1. Book accommodation in advance through online booking websites and mobile apps.
When booking accommodation, you will often find that websites such as www.booking.com, www.agoda.com and www.hotels.com offer much cheaper rates than booking with hotels directly. They not only offer discounted prices but also member rewards schemes and secret prices that are revealed only when booking through their app.
2. Make use of cash back websites.
Make use of cash back websites, such as www.quidco.com and www.topcashback.com. Once signed up, you will get a small percentage of cashback (usually 5-10%) for every purchase you make through the website. We have used both these websites when buying or booking almost anything online, such as our travel insurance and booking every nights accommodation. If you leave the cash back you make on each purchase in your account, it really starts to add up quickly and before you know it, your transferring £100 back into your bank account.
3. Withdraw larger amounts of cash when taking money from an ATM.
As most of you already know, when taking money out of your UK bank account from an ATM abroad, you tend to get hit with a hefty amount of charges. Bank charges, ATM charges and currency exchange charges! Therefore, to try avoid having to use ATM’s and being hit with these charges on a regular basis, we have been withdrawing larger sums of money so we do not need to use ATM’s as often. Only be advised to do this if you have a safe place to keep your money and can trust yourself not to loose it. Another way we have been avoiding this is by only one of us withdrawing enough cash for us both from one of our banks (therefore only one set of charges). The other one of us has then just simply transferred their split of the money withdrawn in to the others account via online banking (free of charge).
4. Travel by bus.
Although not he quickest way to get around, nor the most enjoyable! Getting the bus is by FAR the cheapest way to get around Asia. Therefore if you’ve got the time and need to save the pennies, choose the bus!
5. Eat street food.
Many Westerners shy away from the thought of street food in Asia, with the image of it being unsanitary and unfulfilling (my first impressions exactly) but after trying various different types of street food in various parts of Asia (some better than others) I can now say that it is some of the most flavoursome food I have ever tried. The street vendors add spices and flavours to absolutely everything! It is also some of the freshest food you will ever get as it is cooked straight there infront of you. It will also cost you a fraction of the price of eating in restaurants or even buying the same foods at a supermarket or store.
6. Barter with the locals.
One thing I have learned since coming out to Asia is that you can always ask for a discount. Whether that be at the street vendors, market stalls, tuks-tuks, tour company operators or even when booking bus and boat travel tickets. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Just remember the people selling to you have bills to pay aswell so pay the price the product/service is worth to you.
7. Travel during low-season.
We have travelled Asia this year during the low-season (April-June) and what a huge difference we have noticed in hotel and tour prices. Many places even have a high-season price and a low season-season price, which they will display on their website or booking form. These prices can differ a great deal! Although you do take the risk of catching the monsoon weather and certain places you visit may seem like ghost towns, if that’s a risk you are willing to take to saves the pennies then it’s well worth it.
8. Stock up at the free breakfast.
Most of the hotel accommodation we have stayed in throughout Asia has included a free breakfast and the majority of the time, it has been an unlimited buffet-style breakfast. Even though some of them are much more basic than others, this usually still means that you can fill up with a big meal at breakfast time and even pocket a few bananas or bags of cereal to keep you going for snacks throughout the day.
9. Get a good credit card.
Same as the ATM issue of high charging banks, credit card companies also love to hit you with steep currency exchange fees and overseas spending charges. Therefore, make sure you do your research before you travel and get the best credit card to suit. We opted for ‘Halifax Clarity‘ as it is currently rated one of the best travel credit cards on the market. It’s free to apply for one, and the card offers free cash withdrawals. It also does not charge you extra to use it, no matter where you are in the world. Other credit cards companies also offer account holder rewards in return for an annual fee, so it’s worth doing your research and checking out which one is best for you.
10. Split the cost
One of the best things about traveling is all the new people you meet. Use this to your advantage. Everything is cheaper in groups. For example, when booking a trip or tour the more people you have booking, the higher a discount the tour operator will give. Also things like accommodation, we have often booked a hotel room with another couple, dividing the cost by four of us as opposed to just two. Same when splitting the cost of taxis, tuk-tuks and so on.
Hope this helps you enjoy some cheap travels!