While I do love traveling to Europe, it is much cheaper to head west from the United States towards Indonesia and Southeast Asia. I was mixed about Bali. Parts of it were absolutely wonderful, like Canggu. And parts were way too rural and impoverished for me. The cost to travel to Bali depends a lot on your standards for creature comforts. Personally, I think it’s important to know where your own standards lie and what you expect from your travels in order to budget accordingly.
For example, half the time we were in Medewi and the Airbnb we stayed at cost only $750 for the whole month. Now if we had been happy here, the whole trip would’ve been very cheap since our large family of 7 was able to eat at the warung (local restaurant) for about $50 per day and we ate like kings. A typical lunch of Nasi Goreng, fried rice with a fried egg on top, costs a little over $1 USD. Add an extra egg for only sixty cents and you’re ready to surf all day. For about $20 USD total, we’d have huge dinners of fried fish and chicken, vegetable soup, rice, and fruit. Yes, it was delicious, but some nights one of the younger kids wouldn’t eat what was served and then they’d go to bed complaining how hungry they were. I’m all about making my kids suck things up, but when I too am tired and hungry, there’s only so much I can take.
A big problem was that I got tired of so much fried food and rancid fats. I am just too picky about how my food is prepared and I needed a grocery store so that I could cook my large family meals that everyone would eat. So we spent extra to go to Canggu for two weeks where we had huge grocery stores and a variety of restaurants to choose from. In Canggu, our food budget easily went up around $75 USD per day, but we ate absolutely amazing food and a lot of it.
Personally, I love road trips and when Medewi wasn’t lining up to my expectations, we found a local with a car, handed him about $200 USD, shook hands, and headed out to explore the Bukit Peninsula and the mountains north of Ubud. While I loved exploring Bali, I will warn you, driving here is not for the faint of heart. It was crazy!
While it is technically a two lane higway, people drive as if it’s a four or six land highway with scooters passing you on both sides and semi’s that you have to have some nerve to pass before oncoming traffic hits you. But if you can get over the craziness of it all, you’ll see that drivers are actually quite good and there are very few accidents.
Our Actual Costs
Cost of Airfare to Get To & Return from Bali – $670 per person ($4,690)
We bought two one way tickets for this trip at two different times. First, we had bought tickets from New Zealand to Bali which were only $230 per person since we were spending a month in New Zealand first. This was a great deal that we found with Skyscanner alerts. The cheapest I could get for the Bali to Los Angelas flight was $440 per person and it ended up being a very difficult flight with long layovers and flight changes. This isn’t too pricey of a flight for a couple or small family but for our large family of 7, the airfare was a significant expenditure.
Total expense for one month of Airbnb’s – $2,330 for 1 month (around $70-80 per night)
Here is what we spent for the month in Bali. You could easily spend much less than this if you stayed in an Airbnb in a more rural area like Medewi (although not at Bombora, which is the upscale resort that sits on the point of Medewi– highly recommended if you have money to spend and want the best surf in Bali).
- Our original Airbnb in rural Medewi was $750 for 28 days (even though we only stayed for about 14 of those days)
- Airbnbs on our eleven day road trip around Bali including Canggu, Seminyak, Ubud, and Munduk cost $880
- And finally, our Airbnb for one week in Canggu in a really nice house was $700
Note: While our Airbnb in Canguu may seem relatively expensive, it was a luxury house. There were three large, clean rooms, our own private swimming pool, and someone came to clean every day. it was wonderful and I highly recommend this Airbnb.
Other expenses (mostly vehicle rentals) – $2,400
This cost included the $200 to rent an SUV from a local. There is no insurance involved when you do this so it is a risk you have to be comfortable taking (I’m sure renting at the airport would’ve offered insurance but it probably would be much more expensive). I trusted the person we rented the car from and likewise, he knew that if we brought the car back damaged we would pay for it (which did happen becasue a scooter ran into us, but the costs only ended up being about $15 USD). That being said, the car rental was basically just a local who we shook hands with, gave about $200 USD, and he gave us car keys to a pretty new SUV. Not something I’d totally recommend since driving in Bali is CRAZY and there was no insurance involved. But because of it, our car rental ended up being very cheap!
While at our Airbnb in Canggu, we also rented one scooter for four days which only cost about $25 USD total. Riding a motorbike around Canggu was much easier than driving an SUV on Bali’s main highway and I highly recommend it. If you are only a 1 or 2 people, renting a motorbike for a whole months would only be around $200.
Our only other transportation cost was getting a shuttle to and from the airport which ended up costing about $50 USD each way.
We spent very little on tourist activities while here since we were here to surf and that’s about it. The rest of the money was spent on food. Once we were in Canggu we spent a little more eating out than in other places we stayed (Medewi, Ubud, etc). Our three favorite spots were The Garden Pizza House (delicious almost-italian-quality pizza and they delivered it to our rental house which was awesome), Front Cafe for coffee, Monsieur Spoon for chocolate croissants after our morning surf session, and Scoops Gelato House.
Total trip cost for 7 people to visit Bali for 1 month – $9,420
Estimated trip cost for 2 people to visit Bali for 1 month – $3,000
I can’t recommend enough to stay in Canggu. It’s the perfect Bali experience and while you will spend a little more than somewhere like Medewi, it’s still more affordable than Ubud or the Bukit peninsula plus is way less touristy. Click here to check out our guide to visiting the best place in Bali: Canggu.
Hope this helps you plan your budget for Bali! IF you have any questions, let us know in the comments below!