300.00


Cost of Travel: Singapore

2013-09-24 15_5Fotor

Singapore isn’t cheap but it is the most modern, clean, orderly and prosperous state in South East Asia with plenty of colonial history, a mixture of cultures and food.

Singapore is not a budget destination. Here the average daily costs accounts for staying in dorms, eating cheap street food, fast food or buying groceries more than eating in restaurants and using only public transport instead of taxis.

ItemCost in SG DollarCost in GDP £Cost in US$
Dorm BedSG$30£14.00$24.00
Restaurant MealSG$15£7.00$12.00
Street FoodSG$5£2.40$4.00
Long Distance Bus/TrainN/A
Local TransportSG$5£2.40$4.00
Bottle of WaterSG$3£1.40$2.40
Average Daily Budget Per PersonSG$119£57$95.00
Average Weekly Budget Per PersonSG$833£398$667.00
Average Monthly Budget Per PersonSG$3,609£1,727$2,890.00


So how much money do you need for 3 months in South East Asia?

3 months (better make it nearer 13 weeks!) is the minimum time you would need to take in all the amazing sights, cultures and landscapes South East Asia has to offer. I spent over 6 months and only scratched the surface. The flight will likely be your biggest expense, check out websites like skyscanner to compare prices and get the best deal. Flights to Bangkok from the UK start at about £400 return. After flights, visas, insurance, immunisations, a backpack or any equipment you want to buy, enjoying the amazing sights of Asia could cost you less per day than your costs at home so how much money will you need? Let’s assume your 3 months looks a bit like this:

Local CurrencyGDP £US Dollars $
Thailand 3 weeks31,000 Baht£575$965.00
Laos 2 weeks6,615,000 Kip£500$830.00
Vietnam 3 weeks15,540,000 Dong£440$735.00
Cambodia 3 weeks2,688,000 Riel£405$680.00
Malaysia 10 days1,390 Ringgit£255$430.00
Singapore 4 days476 Singapore $£225$380.00
Total for 13 weeks£2,400$4,020.00

So hopefully this gives you a guideline cost so you can work out how much you need to save up for how many weeks you wish to travel South East Asia!  Also think about saving for any extra activities like scuba diving courses, cooking or yoga lessons,  trekking, sightseeing, shopping, souvenirs and wild nights out drinking that you do on your trip. For me, it’s well worth it for the adventure of a lifetime!

More Great Resources

An excellent resource for backpacker costs is Price of Travel which lists cities in order of price. Asia is the cheapest region in the world with cities in Nepal, Vietnam, India, Thailand and Laos dominating the top 10 cheapest from US$ 14 per day See here for cheapest cities in Asia

The website also has listings for other continents too. See here for cheapest cities in Europe. Eastern European countries are considerably cheaper than the more famous Western European cities. For example Bucharest, Romania is quoted at US$25 per day compared to Zurich, Switzerland at US$123


expensive australia

Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world to travel in – find out what prices to expect in How Expensive is Australia Really but don’t despair also look at my tips on How to Save Money Traveling in Australia. 

Coming soon … Indonesia 

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