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How to Travel on a Budget in Asia

Sep, 20 || Comments Off on How to Travel on a Budget in Asia | Tags: , , , , ,

How to Travel on a Budget in Asia

One of the best things about backpacking in Asia is how cheap almost everything is – from food, activities to accommodation. However, the common pitfall for most backpackers is this:

How to Travel on a Budget in Asia

Author: Amanda Villaruel
Category: Travel & Leisure | Budget Travel
Keyword: travel on a budget, backpacking cheap, backpacking tips, budget travel, asia, independent travel
Source: ezinearticles.com
Post Data: 13/05/2009 22:05:07
Word: 924

One of the best things about backpacking in Asia is how cheap almost everything is – from food, activities to accommodation. However, the common pitfall for most backpackers is this:

Spending too much money without thinking.

Have in mind that the locals in Asia can trick you into paying more than the real costs, and sometimes you get so blinded by all the cheap things there that you end up spending more than what you planned on in the first place!

Lack of money during a backpacking trip results in drastically cutting down on your activities (which means less fun), decisions on traveling back home a few weeks earlier or have someone to transfer money to your account.

But don’t worry. I am going to provide you with tips on how to backpack on a budget so that you can enjoy your backpacking trip to the fullest!

Let’s start!

Your travel budget highly depends on several factors:

Where and when you’re traveling
What kind of activities you’re considering (diving, climbing, snorkeling, cooking classes etc.)
How many beers and cocktails you buy
What kind of accommodation you choose
What and where you eat
How often, what and where you’re going to shop

So the questions are:
“How do you survive on a tight budget? What happens when you use too much money — how can you balance your budget again?”

Here are some simple steps on how to travel on a budget:

Accommodation:
Choose a hostel because it’s your cheapest option. You will share a room with up to 10 people. Meals are often not included in the price, but that shouldn’t be a problem because buying groceries in Asia is fairly cheap.

Hostels are very affordable, convenient and a great place to meet other travelers. Have in mind that hostels are popular among young backpackers and even families, so the rooms fill up quickly. I advise you to travel during the low-seasons. But if you want to backpack during the high or peak season and you’re planning to stay at tourist-packed hotspots like Koh Phi Phi in Thailand or Siem Reap in Cambodia, remember to book a room in advance. If you don’t do this and all the budget places are fully-booked, you will likely have to crash at an expensive 5-star hotel as a last solution.

Food and Drinks:
Eat at food stalls or buy food from food vendors. There are basically food stalls everywhere in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. And in India, you will have no problems in finding cheap restaurants. But be careful when choosing a place to eat — the hygiene and the way they prepare the food is not always good for your stomach. Check the food before buying. Like, if there are flies swarming around the food — that should ring a bell.

When it comes to alcoholic beverage, choose local beer (Singha, Chang beer, Lao beer, Angkor beer etc). Like in Thailand, Western-produced beers, like Corona, Budweiser or Guinness cost more because Thailand imports with expensive duty.

Transport:
To save time and money, you should consider asking the staff at the guesthouse or hostel about where you can find cheap transport and how much it should cost. This way you will avoid locals from tricking you. If you avoid scams, you save money!

Instead of using arranged transport with minibuses and VIP buses, I recommend that you take the local transport, like the bus and train. If you plane on moving around in a city you should also consider using a bike. Bicycle rental is usually cheaper than taking the Rickshaws.

Shopping:
Looking for cheap shopping? Where you shop is as important as bargaining. Shopping at the local markets is often cheaper than the huge malls. But have in mind that most of the markets are popular tourist spots, so they’re usually crowded. It’s usually harder to bargain at these places because the sellers know that if YOU don’t buy their products – someone else will.

Bargaining is the key to cheap shopping. But before you do that, I recommend that you stroll around to compare prices. If it’s your first time in a foreign country, it’s sometimes hard to know what things should cost. You can’t bargain for something when you even don’t know if it’s cheap/expensive.

Another tip is to sell things you don’t need any more at street shops, like on Khao San Road or Soi Rambuttri in Bangkok in Thailand.

Money:
Avoid exchanging money at the airports. If you do this, you will get the lowest rate of exchange. Go to a bank instead as they can give you the best exchange rates available.

If you’re planning on traveling to several neighboring countries, avoid exchange too much money if you’re leaving the country in just a few days. You may not have enough time to spend it.

Communication:
Instead of using your mobile phone for international calls, you should track down a payphone or use Skype at an internet café. To save money on domestic calls, don’t use your mobile phone with your original SIM-card. I suggest you buy a local SIM-card. Have the owner from where you bought the card from help you activate the SIM-card.

Tours:
Visiting some attractions? If I were you, I would skip the package tours and rent a bike or a Rickshaw for a day. If you decide to rent a bike, it’s cheaper and you get to see the things you want to see in your own pace.

