If your South East Asia dreams go as far as acquainting ladyboys and only seeing the bottom of a beer bottle, you’re going to need a pretty large budget. But if you’re willing to soak in the culture, live partially like a local and also fit in some good old backpacker boozers, then I’ve got some tips to help plan how much of those hard earned pennies you’re going to have to save.
Organise your lack of planning
I know, that’s just one massive oxy-moron to make you choke on your Cheerios. The key to knowing how much money you’re going to need is making a rough plan of where you’re going to visit. We’re all the same in that we want to be able to turn up to a new country armed with only our backpacks and figure it all out when we get there. However, I suggest you have a rough guide of countries you know you want to visit, how much a beer costs, average price for a hostel and how much it’ll cost you to get around. If you know this, it’ll be easier to designate a certain proportion of your money per country.
General rule of thumb
Although its entirely impossible for me to tell you exactly how much money you’ll need day to day or monthly; I CAN advise you from experience that you will need around £600-£1000 per month in SE Asia if you are not planning on working, and if you want to do most things on offer. Of course if you only eat from street food vendors, sleep in the cheapest bed, find yourself visiting all the free attractions and not getting boozed up with your new bezzies; you will be able to survive on a LOT less. FYI: This general rule of thumb is for the backpackers on a budget, not those of you who like knocking back the Belvedere!
Live like a local
One of the best parts of travelling is being able to truly immerse yourself in that culture and live like a local as best you can. I’m not saying go and drink the dirty tap water, but if you take local public transport, not only will it lead to a thankful bank account, but you will also find yourself surrounded by the most fantastically bizarre parts of SE Asia. We’re talking live chickens on buses, mid-journey carriage hopping on trains, and the wonderful local friendliness towards our explorations.
Don’t fill your backpack before you go
If you’re still in the saving stage back home and you’re wandering through town looking at all the new garms that would make you look like the freshest traveller around; THINK AGAIN. Most likely all your clothing will feel the wrath of travel holes, loss of possessions and shrinking in the local laundrette. Not to mention the fact that clothes in SE Asia are SO cheap. You can get a better wardrobe than you could have had back home and all for a tenth of the price. Bring your essentials and your practical travelling gear, but for your cute holiday extras and three pairs of flip flops; just hang on until your first night market! It wont be long!
One thing I love about SE Asia is your ability to haggle anything down from a Nasi Goreng to a new suit. You can save a wedge of cash by being smart to their over pricing. In SE Asia, the locals are wise to us Westeners with our brimming bank accounts of hard earned cash ready to splurge in their economy. Whilst local tourism is great for their countries, we must also take care not be ripped off for cheap products. Haggle, learn to say no, shop around and you’ll be saving loads before you know it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re mid-travels or fresh meat. Pack your bags, fill your wallet and have a blast! Worrying about money whilst travelling is a deal breaker, so try to use these tips to be mindful about your money whilst still being the ultimate YES man!