It seems that you like to slice and dice the data as much as I do. Actually, I think you like me slicing and dicing the data, and you like to consume the output any way I give it to you. So for grins and fun for me, you get to see our expenses for the month of December 2014, which includes Laos and Vietnam. If you just want to see the breakdown by Country, then just scroll down a little further.
Cost of living in Southeast Asia – 1 Month of Expenses in Laos and Vietnam
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 December 2014 we spent a total of 8 nights in Laos and 23 nights in Vietnam. We shared the total cost of Laos with you last month, but you can click here to see our expenses for 23 nights in Laos.
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 of December 2014 was $3149.
Well with 31 days in December, this was expected. I know these countries are less expensive than Europe, but when you travel fast and are in hotels, it all adds up quickly. Let’s hope we continue to do well.
Below is the breakdown by category as well as a chart showing the percent spent for each category. I think the eating out is what gets us. 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.
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.
While in Vietnam, we mainly stayed in the cities. If you would like to see all of our accommodation choices, scroll down to the Country section for Vietnam and here is the link for our Accommodation in Laos.
Transportation is a category, and it was a doozie this month. We opted to fly most often, so that is where the high expenses come in. It wasn’t too difficult to choose a 1-hour flight over a 13+ hour train journey. The flights were great deals and in most cases less than $10 each extra over the train. We flew from Hanoi to Hue and Danang to Ho Chi Minh City. Of course we also needed transport to and from the airports, so this was an additional expense. This averaged $15-$18 for a 7 seat car.
We were also fortunate enough to have sponsored transportation from Hue to Hoi An with Hue Private Car.
Accommodation was a bit lower than usual, as we used credit card points for 5 nights in Vientiane Laos. We also had 2 nights of sponsored accommodation in Hue Vietnam at Grace Hotel.
Eating Out was a bit high for us, but we did splurge several times. We stayed in Hoi An for 9 nights and the plan was we would use the kitchen in our guest house. Well, it turned out the family was allowing us to use their personal kitchen. We didn’t feel too comfortable going in and making our own things too often. We did make spaghetti a couple of times, but other than that we ate out. Hoi An is a tourist town and prices were much higher than we expected. We also spent 7 nights in Ho Chi Minh City and found western food! This was good and bad. The good, well we missed it! The bad, it always comes at a high price. We enjoyed pizza, burgers and fried chicken and the budget shows it!
Activities – We visited the Maison Central “Hanoi Hilton”, Củ Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City. I think one of our favorite activities was free! Yep, we had a blast mastering How to Cross the Street in Vietnam!
We also enjoyed a sponsored day tour in Hue, Vietnam. While the tour was sponsored, entrance fees into the attractions were not.
We didn’t make it to Sapa. If we had, we would have checked out the Sapa trekking options.
Additional costs – Well for many people including us, there is a big holiday and gift day in December. Yep, it was Christmas. While this wasn’t really a huge expense for us, it was a bit extra for the month. Check out how our traveling family spent Christmas in Vietnam.
Our Cost for 25 Nights in Vietnam for a family of 4
December 9, 2014 – January 3, 2015
$2605.55 (Average of $104.22 / day)
Expenses in Vietnam
I was a little surprised at the daily cost in Vietnam being so high. The main learning we have from this is that we moved too quickly. We spent on average 5 nights in each location, and the transportation between locations was costly. Okay, we also selected to fly most places, so that really added up. We could have saved loads via the train or bus, but we were so tired. We didn’t really want to have more of those 12-15 hour travel days via the bus or train. We also selected to stay in cities, which are much more expensive. I think next go round, we take it slow and enjoy the countryside.
The 5-6 week mark is where we begin to breakdown as a family. We get tired of the long travel days and the local food. We get grumpy and irritable and the best thing to fix this problem is to slow down or passify with food! Yep, that is so wrong, but we do it anyway. Western food makes us all feel better, no matter how wrong that is. We did make our splurges where we could.
The visas for Vietnam also came at a cost ($45 each), but we also opted to do the Visa On Arrival. We filled out the online forms for about $15 each and this saved us, from having to go to the embassy in Laos, and a few day wait for our visa. The kids and I also needed more passport photos, so for a total of $12 we were all set with 6 photos each.
Of course we can’t forget about Gma Bev’s Shenanigans in Vietnam. Yep, she had plenty of experiences to share. One of which “happened” to her twice! Read all about it by clicking on the photo below. In short, she had a phone stolen twice! The second time, we purchased an inexpensive replacement for her, as she would leave that phone behind for Lars to inherit as his. Now we just needed to be sure she could keep that phone for the next month!
Well there you have it. Please do keep in mind these figures are only shared with you as a guide. Every family travels with different priorities and comfort levels. You need to make the choices that are best for you. This is what works for us and we are just sharing with you to get an idea of what it may cost.
Please do share your thoughts in the comments below.
Read more about our
Adventure333 (3 Generations, 3 Months, 3 Countries)
Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia
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