Isn’t Thailand already the definition of the budget holiday? It doesn’t have to stop here if you’re serious about getting the most out of your money. There are many ways to save money when you’re actually in Thailand and I’ve put together just a few of these methods here.
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Be Aware of the “Local Prices”
Although this seems obvious to most seasoned travelers: don’t get scammed! Many locals involved in the tourist industry will try and offer you a taxi ride for ten times the real value or even “for free” to try to extort money from you.
You should be wary of this not only in Thailand but most if not all of Southeast Asia. While it might seem like a fair price if you compare it to what you would pay at home you still may be getting taking advantage of. Make sure that you use have your haggling skills fine tuned before you even get to Thailand.
When in doubt, just ask a local shop owner or restaurant owner what things are really worth (taxi rides, street food, etc). You’ll find that Thai people are very friendly and always willing to lend a hand to tourists. Plus, it’s always better to learn tips from locals or expats who have been living in Thailand for a while.
Catching some Zzz’s in Thailand
If you’re on a budget, you have a few options. Affordable hotels, guesthouses, bungalows, hostels and even Couchsurfing! In order to save the most money, stay away from the temptation of the relatively affordable hotels in the area. Sure, they are affordable compared to home but you don’t want to blow you budget by splurging on a nightly basis. Instead, stay in cheap hostels/guesthouses and if you’re planning on remaining in a city for longer than 2 weeks, then you’d should consider renting a cheap apartment. They are very affordable and plentiful!
Chowing Down in Thailand
Stray away from what you’re used to eating at home. Burger and pizza joints are going to take an unhealthy slice out of your budget. Instead opt for the local Thai cuisine which can be found for very pennies on the dollar. You’ll get more out of your trip this way as you’ll not only save money but you’ll also experience more of the Thai lifestyle. Note that when at restaurants tipping is not customary – so ignore your instinct to add a little extra unless you really want to do someone a favor.
Throwing them back in Thailand
Try to avoid alcohol. While this may be a tall order for many, alcohol is definitely one of the pricier things that you can probably afford to cut back on. Drink as much water as you can as this will fill you up. Water is available for free at the banks and Buddhist temples!
Traveling during the low season is definitely one of the best ways to save money from the outset. Not only will your flights be cheaper but the locals will also be more willing to drop their prices for lack of customers. In the same breath, it’s also worth traveling at night when the bus tickets are cheaper.
Beware of the high prices on the islands. Thailand has some great islands but beware of the price differences between things on the mainland and on the islands. Transport costs mean that prices are higher on the islands and given that there is often little in the way of competition it is easy for business owners to raise their margins for you.
If you are planning on hitting up a few of the Thai islands, I highly recommend you add Ko Lanta to your list of must-see’s. It’s cheaper than most other “popular” islands, and much quieter too!
Remember that although there are a lot of great ways that you can save money while visiting Thailand, you should always make sure that you have a good travel insurance policy. Some things just aren’t worth cutting back on.