Annual family vacation is definitely a big expense, which varies according to destination, type of vacation and trip duration. How to budget for your family trip to Asia is more about understanding where every penny is going than about cutting corners.
Certainly, a smartly budgeted trip can save. How should you obtain a clear-cut budget for your family trip to Asia? Here are some tips.
Plan as Early as Possible
Planning ahead gives you peace of mind, not just about the cost. Last-minute deals might sound simultaneously alluring and financially smart. But the truth is that so many things are unpredictable. Planning and paying at the last minute might, regrettably, mean you end up with the last-choice options. Adjacent seats on planes may not be available, hotels may only offer no-window rooms, and whale-watching boats may be sold-out. You don't want this kind of disappointment for a family vacation.
Early planning grants you the initiative. Since Asia is so far away, you already know that a big budget needs to be set aside for this trip. Destination research, which might take place even before your mind is set on one or two destinations, will help you a lot: understanding peak- and off-seasons, possibilities and prices for how to get there, what should be included in the budget, and setting price alerts for flights.
Keep Your Fixed Budget in Mind
Oftentimes, budget decides where you are going. Keeping your budget in mind helps you eliminate destinations that might be more ideal for next time. About 40% to 70% of your fixed budget should be set aside for things that are essential for the trip, including flights, visas and accommodation.
Budget also defines how you are traveling. Should you take a direct flight to Bangkok or transit in Hong Kong? The answer lies in how much you can afford on transportation. Children's prices for flights and activities should be considered. If possible, make sure everybody in your family understands how you are going to travel and why such a travel-style suits you just fine.
WOW! I’ve traveled Asia some & I must say Sharon & Asia Highlights made this trip so much more enjoyable and easyMore
Stephen Hollis, Aug 2023
Alisa has has been great to work with
Alisa with Asia Highlights has has been great to work with. Very friendly and responsive.More
Ana Rausch, Aug 2023
Using Sharon right now to book our…
Using Sharon right now to book our upcoming trip to Thailand. She has booked everything that we asked for. Has answered all of my inquiries, which has been many! Looking forward to having a great girls trip in ThailandMore
Tracy, Aug 2023
Thailand, Singapore, Bali
In Thailand, Tanny and Nori(Suparp), were both incredible! They were both fun, funny, and full of knowledge and made sure we got the full experience. They went the extra mile and always made sure we had cold bottled water and towels to cleanse our hands. In Singapore, Nicole was an absolute gem. She was so kind and knowledgeable and guided us in the right direction to make our day as enjoyable as possible. She helped us choose a top notch local lunch and coffee spot in China Town and taught us so much about the country! In Bali, Emon was an absolute joy. He was very knowledgeable and kind and absolutely made sure we were feeling comfortable and was willing to be flexible with us. He was fun to converse with and made our time traveling between destinations so enjoyable! I cannot recommend Asia Highlights enough! Accommodations, travel arrangements and guided tours were all a breeze.More
Cassi Thunker, Jul 2023
Very supportive ! I have received eticket for Sky Lattern Festival very fastMore
Chi?n Nguy?n Ng?c, Jul 2023
My experience in Chang Mai with Asia Highlights
I greatly enjoyed my experience with Asia Highlights for a trip I booked to Thailand.All of my interests were catered too. My guide in Chang Mai Gemma was excellent.I truly felt the soul of Thailand culture and Buddhism.More
Richard, Jul 2023
A pleasure to plan with
Well, this has been a painless and pleasurable process to find such a wonderful company. I had specific dates and places to be and Sharon worked with me diligently to refine the schedule and costs to suit my travel needs and budget. She informed me of a special tour on the dates I am to be in Thailand and I added that to my previous plans.More
Chris Williams, Jul 2023
Large multi-generational holiday in Thailand
The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
CL, Jul 2023
I never used a travel agent in my life
I never used a travel agent in my life, but Sharon for Asia Highlights did a phenomenal job helping planning and coordination a family vacation. The best part of working with Sharon was that she maintained an open line of communication and provided answers to my question well within 12-24 hours. Additionally, Sharon was flexible and customized our vacation to my families needs. Overall great experience.More
Antione Barry, Jul 2023
Great company to plan a trip to Southeast Asia!
