Between the rich culture, gorgeous landscapes, delicious food, and everything in between, a visit to Asia is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Unfortunately, travel comes with a cost. You need to pay for a place to sleep, food to eat, and all of the activities you choose to take part in. To limit your costs, read our guide for traveling Asia on a budget.
This is going to be the top factor is your cost savings. Asia is a vast continent and is home to many countries. Those countries have vastly different travel costs. On the more expensive end, you have China and Japan. In these countries, prices will be higher for everything. That includes lodging, transportation, activities, and food. Travelers report spending $100-200 per day in these countries. On the cheaper side are the nations of Southeast Asia. All of the above costs are lessened through Southeast Asia, and travelers can often get by on less than $50 per day. The most popular countries in Southeast Asia are Thailand and Vietnam, but there are many more that feature the same beauty and cost savings.
Location In The Country
The rule of thumb is that urban areas are expensive and rural areas are less. Your stay in Hong Kong is going to be much more costly than a trip to rural China. The same goes for cheaper Asian countries. Large metropolitan areas will have inflated prices and lodging outside of town will be cheaper. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should skip out on cities entirely. There is a lot of value in experiencing the city life of Asian countries. Just be aware that you can pay less outside the city and perhaps make your trip a mix of the two.
Lodging costs range from single digits per night all the way up the multiple hundreds. At the lower end will be hostels. Here, you can cut your costs massively by sharing your sleeping space and living areas. If this is unacceptable and you require more privacy, you have a few options. Hostels often have private rooms, you can look into budget hotels, and you can find cheap Airbnb homes.
The general guideline for your transportation needs is to choose public over private. While taking a private car or a taxi is a bit more comfortable, it costs much more. Choose buses over cabs. They will get you there nearly as fast and cost a fraction of the price. For longer trips, try taking the train instead of flying. They will take a bit longer, but that is well worth your cost savings.
A typical trap travelers fall into is spending a significant amount of their budget on high priced activities. While something like scuba diving is an awesome experience, it can be costly. First, you need to obtain a license. Then you have to pay for the equipment. On top of that, you’ll likely need a professional guide to drive you out to the best spot and show you around. Before you know it, you’ve spent hundreds on a single day. When choosing your activities, shoot for ones that are either cheap or free. You can go on a hike for only the cost of a bus out of town. You can rent a bike for a few bucks and ride it around the city all day. You can snorkel instead of scuba dive. Asia has so much to offer that you can stick to cheap activities and not feel like you missed out.
Food And Drink
Food and drink is another problem area for many travelers. They will often eat three meals out per day and buy a few drinks, and at the end of the day they’ve racked up a huge tab. There are many ways you can limit your food and drinks costs. First, you can choose lodging that has a kitchen. That can be in your Airbnb or perhaps in the shared space of a hostel. If you have a kitchen, you can cook at least one meal at home per day. When you go out to eat, you can cut costs by eating street food or visiting small hole in the wall type restaurants. The food will be every bit as good but without the price tag. Lastly, try to keep your alcohol consumption down. Buying drinks at bars and restaurants is expensive no matter where you are. Having some drinks at home or choosing to drink less is an effective way to lower costs.
Haggling might feel awkward for many of you, but it is a great way to save money. This will be less true in the urban areas of China and Japan, but in other parts of Asia, you can save a lot of money just by asking. Hostel owners, cab drivers, and street vendors often raise their prices to take advantage of tourists. Don’t fall for this trap. A little bit of haggling can go a long way, so give it a try!
Your trip to Asia doesn’t have to break the bank. With our guide, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about the costs. Good luck!