Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown.
They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, and where they took that amazing Instagram that got them ~maximum exposure.~ The internet is full of travel advice, but none from women just like you. Read on for the tips no one else gives you, and when in doubt, get on the plane.
Here's Jaclyn DeRosa's Wander Or Bust guide to Bali, Indonesia.
My Name: Jaclyn DeRosa
What I Do: I work in Production and sourcing for a fashion jewelry company called Baublebar.
Where I Live: Westchester, New York.
Where I Went: Bali, Indonesia
How Long I Stayed: 7 days, 6 nights
My Spending Style: Occasionally indulgent. I don't throw money around, but I will definitely splurge on more than a few expensive things on a vacation
Where I Got My Recommendations:
Prior to the trip - Google, Google maps, Pinterest, Instagram, and friends who have traveled to both Thailand and Bali. The best recommendations came to me while traveling, meeting and talking to locals and other travelers along the way.
Exchange Rate At Time Of Travel: $1 USD = 14027.45 Rupiah
What That Looks Like IRL: $50 USD = 701372.5 Rupiah
Preferred Payment Method: Mostly cash especially because there were ATMs all over the place and it was preferred by taxis, smaller restaurants, and stores. I would take out small amounts of cash every three-four days. I used my credit card sparingly, only at restaurants or the airport. Since I was traveling with my boyfriend, we were able to Venmo each other.
Phone Bill: I opted not to get an international plan and it was great because most restaurants had WiFi and I could use Whats App. However, I forgot to turn off my cellular data and I ended up having a $100 phone bill. If you don’t get an international plan, turn off cellular, otherwise you are fine to rely on WiFi in MOST places.
Mode of Transport: Airplane
Traveled two weeks in Thailand, and then from Phuket, we flew into Bali. Otherwise a typical flight from New York to Bali would cost $900 to $2,000 depending on how many stopovers you're willing to bear.
Price: $200 from Phuket to Bali
Extra Costs: Several taxi rides to and from various airports. Prices always varied depending on where we were, but we could almost always negotiate the cost down. Additional forms of transportation included ferry rides, bikes, and horse and buggy — we went to an island called Gili Air in Bali and there were no cars on the island, the only way to get around were either on horses, walking, or biking. I'd say it was an additional $50.
Transport Total: $250
Location: Sunrise Gili Air Resort: East Beach Desa Gili Indah, Pamenang, Lombok Utara, NTB, Indonesia
Alaya Hotel: Jalan Hanoman, Ubud 80571, Bali, Indonesia
There are a wide range of prices at each hotel and you can definitely find less expensive places that are still really nice. There were a few hotels where we upgraded our rooms, too — it was so worth it!
Extra Costs: Some hotels are really strict when checking out. However, we never ran into any issues or hidden fees. All of our hotel accommodations were incredible.
Would I Recommend It To Someone Else: Yes! We were traveling with some friends and they ended up extending their trip to go to Bali and stayed at the Alaya. They were able to book a last-minute stay there.
Accommodation Total: $1,000
Breakfast-Lunch Cost: $13/day
Since we had all of our breakfasts provided for us by hotels, we only ever paid for lunch and dinners. Lunch for two cost about $25 USD, including drinks (typically beers).
Dinner Cost: $30/day
Prices always varied, of course, but for the most part meals were inexpensive. Dinners on average, including beers for two, were around $30 USD. Since we were away for Valentine's Day, we decided to treat ourselves and on a few other occasions we indulged in more expensive restaurants, which were roughly $200 USD (for two, including drinks).
Average Total Cost: $43/day
Tip Situation: People generally didn't tip but if the service was great we would leave $2-$3.
We always ate out since we stayed in hotels. Meals always varied depending on where and what we were doing for the day. All of our hotels provided breakfast, which was great and we absolutely took advantage and filled up each morning.
Favorite Restaurant: La Laguna
It had the ultimate bohemian, gypsy vibe. It was the most incredible place I have ever been to and the food was delicious!! I am a hippie at heart and love all floral everything, and it was as if this place was made for me.
The ambiance was so fun and the food was so fresh and delicious! We shared plates and drank beer. It was the perfect late-afternoon meal, right before the rain came. There were painted florals all over the place and bright décor. It was so fun and different.
Location: Jalan Pantai Kayu Putih, Berawa, Canggu, Tibubeneng, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
Price: $75 USD
Food Total: $800
Bali was definitely low-key; we went to smaller, quieter bars and listened to live music, drank casually, and didn’t stay out late. We explored a lot during the day so on evenings, we were tired and wanted to relax. One night, we even ordered room service because we were too exhausted to go out.
