GRANDPAcking Costs


GENERIC:



MY SPREADSHEETS:

All of my spreadsheets, including my GRANDPAcking ones, are uploaded as .PNGs or .JPGs.

This means that you can ‘right click‘ on them and either use the ‘Save As‘ option to download them or the ‘Print‘ option to print them. Either option will make the detail readable.

I use a standard spreadsheet to lay out costs and travel budgets. That spreadsheet looks like this:

Example GRANDPAcking Costs


AREA 1 – HEADER:

In the top left of the Header with a red background is the name of the place and the country.

The next set of columns are my actual costs and will either have a:

  • yellow background : which means that they are GRANDPAcking ‘standard’ actual costs; or an
  • orange background : which means that they are BELOW GRANDPAcking ‘standard’ costs; this usually only applies to the quality of accommodation – other cost categories should be the same

These columns are divided up into Unit Costs and Totals. the Totals are shown in local currency (XXX), New Zealand Dollars (NZ$), US Dollars (US$), Euros (EU€), and Great British Pounds (GB£). The % column normally shows the COSTS OF EXISTING as a percentage of the TOTAL COST OF EXISTING; if in orange, the % is of the total available GRANDPAcking Budget / Day.

The next set of columns are the projected costs for a GRANDPAcking couple and will either have a:

  • green background : which means that they are GRANDPAcking ‘standard’ projected costs; or an
  • orange background : which means that they are BELOW GRANDPAcking ‘standard’ costs; this usually only applies to the quality of accommodation – other cost categories should be the same

When your costs have an orange background, this usually means that the costs represent an ‘adventure’ or ‘holiday’ cost – rather than a day to day cost of living in a particular place.

Your projected costs are also broken down into Unit Columns, Totals Columns and a Percentage Column.


AREA 2 – EFFECTIVE EXCHANGE RATE:

The ‘effective exchange rate’ is the rate that you can actually expect to get when taking money out of an ATM machine.

The ‘effective’ rate takes into account the ‘ATM fees’ charged by the local bank and your bank back in your home country. It also takes into account the ‘percentage commission’ charged by your ATM card issuer and your home bank. Please see How To – Travel Money for more details.


AREA 3 – COST OF EXISTENCE – BREAKDOWN:

There are 4 standard sections: Accommodation, Transport, Communications & Fees, and Food & Beverages.

Each of the sections is sub-totaled and each sub-total is shown as a percentage of the TOTAL COST OF EXISTING at the bottom of Area 3.

Accommodation:

Under My Columns you will see my actual costs. Under Your Columns you will see what it should cost you.

The ‘standard’ for a GRANDPAcking hotel is:

  • A clean room in a clean guesthouse / hostel / hotel in a safe location
  • A room with a fan and some furniture
  • A comfortable Double Bed with Bed Linen provided
  • An ensuite with Hot Water shower and towels provided
  • In-room WiFi

I will bring it to your attention if this ‘standard’ is not met or is exceeded.

It is NOT ‘standard’ for a ‘GRANDPAcking Double’ to have (1) a TV (2) aircon (3) a deck or balcony (4) a pool (5) a restaurant (6) a  free breakfast.

Example GRANDPAcking Doubles are:

Gita Gili Small Bungalow Gita Gili Bungalow Inside

Gita Gili Outside BathroomRainbow Lodge - My CottageRainbow Lodge - My Cottage RoomKrabi City Seaview Hotel RoomKrabi City Seaview Hotel Room 2Ko Phayam Nitiporn Resort Room 2Ko Phayam Nitiporn Resort RoomKo Phayam - Aow Yai - Lazy Hut - BungalowSiem Reap - Jasmine RoomSiem Reap - FunkyF - Double RoomPhnom Penh - Hotel Zing 2Phnom Penh - Hotel Zing 3Kampot - Vibola - Room 1Kampot - Vibola - En SuiteOtres 2 - Mary - Std Bungalow OutsideOtres 2 - Mary - Std Bungalow InsideOtres 2 - Mary - Std Bungalow EnsuitePadang Bai - Beach Inn - SeaviewPadang Bai - Beach Inn - EnsuiteNusa Lembongan - d' Mel Sari UnitNusa Lembongan - d' Mel Sari Room 1Nusa Lembongan - d' Mel Sari Ensuite

Kampot - Vibola - Room 2The following DO NOT meet GRANDPAcking standards:

Melaka - Kota Lodge - Room 1 Kuta - RaBaSTa Resort Room Kuta - RaBaSTa Resort Ensuite

Pom Pom - My Tent InsideTransport:

Under My Columns you will see my actual costs. Under Your Columns you will see what it should cost you.

I provide my costs for information purposes only. Your costs will be based on taking a day trip once a week.

Scooters will only be suggested when you can legally drive them and when the roads are safe enough to do so. A single, shared scooter will be suggested when the roads are good enough otherwise I will suggest a scooter each.

