During our RTW trip we tracked every sole, peso, riel, lira, euro, dinar, rupee, baht, kip, dong, ringgit and rupiah mostly out of necessity as we were on a backpacker budget and needed to know exactly what we had spent and exactly what we had left – even if it took us forever to figure out the conversion!
This time, as we travel to Japan, we’re going to track every yen because yes, we still have a budget. Granted, it is not a backpacker budget this time, but it is a budget all the same.
I also want to make our budget public because, once again, finding information about how much it costs to travel in a place is difficult to come by. It is getting better; there is more information out there about what people are spending but it always helps to contribute to the knowledge pool. So, just like last time, we’ll be posting our budget spreadsheet when we get home.
Sometimes coming up with a tracking spreadsheet can be daunting. I like to keep it simple then I’m more apt to actually use it rather than being overwhelmed by it. Here what we’ll be tracking:
- Date – this will give us a sense of per day costs although many items are amortized over the entire trip (flight costs for example).
- Type – there are five categories; accommodation, transportation, attractions, food&drink, and miscellaneous.
- JPY Cost – if we pay for an item in Japanese Yen then we’ll show that cost in this column.
- CDN Cost – here we’ve taken an average conversion of 77 JPY per CDN dollar – the conversion will vary but this should serve our purposes. Some items we have already paid for with our credit card and were charged straight to CDN dollar so there is no JPY noted.
- Comments – here is where we’ll detail what the item actually is. This will help us further break down the categories and remind us exactly what we paid for.
We’ll keep a notebook with us and just quickly jot down our expenses as they happen and enter it into the spreadsheet when we get a chance. It’s really not that onerous at all. Here’s a screen shot of how simple the spreadsheet really is:
Notice something? Yep, we’ve spent just over $7000 and we haven’t left yet!! Japan is going to be expensive.
Wait a minute though – a lot of those expenses are in-country expenses, meaning we have paid them up front so we won’t have to pay once we’re there. It includes flights and train tickets (gulp…that was expensive…but I’ll give a full report as to whether the JR Rail passes were worth it. I hear they are more than worth it so we’ll see.) as well as tickets to the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo. SUMO, people!!
It also means that 20 nights of accommodation are already paid for. We’ll only have to pay up for about a weeks worth while we’re there. Granted, some of those nights are some of the most expensive nights there. Staying in ryokans and temples is hard on the wallet but should be priceless in terms of experience.
This is most definitely NOT a backpacker budget but we weren’t planning on a backpacker trip this time. This is why we dropped Japan from our RTW itinerary…so we could come home, save, and go when we could afford to do it how we want to.
Stay tuned to see how much the whole trip costs us!