1 Month of Expenses in Thailand and Laos

We are going to mix things up a bit this time and share our expenses with you in a different way.  We usually go by calendar month, so I will share that info with you.  I also think there is some use to viewing the expenses within one country as well, so I will add that too.

Cost of living 1 month of expenses Thailand and Laos

Cost of living in Southeast Asia – 1 Month of Expenses (Thailand and Laos)

Let’s start with the traditional calendar month of expenses for our family of 4.  Remember our budget is to spend approximately $3000 a month for everything.  That is just about $100 a day or $25 a day per person.  It isn’t realistic to break it down per day or per person as there are base costs that are just there if it is one person or 4 people.  For example accommodation for one maybe $15, but it isn’t $60 for 4 people.  Anyway, you will see as we go.

During the month of November 2014 we spent a total of 16 days in Thailand and 14 days in Laos.  Most of the time in Thailand was spent at our apartment in Chiang Mai, so living expenses were pretty similar to the prior few months.  The final 2 nights we spent at hotels (1 night in Chiang Mai near the bus station and 1 night in Chiang Khong).

Note:  As you know my mother, Gma Bev, is traveling along with us for a few months.  Read all about it under our tag of Adventure333 (3 Generations, 3 Months, 3 Countries).  She is paying for her own expenses, so we are only covering what it is costing Wagoners Abroad as a family of 4.

Our total spend for the month was $2949.  

To be honest, I don’t know how we managed that.  I was certain we were over budget, but we did it!  Let’s hope we continue to do well.  Here are the visuals for you.

Cost of living in Southeast Asia 1 month Thailand Laos

Below is the breakdown by category as well as a chart showing the percent spent for each category.  As half of the month was in one place and the other half moving around, it took us a little while to figure out the nomadic part.  It was a difficult transition going from cooking at home to eating out every meal.  You need to realize, we aren’t on “vacation” or “holiday” and we need to remember that as well.  It is difficult seeing everything on a menu and sticking to a daily budget, rather than just getting what you want.

Cost of living in Southeast Asia 1 month Thailand Laos Graph

We changed the category of Food/Supplies into Eating Out and Groceries/Supplies.  Eating Out is just that.  While we still purchase snacks, drinks, water, toiletries, and other things from the store.  Those items will now be in the Groceries/Supplies Category.

Transportation is a category that has jumped up for us, as we are obviously more mobile.  The slower we travel the lower it will be.  For the next 3 months, we plan to move about every 5-7 days, so we will see.  We took a few different forms of transportation and shared our experiences with you.  The bulk of the transportation costs were flights from Vientiane Laos to Hanoi Vietnam.  While we didn’t actually fly until December 9th, the cost occurred in November.  It was about $95 each for 4 one-way tickets on Vietnam Airlines.  The remaining costs were for the 2 VIP buses in Laos.  Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng and Vang Vieng to Vientiane.

As we will be moving around to different countries, we thought it would be helpful to capture any Visa/Passport related fees separately, so they don’t get lost in the Misc section.

  • We paid $36 each for our visa into Laos.  It was $1 extra per person for a weekend crossing.
  • We also purchsed passport photos in Vientiane for Lars, Anya and Me.  6 photos each for a total of $10.
  • We used the electronic visa on arrival for our trip from Laos to Vietnam.  It was $65 for the online fees, which were made during the month of November.  We actually traveled to Vietnam in December, so the “stamp fee” upon entry into the country will show in our December report.

Activities were too much fun and very low-cost.

Now for a different way to look at things!

Cost of living in Laos for 23 nights (Family of 4)
November 16 – December 9, 2014

We already shared with you all of our accommodation in Laos, included the cost of each.  That seemed to be a popular way to present information to you, especially if you are just researching one particular country.  We will do our best to break it down for you.

First of all some things needed to change in our expense tracking, as we went from a living in a single apartment to being mobile and nomadic, moving regularly.  Things like utilities, virtually don’t exist when you are on the move.  It really just factors into your accommodation prices.  So let’s see how we did and where we spent our money and take note of our new expense categories.  This is still a work in progress and I will fine tune until it is where I like it.