Where public transport is good enough (e.g. in Penang), I will suggest that you use public transport in preference to a scooter.

Communications & Fees:

Under My Columns you will see my actual costs. Under Your Columns you will see what it should cost you.

In most locations you will need the convenience of a local SIMcard with at least 2Gb of data. It is assumed that you will share a single mobile phone.

You will usually get some talktime in your SIM package which is useful for emergencies. Having a data plan means that you can get to the internet for vital information (e.g. Google Maps) as and when you need to.

I DO NOT budget for you to stream music and videos… this would need to come out of your ‘LIVING’ allowance.

ATM fees are shown as and when they normally apply. In some countries, like Thailand, you will be charged a fee by the ATM owner as well as any Foreign ATM fee charged by your home bank. As ATM fees can add up, it is assumed that you will withdraw the maximum amount allowed in each ATM transaction.

Food & Beverages:

Under My Columns you will see my actual costs. Under Your Columns you will see what it should cost you.

In the COST OF EXISTING section, these costs are the costs of eating cheaply in local restaurants. This may not necessarily be the ‘cheapest’ food available as it still needs to be of a reasonable quality and standard for a westerner to eat… I do not expect you to eat chicken feet soup every day… but I do expect you to eat like a local to get the best value meals.

The budget assumes that you hydrate sensibly for the climate and that you top up with a large water at the start of each day. Further water purchases during the day will need to come out of your LIVING costs.

It is also assumed that you get a balanced diet, so the budget allows for a Fruit Drink (which might be as simple as a lemon water) at Lunch time and a freshly squeezed Fruit Juice (local fruits) at Dinner time.

There is no budget included for spoiling yourself nor for eating to a western quality. There s no budget for alcohol… this will need to come out of your LIVING budget.

GRANDPAcking standard meals include:

Gili Air Village Harmony Warung Gado Gado Eazy Gili Nasi Tempong Melaka - Hawker - Chicken and Potato MYR5 Penang - BF - Beach Entrance Set Lunch Penang - BF - Night Market - Tom Yam Chicken Penang - BF - Hawker - Soy Chicken w Bean Sprout Salad Penang - Teluk Kumbar - Waterfront Meal Ko Phayam - Pier Village - Tom Yum Noodle Pork Ko Phayam - Inland - Cafe - Tom Yum Gai Ko Phayam - Tom Yum Gai w Rice THB90 Bangpli - Chili Chicken on Rice Bangpli - Tom Kha Gai & Leo Siem Reap - Mussuman w Rice Siem Reap - Tom Kha Gai & Rice $3 Siem Reap - Chicken Noodle Soup US$1 Siem Reap - Yellow Noodle Soup $1.50 Siem Reap - Pork Curry w Rice Siem Reap - Taste For Life - Eggs Menu Kampot - Chicken w Rice U$2 KK - Jesselton Quay - Rice Egg KafeO MYR4.50 Semporna - Chicken Kekab & Rice MYR4 Koh Phayam - Sabaidee Restaurant - Chicken and Cashew Padang Bai - Mee Goreng IDR20k Nusa Lembongan - Gado Gado IDR15K Nusa Lembongan - Banana Leaf Pyramid Curry IDR10k Nusa Lembongan - Nida's Grilled Fish IDR35k

TOTAL COST OF EXISTING:

This total represents a comfortable level of existence WITHOUT any luxuries.

At the very bottom of Area 3, in orange, is what this cost breaks down to per day. The percentage on this line is the percentage of our total available GRANDPAcking Budget / Day.


AREA 4 – COST OF LIVING – BREAKDOWN:

Under My Columns you will see my actual costs. There is nothing under Your Columns because how you choose to LIVE is up to you.

I provide my costs to give you an idea of what those LIVING costs might be.

At the bottom of this section is my TOTAL COST OF LIVING. This is a real-life cost which should be able to help you budget what your own LIVING costs might be.

At the very bottom of Area 4, in orange, is what this cost breaks down to per day. The percentage on this line is the percentage of my total available daily budget.


AREA 5 – NOTES:

I use this section to highlight any variances from the GRANDPAcking ‘standard’ criteria and to bring special items to your attention.


CONCLUSION:

These spreadsheets represent a ‘snapshot’ in time. The exchange rates used are the rates that applied when I was there. You will need to check what the current rates are to get a ‘today’ cost.

Cost accuracy also degrades over time, so I have ‘time stamped’ each posting at the top of the page. The older the posting, the more inaccurate the costs are likely to be in ‘today’ terms.

In reality, GRANDPAcking costs tend to fall somewhere between the BACKPACKER INDEX and the 3 STAR INDEX. More often than not, they tend towards the 3 STAR INDEX more than the BACKPACKER INDEX. This is, mainly, due to the fact that GRANDPAckers seek better quality accommodation than backpackers do… and, accommodation tends to be the largest daily expense. In most other respects, GRANDPAckers are similar to backpackers and ‘existing’ on a budget.