Travel Budget

Destination, Philippines, Sorsogon, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Matnog Island Hopping

I’ve visited the Subic Daco beach and the Juag Fish Sanctuary back in 2011. It was cloudy then, and the waves were pretty big, so it wasn’t quite as pretty. We were awed, but the photos aren’t too impressive.

Subic Daco
Subic Daco

It’s now the beginning of the summer season in the Philippines, and despite the threat of a typhoon coming this way, we were blessed with really good weather. Subic Daco really blew us away.
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Cebu, Destination, Philippines, Travel Budget

Bantayan Island Travel Expenses and Notes

Last August, I finally bit the bullet and booked a flight to Cebu to finally make it out of the city and explore Bantayan Island. It just so happened that I won Airbnb credits at a contest, and there was a beachfront house listed. Perfect.

Sta. Fe Beach

Traveling for almost 12 hours from my house to Sta. Fe is quite taxing, but that place was worth traveling by air, land, and sea. The weather is still quite cool in the Philippines this time of the year, and most of the locals are either recovering from the Christmas season or traveling to the Sto. Niño festivals in Kalibo, Iloilo, or Cebu. It’s mostly foreign tourists we saw in Bantayan, and there’s not a lot of them either.
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Japan, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Japan 2014

After traveling to Japan twice already, I knew exactly what I was getting into when I was planning for this trip. I prepared as much as I can, always on the lookout for the best rates, working out a budget that would let me enjoy certain luxuries, while keeping the costs down, I’m quite happy to find out that I’m able to keep this trip way below what I spent during my first trip to Japan.

Sayuri with Mon-mon and Ron-ron
Sayuri at Matsumoto with Mon-mon and Ron-ron

Maybe the cost can be attributed to a weaker yen (or a better performing peso), but I like to think I maintained better control of my personal spendings this time around. I indulged in a bit of shopping, but the most extravagant thing I bought was a ceramic knife. No more toys for me this time around. No Kit Kats either.

It definitely helped that I shared the cost of most of my accommodation with friends, and the fact that I relented to going back to the dorms. Hostel dorms in Japan (at least the ones I’ve been to) are really nice. What savings we had there though, were put towards more upscale accommodations in Magome and Iwami. We stayed at a minshuku in Magome, and a huge suite in Iwami (probably given to us when they found out Khursten went there all the way from Australia just to fangirl), both with inclusive dinner and breakfast.

Japan is still not the cheapest destination, but with careful budgeting (and some saving up), it’s definitely doable!
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Greece, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Greece

First foray to Europe, and was pleasantly surprised that I did not go over budget! Of course, the airfare was expensive, and the visa application also cost me a couple of thousand of pesos (I did not include them in this list of expenses), but the overall expenses during the trip was lower than expected.

It helped that I wasn’t traveling solo: I was with two friends, so some costs were divided between us three. Aside from that, according to my two companions who both have been to Europe before, Greece is cheaper than the countries in the western regions. Where a 500ml bottle of water can cost you €1 in Paris, you can buy a 1.5 liter bottle for €0.23 at a supermarket in Chania.

We also managed to save some on transportation costs by booking places right in the city center, which cost a little bit more, but it gave us the freedom to explore on foot and make more discoveries. We also saved by cooking and preparing some meals, specially in Mykonos. Only two of our hostels provide breakfast, so for the rest, we just ate packaged croissant (or fresh bread in Myokonos and home made panini in Santorini), fresh fruits, and juice or coffee. We ate out a maximum of two times in one day, but we have ice cream, gelato, or frozen yoghurt at least once a day.

Save for our tour to Gramvousa Island and Balos Lagoon, most of our activities centered around the ruins: the Acropolis, Knossos, Delos.

Overall, it’s not a bad deal for a two-week trip. It’s not super cheap, but not a complete splurge either – a good mix of budget and midrange options.
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Australia, Tasmania, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Hobart

The first time I went to Hobart, I wasn’t able to keep track of our expenses. Since we were hosted by my brother-in-law’s friends, we had no accommodation expense, and most of our meals were had at their house.

Beautiful Hobart

On this trip, however, my sisters and I were on our own, and I was able to see just how much a trip to Hobart would cost. Note that this is not a super budget trip: we stayed in a serviced apartment where we were able to cook most of our meals. Our main activity was a trip to the Museum of Old and New Art and the Salamanca Market. We walked everywhere, since our accommodation was centrally located. Also note that this covers the travel expenses for the three of us, excluding our personal shopping.
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Japan, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Japan

Japan is expensive. They do not exaggerate when they say that. It really is. But that’s not to say it’s not a good place to travel in. Japan is incredibly tourist friendly despite the language barrier, and a lot of tourist attractions have free admission (well, mostly temples, shrines and palace grounds).

Now that more budget carriers are flying direct to Japan from Manila (including Jetstar), it’s cheaper than ever to go there. The biggest expenses in Japan are the transportation, accommodation and food. A ride in the subway costs a minimum of ¥200 (around Php 100), same with buses. But if you don’t mind walking, you can make most of Japan Rail’s network to get around for free if you’re holding a Japan Rail Pass. Accommodation costs can be driven down by staying in hostel dorms or even further down by Couchsurfing with a local host. As for the food, Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores offer bento boxes of real food, so you won’t have to live on instant ramen (unless you’re really strapped for cash). Onigiri (rice ball with filling or seasoning) starts at ¥68, bento at ¥350, depending on where you’re buying.
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Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Morocco

For the first time since I started traveling in 2006, I did not go beyond my estimated budget. Also for the first time (not including Myanmar since, it’s not possible there), I did not use my credit card nor my ATM/debit cards. It is indeed one small step to financial freedom and a giant leap for Nina.

Then again, there were activities and cities that we incorporated into the budget that we weren’t able to do or visit while in Morocco. Still, Morocco, though not as cheap as Southeast Asia, is a relatively cheap destination. Another thing that made a huge impact in keeping the costs down is having a travel buddy to share the tab with.

Excluding the airfare and my personal shopping, our total is a surprisingly low figure, considering that we traveled for 19 days. The trip took us through 7 cities and 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites. We ate in the streets and in the restaurants, we stayed at hostels and riads. It’s a great mix of budget and mid-range options that kept us happy and quite content.

Enough with the words, on with the numbers!
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