Financial Recap of Singapore-Malaysia-Indonesia

At the end of any travel adventure, after the stacks of mail have been dealt with, the clothes have been washed, and the tans start to fade, Della and I like to recap how the money side of the trip panned out to a) help contextualize it b) log it away to help inform the next trip and c) to bask in the awesome memories a little bit longer. This trip to Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia was the longest, most ambitious, and most expensive trip we've taken, which in my eyes just means MORE DATA!

After transferring the data from our travel journal to a spreadsheet and categorizing it, this is what it looks like.

TotalPer DayNotes
Hotel$1008$17.38Our hotels ranged from on the beach with pool, AC, and free breakfast to a tiny room with no windows up a stuffy staircase. We never stayed in dorms, always having a room to ourselves.
Transportation$2651$45.70This includes all transportation for both of us, from the flights to get us there to scooter rental and everything in between. If you exclude the getting there and back, the numbers would be $1481 ($25/day), about half of which was in interisland flights (Kuala Lumpur->Semarang: $238, Semarang->Pangalan Buun:$127, Yogyatkart->Bali:$98, Bali->Singapore:$159, Singapore->Bali:$159)
Entertainment$640$11.04We didn't do every thing we could. We didn't pay to go up the Petronas towers or pay to go snorkeling*, but we didn't not do stuff just to be cheap. We did high class stuff like pay big money to see big temples and low class stuff like get the fancy seats at the cinema—pretty much anything we did to fill the time and had to pay for*. The biggest chunk was from our klotok adventure seeing orangutans.
Food and misc.$1275$21.97Smoothie bowls, corn & bean sno-cones, never ending quest for dumplings—we ate well and often but meals rarely came to over $10 combined. Examples of misc. things might be postcards, luggage storage, or clip-on fish-eye camera lens
Overall Total$5598$96.52


A few random money observations along the way:
  • The klotok orangutan trip was a huge expense, running to almost $900 when you take into account getting to there and back. It was definitely the splurge of the trip.
  • Hotel hunting is actually a fine and very annoying art. We found crazy good deals because online warehousers (priceline, etc.) were having sales. And while we always tried to give the money directly to the business instead of doing it online, they often didn't want to match the online prices. It was one of the bummers of modern travels for me—putting a layer of internet between me and the place I am.
  • We like to travel cheap. More days than not, we had $0 entertainment costs, instead opting to do free things like walk around, see public art, find hidden neighborhoods, enjoy sunsets, and way more.
  • Due to a lack of planning and miscommunication on entry into Indonesia, we had to make a visa run to Singapore. The flights, travel to airport, luggage storage, etc. added an unneeded $400 or more. Visiting Singapore a second time was fun, but the hassle as well as the extra expenditure was a bit of a bummer.
I know money isn't the be-all end-all of travel. Sometimes you gotta spend money to experience what you came to the country for in the first place. And I think Della and I walk that line very well. In looking back on the trip, there's nothing I think we would have done different money-wise. We had an amazing trip and did so at a cost that is just about what life back home costs. I can't wait to do it again in some other exciting, adventurous place soon!
Sunday March 15 2020File under: travel

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