At home in London, I am more than a little bit shit at keeping on top of my finances. But I knew before strapping on my backpack and setting off for Asia, that I would have to be a little more responsible with my spending in order to give this backpacking thing a decent shot. As a result, I jot down absolutely everything that I spend on the road, to truly assess what I’m spending my money on, and where I can make cutbacks.

budget diary

I’ve broken my spending into the following categories: accommodation, transport, food and drink (including alcohol in restaurants), bars and clubs, other entertainment (museums, massages, temples etc…), essentials (haircuts, shampoo, laundry etc…) and miscellaneous (things like mobile phone top-up and computer repairs). Over the last 4 weeks, I’ve been in Laos, where I’ve pretty much enjoyed every moment – but at what price? Let’s find out…

 

Week 1: Don Dhet

Accommodation: 240,000 kip; £20.08; $30.52

Transport: 220,000 kip; £18.41; $27.98

Food and Drink: 490,500 kip; £41.04; $62.38

Bars and Clubs: 35,000 kip; £2.93; $4.45

Other Entertainment: 65,000 kip; £5.44; $8.27

Essentials: 130,000 kip; £10.88; $16.53

Miscellaneous: 367,000 kip; £30.71; $46.47

Total: 1,547,500 kip; £129.48; $196.80

 

Week 2: Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang

Accommodation: 430,000 kip; £35.98; $54.69

Transport: 350,000 kip; £29.28; $44.51

Food and Drink: 388,000 kip; £32.46; $49.34

Bars and Clubs:0 kip; £0; $0

Other Entertainment: 100,000 kip; £8.37; $12.72

Essentials: 31,000 kip; £2.59; $3.94

Miscellaneous: 22,000 kip; £1.84; $2.80

Total: 1,321,000 kip; £110.53; $168.00

 

Week 3: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: 490,000 kip; £41.00; $62.32

Transport: 0 kip; £0; $0

Food and Drink: 223,000 kip; £18.66; $28.36

Bars and Clubs: 100,000 kip; £8.37; $12.72

Other Entertainment: 98,000 kip; £8.20; $12.46

Essentials: 39,000 kip; £3.26; $4.96

Miscellaneous: 28,000 kip; £2.34; $3.56

Total: 978,000 kip; £81.83; $124.38

 

Week 4: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: 490,000 kip; £41.00; $62.32

Transport: 0 kip; £0; $0

Food and Drink: 393,000 kip; £32.88; $49.48

Bars and Clubs: 0 kip; £0; $0

Other Entertainment: 30,000 kip; £2.51; $3.82

Essentials: 94,000 kip; £7.86; $11.95

Miscellaneous: 561,288 kip; £46.96; $71.38

Total: 1,568,288 kip; £131.22; $199.45

 

My complete 4 week total is: 5,414,788 kip; £453.04; $688.63

Bam! That is another fifty quid down on my spend the previous month, in the north of Thailand and Isaan. And a bloody brilliant month it was too. I am head over heels for Laos, and here’s what my £453.04 over the last few weeks bought me.

Splashing about in the pool of a waterfall

don khon beach

Yummy bakery goodies

joma bakery luang prabang

Kayaking in Vang Vieng

kayaking vang vieng

Eating myself into oblivion at Luang Prabang’s night market

luang prabang night market food

Bowling (and too much whiskey) at Luang Prabang’s only late night haunt – a bowling alley

luang prabang bowling

 

Be sure to check out my other budgeting posts, and do get in touch if you need any advice about travelling on a tight backpacker budget.

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