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Cost of Travel: A Case Study of Spending During 29 Days of Travel in Thailand

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In this post we look at a real life case study of our spending during 29 days in Thailand.

If you haven’t already, check out our What It Costs to Travel — Short & Long Term post that overviews the cost of travel. We explore how creating daily spending bands can provide a budgetary framework for your next trip, whether short or long term.

Also read our guide to tracking your travel spending. We outline how tracking your own spending can help you understand your habits and with this insight, you can then create realistic budget guidelines for future travels.

Asia Travel — Thailand in 3 Weeks — Country Itinerary

Note that we describe 29 days of travel in our costs analysis below but 21 days in our itinerary. We removed an extra week of beach vacation in Koh Samui for travelers pressed for time. That is why there is a discrepancy between the length of time between the itinerary and this cost analysis.

Here are our aggregated costs per-category over 29 continuous days of travel in Thailand. Costs are reflected in US Dollars $.

CategoryAverage Spend $/Day/Person# of Days in CountryTotal Spend $ / PersonTotal Spend $ / Two People
Shopping + Miscellaneous $0.5129$14.83$29.66
Sightseeing + Entertainment$10.0729$292.05$584.10
Summary$47.97/person/day29 days of travel$1,391.24 / person$2,782.48 / two people

Assumptions per-category

Accommodation–We stayed in three star hotel and B&Bs.
–Every room we had offered air conditioning and a TV, both of which usually require an additional charge.
Transport–We flew between the main land to the islands and relied on ferries and private buses to transfer us between locations.
–Costs do not include a flight to enter Thailand (we used miles).
–Does not include a flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani (airplane on mainland Thailand closest to Koh Samui).
Those tickets ran $53 per person.
–Does not include a flight from Krabi to Chiang Mai.
Those tickets ran $72 per person.
–Does not include flights departing Thailand (we used miles).
Shopping + Miscellaneous–Taking money out of the ATM costs $7 USD each time you withdraw funds. Be mindful of this as you enter the country.
Sightseeing + Entertainment–We spend a large amount of time on the islands which typically carry higher costs than the mainland.
–We did not participate in water sports like jet skiing, snorkeling or scuba diving which could have dramatically driven up the cost.
–We also got weekly massages. In Thailand you can get a 1 hour body massage for $8 USD + tip. In the United States this same massage runs $60-100 USD + 20% tip for a 1 hour body massage.
Wifi–Was included in our accommodation fees and available at the restaurants we frequented.
Laundry–We relied on the drop-off/pick-up laundry services.
–If you have sensitive skin, ask about what kind of detergent the company uses. Likely it will have fragrance. Proceed accordingly.
Coffee–We averaged one coffee/tea out per day.
Breakfast–We skipped breakfast for the majority of our time in Thailand as the city and islands don’t get going until around 10 or 11 AM meaning many restaurants are not open.
Lunch–We ate every day.
–It’s our favorite meal to try out local flavors.
–Costs are usually less expensive for the same meal offered at dinner.
Dinner–Unlike most of our other countries of travel, we ate dinner out as this is when the city is at its peak hustle and bustle.
Snack–We kept snacks on hand to keep in our day packs.
–Because lunch and dinner were so filling, we only refreshed our snacks every week.
–Fresh cut fruit, juices and smoothies are available all over the country for less than a dollar.
Drinks–Libations are inexpensive.
Grocery–We did not purchase groceries for this portion of the trip as we ate out the majority of the time.
Travel Insurance–We did not include our travel insurance costs in the overall price listed here.
— Our insurance ran $3.17/person/day, totaling $165 per person for 52 days, $330 total.


  1. In categories like laundry, shopping & wifi, we may not have spent any money on these services every day. Instead, we added up the costs and divided by the number of days within that particular country to determine how much to budget for future trips.
  2. While we were mindful of our spending, especially because we were abroad for so long, we did splurge on meals and special activities. This may have raised the average costs in a particular category.
  3. In a country like Thailand where the overall cost of travel is much less expensive than Australia, we ate out twice a day instead of once. We also spent more time on the island on a beachfront hotel.

Other cost of travel case studies:

A Case Study of Spending During 52 Days of Travel in East Coast Australia

How do you keep track of travel expenses?


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