Thursday, August 6, 2015

How We Traveled 2 Months in Asia for $40

Andrew and I both graduated from the University of Utah in May.  Woot woot!  To celebrate, we decided to take two months off before we got real people jobs, and travel through South East Asia with our favorite traveling buddies, Sarah and Pat.  It was the trip of a lifetime and I will forever love the memories we made during those two months.  

Ever since we got home, people have asked two questions.  First, how was it?  Second, how the heck did you afford to travel for two months?  Now before you continue reading this you must know Asia was far from glamorous.  We chose Asia specifically because we could get by so cheap for two months. And by cheap, I mean somewhere around $30-40 a day per person. Asia is as cheap as it gets and we could have lived like kings -- but the more money you save, the more places you can go, so we are all about that budget life.  So for all of you that have asked, here are the top six ways we saved money while traveling around Asia as a couple.

  1.  Points for Flights:  This isn't a novel concept but was by far the biggest money saver.  Saved us over $2,000 dollars.  We used points to book our flight to Asia making our flight basically free.  HECK YA!  Now if you are into points you know that a flight to Asia requires a lot of points.  Fortunately Andrew spends a lot of money for his company and then gets it all back when a job is done.  Basically free points.  We also have started to churn credit cards (Pat is the expert on this), meaning we open multiple new cards, reach the minimum spend, and get all those extra free points.  Just takes a little bit of management to make sure we don’t ruin our credit score but so worth it. A good card to look into for this is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. 

  2.  Setting Budgets within the Budget:  We not only set our $5,000 trip budget per couple ($2,500 per person), but we set budgets within that budget.  We had daily budgets.  We had a nightly housing budget.  Dinner budgets, breakfast budgets, and unfortunately Andrew even set me a treat budget.  But the more budgets you have the less likely you are to splurge.

  3.  Keeping a Running Money Total:  Big shout out to Sarah for her running money total throughout our trip.  This allowed us to monitor how much we were spending on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  This also helped us to decide which activities to splurge on and when it was time to save.

The tigers were SO WORTH THE SPLURGE.

And so were the elephants.  I could write a whole blog post about how much I LOVED the elephants.

  4.  Traveling in a Group of Four:  This was probably one of our bigger money savers.  If possible I highly recommend it.  Four is ideal because you fit in a taxi meaning the taxi price gets spilt four ways.  Four is also perfect for family rooms, which are so much cheaper than a private room and a little bit nicer than staying in the dorms.

  5.  Family Style Meals:  Three dishes spilt between the four of us lessened the cost of meals.  It also was a fabulous way to try all kinds of new dishes without worrying about ordering an inedible dish.  With three choices we were bound to get something decent.

  6.  Filtering Water:  When Sarah and Pat suggested it I was a little skeptical, but we use it for camping so why not for Asia?  Quick plug for my water filter… I love it.  It is efficient and works like a charm.  We’ve had it for over a year and haven’t gotten sick yet and we have filtered some pretty yucky water.  Anywho we saved tons of money because it eliminated the need to continually purchase bottled water.  Sure, some of the water tasted a little muddy and of course I absolutely loathed filtering at the end of the two months, but it was worth it. As a couple, this probably saved us around $300 over the two months we were traveling.

      And if you are wondering what that $2,500 got us, here is an awesome little video Andrew made documenting some of our favorite moments throughout the past two month.  

      Stay tuned for more highlights of each of the four countries we traveled too.  And if you also want to purchase a camping tool that will change your life click here and check out the best water filter eva.  

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