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How to Travel to Asia on a Shoestring Budget

Asia is a diverse region. Many people think that travelling to South East Asia is expensive but that is not true. There are many places in East Asia you can visit without having to spend all your savings.

Find tips for travelling to Asia on a shoestring budget below:

Slow and Steady

Before you embark on a trip to South-East Asia, make plans to spend considerable time in the region. It’s not a place you want to see in 5 days or a month, especially on a shoestring budget. Stay in one location for 4-5 days or more. Don’t be in a hurry to leave. You will get to visit each destination at your own pace and find affordable accommodation.

Take Night Buses/Trains

Taking overnight buses and trains is one of the ways to save money on your trip. Long distance travels in South East Asia are affordable. Most buses are comfortable, with reclining seats, sleeper beds, and a decent air conditioning system. They save you a night or two of accommodation, depending on your destination. Also, overnight travelling in East Asia is as risk-free as daytime travel. You can get State travel insurance for your trip. If you must fly, opt for budget airlines that are budget friendly.

Stay in Hostels

On Hostelworld.com, you can check guesthouses and hostels reviews before making a decision regarding accommodation. Hostels are another way of cutting accommodation costs. You can get beds for as low as $5 per night. At the Garden Village Guesthouse in Siem Reap, for example, you only need to pay $1 per dorm bed.

In Cambodia and Laos, you will pay just around $2; in Vietnam, around $5; and in Thailand, around $6 for a bed. It is advisable to book in advance, as you aren’t the only one looking to get a good deal.

If you intend to stay in a hostel for several nights, negotiate for a lower price and ask to share a room with another traveller.

Become a Local Eater

In SE Asia, there’s never a lack of street foods and food stalls. The best and most delicious foods are found on the streets.

Street food is generally cheaper than restaurants’. There’s a wide variety of food to choose from, and there is no need to be worried about finding healthy meals to eat.

Many travellers avoid ingesting street food because of fear of food poisoning. What they don’t know is that street food vendors use fresh ingredients which they get from the local markets every morning.

Become a Pro Haggler

If you want to avoid getting ripped off, you’ll need to become a bargain master. You’re not a local and they know that, so they’ll raise their prices often. Since you’re aware of this in advance, it’ll be easier to prepare yourself. No matter what price you’re given, beat it down to at least half for a start then slowly work your way back up.

Forget about Souvenirs

Collecting souvenirs are the greatest source of overspending in the world. For someone on a shoestring budget, forget about buying any. Of course, you can buy the things you really want, but try to be as frugal as possible.

Travel Cheap

SE Asia is one of the few places you can travel cheaply both inter and intrastate. With a bus ticket purchased from tourist agencies or your hostel, you can get to the next city or country without spending too much.

Avoid taking taxis and rent a bicycle for as low as $1 per day instead. Alternatively, you can rent a scooter which is a lot more comfortable than a bicycle, costlier too but budget friendly. A third option is to rent a tuktuk, which is generally pretty cheap if you bargain properly. 

Be Your Own Bartender

In SE Asia, it is okay to walk into a restaurant with your own drink. Instead of buying drinks at inflated costs in restaurants and bars, you can buy them on the streets at great prices.

Here are other things you should know:

You’re looking to save money not spend more, so try to avoid organised tours as much as possible, as they are expensive.

Avoid using laundry services as much as possible. You can your clothes yourself.

If you take alcohol, go for the local beer. It’s cheap and tastes great.

You can also join Facebook groups like Thailand Backpacker Group, or Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Backpackers.

Don’t exchange all your money at the airport as you may not spend it all.

Ask your hostel managers for maps or bicycles; that way, you don’t have to spend money buying or renting them.

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Written by Megan Sashyl

Wordsmith BuddyContent Author

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