3 Months in South East Asia: Pre-Departure Expenses
So you’ve decided to go to South East Asia (you made the right choice!), so now its time to start budgeting and planning your expenses. For starters… You have your day to day expenses; hostels, food and activities, those are the easy ones. But there are many pre-departure expenses that you might not have though to consider in your budgeting. So we’ve compiled a list of necessary expenses you may have forgot or not considered!
Well okay, this first one is pretty obvious, if you forgot this one, I am worried about you going to Asia. Maybe you are not ready.
FYI: We are from Ottawa so all our expenses are listed in Canadian dollars.
Toronto –> Hanoi: $572
Seat selection: $14
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam –>Denpasar, Bali: $117
Denpasar, Bali to Labuan Bajo round trip: $155
Denpasar, Bali –> Bangkok, Thailand: $126
Bangkok, Thailand –> Toronto, Canada: $704
After much research we ended up finding the best price to Asia on Flighthub.com. For best prices, the further you book in advance usually the better. Some say booking on a Tuesday you get better prices, but we did not find this. Make sure to use the feature to check multiple dates for the best price. One website that is great for this is skyscanner.com where you are able to check flight prices for the entire month you are planning on travelling. Another option if you are planning a shorter trip is secretflying.com that has crazy low return ticket prices for 1-3 week trips.
Luckily we already had our so we did not have to worry about this, but if you plan to travel internationally this is obviously a cost you must consider. For Canadians a new 10-year passport is $160 or $120 for a 5-year, but you would end up saving in the long run with a ten year!
Make sure to consult your countries recommendations on immunizations for where you are planning on going, for Canada we use the CDC website or Centre for Disease Control. Many of the recommendations are similar across South East Asia, but risks are higher in certain areas so you will want to know the details!
You may be able to consult with your family doctor, but unfortunately we still had to book a consultation with a private travel clinic which can range from $40-$60, we were lucky to get one for $40.
Bare in mind the nurse at the clinic will try to sell you as much immunizations as possible as they make a commission from it, but since we are frugal travellers we only decided to get immunizations for conditions that were “high risk” for the places we were going. Here is a list of the following immunizations recommended for Vietnam, Bali and Thailand. (If you are going to other destinations do not rely on this list solely.) In the end we decided only to get the dukoral for cholera, anti-malarials and a general antibiotic which came to $256.
Typhoid fever: $50
Japanese Encephalytis: 2 dose at $290=$580
Rabies: 3 does at $240= $720
Malaria medication: (varies) for 9 days in malaria zone = $114
Cholera (Dukoral vaccine): $118
General Antibiotic (travellers diarrhea): $24
$105 +$25 for shipping = $130
We planned on spending one month each in Vietnam, Bali and Thailand and discovered Vietnam is the only one which requires a visa before you arrive. WARNING: the embassy of Vietnam claims on their website that they are the only place where you can get a real tourist visa for Vietnam, so that is who we bought it through. To our dismay, I later learned from a friend that she easily purchased a visa online for $17 and had to pay only $30 upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam. So do not be fooled by the embassy website! you can legally purchase a visa elsewhere and for much cheaper, but be cautious as there are some Visa scams out there. My friend purchased her Visa from vietnamvisa.govt.vn
This is a necessary evil. You do not want to be caught in a foreign country with a hospital bill you cannot pay! Definitely shop around to find the best rates though. You want a low deductible with high coverage. For Canadians I would recommend using kanetix.ca, we found they had the cheapest rates by far.
In total we spent $2,254 in preparation for our 3 month trip to South East Asia. So as you can see, all the little things you have to do in order to prepare for you adventure can really add up! We hope this helps you get a sense of what you need to budget before a trip to South East Asia. If you found this helpful, or know someone who might share us on pinterest or facebook! Have we forgotten any unexpected costs that you have run into in your trip planning? Let us know in the comments