For free information on history and sights, ask the local staff at the guesthouse or a fellow traveler. Otherwise, you can print it out from the internet. A couple of print-outs are cheaper and lightweight than a book. Practical when you’re on-the-go!

The article is written by Amanda Villaruel.

Travel is my passion. I’ve gone backpacking in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and India so I provide first hand tips and experiences.

Visit my website: http://www.backpacking-tips-asia.com for more information on backpacking.

Spending too much money without thinking.

Have in mind that the locals in Asia can trick you into paying more than the real costs, and sometimes you get so blinded by all the cheap things there that you end up spending more than what you planned on in the first place!

Lack of money during a backpacking trip results in drastically cutting down on your activities (which means less fun), decisions on traveling back home a few weeks earlier or have someone to transfer money to your account.

But don’t worry. I am going to provide you with tips on how to backpack on a budget so that you can enjoy your backpacking trip to the fullest!

Let’s start!

Your travel budget highly depends on several factors:

Where and when you’re traveling
What kind of activities you’re considering (diving, climbing, snorkeling, cooking classes etc.)
How many beers and cocktails you buy
What kind of accommodation you choose
What and where you eat
How often, what and where you’re going to shop

So the questions are:
“How do you survive on a tight budget? What happens when you use too much money — how can you balance your budget again?”

Here are some simple steps on how to travel on a budget:

Accommodation:
Choose a hostel because it’s your cheapest option. You will share a room with up to 10 people. Meals are often not included in the price, but that shouldn’t be a problem because buying groceries in Asia is fairly cheap.

Hostels are very affordable, convenient and a great place to meet other travelers. Have in mind that hostels are popular among young backpackers and even families, so the rooms fill up quickly. I advise you to travel during the low-seasons. But if you want to backpack during the high or peak season and you’re planning to stay at tourist-packed hotspots like Koh Phi Phi in Thailand or Siem Reap in Cambodia, remember to book a room in advance. If you don’t do this and all the budget places are fully-booked, you will likely have to crash at an expensive 5-star hotel as a last solution.

Food and Drinks:
Eat at food stalls or buy food from food vendors. There are basically food stalls everywhere in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. And in India, you will have no problems in finding cheap restaurants. But be careful when choosing a place to eat — the hygiene and the way they prepare the food is not always good for your stomach. Check the food before buying. Like, if there are flies swarming around the food — that should ring a bell.

When it comes to alcoholic beverage, choose local beer (Singha, Chang beer, Lao beer, Angkor beer etc). Like in Thailand, Western-produced beers, like Corona, Budweiser or Guinness cost more because Thailand imports with expensive duty.

Transport:
To save time and money, you should consider asking the staff at the guesthouse or hostel about where you can find cheap transport and how much it should cost. This way you will avoid locals from tricking you. If you avoid scams, you save money!

Instead of using arranged transport with minibuses and VIP buses, I recommend that you take the local transport, like the bus and train. If you plane on moving around in a city you should also consider using a bike. Bicycle rental is usually cheaper than taking the Rickshaws.

Shopping:
Looking for cheap shopping? Where you shop is as important as bargaining. Shopping at the local markets is often cheaper than the huge malls. But have in mind that most of the markets are popular tourist spots, so they’re usually crowded. It’s usually harder to bargain at these places because the sellers know that if YOU don’t buy their products – someone else will.

Bargaining is the key to cheap shopping. But before you do that, I recommend that you stroll around to compare prices. If it’s your first time in a foreign country, it’s sometimes hard to know what things should cost. You can’t bargain for something when you even don’t know if it’s cheap/expensive.

Another tip is to sell things you don’t need any more at street shops, like on Khao San Road or Soi Rambuttri in Bangkok in Thailand.

Money:
Avoid exchanging money at the airports. If you do this, you will get the lowest rate of exchange. Go to a bank instead as they can give you the best exchange rates available.

If you’re planning on traveling to several neighboring countries, avoid exchange too much money if you’re leaving the country in just a few days. You may not have enough time to spend it.

Communication:
Instead of using your mobile phone for international calls, you should track down a payphone or use Skype at an internet café. To save money on domestic calls, don’t use your mobile phone with your original SIM-card. I suggest you buy a local SIM-card. Have the owner from where you bought the card from help you activate the SIM-card.

Tours:
Visiting some attractions? If I were you, I would skip the package tours and rent a bike or a Rickshaw for a day. If you decide to rent a bike, it’s cheaper and you get to see the things you want to see in your own pace.

For free information on history and sights, ask the local staff at the guesthouse or a fellow traveler. Otherwise, you can print it out from the internet. A couple of print-outs are cheaper and lightweight than a book. Practical when you’re on-the-go!

The article is written by Amanda Villaruel.

Travel is my passion. I’ve gone backpacking in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and India so I provide first hand tips and experiences.

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