Are you planning on backpacking Southeast Asia and have a limited budget. Below are a few ways to get the most out of every dollar and still provide you with a great experience.
Discount Airliners: One of the most unknown things in Southeast Asia is how cheap air travel can be. Sometimes, it is marginally more than the cost of taking a bus. Both Air Asia and Bangkok Airways offer cheap airfare around most of South East Asia. Fares are regularly USD or lower. If you have limited travel time, it is highly recommended that you investigating flying between destinations.
Don’t pay in US currency: One of the biggest mistakes that travelers often do is try to pay in US currency. Pretty much everywhere in Southeast Asia accepts US Dollars, but the conversion rate offered by merchants is terrible. A lot of times, you can end up paying 30% more than you would have if you used the local currency. For the best rates, try to exchange some money before you leave. You can also exchange money at most major banks in South East Asia.
Watch Out for Scams: If it sounds too good to be true, you are probably being scammed. There are all sorts of scams in Southeast Asia that are aimed at taking you money, and returning an inferior product to what you should be getting. This can come in the form of lower quality tours, transportation that doesn’t take you where you want to go, or paying significantly more for a product than you should be charged. To avoid the scams, talk to travelers at your hostel to see what they did. When booking tours or transportation, try to book only from reputable companies, so you get the trip you are actually paying for. If you are taking a Taxi in some countries, request that they run the meter. Most drivers negotiate fares, and in most cases are way greater than if the meter is used. Some drivers will refuse to take you, but eventually you will find one that will use his meter. This can save you a lot of money.