If you’re into backpacking then the chances are that at some point you will end up in South East Asia and the Far East. And why not, the region is diverse, there is history & culture at every turn, food is generally awesome oh and it’s cheap! Little wonder then that the well worn backpacker trail now loops …
The region is also a hell of a lot fun, there is diving, snorkeling, motorcycles endless parties and a host of other weird, wacky, wonderful and sometimes dangerous pursuits to keep your adrenaline pumping. Whilst SEA is cheap (very cheap) the universal truth is that fun is often expensive and if you are not careful then those hard saved pennies may not go as quite as far as you were intending to.
But worry not for help is at hand. Here is our listicle of how to make the most of your money in South East Asia and China.
South East Asia is a considerable chunk of a massive continent and crossing it will take time and money. Fortunately this is also pretty cheap with busses and trains at a minor fraction of what they would cost back home. Our recommendation is to take busses whenever you can as they are the cheapest option plus you get to see the landscape changing from the window. Be sure to book an AC bus whenever you can.F or journeys of over 18 hours maybe look into other options; you can sometimes find cheap domestic and international flights, be sure to compare.
Find Cheap Digs
Travellers the world over will agree that accommodation is usually the single biggest cost you will incur whilst on the road. One surefire way to save brass is through Couchsurfing, in case you don’t know the concept, it’s a website where you find locals who are willing to put you up. You get free digs plus insider knowledge of the destination. If you are really lucky your host may also ply you with free food, booze and introduce your to their friends!
However, this is not always possible or advisable but fortunately in SEA accommodation is generally available for as little as $2 per night. As a rule, you do get what you pay for and you need to decide what your basic comfort level is. It’s usually worth paying the extra $1 or so for AC. Haggling is also highly recommended and remember that if it gets to 5 – 6pm and a room is available the guesthouse will be desperate to fill it even if the don’t seem it!
The food in SEA is consistently brilliant. This means that you can eat well for very little and the street food is generally first rate and ridiculously cheap. When I travel I like to avoid restaurants like plague frequenting them only on special occasions as they can easily eat a day’s budget and it generally means I need to change out of backpacker gear into real person clothes.
Learn to Say No
When in SEA there is temptation on every corner. There is constantly a party going on or an island excursion. This can drain your cash very quickly. Of course, the whole point of travelling (and life…) is that you want to experience as much as possible but the reality is that you probably can’t afford to experience everything and you need to cultivate the angel on your shoulder/nagging aunt in your head. Sure there is a party going on tonight, there is a party going on every night but do you need to attend them all? Learning to pace yourself and know when to stay your room and just read is probably the single most beneficial thing you can do for your budget. Your liver will thank you too by the time you get to my age.
Well that’s all we time have time for today guys. Whilst there are of course countless more ways you can save pennies here and there I think we have given you at least a few pointers to help you get minimising expenditure and travelling for longer!