Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back in the US...And a Financial Wrap Up for Our Trip

We got back yesterday from our Asia trip and besides being jet lagged, I am happy to get back to blogging.  Here's a post about the Philippines from my other blog.  And now the part you have all been waiting for...the final tally for our 19 day trip to Asia:
  • Round-trip airfare Seattle to Manila  $1,814.20
  • Hotel in Manila for nine days $429.77
  • Hotel in Davao for nine days $422.77
  • Round-trip airfare Manila to Davao $229.53
  • Round-trip airfare Manila to Tokyo  $568.40
  • Spending money $5,500.00
For a grand total of $8,964.67

And now some explanation...
  • We could have got our round trip airfare to Japan for about $30 total through the military but that is a very hit or miss proposition and the possibility of being stranded in Japan for literally weeks until there was space to fly was very possible so we opted for regular airline tickets. 
  • We stayed in hotels in Manila and Davao because although we could have stayed for free with family and friends, we feel like it would be too much of an imposition (we use a lot of air conditioning, hot water, toilet paper, etc which is relatively expensive there plus we like our privacy--and I'm really picky about the cleanliness and modernness of my surroundings...). 
  • I did stay for free with my friends in Japan (and got all of my other expenses in Japan for free there as well but that will be tomorrow's post!).
  • We used a low cost local airline for our trip to Davao and got what I felt was a good price on the tickets (although they get you on the baggage fees so it is best to pack light!) but I opted for the higher priced ticket to go to Japan (I could have flown the cheaper airline to Japan but it landed late at night in a city I didn't need to go to so this was more expensive but more convenient). 
  • Our biggest expense was spending money.  Although the Philippines can be pretty cheap for budget travelers, when you are returning "home" as my husband did since he is from the Philippines, going there can be fairly expensive.  It is expected that he will pay for food, transportation and spending money for all of the friends and family members he sees in the Philippines (that's just the way it is done) and it is also a given that he will give money to all of his friends and relatives as well (another cultural thing).  So we ended up buying meals for more than a dozen people each day and giving massive amounts of cash as gifts to nearly everyone.  The last time we went there we spent way more so this was better as far as money goes but overall still pretty expensive!
  • We did have a wonderful time and everything worked out well.  We were fortunate in that we currently don't have any bills or house payments so we could easily pay for the trip and we also felt it was important to go at this time because some of the people we went there to see are getting up to their 90s and you never know how long they will be around.
  • We have saddled ourselves with a few financial obligations related to our trip after coming home.  At the grandsons's school, we found that they have hardly any school supplies for about a dozen classes with 50 plus students in each class so I will put together a box of school supplies to send there (hopefully friends will help me by donating supplies to go in the box too).  My husband's son lives in what it literally a hut made of bamboo and palm fronds so we have committed to providing the funds to build him a better house (around $10,000 spread out over a few years), and I will be sending gifts to my friend and her extended family in Japan (about 13 people) because they literally paid for every single thing during my stay there (to the tune of over $1500!).
Overall we had an amazing time and look forward to going again (probably in two or three years).  Of course we will need to start saving for that trip now.  Our next adventure entails moving all of our household goods to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, finding and making an offer on a house there, then going to Connecticut for a month or two in mid October.
p.s. I am going to be happy when we get settled into a new place and stop traveling so much!

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