Mouang Ngoi, Laos

By now we have been traveling for 4 months. Where has all the time gone? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were planning this whole trip and sharing our secret to the world? And now we only have a couple of months left. We have learned so much the entire time.

Things like: How to survive a mountain biking trip in Dalat, Vietnam, how to choose a junk cruise on Halong Bay and how to endure a bus ride from hell.

After we started this journey, a lot of you have sent us emails and posted questions on our Wall. So we decided to put it all together in one massive post:

When did you know you were financially ready to 'just go'? If I quit my job and decide to be out and about for 5 months. How much do you think I’ll need? 

Lois: For me it was really easy. I just calculated a dollar amount for every day that I will be traveling. A good amount for backpacking in Southeast Asia would be $15/day. You can adjust that amount depending on which countries you'll be traveling in. Then you can add the cost for transportation, travel insurance and perhaps a 20% buffer. There's also a big difference between feeling ready and being financially ready. I always go with my gut feel.

SE Asia on a shoestringHow did you prepare for your trip? What guide/books did you read?

Chichi: Before announcing to the world that we were going on a BIG Southeast Asian trip for 6 months and telling our parents that were quitting our jobs, it took a year in total to research, plan and save money for our big Southeast Asia trip.

We worked hard, partied less and saved as much as we could from our paychecks. It wasn't easy saving up for our escape fund, especially for a shopaholic sole sister like me, but we've managed to hit our goal by egging each other on and checking each other's bank statements. Lois even made a bet with me seeing as I was having a slight problem with putting money in my bank account - She'll add 10% of whatever total amount I save up at the end of one year. It's just one of the perks of having a Sole Sister! Here are more tips on How to Save Up for Your Escape Fund. (Psst - Here's Part 2!) I even managed to add even more money to my escape fund by selling everything I owned.

Mike Rohde's Custom Moleskine Planner
Our very first commitment to our plan was to buy the backpacker's bible: Lonely Planet's Southeast Asia on a Shoestring. We also read up on some travel books to help fuel our need for wanderlust. More importantly, we looked to other travel blogger friends who went through the same path and who have inspired us to start the journey and suck the marrow out of our lives.

My husband and I are planning a trip. How much pocket money would you need to travel from Manila to Vietnam then Bangkok? We only plan to stay for 3 days in each destination.

 Chichi: If you're on a backpacker's budget, you could easily live on 20 USD/day in Vietnam and Bangkok (including food, accommodations and entertainment). You're looking at a total estimate of 250 USD worth of pocket money for both you and your husband. If you're on a holiday and would want to enjoy the luxuries of each city, then that amount will double (or triple).

Mouang Ngoi, LaosWhat is your best adventure so far?

Lois: I really enjoyed our trip to Mouang Ngoi in Northern Laos. The place was breathtakingly beautiful and the people were so friendly. We were as far away from modernity as possible. We also had a chance to trek and experience a village stay with some tribal people. But we're in Thailand now and I can say, the best is yet to come!

Chichi: Hands down, the best trip for me was when I did a 3-day loop around Tha Kaek, Laos on a motorbike. I don't even have to think twice about it. Just thinking about those 3 days on my bike, Black Mamba, sends all the adrenaline and euphoria rushing through my veins. It was exhilarating and nerve-racking! Although I crashed my bike on the first day, suffered bruises and several nasty scrapes on my elbow, knee and leg, I would do that again in a heartbeat. My Tha Kaek Adventure series will be published in a few weeks so watch out for that!

Solo Travel Main PicWe've started reading the blog and posts are very interesting. There are lots of them! How much time does it take you to prepare them?

Lois: It depends on what we're writing about. Some of our fun posts take only a few hours. But other inspirational and informative posts can take as much as days and even weeks! You can say we put a lot of heart and energy into our writing.
Any plans for the ultimate Eurotrip? 

Chichi: Oh Europe, Europe! If I had a tree that bear fruits called 'Euros', I would be heading off to my Euro adventure right after our Southeast Asian one. Unfortunately, no such tree exists and I would have to wait a couple more years for this one. Maybe a South-Am trip would be more of a probability.
When are you coming home to your hometown in Davao City?

Lois: I have been putting it off for quite a while now because of my wanderlust. I haven't been home for 4 years to be exact. But I really want to be home this year, maybe for Christmas. 

Where will the SS be in June?

Chichi: Funny, you should ask this Marky! We'll park this question for now and leave you hanging for a couple more days. We're making another BIG announcement in the next few days on where our itchy soles will be in June! But we're giving you a little hint, it's not on our planned itinerary.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to Support the Sole Sisters While We're on the Road. If you have any more questions about the Sole Sisters and our adventures, post on our Facebook Page and we will compile a 2nd Q&A post by the end of June. 

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9 Responses so far.

  1. Flipnomad says:

    bitin!!! hehe cant wait for the next post sa june :-)

  2. wow $15/day...
    panalo sa cost-cutting yan..hehe

  3. supertikoy says:

    exciting! san kaya kayo sa June??? Myanmar?

  4. Lois says:

    We can't wait to make the big announcement Flip. We may even do a video ;-)

  5. Lois says:

    $15 is actually a lot. Right now, I'm only doing $12/day. Spend less,travel more!

  6. Lois says:

    Nice guess supertikoy. You'll know for sure in 2 days!

  7. adventurousfeet says:

    love it! ang taray ng interview :)

  8. Lois says:

    Thanks adventurous feet! We're doing it again for June..

  9. dwan says:

    Hi Lois and Chichi! I am a fan! hehe. I can relate to you Lois for being serious at times and to you Chichi for being such a kickass woman/shopaholic. Can't wait to know where you both are headed to on June! I wanna do this too! 

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