Before planning any trip, one of the main questions people ask themselves is “can I afford this?” or “how much is this going to cost?”. When it came to planning my trip to Sri Lanka I found these questions rather hard to answer, for a mixture of reasons. Number 1) there are many unknowns about travelling around Sri Lanka, such as transport costs, hostels etc. And number 2) I didn’t know what I was going to be doing until I got out there. These unknowns made it very hard to budget my trip, and it took a lot of guessing and estimating to gauge a rough idea. That’s why I thought I would do a complete breakdown of everything I spent for 4 weeks in Sri Lanka.
If you’re thinking of travelling to Sri Lanka but are unsure of how much it will cost, this is for you!
Below is an outline of everything we spent in Sri Lanka across 4 weeks (28 nights) for two adults. This is inclusive of accommodation, food, transport, activities, water and anything else we might have spent. Basically everything except flights and travel insurance.
This came to a grand total of £537.13.
Spending on average £19.18 per day.
As you can see, accommodation was our most expensive cost of the trip. Saying that, this could have been done a lot more cheaply if we wanted to. We stayed in a mixture of hostels, hotels, villas and guesthouses. The benefit of travelling in a couple is that you can split the price of slightly more expensive accommodation. If you’re a solo traveller, you might prefer to stay in hostels, as they are not only cheaper but are also a great way to meet people. However, with accommodation in general being so cheap in Sri Lanka (the most expensive place we stayed was £14 a night per person) it’s nice to know that you have the option to treat yourself when you want to.
Next up is food! We. Love. Food. So it comes as no surprise that this came in second. However, the fact that I managed to feed myself for a month on less than £200 is pretty impressive. This is not any kind of credit to my self-restraint but rather verifies just how cheap Sri Lankan food is. Breakfast was often included in the price of accommodation in Sri Lanka, and lunch and dinner ranged from £2-£10, depending on where we were eating and whether we fancied treating ourselves.
This included anything that we did with our day. Whether it be hiring some surf boards, going out for drinks, or taking a safari. Again the price of activities vary but it’s safe to say they don’t break the bank. Saying that, Sri Lanka is easily somewhere you could relax and just enjoy your surroundings, especially if you’re on the beach, so you could easily get away with spending next to nothing on extra stuff.
It baffles me that we travelled right across from the west to the east of Sri Lanka and then down to the south coast, back up to Colombo for £32 squids. Especially considering a taxi ride from Norwich to my house in the UK (a 30-minute drive) costs £25. I don’t think there’s any way we could have done this much cheaper if we tried. We utilised public transport in Sri Lanka, taking a mixture of trains and buses for longer journeys and tuk tuks for shorter ones. Colombo and Kandy also have uber and pickme which are other cheap and easy option if you download the apps. Otherwise, walking is the next best thing. There’s no need to walk crazy distances when there are such cheap transport options to hand, but if we’re talking a 10-minute walk, then you might as well save what you can and take a stroll.
This might seem like an odd category to include, but as I’m sure many of you know, you can’t drink the tap water in Sri Lanka. This unfortunately means buying a lot of large plastic bottles, or paying for bottle refills. On the upside this costs next to nothing.
This category is for more random costs like souvenirs, laundry service, postcards and the Sri Lankan sim card I bought at the start of the trip from the airport.
All in all, I think this travel budget shows that you can travel Sri Lanka on the cheapest of the cheap, but also in style and comfort. I like to think we did a bit of both, but as it was our first destination on a 6-month trip we were careful about what we spent. If you’re thinking of Sri Lanka as a possible holiday destination I would definitely recommend pushing the boat out! It doesn’t cost a whole lot more to travel the good life, with fancy hotels, nice restaurants and exciting activities at a very reasonable price. I know that I’ll be coming back for more!
This is a very honest breakdown of my spending costs, which I hope will help future backpackers and holiday-ers to plan their travel budget for Sri Lanka!
Love Bri xxx
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