Can money buy experiences?
The original plan was to open up the entire budget for the trip around the world here today. After thinking long and hard, I decided to write about all the countries separately, since understanding what that money can get you and what kind of experiences it can allow for is more important than getting total sums.
The purpose of country-specific writings is to give lots of ideas and vision for those planning the budget for a trip around the world. Those wanting total prices can familiarize themselves with the section on prices for the around-the-world –flights for a family of five. “Just say it: how much did the trip really cost in total?” This is what we are asked all the time. Giving a direct answer feels hard. Everyone seems to only be interested in the absolute total, which even to me feels almost embarrassing. Have we really spent this much money in traveling?
The total may feel like a lot, but in all honesty the people who are horrified at the cost ought to first calculate their own monthly spending and then think about the experiences they get for that money. When we were traveling, we got by with less money than we do at home almost everywhere we went. Especially in the sense that we had rented out our own home and didn’t have any so-called alternative costs. Whether the travel money was well spent or if we paid too much for something, that’s a conversation of its own. Where you spend your money is first and foremost a decision.
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DIVIDING EXPENDITURES
The budget for the trip around the world and the separate costs associated with it are divided into eight parts. The division will follow this format in all of the budget postings.
- Lodging (cost of accommodation minus the camper)
- Food (purchase of groceries and snacks, restaurants and coffee shops, and alcoholic drinks)
- Transportation (private and public transportation, excluding the flights)
- Shopping (souvenirs, clothing and small items)
- Services (doctor visits, medication, spa, massage)
- Sport (Golf, riding, gym)
- Sights (entry fees)
- Internet (mobile broadband and internet/wifi fees at hotels)
We spent 20 days in Indonesia, out of which 6 nights on Bali and 14 on Gili Air. At the beginning of the vacation we stayed close to the Seminyak Beach for 4 nights, then 2 nights in Sanur after leaving Gili Air. Both of the places at Bali were apartment hotels. At Gili Air we decided to invest in quality and rented a two-story villa with a sea view from Sunrise Gili Air. The Gili Air hotels didn’t have facilities for cooking, but a delicious and extensive breakfast/brunch saved a lot of money. All of the hotels in Indonesia had a pool and an option to visit the beach.
When looking at the cost of accommodation it’s worth keeping in mind that as a family of five we had to pay more for lodging than what it would have cost for rooms for two people. This meant usually two separate bedrooms and a bed for the baby, which we had to pay for separately.
Both of the apartment hotels at Bali were conveniently located by a pool, which was extremely handy when traveling with kids. The opportunity to cook brought us joy, because then we didn’t have to wake up in time for breakfast and could dine in peace when we wanted to. We usually ate lunch on the beach or at sights.
There was a nice, half-covered hangout area with couches and hammocks upstairs at Sun Rise Gili Air villa. I still often reminisce about this place and do not regret the money spent in it at all – on the contrary. The extra space in a family of several people gives a chance to also enjoy one’s own peace, which we didn’t want to compromise. At Gili we ate all of our meals out and also enjoyed this freedom tremendously.
Food in Indonesia is inexpensive, which we took comfort in. Indonesia was in many ways a beach vacation, so we didn’t count our pennies with drinks or dinner costs. The prices of the restaurants on Gili Air’s beach street were significantly higher than those of the small places downtown.
Towards the end of the trip we often went to get take-away and ate at wahrungs, cheaper eateries owned by locals, where the prices were a quarter of what they were by the beach. On the other hand, we especially enjoyed laying in the recliners almost by the sea. Looking at it now, we would probably have been better off if we had split our time at Gili Air in two and spent the other week at Gili Meno, whose tranquility and paradise beaches we were enchanted by. The price level was lower, too.
When it comes to food, eating at Bali is a lot cheaper than eating on the Gili Islands, where tourism has raised the prices. By being price-conscious you could have easily lowered the food costs by at least a third, if not half.
The biggest transportation expense in Indonesia was the cost of traveling from Bali to Gili Air and back by boat. We didn’t want to compromise on the quality of the boat trip, because there are several travel operators and the quality of the trips offered varies. We can recommend the Blue Water Express –speedboat service, which included minibus transportation from the hotel to the port and a safe and fast travel connection. As a bonus, all the passengers were given a bottle of water and the children could watch a movie for the entire duration of the two-hour ride.
The other travel expenses included airport transportation, taxi to and from the Jimbarang Beach, some other taxi rides to other beaches in Bali, and a private chaffeur for the daytrip to Ubud.
In Indonesia we focused on the beach vacation and enjoying the local ambience. The sights included a Gili cooking course, two boat and snorkel trips, and the entrance fees to the temple areas in Ubud.
Unless you count snorkeling as a sport, we didn’t do much in terms of exercise in Indonesia. The total cost of sports covered the bicycle rental fees at Gili Air and a round of golf at Lombok.
Services costs included Laura and Hanna’s visits to the doctor, the cost of medication, massage, and a spa visit. Our travel insurance gave us a full refund for the doctor’s visits and the cost of the medication.
On our trip around the world we wanted to primarily enjoy the experiences – not necessarily purchase things. The only shopping we did in Indonesia were the girls’ bikinis, sari scarves, and souvenirs.
There were no Internet expenses in Indonesia, because all the hotels offered a free Internet connection. Every restaurant seemed to offer free Internet, too, so there was no need for a connection of one’s own.
THE BUDGET FOR THE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD: INDONESIA EXPENSES TOTAL
Our biggest expenses in Indonesia were accommodation and food. The money our family spent in Indonesia went roughly fifty-fifty in accommodation (91€/day) and in everything else (106€/day). The daily budget came to 39€ per person.
Attached is the traditional pie model of total expenses in percentages and euros.