With some of the best beaches in the world, as well as mountains and scenic views, traveling to southeast Asia makes sense on so many levels. It can be an especially good travel destination for when you’re traveling on a budget, as the street food and the drinks taste amazing, but can be so reasonably priced. Hitting up a local market can be so cost-effective too, and you can still eat well. However, the cost of transport, accommodation, day trips, and tourists spots can be pretty high if you’re not sure where to look. So that can put quite a few people off ever booking a trip. And we get it, the flights can be costly if you’re based over in the west. But if southeast Asia is on your bucket list, then here are some ways that you can travel there and enjoy a trip more cheaply. You don’t want the small things to add up and put you out of pocket.
Night Buses and Trains
If you want to move around Asia when you’re there, then looking to use night buses or night trains are going to be a much more cost-effective way of doing things. The travel network in that area is pretty extensive, and when booked at the right times, can be dirt cheap. The night buses and trains can be pretty comfortable too, with many having air-conditioning and seats that will recline a little. So you can still get some sleep to be able to enjoy the rest of your stay. And think about the bonus of night-time travel; you don’t have to cover the cost of overnight accommodation on those nights? So for those looking to keep costs down, it is a really good option.
Don’t Book Hotels
Asia is full of luxury hotels and five-star accommodation. And that is very well if you can afford the hefty price tag that it comes along with. But there are so many cheaper ways to stay in Asia. Of course, booking a less luxurious hotel could be an option. But have you ever considered looking for an Airbnb or a master bedroom for rent when you travel? Renting a room in a home can be such a cheaper way of doing things. Not only do you get to save money, but you can speak to locals and get their tips and advice on things to do as well. Even if you rented a whole house for your trip, it can often work out cheaper than a hotel. You will also get the benefit of being able to self-cater as it will have kitchen facilities, which really, is the cheapest way to eat when you’re abroad.
Eat Street Food
As has been mentioned, some of the best and tastiest street food can be found in Asia. Some people can be put off street food in some parts of the world for health and safety concerns. But in reality, in southeast Asia, you can get some of the freshest and healthiest food there is from street food carts. Somewhere that sells more ‘western’ food like burgers and chips can cost you a lot more than any noodle or pad thai dish would. It can be a good idea to choose one of the popular stands, even if there is a long line, as that can usually indicate quality. Plus, doing as the locals do can mean you’re likely to get somewhere that is good quality.
If you want to grab yourself a bit of a bargain, then southeast Asia is one part of the world where you can totally haggle to get yourself a deal. It can work in all different places too; from food outlets to market stalls. So if you want a bargain drink, as well as some cheaper designer good (or genuine lookalikes), then it could be worth haggling. In most cases, the holders of the stall will expect you to ask for a bit of a discount. So if you’re new to haggling, then ask what discount they could do for you and then go from there.
Avoid Organized Tours
An organized tour is going to have a premium attached to its price tag. Not to mention tipping at the end of it, as well as other additional costs like food and drink. So where possible, try to arrange a trip of your own. You can use taxis and even hire out boats with a skipper for cheaper than an organized tour would be. Plus, you get to enjoy it all without a group of people that you don’t know. You could even think about hiring out a bike to travel to places that are a little more off the beaten track. Take visiting the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia as an example. Taking a trip out by a pre-arranged tourist bus can be pricey, and you’re stuck on the tour guide’s schedule too. But hiring bikes and cycling down could be done when you want to, and you could even beat the tourists. Saving yourself cash, as well as getting to make the most of the attraction.
Agree To Taxi Prices
It is a good idea to agree a price for the taxi ride before you get in it. This stops the driver from adding on any extras because he sees you’re a tourist, as well as helping you to keep to your budget. If you’re staying in a hotel, hostel, or in a rented apartment, then be sure to ask the locals or people that work at your accommodation for their recommendations and advice. They can guide you on what you might expect to pay, so that you can grab a bargain, rather than being ripped off.
Have you ever traveled to southeast Asia before? It would be great to hear what you did and where you went. If you have not yet explored the area, then don’t be put off by the cost of going; you can have a great Asian adventure on a budget.
Featured image via @superdupersleepy
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