10 Saving Money Tips when traveling in Asia
January 29, 2016

Asia is every day more and more available and welcomes all types of tourists. You can enjoy very expensive vacation or budget vacation. We have traveled through northern Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and finished in southern Thailand on only 20 USD per day per person. Did we enjoy budget traveling? YES! We want to share with you our 10 saving money tips when traveling in Asia. It doesn’t mean less fun only travel smart and cheap. We didn’t lose our comfort and we enjoyed everything what we wanted. Read our post, buy flight ticket and follow our useful and easy top 10 tips and save money.

10 saving money tips when traveling in Asia

1) Use night/sleeping buses

This is very practical. When traveling longer distances try to use night buses as much as possible (in Vietnam they have very good sleeping buses with sort of bed instead of seat). Bus transport is cheap in Asia (especially in Vietnam) and while you travel during the night you don’t need to pay night at hotel. Bus tickets may be very cheap or twice more expensive. It all depends on quality and time schedule. Before you buy ticket ask how long the bus goes, if there are stops on the road, if it’s local or tourist bus, quality of the bus and how it looks inside. You can have a perfect sleeping night in bus or not. Remember you are traveler and you want to explore everything 🙂 Do not forget your adventure spirit. For more details about traveling follow our section travel transport tips.

2) Bargain the price

Everywhere with everyone, only exception are official shops. It requires some negotiation skills and bit of cheekiness but you will save a lot of money. Sometimes we got half of the initial price. You can literally negotiate price for bottle of water if you think its expensive 🙂

3) Find the best price for tickets

Selling all kinds of tickets (bus, train, tours etc.) is a big business in Asia. You can find a tour agency on every corner and you can buy tickets at reception in your hotel. Positive is that you don’t need to go anywhere but will pay for service. They will charge you more money for just one call as they book it for you. Sometimes they are very very nice to you, saying it’s very complicated and they guarantee the best price. It may be true. But before you buy anything just walk around (on the way to dinner or sightseeing) and ask 2-3 agencies to know how much it costs. The best deal is to go directly to bus/train station and buy it on your own. If the station is far far away then it is better to use the best offer. You can find more information in section travel transport tips about how much we paid.

4) Save on accommodation

While you are traveling you don’t want to sit at hotel on a comfortable sofa and watch TV. Or do you? If yes, then stop reading this and make pop-corn for your next movie. For those who want to save money while traveling remember you only need a room where to sleep. You want clean room with bed, bathroom and good location. We used search on different web sites but the best is booking.com (the best for us). And when you book often you will reach to higher level with even better deals. Find your next destination and use filter “lower price first”. We compared value for money, review score and distance. If you travel alone look for dormitory room. It is very popular and safe.  The best deal we had was a double room in Chiang Mai for 6 USD. Our average accommodation price was 10-12 USD per night for 2 people. You can also use services like couchsurfing to cut accommodation costs even more.

5) Avoid “paying by card fee” 

Before pay by card ask if they charge extra fee. In Asia it is quite often to charge extra 2-3% fee when paying by card. Paying in cash will help you to avoid credit cards fees and save you a lot of money which can be use to buy next cheap fly or bus tickets.

6) Eat like a local

Tasting new cuisines is part of the joy of travelling and save money. We love to eat like a local. In some places you can eat for only 1$ only! Food is usually locally sourced and tastier. If you don’t know the local cuisine, visit local market, observe, ask people around or just try 🙂 If you are addicted to western food you will not save any money. All the western food is expensive and we suggest you to change your taste. Food is very good plus you get more food experience.

7) Buy alcohol at a store

Bars and clubs are the best place where you can spend all your saved money. But to drink a cold beer is must! If you want save money buy alcohol (especially beer) in a store. In Asia public drinking is allowed. Enjoy your beer without extra charge and sit on a beach or find a nice spot where to sit. If you want to drink in bar or restaurant avoid expensive places. Only exception is Vietnam (Hanoi and Saigon), where you can get a local beer for less than 0,5$.

8) Rent a motorbike

The best and cheapest way how to explore places is rent a motorbike and drive around. Average price in Asia is for a scooter is around 4-5$ per day plus petrol. We saved a lot of money visiting places and attractions on motorbike and never paid for any tours.

9) Use an ATM without or with lowest fee 

First, be sure that you don’t have extra fee when withdrawing money from ATM’s abroad. OK? Then try to use ATM without fees or use the lowest fee. How? You may randomly try ATM and if there is a fee ATM will notice you before releasing money. Smart is to Google it and find which one is the best. Or just ask locals which one they use. For example in Vietnam you can find ATM with extra charge (around 2$) but also without fee. In Cambodia is extra fee 4-5$ in every ATM. In Thailand only one ATM without fee is City bank and other charge 180-200 baht per transaction. If you want more money go directly into the bank and ask for withdraw. Some of them do not charge fee.

10) Never use taxis without taximeters

Before you jump into the cab ask the driver about it. If they don’t want to turn it on, leave it because they will charge a special tourist price. It is better to wait for another taxi with fair driver. You will definitely save money for a cold beers 🙂