Wondering how you can save money in Asia while visiting? I’ve got you covered with some budget travel tips that’ll have you booking your next flight to the gorgeous continent.
Asia is vast and full of ancient mysteries, natural beauty, deep cultural roots, and impressive cities. You could spend years exploring the continent, from the Russian tundra to the sandy beaches of the Philippines.
But Asia is also home to some of the world’s most expensive cities, like Tokyo and Singapore. If you’re not careful, your travel budget can quickly disappear.
Here are 15 budget travel tips to help you save money in Asia:
First, the elephant in the room is backpacking. This is the best way to save money on a trip to Asia and to see more of this great continent. Although it’s not for everybody, it’s a common way to save money in Asia while you travel.
The best way to backpack in Asia is through a company such as G Adventures. They will help you with all the logistics, from planning your route to getting your visa. It’s a great way to see multiple countries without having to worry about the details.
Travel During Off-Peak Season
If you’re flexible with your travel dates, consider traveling during the off-peak season. Not only will this save you money on airfare and accommodation, but it will also give you a chance to see Asia without the crowds.
The best time to visit Asia varies depending on the region, but generally, the shoulder seasons (between the peak and off-peak seasons) are a great time to travel. For example, the best time to visit Southeast Asia is between February and April, or October and November.
Focus Your Journey
Focusing on your journey will save you a lot of money, especially in Asia. The largest continent in the world has so many diverse cultures and climates. It has the most ancient sites and the most modern buildings. When you plan your trip, try to focus on a particular region or route that will allow you to save more money. India and Nepal are among the most budget-friendly Asian destinations.
If you want to focus on Southeast Asia, consider a trip that starts in Bangkok and ends in Hanoi. This will allow you to see Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam without having to backtrack.
Use Local Transportation
Although flying is often the quickest way to get around Asia, it’s not always the cheapest. Trains, buses, and boats are often much cheaper than flying, and they’re a great way to see the countryside. If you’re taking a long journey, consider breaking it up into smaller segments so you can take advantage of local transportation options.
For example, rather than flying from Bangkok to Siem Reap, take the bus. Not only is this more budget-friendly, but it’s also a great way to see more of the countryside.
Taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab are convenient, but they can be expensive. If you’re looking to save money, opt for local transportation instead. This includes buses, trains, and even boats.
Local transportation is usually cheaper than taxis or ride-sharing apps, but it’s also a great way to experience the local culture. You’ll get to see more of the country while you’re traveling, and you might even meet some interesting people along the way.
Eat Local Food
Eating local food is one of the best ways to save money while traveling. Not only is it usually cheaper than eating at restaurants, but it’s also a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Street food is especially popular in Asia, and it’s a great way to try new things without spending a lot of money. Street vendors are also a good resource for sharpening your haggling skills whenever there is no written menu or price, or you discuss the price in advance.
If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, take advantage of their breakfast options. This is often included in the price of your room, and it’s a great way to start your day without having to spend a lot of money on food.
Visit Free Attractions & Lean into Asia’s Natural Beauty
There are many free attractions in Asia that are worth visiting. For example, in Bangkok, you can visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) without spending any money. In Siem Reap, you can explore the temples of Angkor Wat without paying an entrance fee.
And throughout Asia, there are countless natural wonders to explore, from beaches and mountains to hot springs and waterfalls. Many of these attractions can be visited without spending any money at all.
Take Free Walking Tours
Free walking tours are a great way to see a new city without spending any money. They’re led by local guides who are experts on the history and culture of the city. And they’re a great way to meet other travelers.
You can often find free walking tours in major cities like Bangkok, Siem Reap, and Hanoi. Just do a quick search online or ask at your hotel or hostel. Do research ahead of time and take a free tour or go on a self-guided route to see cities, architecture, ancient sites, and historical landmarks on a tight budget.