Sharon Haung has been wonderful to work with! Very patient and accommodating. Responds immediately given time change and is prepared, prompt, and professional.More
Debi Hinerfeld, Jul 2023
We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
SIMO el ghobar, Jun 2023
Wonderful Guides and Experience
Our large group arrived in Bangkok with Tanni as our guide. She was wonderful! An absolute joy to spend time with. She is knowledgeable, kind, and extremely funny. I don’t know what we would have done without her! After Bangkok, we traveled to Chang Mai, where Indy was our tour guide. She was a delight! She is kind, knowledgeable, and so patient. Our trip to Thailand was an adventure of a lifetime and these two women helped make it memorable. I would definitely use Asia Highlights for any future travel in Asia.More
Jessica Bennett, Jun 2023
Guide - Chai
We travelled from Vietnam to Bangkok and were blessed to have a guide named Chai. He was a superb guide and it is a pity we couldn't bottle him and take him home. He was very knowledgeable and an absolute gentleman. He could not have done enough to facilitate us and imparted so much knowledge about the Temples, Buddism and the History of Thailand in general. Not only did he give us a great overview of the past and current ways of living in Thailand but I also feel I came away a much better person having interacting with him. I will carry many of his teachings with me for the rest of my life and know that having met him was a very special blessing in my life.More
Customer, Jun 2023
Our guide Tanni was kind
Our guide Tanni was kind, knowledgeable, funny and beyond accommodating for our group. We felt like we'd made a friend and it enhanced our trip in the most positive way. Everything was coordinated perfectly which is not easy to do in a large traveling group. Excellent experience!More
Marissa Manson, Jun 2023
We are only on day 5 of our 15 day trip…
Our first stop so far was in Hanoi where our guide Trong was just so awesome! He shared about his culture and family life which showing us sites through a city tour. He was so funny making lots of jokes and always made sure we were having fun while learning about everything! He checked on us frequently even when we were no longer with him since we then went on a cruise in Halong Bay! Halong Bay and the cruise on Paradise Elegance went way above anything I expected. The scenery was breathtaking, the ship was so beautiful and clean with such fresh, good food! And I can’t sing enough praise for the staff who took care of us- especially Anna and Belle! They went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed every aspect from eating meals with Anna to every other detail with Belle! I highly recommend Asian Highlights to help plan these extraordinary trips! This already has been a trip of a lifetime and we still have so much more to see all thanks to Cathy!!More
Diane Creitz, Jun 2023
Tanni for the win!
14 of my closest friends and family descended upon Bangkok ready to see the town. Asia highlights and Tanni took us on a tour that changed our lives. We experienced so much everyday. Tanni was amazing! She did all the thinking for us, so we all could just be present and enjoy the moment. I can’t recommend this company, and especially Tanni enough.More
Megan McGlynn, Jun 2023
This isn't my first trip with Asia…
This isn't my first trip with Asia Highlights. They are great at helping me plan, working my requests into the itinerary, and booking it all. We travel with friends and just got back from a trip to Thailand and Vietnam. Albee did a great job with all the details and we had a wonderful time. We will use them for our next adventure!More
Katie Potesta, Jun 2023
Although we have not been our trip yet I wanted to still write a review based on customer service and the ease of booking. Alisa has been extremely prompt and responsive with planning our trip to Thailand. She has had great recommendations and guidance to add to our custom itinerary. Highly recommend using Asia highlights! -AlexMore
Alex, May 2023
I have never hear of this company…
I have never hear of this company before , and after reading all these reviews ,I decided to give it a try . The professionalism and communicative skill received by one of the agent , Sharon of Asia Highlights , convince me that She was the right travel agent for my trip in Asia . Very quickly she communicated with me and got all the detail of my desire vacation . Sharon made me a great itinerary with great experiences that I am dreaming to experience and I am looking forward to it . Thanks Sharon for been so great and crafting me a dream vacation with great suggestions.More
orge alvarez, May 2023
Coco Yang worked tirelessly to…
From the moment I landed in Bangkok, Ms Noi Ying was there to welcome me and get me settled into my hotel. We enjoyed several days together touring Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. In Chiang Mai, Mr Ekachai took my son snd I on an amazing trip to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and to visit a community Lanna home, gardens and a hands-on cooking class preparing an authentic Thai meal. Lisa arranged a last-minute speedboat tour of 5 breathtaking islands in Phuket. From start to finish, the guides exceeded my expectations!! Thank you, Asia Highlight!! Debbie WoodsMore
Debbie Woods, May 2023
Understand What the Big Expenses Are
The free spirit of "anything goes" doesn't always apply for family trips, if you don't want to be caught frowning upon the bills when you return home. The cost of an overseas trip to Asia can be divided into four main elements. Estimating the cost of each will launch you on the right path.
International flights are one of the main expenses. The optimal plan would be to fly directly. If impossible, you should count an extra overnight stay for transit flights, so you and your kids don't get worn out. When purchasing air tickets, you need to budget for 1) children's prices; 2) baggage prices; 3) additional services such as special in-flight meals, advance boarding, seats together and VIP lounges.
