Long Bus Journey . . . And Some Travel Budget Talk

I made it to Malaysia. Whew! Big sigh of relief.

I had been dreading the trip from Thailand to Malaysia because of the long bus ride. The travel agencies listed the trip as: Departure from Krabi 7am, Arrival in Penang 4pm. Nine hours on a bus is certainly NOT my idea of a good time. So I spent a while online researching other options such as a bus/train combo or stopping part way to visit another town and sleep over so I could break up the trip a bit. Then I started reading about some dangerous areas of Southern Thailand to avoid. After an hour of reading forums and posts it all became a little overwhelming and I decided to just suck it up and take the easy route (planning wise) on the tourist mini bus that was a direct door to door trip. Still I had a feeling of DREAD. It didn’t help matters that I had just met some girls in the hostel who had done the reverse route and said it was horribly uncomfortable and their backs were still aching.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when the bus ride really wasn’t that bad AT ALL. It wasn’t truly a 9 hour bus ride as there were many starts and stops to the trip–I doubt we drove more than two or three hours at a time. There were mini bus changes, and passport control stops, and bathroom breaks, and intermediary transportation vehicles. The funny thing was that since the travel agencies had communicated none of this to us, my fellow travelers and I started to feel like the whole trip was a game of “What Will Happen Next?”

karaoke truck!?
One of the “intermediary transportation vehicles.” We were dropped off by one mini van in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere only to be herded on to this little pick up truck (outfitted with a fancy karaoke system) to be transferred to another mini van.

The good thing about the chaotic day was that it broke up the travel and the journey actually went by really quickly!

And . . . The Budget Talk

Another thing I did to pass the time on the bus ride was to look at my spending on the Thailand portion of my travels. I can be a bit geeky about numbers and stats sometimes (aren’t all bloggers though?) and so I decided to track all of my expenses for this trip. My main goal budget-wise is to stay within my normal salary for July and August and not dip into any savings (such as I did last year in NYC–man, that is an expensive city!).

At the beginning of the trip I downloaded an app for my iPhone called Live Expenses and used it for a few days before deciding it wasn’t the one for me. I asked some RTW bloggers who are really into budget tracking about any apps they might use, and the consensus seemed to be that they (at least the ones I asked) jot everything down in a notebook and later transfer it all to an Excel spreadsheet. (Perhaps with a round-the-world trip there is a level of planning and budgeting that no app could actually cover since it is so personal and detailed.)

Then I found Trip Boss and it works pretty well for my needs though I’d probably make a few tweaks if I could.

budget app: travel boss

Here is a screen shot of the app from my phone.

I love that it gives the total amount spent per day and that you can enter each item in multiple currencies and it translates the daily total to USD (or whatever currency you set it to). I also love the feature where you can take a photo of a receipt and it saves it in the app with the day so that you never have to worry about saving receipts “just in case.”

I was inspired by travel bloggers Ashley and Justin at The Parallel Life to track my spending by country, rather than by the whole trip, like they did on their country “Roundup” posts.  (Because comparing numbers is so much fun! <—-Geek, I know!). Now if only I knew how to make those pretty pie charts like they do!

So, without further ado, here is my spending for 11.5 days in Thailand.

Food and Drink | $124
Accommodations | $195 <——-incl. 5 nights @$28/night while visiting friends
Transportation | $138 <——-including a flight from Bangkok to Phuket
Touristy Stuff | $31
Shopping | $6
 Incidentals | $24
 Other | $32 <——-yoga! massage! etc.
Thailand Total | $550 (or $48 per day)

And just for geeky fun (and because I had a lot of time to kill on the bus ride) I entered the details of my spending for my spring break trip to Scotland which I had saved on a “note” in my iPhone. (6 days)

Food and Drink | $316
Accommodations | $341 
Transportation | $193 
Touristy Stuff | $86
Shopping | $121
 Incidentals | $31
Scotland Total | $1088 (or $181 per day)

And the moral of this story is: Travel in Southeast Asia because it is soooo much cheaper than the UK!

So tell me, does anyone have any great travel apps that they love (budgeting or otherwise)?


3 Comments on “Long Bus Journey . . . And Some Travel Budget Talk

  1. Numbers and comparisons are fun! What a handy app. Also, I knew it already, but WOW, Asia (or Thailand, at least) is cheap!

  2. Pingback: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | The Present Perfect

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