Travelling by yourself can be hard, especially when you’re going to a different continent. There’s so many things that could go really right or really, really bad. One of those really bad things? Running out of money.
We’re no strangers to keeping budgets, but travelling is a super exception. You want enough to bring back souvenirs, but you also need to eat, sleep and have some cool experiences to brag about when you get home (bungee jumping, anyone?)
There’s plenty of ways to afford a trip to Asia on a tight budget, you just need to keep in mind a few things, especially on the topic of transportation — but we’ve got you covered. Here’s a couple of tips and tricks to surviving your Asian trip with a good amount of cash.
Shoot for budgeted airlines
Getting to Asia is probably the most expensive part: a lot of flights are upwards of $800-$1,000 if you book early. But once you are there, there’s plenty of cheap flights to get around different countries: a round trip from Bangkok, Thailand to Singapore is $120 (if booked ahead); Bali, Indonesia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a whole $56 round trip.
The best thing you can do for yourself is plan a strict schedule of which countries you’re going to and when, and book those flights as soon as you can. Flights will always be cheaper if you plan ahead.
Use public transport/subways
Now, we’re not saying hop on a slightly-sketchy train in the middle of the jungle. But in big cities like Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur, the transit is made up of a safe system of buses and subways, and this is by far the best way to get around cities. Plus, you get to experience the ‘local’ side of the city, and probably find some hidden gems you wouldn’t have found by going around in an uber. So buy a pay-as-you-go card, a transit map, and set on whatever adventure you planned for the day. Your wallet will thank you.
Avoid taxis and ubers
On the note of transportation around cities, try to avoid taxis or ubers during your trip to minimize your spending. This is mostly because taxis and ubers are a consistent cost that you don’t need to spend, especially when you have other options. Walking to destinations or using the subway will be infinitely easier, cheaper, and even safer sometimes. Plus, doing the conversion rate in your head everytime you take a taxi to figure out how much you spent? Annoying. Trust us.
Don’t eat at fancy restaurants
This seems pretty obvious, but when you’re in a new and exciting place you usually go towards hotel or fancy restaurants, which is fine until you don’t have money for anything else. Try and hit up local, small restaurants or the street markets! The Bangkok night street market (downtown) is awesome and super cheap, plus you can find some cool souvenirs while you have dinner. In Singapore, the Clarke Quay night market is a little fancier but still has the same night market vibe (and is still pretty cheap). Plus, it’s near plenty of bars and right on the water!
Don’t stay at high-end hotels
Listen, we’re not saying stay at hostels, because (especially when alone) that can be sketchy. But staying at high-end hotels because you’re afraid won’t help your wallet either. Our tip is to find an averagely rated hotel, either boutique or lower chain, or try an airbnb, which can be super cheap even in cities like Singapore if you’re willing to be a little less central.