There’s a lot of excuses we all can make to not travel. Flights are too long. You can’t get off work. Country X, Y, and Z sound too dangerous. You need a passport. Yadda yadda yadda… I get it, life happens. We get stuck without realizing it. Personally, I wish I had a lot more stamps in my passport book. (#goals)
My main excuse to not travel is one that likely everyone has experienced: Budget.
Thankfully, I’m going to bury the sob story right now that a trip to Bali is too expensive. For two and a half weeks, I tracked my expenses for an end result of under $2000. FLIGHTS INCLUDED. As well as hotel stays, delicious meals, exciting adventures, relaxing spas, and plenty of shopping. Think of how fast you can spend $2000 at home?!
(For what it’s worth, I can also put to shame the “I can’t get anyone to go with me” excuse – A solo trip to Bali was one of the coolest things I have ever done and I met a dozen or so other solo travelers from all over the world. Check out my other posts coming soon about riding solo).
I did a lot of research on my Bali trip by reading other bloggers’ experiences. I want to give back to the same community by giving you a log of my expenses. You can use it to estimate which areas you can make it rain a little harder or if you want to play stingier in some areas. That way you have an idea of spending on your own Bali trip. Because if you have the time and you’re not scared of hours in the air, you’re booking your ticket now that you don’t have excuses, right?
Here’s a quick look at the breakdown of my spending:
FYI: I used the XE currency exchange app throughout my trip to help me convert the prices from Indonesian Rupiah to US dollars. If your currency isn’t USD, you can plug anything from this post in here:
I was ECSTATIC to find a roundtrip ticket to Asia (from NYC) for under $500 so know that it IS possible! I traveled in the less-touristy rainy season of January-February which can make a difference if airfare is a concern.
Round trip NYC to Singapore $474
One way Singapore to Bali $63
One way Bali to Singapore $73
Don’t let flight time turn you off. The majority of the time I was sleeping, eating, watching a movie, or turning into a Tetris addict. The time will pass anyway, might as well say you traveled across the world. If you’re dying to know what the flight time looked like, here’s a breakdown:
NYC to Tokyo: 14 hours
Tokyo to Singapore: 7 hours
Singapore to Bali: 3 hours
On average I spent $10 per night on accommodation. TEN A NIGHT! With Hostelworld and Airbnb apps on my phone, I was able to book places to stay throughout my trip. I did not book beforehand because my itinerary was open to being flexible, and in January/February, there are plenty of open options! I will say, however, by the end of the trip, I knew what I was willing to bargain for and what I wasn’t. Some of my must-haves in accommodation:
- Clean bed
- Clean shower
- Hot shower (or at least a hot tub on site – I got stuck in a rainstorm at one point and couldn’t wait to get into some heat!)
- WiFi available
- Air conditioning
- Not Must-haves but definitely pluses: Breakfast included, and if in a dorm style room: curtains to the bed
Don’t underestimate the power of reading customer reviews. That’s what helped me decide where to stay. Here are three of my favorites:
1. Suba Homestay, Nusa Lembongan, ~ $8 USD/night
Maclir, the owner, is amazing. Out of all the amazing locals I met, I enjoyed conversation with him the most. Suba was his father’s name so he named his properties after him. Maclir knows all about the island and will help you figure out activities to do. His motorbikes to rent are way better than the others I’ve been on. He has complimentary coffee in the rooms to make whenever you want. He has another property too that isn’t dormitory style (I stumbled over there and it’s gorgeous as well). Sharing this makes me really miss the island of Lembongan!
2. Umah Belos, Ubud, ~$13 USD/night
Another wonderful local to interact with, I stumbled upon Umah Belos accidentally and Made (pronounced Mad-ay) showed me around her property. I walked around the majority of my time in Ubud, but her husband was a taxi driver if I needed. I’m not sure if it was her son who cooked me breakfast every day (included in the price) but he was so pleasant and accommodating, and a great cook! I had my own room here but my breakfasts were my time to interact with other travelers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Umah Belos.
3. The Gong by Bukit Vista, Uluwatu, ~$20 USD / night
How gorgeous is this?! The people were just as friendly (and had cute little dogs), and I loved that they had a laundry service on site. I was able to give my clothes to them and they brought them right to my door the next day. Waking up and walking out on the balcony to this view was pretty dreamy.
Uber isn’t well appreciated in the majority of Bali. Go-Jek is another Uber-like app with more acceptance, which I signed up for but never ended up using. It came down to negotiating taxi fares (which I hated). You can probably cut off a good chunk of spending from this category if you’re a good negotiator. But if not, at least make sure you’re not getting ripped off either because the taxi drivers were one of my least favorite parts of the trip. Here are a few examples of what I paid so you can get an idea of what to spend:
- Taxi from Sanur to Ubud (~15 mi or 24 km): 150,000 IDR ($11 USD)
- Motorbike rental for one day: 70,000 IDR ($5 USD)
- One way boat ticket from Sanur to Nusa Penia: 200,000 IDK ($15 USD)
Bali has ah-mazing fresh, healthy options for meals. And even if you’re taking the healthy route, make sure to cheat a little for their nasi goreng. 😉 Here’s a little of what I spent of some of my favorite meals:
For Kebun Bistro, the artesian restaurant in Ubud I’m bragging about in those end slides, I grabbed this picture off their Facebook because I walked by the cute atmosphere every day so I made a point to check them out and I was so glad I did:
I HAD TO include spa activities in its own category because you can’t go to Bali without indulging in their spas! Getting pampered is my guilty pleasure so you certainly don’t have to go all out, but to get all of this done for under $100 is absolutely UNHEARD OF in the States so I soaked it up.
- Massage at side shop in Ubud: 125,000 IDR ($9 USD)
- Fish pedicure: 55,000 IDR ($4 USD)
- Manicure: 150,000 ($11 USD)
- 2-hour spa package including 1hr massage, 1hr body scrub, tea and cookies, and floral foot bath: 442,000 IDR ($33 USD, with the tip)
- Pedicure: 222,000 ($16 USD)
- Another manicure: 178,000 ($13 USD)
I DEFINITELY could have cut back here. Depending on your shopping splurge tendencies, this category can be highly variable. Personally, I got a little shop-happy a few days (Ubud you got me), mostly with new outfits and family souvenirs. I would this all differently next time, like putting aside ahead of time exactly what to spend on souvenirs and on my own shopping habits. This $301 also included a stock up on toiletries/snacks along the way and extra shoes I needed because I destroyed the two pair I packed.
I’m going to post a more detailed version of my Bali itinerary but here are a few of my faves!
So can you do Bali in under $2000?
As you can see, there are certain areas that I could have been more frugal with to make a “cheap-trip blog post” more impressive. I also could have splurged a little more in some areas to experience more of what Bali has to offer. So it’s up to you. But if you have the time, get to booking and get to living. No more excuses.
Much love ♥