Haggling is a way of life in Asia, so don’t be afraid to haggle when you’re shopping for souvenirs or negotiating prices for transportation or accommodation. This is especially important if you’re buying anything from a market stall, where prices are usually negotiable.
Of course, haggling isn’t appropriate in all situations. You shouldn’t haggle with taxi drivers or street food vendors, for example. But when you’re buying souvenirs or other items from a market stall, haggling is expected and it’s a great way to get a good deal.
Read Also: How to Avoid Tourist Traps in Europe
Shop at Local Markets
One of the best things about traveling in Asia is the abundance of markets. From night markets to open-air markets, there’s no shortage of places to shop for souvenirs, clothes, and local produce. Shopping at local markets is a great way to save money while getting a taste of the local culture.
Be mindful of your bargaining skills when shopping at markets in Asia. It’s expected that you will haggle over prices, but be sure to do so in a respectful way. Always start with a lower offer than what you’re willing to pay, and be prepared to walk away if the vendor is not willing to budge on price.
Budget in Converted Currency
Don’t get caught doing the math on the fly while you are abroad in Asia. Know how much things cost in your home currency before you go, so you can budget accordingly. This will help you avoid overspending while you’re abroad.
When converting prices to your home currency, be sure to use an accurate conversion rate. You can find conversion rates online or at your local bank. Once you know how much things cost in your home currency, it will be easier to stick to your travel budget. Don’t assume you are paying a good price for things just because it seems reasonable. If the price isn’t listed somewhere, chances are you can haggle.
Bring a Water Bottle
One of the easiest ways to save money while traveling is to bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up with tap water instead of buying bottled water. Bottled water is expensive, and it’s not always necessary. In many Asian countries, the tap water is safe to drink.
Of course, you’ll want to check the safety of the tap water before you start drinking it. The best way to do this is to ask your hotel or hostel staff. They will be able to tell you if the tap water is safe to drink.
If you’re unsure, you can also buy a water filter like a LifeStraw or Grayl Ultralight Purifier Bottle to purify the water yourself. This is a great option if you’re traveling to remote areas where the quality of the tap water is uncertain.
Split Your Ticket
Sometimes, buying advance tickets can save you, especially through a discount website. Other times you want to travel from moment to moment. For example, on the Trans Siberian Railway(Moscow to Beijing), an international ticket costs more than a trip to the border and then purchasing a new ticket.
Of course, this only works if you’re not in a rush and can plan your trip in advance. But if you have the time, splitting your tickets can save you a lot of money.
Take Advice From Locals
There are all kinds of ways to find frugal tips, great deals and other budget geared advice, but the best way to get the inside scoop is to talk with the people who live there. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation and mine for some hidden gems in your area.
Local people will be more than happy to help you find the best deals on food, transportation, attractions, and more. They may even know of some free or discounted activities that you can take advantage of. So don’t be shy – ask around and see what locals recommend.
Join A Group Tour To Save On Costs
Touring Asia on your own can be a great experience, but it can also be a very expensive one. If you’re looking to save money, consider joining a group tour.
Group tours typically cost less than private tours, and they offer the added benefit of being able to meet new people and make friends while you travel. If you’re a solo traveler, joining a group tour is a great way to see the sights without breaking the bank.
Take it Slow
This is good advice for any traveler, but it’s also a good way to save money in Asia. It’s easy to be in a hurry when there is a lot to see and do, but taking your time means less of a rush to spend. It also leads to richer, more rewarding experiences. Wherever you go, call ahead of time for pricing and special rates.
Slow travel gives you a chance to connect with the place you’re visiting in a deeper way. You’ll have time to talk with locals, learn about the culture and history, and really get to know the place you’re visiting. All of these things are free or inexpensive, and they will make your trip more memorable.
Saving money while traveling in Asia is possible with a little planning and preparation. By following these budget travel tips, you’ll be able to stretch your travel budget further and enjoy your trip without breaking the bank. Happy travels!