What People Wear Out:
The dress is very casual. I typically wore tanks, shorts, and the occasional flowy dress. Oh, and flip flops, always!
Average Cost Of A Pint: $3
Extra Cost To Know About: None that I can think of!
Last Call: ~4 a.m.
Places were typically still open as I was heading home for the night. We didn’t stay out late in Bali.
Average Total Cost Of A Night Out: Not much at all, since drinks were so inexpensive. Maybe $20.
Cheapest Bar I'd Actually Go Back To: Single Fin Bali
Most bars were pretty cheap and to be honest, I’d go back to every single location I explored in Bali. Single Fin is on the top of a lot of to-do lists and offers a gorgeous sunset view with a DJ to boot.
Going Out Total: About $20 a night, maybe less. I drank a lot of beer, which was so cheap.
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Worth It:
Everything was very inexpensive in Bali. We made friendly with a cab driver and he ended up driving us around for the day. We had various temples in mind that we wanted to visit and he even recommended a few extra stops and a great lunch spot. It cost us about $40 for the day, which isn’t a lot, but that was the most we spent on tourism for the day.
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Not Worth It:
I don't think we overspent at all — tourism didn’t cost much at all. Everything was worth it!
What I Spent Little Or No Money On That Was Awesome:
It's simple: watching the sunsets on the beach. When we were in Gili Air, we witnessed the most sensational sunsets I have ever seen in my life. I was literally blown away by the beauty and colors in the sky. Literally no filter needed!
Favorite Thing I Did, Regardless Of Cost:
Hiring a taxi for a day to bring us to various locations, like as an elephant sanctuary, monkey sanctuary, rice terraces, waterfall, and a bunch of temples. It was such a great day, full of so much variety. It was a great way to really explore Bali. A lot of the destinations were spread out so meeting a nice taxi driver who was willing to stay with us all day was the perfect scenario and it was inexpensive, too, considering he stayed with us all day!
Hidden Gem I Found:
During one of our exploration days in Ubud our friendly taxi driver recommended a pit stop at this local farm where they grew coffee and tea. Pulling up to the location, it didn’t seem like much. Our guide explained the different types of coffees and teas they grow. We then walked through this beautiful luscious garden and sat at this wooden picnic table and there was a menu full teas and coffees to try. She then brought out 13 cups of different teas and coffees to drink (and snacks too). She sat with us as we tried each tea and coffee, and it was such a pleasant experience especially because we were the only two people there.
There other people who worked there were just as friendly as our guide, and we found their gift shop and purchased some of the various teas and coffees we had tested. It felt good being able to support their business and local economy. They were such friendly people and so appreciative that we took the time to come in and even purchase some souvenir teas and coffees.
The Photo I Took That Got The Most Attention:
Excursions/Extras Total: Including all of the forms of transportation, around $400 USD
General Shopping: $0
I wasn't able to shop a lot since I only traveled with a small luggage but I did buy a few small items. My favorite being a bottle of "Bali" perfume. Bali was just so perfect to me in every way, I had felt something so strong there, so it only seemed right to be able to have this small bottle that captures Bali's essence. I also purchased a small jade elephant because we had spent a day at an elephant sanctuary and it was such a special thing to be able to play with the elephants, and feed and wash them. My favorite souvenirs however, are definitely my pictures and receipts/brochures of places we went to.
Souvenirs/Shopping Total: $15
I didn't get as much as I wanted. I didn’t have room in my luggage to buy a lot so I only picked up a few small items. I mostly wanted to take pictures and explore rather than shop.
Best Bali Hack:
Don't overpack! You can buy everything in you need out there. If you are bouncing around a lot, it's not worth it to carry a lot of luggage. I'd recommend big backpacks. You most likely won't use half the items you pack anyway.
Advice For Anyone Traveling Alone:
Just be to be aware of your surroundings and people. Trust your gut if something doesn't seem right. Oh, and utilize Google Maps! It's important to understand where you are traveling to and the areas you're staying. It’s good to make friends with other travelers. They often have wonderful advice.
Total Trip Cost: $2,745
Worth It? Yes! I fell in love with Bali. It made me so happy to be there, to the point where I could actually see myself spending an extended period of time there. Everything about Bali was wonderful — people were so friendly, the food was delicious (I even considered going vegetarian after being there!), I got to practice some yoga, and I felt completely relaxed for the first time in along time. Additionally, it was so visually appealing — the greenery was sensational. Since it was their rainy season, everything was so lush. Bali just felt special to me and left such an imprint on my heart. I’d love to go back.