There are many great ways to save money when traveling. From planning ahead, to taking advantage of online discounts and local deals, it is easy to cut costs during your visit to Asia. The following ten suggestions can help you save hundreds (even thousands) of dollars on your next adventure.
One – Save on Accommodations:
Hostels and Couchsurfing are excellent ways to save on travel accommodations. Many bed and breakfasts around the world provide great value along with personalized attention. Credit card points can be applied at select hotels. Save money by staying in rooms with good natural ventilation to avoid expensive air-conditioning. Look for hotels that provide free-parking when you plan to rent a car.
Two – Cut Food and Beverage Costs:
Food in Southeast Asia is usually inexpensive. Avoid purchasing western-style meals, beer, and expensive beverages and drink water. Save by dining in local cafes and restaurants. Often the ‘American Breakfasts’ offered at guesthouses are more expensive and less healthy than local alternatives like noodle soup and fried rice.
Three – Manage your Money:
Before you set out on your trip, find out what your bank charges in overseas fees for cash advances and ATM withdrawals. It may be worth getting traveler’s checks in denominations of at least $100 USD to avoid paying extra fees in exchange kiosks. Use your American Express Travel Reward Cards points to earn complementary flights, discounts on restaurants and entertainment, and for savings on accommodations.
Four – Reduce Air Travel Prices:
Fly (and travel) through the night to save on hotel stays. Use your free miles and travel rewards when booking flights. Watch for deals such as Airways Discovery Airpass whenever you plan to travel between a few Asian countries, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia for example. (Purchase your air-pass ahead of time.)
Five – Cut Local Transportation Expenses:
One of the easiest ways to save is by taking advantage of local transportation. Buses and trains help to avoid cab fares and car rental costs. Buses in Thailand, Bangkok, Hanoi and Saigon are extensive and affordable. Second class train travel is another good option, often half the price of a full-fare. Purchase tickets ahead of time to defray costs; check websites for each company ahead of time.
Six – Find Local Activities, Online Discounts, and Negotiate:
Online discounts and rewards are available for many activities. Day tours, museums, galleries, and other recreational activities are available at reduced prices with multi-day passes. Learning to barter is a good way to save as most items can be acquired at approximately 30% of the asking price, with a little haggling.
Seven – Avoid buying what you won’t need:
Sleeping bags take up a lot of space and are generally not worth the effort and expense. Sleep-sheets and sarongs are better suited to the tropical climate. Hiking boots may be unnecessary as well as inconvenient. A good pair of sandals may be a better investment. Look into malarial medications with your travel doctor before you leave and, if necessary, use generic brands. Buy second-hand guidebooks, many of which are available throughout Asia. When travelling to several countries, you may also want to get separate visas in Asia, rather than at home where they tend to be more expensive.
Eight – Earn Money while Travelling:
If you plan to travel for an extended period of time, you may want to earn money and save by teaching English, volunteering at an organic farm, or working in a hostel. Many volunteers and part-time employees receive free rooms. Make a living while learning the layout of the land. Travel blogging offers other money making possibilities, write about your experiences in Asia and earn a profit from guest visits.
Nine – Backpack throughout Asia:
During the past few decades, travelers have been backpacking throughout Southeast Asia. Leading from Thailand, one famous trail winds its way across Vietnam, back to Thailand, then south to the Thai Islands, Malaysia, and Singapore. From November until April the weather conditions are warmer, and backpacking provides an exciting way to see the region while saving money.
Ten – Invest in a Good Camera:
Lastly, invest in a digital camera before you begin your trip. While this may not seem like a good way to save money when traveling, your photographs of beautiful Asia will become a priceless long-term investment!
This is the guest post by Rina.
Rina has an insatiable curiosity; she enjoys traveling and learning about people, places, and events. After many years teaching special education, she is now fulfilling her dream of writing. She has written extensively for magazines and websites and has had several novels and e-books published.