As for internal flights within Asia, there are lots of airlines to choose from, and most are budget-friendly. That makes air travel the number 1 choice, ahead of land travel, especially when you are traveling with small kids.
Choice of accommodation is totally contingent on your taste, from guesthouse to beach villa. Aim for the basics: safe location, clean rooms and breakfast-included. In Asia, accommodation that meets these three simple standards shouldn't cost too much, but you should be aware that price fluctuates drastically in different seasons. Refer to the following chart for a rough idea.
|Country||Peak Tourism Seasons||Price of a 4-Star Hotel/Night/Room||Price in Shoulder Seasons|
|Japan||January to May, September to early December||USD 200 to 300||USD 180 to 260|
|Chinese mainland||February to April, September to November||USD 100 to 150||USD 80 to 120|
|Mongolia||May to early August||USD 80 to 120||USD 50 to 90|
|Vietnam||October to May||USD 100 to 220||USD 70 to 120|
|Cambodia||Late September to early April||USD 80 to 120||USD 40 to 100|
|Laos||October to May||USD 100 to 220||USD 70 to 120|
|Myanmar||Late September to April||USD120 to 180||USD 80 to 120|
|Thailand||Late September to May||USD100 to 280||USD 50 to 180|
|India||October to March||USD120 to 200||USD 100 to 160|
|Singapore||All year||USD 200 to 300||USD 200 to 300|
|Malaysia||November to March||USD 130 to 180||USD 70 to 120|
|Indonesia||May to December||USD 120 to 200||USD 70 to 180|
|The Philippines||January to May||USD 100 to 160||USD 80 to 120|
|Sri Lanka||November to April||USD 120 to 180||USD 90 to 130|
|Nepal||October to November, June to September||USD 120 to 180||USD 70 to 140|
|Bhutan||December to Februaryt||USD 200 on average||USD 200 on average|
|Brunei||January to May||USD 100 to 200||USD 80 to 140|
Meals are pretty much the same story as accommodation; they can cost you $100 per person or nearly nothing. You can choose to have pizza by the pool for dinner in Siem Reap or go up the Tokyo Tower for a fancy meal. Living costs are relatively lower in Asia, but it is still necessary to budget around USD 15 per meal per adult and half that price for children. Don't forget to add snacks in.
Asia offers a wide range of child-friendly activities and most are cheaper than what you may be familiar with, for example, back in the States. It is almost impossible to calculate accurately how much a diving class will cost when you run into a bunch of agents on the street. The key is to include some major sites and activities (think about the "must-dos" on TripAdvisor, TripSavvy or Lonely Planet) and be flexible.
Besides the four elements above, there is another important expense that you shouldn't forget: travel insurance. This is part of the pre-vacation cost and it helps you to set your mind at rest. See How to Choose Travel Insurance for Your Family Trip to Asia.
Important Tips for Family Trip Budgets
Don't be dazzled by last-minute deals
This is especially true in respect of flights. Most last-minute deals come with restrictions, which are not a good idea when traveling with kids. Seats together might not be available, only seats in the back row left, for example. Make sure to book in advance.
Be smart on exchange rates
If you are using a travel agent, keep an eye on the exchange rate and make your payment when the rate seems good. For daily cash, exchange rates will be better at your destination country than in your own country.
Set a daily budget
When you are clear about how much you are going to spend, it is critical to set up a daily budget as distinct from the pre-paid costs (e.g. for flights, tours, hotels and reserved activities). Keep a record of how much you spend on a daily basis, for this will be helpful for your next trip.
Choose your hotels wisely
If your destination country is packed with a lot of sightseeing and activity opportunities, a fancy up-market hotel seems less necessary. Check out our choice of hotels at Top Hotels for Family Trips in Asia.
Eat like the locals
Street food, local noodle shops and neighborhood cafés are great and inexpensive options. Furthermore, they offer you a chance to blend with the locals.
Consider some low-cost airlines
Nominated as one of the best airlines in the world, Singapore Airlines offers great service, with punctual and safe flights at relatively good prices. Other good options include Vietnam Airlines, Bangkok Airways and Peach Aviation (Japan). Remember when booking to include family baggage fees (normally 60KG for a family of 4).
You may set a goal for your kids when it comes to shopping; say shop for a collection of fridge magnets and make them stick to it (no pun intended). This draws you back to some extent from impulsive shopping.
All that being said, it would be easier if somebody designed a travel plan for you within your fixed budget. Talk to us and see how we can work around a travel fund of, say, USD 10,000 for two weeks in Thailand. Contact us now (tailor-made button).
Plan your Family Trip to Asia with Asia Highlights
Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you achieve your travel plans. See our itinerary below and let us do the work for you.
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- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.