Our Cost for 23 Nights in Laos for a family of 4
$1862.38  (Average of $80.97 / day)

Cost for 23 Nights in Laos

NOTE: Now there are a few important things to note for you that may have been sponsored or were out of the ordinary purchases.  This is not representative of all of our costs, such as travel insurance, storage in the US, etc.  Those would all be found in our monthly costs noted above.  This is purely what we spent in the country of Laos, for that trip.

  • We used our Chase Sapphire preferred Visa Points for 5 nights accommodation in Vientiane.
    5 Nights Free! Vientiane Laos
  • Here is the full break down of our 23 Nights Of Accommodation In Laos – Family Friendly!
    23 nights accommodation in Laos
  • Our transport on the two-day slow boat on the Mekong was sponsored, so we did not include any cost for that transport.
  • Communications was very high, as we purchases a MiFi device!  Woo Hoo.  We have a wireless hotspot with us on the go.  It works wherever we can get a cell signal, so this was cool to be able to use on the bus trips or as we are on the go.   We do need to purchase a SIM and data in each country to use, but that is very low-cost. The MiFi was about $50 and works in most countries.  The SIMs are just a couple dollars, and the data is as much as you would like to buy.  I believe we spent $4 for 5G of data to use within a month.

If you want to view any of our past cost of living / travel budget posts.  We do our best to share all of our expenses with you.

Thanks for following along.  Don’t be shy, ask us questions.  I find it funny that many people will send us an email and ask.  Go ahead and ask in the comments, that way more people with the same question can benefit from the answer.

Tell us what you think.  Should we keep this format by sharing the cost of a country as well?  Or should we just share it by the month, as we have in the past?

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Adventure333 (3 Generations, 3 Months, 3 Countries) 
Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

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10 thoughts on “1 Month of Expenses in Thailand and Laos

  1. Personally, I love the per-country breakdown! These budget posts are some of my favourites – they are soooo useful to give a ballpark idea of what it’ll cost us when we go somewhere. Thanks for sharing all the detail! 🙂

    • Thanks Sheralyn. I think I like them too. It is loads easier breaking down the countries than by the month and different places. I think I will continue to share both, as I am doing the danyway for our records. Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it. I too look for country breakdown, when researching locations. Of course it is all just as a guide, as we all have different spending habits and thresholds for “comfort”. 🙂

  2. I find it more interesting to know what you spent in a particular country. The per month way is fine too, but having both figures is great.

  3. How much of your accommodations, travel and entertainment are you able to get sponsored? Does it significantly impact your budget? If so, how do you approach a potential sponsor?

    • Oh that is a tough one Nelson. Right now I would say it is just here and there for sponsored items. I usually plan dates and locations and reach out to companies, hotels, tours etc and “pitch” them. Most of the time there is no reply at all and sometimes we work out sponsorship. It is quite a bit of work before, during and after, so it is only as much as I reach out. That said, sometimes we are approached as well. It usually is a bit easier when we are in one location for at least a month. That gives me time to plan and figure things out. We did a few activities in Chiang Mai that were sponsored. So it is difficult to give you a direct answer. I don’t think there is enought to have a % of our costs yet, but we can work on that. To do one sponsored post on a hotel or tour may take about 8 hours of time, so we need to be a bit selective. Once we do research, take photos, edit photos, write up the review, try everything we are reviewing it is more work than it seems. Thankfully we haven’t had a bad experience yet, but when we do we will say so. Thanks for asking the question and if you would like more info, just ask. I can see about writing a post on the topic.

  4. Well done — you guys are amazing! It is definitely interesting and useful to see how costs compare by country, but also to see how things balance out monthly.

    • Thanks so much Jennie. We think you are pretty amazing too! I love looking at other posts when they share costs. I know we won’t be exactly the same, but it help to have data points. There aren’t many families that share either, so I love when I find one! Happy Travels.

  5. This is great! So useful. I’m planning a trip to Thailand next month and probably one to Laos later in the year, so seeing the breakdowns by country as well as by month helps a lot.

Come on and tell us what you think!