One of the biggest excuses people make about not being able to travel is the cost. Well, I am an adamant supporter that travel does not have to be expensive at all.
As an example, I decided to spend a day in Bali treating myself a bit and tracking the costs.
I was staying in Ubud at the time at Hai Home Stay. Ubud itself is a nice, small town with a very naturalist yogi feel. It has become quite popular amongst tourists which usually means more artisan restaurants, local art shops, and higher prices in general.
My particular hotel felt more like an exotic resort than I am used to, but it only cost Rp. 80,000 per night. I had my own PRIVATE room which was more like a bungalow, and it was in a small maze-like assortment of cottages. The family even had their own Hindu temple on the property.
On this particular day I decided to try a local restaurant that came recommended by some fellow travelers. I ordered rice, vegetables, curried chicken, and because the curry was so good, an extra serving of rice with curry. At was delicious, and the whole meal set me back Rp. 20,000.
After breakfast, I headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit and do some work online. It was raining so I couldn’t do my planned adventure of walking past the beautiful rice patties to the Monkey Forrest. Had that happened, it would have cost another Rp. 20,000, so let’s just include it. In reality, I would put it towards a nicer lunch 🙂
It ended up being a much later lunch than I had expected, so I thought I would order little extra. I got some of the delicious suckling pork which was famous in the area and it came mixed with veggies. I also ordered a side of rice to go with it, and a noodle soup. All of this cost Rp. 25,000.
On my way out I found a lady selling fresh young coconut (one of my FAVORITES) and couldn’t resist. That was another Rp. 10,000.
Young coconut in hand, I decided that my insides were taken care of, and now it was time for the outsides. I walked to the beauty spa close to my hotel and went in for a massage. The ladies there were very friendly so we chatted for a while before getting started.
The massage was in the traditional Balinese style, addressing the entire body, and lasted for one full hour. Afterwards I was offered…
Not what you are thinking!
…a hot shower and ginger tea. This entire professional treatment cost Rp. 65,000.
I should note now that I did not end up having dinner because my late lunch was more than enough.
The entire expenditure of the day summed at Rp. 220,000.
That may not mean much to you in Indonesian Rupiah, so let me put some perspective on it. At the time, one dollar was somewhere between 11,000 and 12,000 IDR. Which means that my total expenses in USD was about $20.
You can’t even get a budget hotel for that price back home.
On a bigger scale, this means that for about the same cost you would pay for rent in San Diego for one month, you could have accommodation, meals, and a massage EVERY DAY for that same month in Bali.
And you know what’s more? Ubud is not even the cheapest place I’ve been. There are tons of places I have stayed much cheaper where accommodation is $3, meals are $1 and a 1 hour massage is $5 tops.
Now, I know, I know. I’m ignoring the elephant in the corner. Everyone knows that different places around the world can be extremely cheap to live in, but you still have to get there. The cost of a ticket is often more than a month of living there. But with the right planning, and the right tools, you can find some very affordable deals. I even wrote a post about how I manage to get my tickets for very cheap.