It’s been over a month since we came back from our family trip to Indonesia. For the most part, we’re back to our regular schedules and routines. But the wanderlusters in us are longing to return to the days of exploration and adventure. Already we’ve started planning for our next family trip!
I often hear people say, “Oh I wish I could travel like that with my family, but …” and then they give a list of reasons why they can’t travel. The costs of travel is usually on the top of the list. To them, I want to say that family travel is possible, and you don’t have to be wealthy to travel.
The cost of a family trip to Indonesia
By now, many of our friends and family know that these types of trips are sort of our schtick. We don’t own a lot of fancy things, and we certainly don’t have super high-paying jobs, but somehow we manage to take a big family trip every year.
This past family trip to Indonesia was not cheap, but it wasn’t obscenely expensive either. Through a combination of great deals, careful budgeting, and meticulous tracking of expenses, we managed to spend a total of just under $12,000 for our family of five to travel for three weeks in Indonesia. That’s the same as what you would pay for a 4-day cruise for a family of four.
We love doing these kinds of trips, and we think that other families can do it too! Here’s a breakdown of what a family trip to Indonesia costs.
Our biggest costs for our family trip to Indonesia were of course the airfare. However, even with that, we did manage to get a pretty good deal on our international tickets. Flights to Indonesia usually run around $1,200 to $1,700 round trip. We were able to score round trip tickets from Seattle to Denpasar for under $1,000 through Eva Air. Additionally, we bought most of our in-country flights via small regional airlines like Air Asia and Garuda Airlines. Doing that saved us a lot of money.
My tip for airfare is to use flight search engines like Kayak.com or Skyscanner.com to scan prices for flights. When you’re ready to book, though, do it through the actual airline’s website. This can save you money, and cuts out the middle man. Also, be strategic about when you do your travel days. Weekend flights tend to be expensive, while weekday flights tend to be cheaper. There are some variation among travel websites about what day is the cheapest, but most will mention that Tuesdays and Thursdays are cheap days to fly.
Our total airfare costs for both international and domestic flights came to $5,945, which breaks down to just under $1,190 a person.
Besides airfare, our biggest expense was lodging. Our family trip to Indonesia lasted a total of 20 nights, with lodging in five different cities on three different islands. Our most expensive stays were on the island of Bali, followed closely by Jakarta. In both those places, we stayed at fairly fancy hotels, equipped with swimming pools and in-house restaurants serving breakfast. These stays cost us between $160-$290 a night for our family of five.
In Bali, in particular, we stayed at a 5-star hotel for six nights as part of a wedding. That used up over two-thirds of our lodging budget. Our cheapest stays, on the other hand, were in Bukit Lawang and Yogyakarta, where we stayed in locally-owned guest houses for as little as $30 a night. These accommodations were simple, for all intents and purposes, but we had a comfortable bed to sleep in. We also had breakfast available to purchase (or sometimes included in the cost of the room) in the morning.
When planning for lodging for your family, it’s important to consider what will be comfortable for you and your kids. With that said, you’ll find as you travel that you actually don’t really need a lot to have a great visit. We definitely enjoyed swimming in the pool in Kuta and Jakarta, but we also enjoyed lounging on our balcony in Bukit Lawang, and vegging out in front of the tv in our room in Yogya.
Overall, our total lodging costs came to $2,653, which breaks down to $133 a day. I think if we had gone with cheaper accommodations in Kuta, we could have easily spent less than $100 a day on lodging.
Our food expenses during our family trip to Indonesia ended up being half of what we had budgeted for. Food in Indonesia is pretty cheap, and we really tried to eat at locally run places, rather than at international chains. That helped us save a lot of money on food!
When traveling in a foreign country, especially in Asia, it’s typically cheaper to eat the local cuisine, rather than Western style cuisine. Our meals typically cost us around 300,000-600,000 rupiahs, which translated to $23-$46 a meal for our family of five. We did splurge on several expensive meals, such as fresh seafood on our last night in Kuta, but we also had some pretty cheap meals as well.
For food, we ended up spending $997 during the 22 days that we were traveling, which breaks down to $45 a day for our family of five.
When you travel, even when you’re with kids, it’s helpful to be flexible with your transportation options. At the same time, you should take into consideration what your kids are willing to handle. While we were on our family trip to Indonesia, we did a combination of public transportation, taxis, and private car hires.
I’ve always enjoyed taking public transportation in new cities. But in cities like Jakarta, navigating the public buses can be a nightmare, even for a single person. We ended up renting a car and driver to take us around Jakarta. When we were in Yogyakarta, however, it was much easier to just hop on a becak (the Indonesian version of a pedicab) with our kids and go from one spot to another. We also experienced the trains when we traveled by rail from Yogyakarta to Jakarta. And in Bali and Sumatra, we did a combination of walking around and guided excursions.
In travel, it’s important to maintain flexibility in how you get around. This not only helps your kids become laid back travelers, but it can also save you money.
Overall, we spent about $414 on local transportation, which translated to about $25 a day during the course of our 20 day stay in country.
Part of the reason why we did a family trip to Indonesia was to attend my younger sister’s wedding in Bali. As part of the wedding festivities, we did a lot of group activities with my other family members who were in Bali for the wedding. Besides hanging out on the beach, we visited Tanah Lot, toured Uluwatu Temple, watched dance performances, and went snorkeling.
After the wedding, my husband, kids, and I continued traveling around Indonesia. We did a few other activities like visiting Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, playing at a water park in Jakarta, and trekking through the jungle in Bukit Lawang.
No family trip is complete without a few activities and excursions. Whenever I’m planning my family trip budget, I always allot a portion of the budget towards activities. As a rule, you want to make sure you have enough money for some fun for your family.
For this trip, we spent $833 on activities, which breaks down to $167 a person at roughly $8 a day.
The rest of the expenses for our family trip to Indonesia included luggage storage, airport tax, travel insurance, random travel supplies, and even souvenirs. We also spent over $400 on necessary vaccines, as well as malaria prophylaxis, since we were traveling to some fairly remote and tropical places in Sumatra.
For this particular trip, I grossly underestimated how much money we would need for these expenses. Luckily, we saved money on our tickets and food that it made up for my poor estimation skills. It’s never wise to skimp on your family’s health, especially during travel. In my opinion, vaccinations and travel medications are always a valid expense in my book, even if unplanned.
In terms of miscellaneous expenses, we ended up spending $1,086, which breaks down to $217 a person at roughly $11 a day.
At just under $12,000, a family trip to Indonesia for five people is definitely not cheap, but it can still be affordable compared to other destinations. Also, compared to guided tours with companies visiting similar destinations, which can run upwards of $3,000 a person before airfare, this trip was a bargain, coming in at under $2,400 a person (including airfare). Broken down to per-person costs per day, that amounts to roughly $109 a day.
I’ve always had a do-it-yourself travel mentality, and my goal is to share that with other families. Now that you have an idea of what a family trip to Indonesia costs, it’s time to get started on planning your own trip!
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