Feb 062016


Ok this gravy train of travel posts is over. It’s back to money stuff! But before that lets tally up the cost of travelling through Asia for one month! First, here are the pre-departure expenses, as seen in my previous post.


Pre-departure Expense Cost (CAD)
Flight – Chicago to Istanbul $796
Flight – Istanbul to Bishkek $180
Flight – Bishkek to Urumqi $358
Flight – Beijing to Chicago $730
Hotel – Istanbul, 4 nights $80
Hostel deposits, Urumqi/Beijing $15
Train – Lanzhou to Beijing $73
Chinese Visa $106
Travel backpack $144
Travel clothing $265
TOTAL $2,891

Now for the travel incurred expenses:

Post-departure Expense Cost (CAD)
ATM Fees $50
ATM Withdraws $1904
TOTAL $1,954


OK OK I didn’t accurately keep track of my spending. I paid for everything with cash and didn’t keep receipts. But as you can see the total cost of a 3.5 week trip around the world was:


You can check my previous posts on London, Istanbul, Kyrgyzstan, and China to see what that price tag got me, keeping in mind that lifelong memories are priceless. Personally I’m happier dropping five gees on exploring the world instead of a new TV and stereo system or upgraded car. But lets break down some average prices per country:


Typical Prices (per person)



  • Accommodation – $20-30/night
  • Meals – $5-15
  • Attractions – $10-20
  • Transportation – $1/ride public transit (with Istanbulkart) $2 without


  • Accommodation – $20-$30/night
  • Meals – $2-10
  • Attractions – free – $5
  • Transportation – $0.18 Marshrutkas, $3-5 inner city taxi, $30-40 inter-city taxi

China (Xinjiang/Gansu)

  • Accommodation – $5-$10/night
  • Meals – $4-8
  • Attractions – free – $20
  • Transportation – $3-5 inner-city taxi, $10-$50 inter-city trains

China (Beijing)

  • Accommodation – $12-$30/night
  • Meals – $5-$15
  • Attractions – free – $20
  • Transportation – $5-10 inner-city taxi, $0.50 subway

Ok so we can see that the lesser travelled areas are typically cheaper. You know how the world is normally unfair and unjust? Well this is a time when it works in your favour. My best experiences are normally in the lesser travelled destinations AND they end up being cheaper. Don’t be afraid of going off the beaten track!


Generic Travel Tips

  1. Understand bank fees before you go. I spent $50 on ATM cash advance fees. Oops. It should have been zero. I found out that my normal bank card didn’t work in Chinese banking machines (possibly because I didn’t call my bank and warn them I was leaving, double oops). The solution was cash advances from my credit card which were accompanied by a $5 fee each time.
  2. Don’t be stupid – Don’t walk down dark alleys at 2 am. Basically don’t do anything abroad that you wouldn’t feel safe doing at home. I hope this goes without saying. I’ve never had a single safety incident in my collective 6 months of travelling over the past 5 years.
  3. Be frugal, not cheap. Ask yourself if the cost savings are worth the intangible costs. Time and well rested feet are as valuable as money during your precious vacation. I often have to remind myself that it’s not always best to take the cheapest option for transport/food/accommodation.
  4. Learn at least ONE foreign language word. Especially if you don’t have a second language. It’s incredibly respectful and gratifying to communicate “hello” and “thank you” to someone in their native tongue. You are a guest in their country and at the same time representing your own country. Leave a good impression. And they’ll reciprocate the respect.
  5. Learn as many words as you can. Sure it took me years of regular study to gain even a basic level of proficiency in Chinese, but I was worth it. Especially if the alternative to studying was TV or video games. I would have missed out on countless travel experiences otherwise. “But Mr. Moose, I don’t have the time or motivation to learn anything! And I don’t want to wait 3 years before I can speak!” Well stranger, that 3 years will pass either way, you can be three years older and have a basic level of <that language you said you’d learn> or you can continue being monolingual while the international community makes fun of you behind your back. No excuses anymore: listen to audio programs while you’re driving/biking/walking, use apps (duolingo), watch YouTube, join language exchange websites. The only thing stopping you is you.


Well I guess that wraps everything up in a neat little package! One final thought:


I’ve joined the club of people who’ve tried carbonated milk. That’s something I can brag about all the way to the grave. (Tip: Don’t try carbonated milk, it’s gross)

Spam your friends:

 Leave a Reply