Money saving tips for your budget travel

1.    Buy yourself a reusable water bottle

Buying your reusable water bottle has so many positive effects. You protect the environment, stay hydrated and save money. By now everyone should know that single-use plastic is one of the worst things for the planet and that should be the biggest reason to buy your reusable bottle of water! But apart from that, you can also save so much money by simply buying once a bottle. Most countries have refill stations in every hostel or even on the street. By purchasing your bottle, you never have to buy expensive bottles in supermarkets anymore. In China hot and cold water is available everywhere, in Vietnam, every Hostel has a refill station, and in Australia, you can drink tap water. In Thailand, the whole thing is a little more complicated as you can not find refill stations in the Hostels, but they are spread around the city, and it will only cost you 1 Baht to refill your bottle instead of 13 Baht for a new one. Buying one bottle might not seem like much money, but if you calculate that on two bottles a day for 30 days, there is a significant saving potential.

PS: With your reusable coffee cup you even get discounts on your coffee in some stores, depending on the country. 

Mekong River
The Mekong River on my boat trip from Thailand to Laos. All this plastic waste.. it was horrible. Please let’s all stop that.

2.    Get an international student Card (ISIC)

If you are a student, then don’t waste that opportunity to save money. All around the world you can find student discounts, especially in China and in Australia students save a lot. In China, park entries are often half the price as for normal adults, and in Australia, you even get discounts on clothes in some stores. In Australia or China ask the stuff, and if they say no it’s ok but asking doesn’t cost something. To make sure that you get the student discount you should order yourself the international student card ISIC. This card is recognized worldwide, and on the app, you can even find special offers located around you. It will cost you 12 euros, but it’s worth the money as I saved 25 euro on only one park entry in China.

3.    Book in the Hostels

This tip might sometimes be a little risky but booking directly in Hostels when you arrive might save you also a lot of money. The Hostels can offer you better rates than online, or they are just happy to have you, so you get an extra discount. More then that you can have a look first before actually booking if the Hostel isn’t good you are not forced to stay there. However, you must pay attention to which country you do this and during what time. Sometimes and in some cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Bali or Bangkok every single Hostel is fully booked on weekends for example. In that case, you might get in big troubles and end up spending a lot for an expensive Hotel. So if you know that it is high season, a special event or just a trendy city, you might book in advance. If not, I recommend to pick your favorite Hostel online and have a look first before booking – sometimes you can even bargain for a better price.

4.    Organize day trips by yourself

Tours are expensive – and not even always good. The best, most flexible and cheapest way is to book and organize everything by yourself. My trip to Bromo is one of the best examples – I did everything by myself with a motorbike I rented instead of an expensive tour and had the adventure of a lifetime. With a tour you might be stuck with people you don’t like, everything is timed, and you only go to the hotspots. However, often the way to the highlights is the best part of the adventure, the best views are often not on the crowded top but only 5 mins downhill. If you like it in a place you can spend an extra day or an extra few minutes, and you decide what you are eating and drinking, not the tour operator. Furthermore, it doesn’t take more time to find out how to do everything by yourself then searching for an affordable operator with excellent reviews.

How to visit Bromo without a tour

Of course, some things are not possible to do by yourself, like the Halong Bay tour or the Ijien tour and some things are just better with a tour like the Nusa Penida tour. Just do a quick online research on how to do it by yourself – if you can find a lot, you should do it by yourself – if not probably better take a tour. Of course, trips can also be very cool but in any case more expensive and it’s the adventure while doing it by yourself what stays in your mind. I’ll never forget cursing with my motorbike through the sand next to the Bromo volcano, that’s for sure.  

Nusa Penida

5.    Rent a motorbike

And the last money saving tip is always to rent a bike to get around – especially in SEA. You can rent them everywhere, and they are so cheap, only 3 to 10 euros a day. Gas is also super cheap – in Indonesia, the bike takes you 100 km for 2 euros. First of all, it’s so much fun to drive your motorbike around, it’s easy, and you are flexible. Taking a taxi can be such a pain in the ass – they try to rip you off, you have to bargain or pay to much. Instead, you jump on your motorbike and drive wherever you want. Yes, it might not be the safest way to get around, but if you pay a little attention and wear a helmet, it’s totally fine. The best experiences I did with my motorbikes in Vietnam and Indonesia and I saved a lot of money at the same time.

Ha Giang Loop

Related posts:

  • Total countries I visited until now: 34


  • Planes: 8
  • Busses: 36
  • Trains: 18
  • Boats: 20
  • Km driving: 6500
  • Km running: 1932

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