Most people want to travel on a budget, but the thing I found while travelling, is that most people’s budgets are actually quite large, here’s how to travel around S.E Asia on £10 a day or less.
The first thing I’ll say is that I hardly met any real budget travellers. Now, this could be because I was mainly hitting tourist hot spots, and I guess budget travellers tend to be moving around, hitch hiking or staying in super cheap dorms (because there were 2 of us it would quite often be cheaper to stay in a private room) so this may have also effected things, but I didn’t really feel like too many people were travelling on a budget.
I did the whole trip on an average of £10 a day including food and a bed, and even with the odd treat involved, now let’s get straight to the key factor to staying on a budget…
DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL – This doesn’t mean ever, obviously you can have the odd beer, but man does drinking eat into your budget, it is cheap here for alcohol but it still works out around £2.50 a bottle in a lot of bars, if you buy beer or spirits at 7/11 it is much cheaper.
DO NOT DO TOURS – Again, use your head and do the maths, occasionally it can work out cheaper, but it depends, for instance on Koh Tao we managed to get 7 people together to hire a long tail boat for the whole day, so it worked out crazy cheap for a whole day of snorkelling. Any day tour, or even half day tour will tend to be around £10 minimum. You could either rent a moped (only if you feel confident) or just don’t do the trip, you don’t have to see the same waterfalls as everybody else. Travelling doesn’t just have to be about seeing everything possible.
BOOK CHEAP BEDS – £5 a night max is a good budget to aim for, and it is definitely possible, I always sort by “Price lowest first” for whatever booking site I use, and as long as it has above a 7.0 rating I’m usually okay with it. Most rooms were around £3 a night, towards the end of the trip it started getting harder to find them this cheap, and ended up around £5 a night. Don’t get me wrong you need privacy every so often so it’s worth treating yourself to a private room, but try to get one with free breakfast!
DO NOT SNACK – Just because something is only 30 Bhat doesn’t mean you should just buy it without thinking, that’s still like 70 pence or something, and a coffee (depending on where you are) can be £1 or £2 a time, this soon eats into your budget if you do it every day!
TWO MEALS A DAY – Kind of self-explanatory, just don’t eat 3 meals a day every day, you don’t really need too especially if you’re having a lazy day, and if you’re hungry, pot noodles from 7/11 will set you back about 30 pence.
So these are the unavoidable costs.
- £5 a night on average for your bed
- £1 for lunch or breakfast
- £1.50 – £2 for dinner
- £0.30 – £0.60 for water
Total = £8.60. Leaving £1.40 for extra food or drinks!
That’s all I can think of for now, I’m sure there are more tips! And look, I get it not everybody has to live on a budget, and budget is kind of relative ya know, but I noticed from trip advisor that people were saying £10 a night places were perfect for a budget traveller, and as some one who was truly trying to be on a budget it just wasn’t true.
I also know that some people might read this and think “That sounds boring” but you don’t have to do all of this, my reason for travelling is probably completely different to yours, I don’t have some arbitrary time limit imposed on my trip. I will work and travel until I get bored, I’m in no rush, and I’m not too fussed about drinking with random people unless they are super awesome, then, who knows, maybe I’ll splash out for a few drinks to hear your stories!