I am sure we have all fantasized about running away from reality and living it up somewhere tropical with no worries in the world.  

But when we look at our bank accounts, that fantasy often comes to an abrupt halt.  It is just not in the cards, right?  Wrong!

I have always had a strong desire to explore the world, whether just for a weekend getaway out of town, a month long trip half-way across the world or a week of over-indulging at an all inclusive resort.  

After six years of only going on short trips because I thought I couldn’t afford an elaborate month long trip away, I decided a month away was something I mentally needed, no matter the cost.  

My very supportive boyfriend was happily along for the ride and left it in my capable hands to decide where we were going.  (Luckiest. Girl. Ever.)

When I found out a close family friend had been living large in Bali, Indonesia for almost a year (and somehow I was just learning this), I managed to convince my sister to come along too.  Which really, did not take much convincing.

We booked our flights and it was official, 29 days in Bali was happening.  As you may have guessed, this was just under the number of days we were allowed to visit Bali without a Travel Visa.  

Along with my desire to travel, another fun fact about me is that I am a HUGE planner.  I planned the crap out of this trip.  And I would urge you to do the same.  

The more we knew about the places we wanted to visit along with the distances and price points to get there, the better.  I cannot take all the credit here though, we were so lucky to have our friend already living in Bali to negotiate the price of our room before we even got there and help us navigate our way around.  His help was invaluable.

Accommodation - $435 per person

Our home base was at an adorable homestay in a quiet little town called Sanur.  It was perfectly situated about 40 minutes away from most towns, had an in-suite kitchen, a pool and was a two minute walk from the beach.  It also had bicycles available for rent for $0.50 an hour and breakfast for all three of us for $5, although we did opt to make our own breakfast in the comfort of our own room in PJ’s most days.

The price tag on this perfect accommodation, you ask?  $800 per month, making it $267 per person.  

We then had some additional rooms on other islands and nearby towns, but for the most part were able to come ‘home’  after exploring.    

One of our best purchases was a membership for $50 a month at a nearby hotel right on the beach, which gave us access to their gigantic pool with swim-up bar as well as loungers on the beach.  It also included access to their gym but I can’t say we made it there.     

Food & Drinks- $1,000

We really could have done a whole lot better in this department.  

We did pick-up some groceries and invested in a coffee maker, but certainly could have sought out a couple extra happy hours and swapped a few fancy drinks for their local $1.50 Bintang beer to save some cash.  Instead, we proceeded to order that $11 cocktail.  We were on vacation after all.  

Eating at local restaurants and enjoying Balinese cuisine is delicious and very inexpensive, but sometimes a girl just needs a good burger and fries.  Or a taco or five.   

I don’t regret anything.

Transportation - $150

It is so affordable to get around Bali.  If you are brave enough to ride a scooter or motorbike, that is your best option.  But we were not.  

We used a service called Grab (similar to Uber) and it cost about $15 for a 40 minute cab ride.  Divide that by the three of us and we were laughing.  We just had to be careful not to solely rely on Grab as they can only pick up in certain areas due to an understanding with the local Taxi company.

The most expensive transportation was to the other Islands we visited, but they were still only $50 per person for a return trip.

Shopping - $220

I could have easily only spent $100 on all my gifts, trinkets and treasures…but then we found the outlet shops.  While the guys relaxed at the pool, my sister and I shopped our hearts out.  I treated myself to three name-brand bikini’s for $120 then basically lived in them for the rest of the trip.  

Miscellaneous - $300

Everyone always has a few hundred dollars that they have no clue what it was spent on, right?  I am assuming it was on tips (which are actually not customary in Bali) and I did spend a whopping $20 on a Bali S.I.M. card with 14GB of data.  But if I am being completely honest, the drinks portion of the food and drinks was section was still probably a little light.  Y.O.L.O. right?

If you have been adding up the costs, you will notice it comes to $2,105 at this point, but I am taking it upon myself to disregard the $120 for my bikinis because back home, one of those bikini’s would have cost me what all three of them did, so I figure I basically made money here.  

So let’s just say the grand total comes to $1,985.  A month in paradise for under $2,000 sounds pretty amazing right?  

Well, guess what? It gets even better.

Now, subtract all the expenses you would have normally spent money on back home such as groceries, gas, dinner and drinks out, etc.  

Here is what mine looks like:

Total Bali Expenses $1,985

Less Groceries $300

Less Gas $150

Less Dinner & Drinks $200

Less Other Random Stuff I manage to spend money on each month $   100


I was lucky enough to have hoarded my vacation days at work, so received my regular paycheck the entire time I was away.  If you don’t have that luxury, you may want to look into renting your home out through a service like Air BNB for the month.   

The next time you catch yourself dismissing your fantasy of living it up in paradise because you simply cannot afford it, I hope you reconsider.   

-Michelle Anne


Note:  All prices shown are in Canadian Dollars (CAD).