November we fell in love. Not with each other (already there), but with Chiang Mai, Thailand. We arrived here in the middle of October and spent a hectic few weeks launching our first book, Dream Save Do. In November we were able to settle in a bit more and explore this amazing city. During the month we went rock climbing, white water rafting, had a few massages, rented motorbikes to explore outside the city, and dined out for 3 meals a day…every day.
While we are here to work on our next book, we are also getting out to enjoy the area and all it has to offer. It is nice to able to do all this well under our budget. Especially since we vowed during our time here we would not spend any money from our travel funds. We have to earn whatever we spend adding even more excitement when we see the final figures.
It was a wonderful month, made all the better as we look at the total spending for the month of $1,356. This is half what we spent in October and well under our expenses during our time in Europe. Our accommodation expenses are fixed for our time here at $600/month so our big savings areas are food and alcohol. In fact, it was great to see our spending on wine/beer drop so much as we were starting to fear it would become our 2nd highest all time expense on this trip…not a good sign. The food here is simply amazing and if you steer clear of the “faraang” (foriegners) restaurants you can typically eat for $5 or less. If you eat at the market stalls then you can chop that in half.
Let’s Get to the Numbers
- Total spending to date through November 2011: $28,512
- Total spending for November 2011: $1,356
- Daily average for November 2011: $45.21
- Overall daily average (14 months on the road): $66.93
- Eat where the locals eat – we have talked about the value of eating in markets. In addition to this one of our biggest savings has been avoiding restaurants aimed at tourists. These are easy to spot as they are located near the main sights, typically have some form of blinking neon lights, and will be filled with people who look and talk just like you. By wandering outside the core tourist zones you will need to step outside your comfort zone a bit, but you will find new culinary experiences for a fraction of the price. In Asia this will save you at least 60% (and often closer to 80%) on the bill.
- Buy fruits and veggies at the market – like local restaurants, the local markets are a treasure trove of tastes and smells you may have never experienced. It is also home to the cheapest prices for fruits and vegetables. We love to buy fresh fruits and can also buy better tasting items, for less than half the price, by buying direct from the markets. We’ve saved a ton of money during our time here by only shopping for our fruits in the local markets. Now, the only time we go into a “super” market is to explore what all they have but never to buy.