“Find local places to save money”
It´s very important to understand that if you plan to live in South East Asia you can spend very little but also a lot of money. It all depends on which country you want to be located in. So, it’s very important to keep that in mind, when choosing your study abroad destination. Furthermore, it also depends on what kind of lifestyle you are planning to live. You can survive with less than 400 Euros a month and there is also no limit of how much money you can spend at our destinations. This blog will provide you with 5 Tips How To Live On a Small Budget in South East Asia.
1. Chose your destination wisely
Before you start your travels, always think of your budget. The prices are very different in all South East Asian countries. For example, living in Bali compared to living in Singapore is a big difference. While you can find a beautiful guesthouse with a Pool in Bali for not more than 240€ per month, the same amount of money will offer you a tent in the middle of the Singaporean jungle.
So, destinations like Bali and Lombok are super cheap. Other locations, such as Shanghai, Taiwan, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur are a little more expensive, depending on where you want to stay. Also, you should consider the transportation costs and other important things which will be costly before you book your accommodation
If you want to find a cheap accommodation Airbnb is a good option. Booking.com is second in my personal ranking.
2. Negotiate and don´t be Sorry
You don´t get, if you don´t ask
Asian people usually love to negotiate. When it comes to negotiation tactics, you should find out for yourself what works best. From my own experience, I realized that a friendly but tough approach is the best way to get what you want. Locals always try to make a lot of money with tourists, so the starting price will always be up to 3-4 times higher than to what the locals pay. For that reason, you can bargain hard and always start with a low price. Another important thing you can try is a so-called “BATNA” (the best alternative to negotiated agreement). For example, instead of buying at the first shop you should give it some time and check out the other stores to find better deals. With “BATNA” you will not get trapped by the seller and you will most likely keep your wallets’ content.
“Don’t be sorry”, sometimes sellers will try to make you feel guilty if you don’t buy. DO NOT fall for that! That’s their tactic so start improving yours as well. Always remember, people will not give you anything if you don´t ask for it.
3. Spend money wisely when you go out
As an essential part of your studying life, going out with friends is one of the biggest money consumers. For that matter, don´t forget your budget and then stick to it. It’s not worth going into debt on your bank account just to have 4 times party a week. Therefore, try to allocate a certain part of your budget for partying and do not overspend.
Likewise, try to find a party location where there are not too many tourists. Tourist places, especially in the big cities are super expensive. There are a lot of places for locals as well where you can have a lot of fun. The other advantage of that is, you will get to meet locals and get to know the local way of living.
4.Try to find local places
This point might not be new to you, but it is very important to bear in mind. If you want to save money, you must go to local places. The difference between a local place and a typical tourist hotspot can be 3-4 times more expensive.
In Bali – Canggu, Kuta, and Seminyak are tourist hotspots where you will definitely pay more than in other places. Consequently, try to find a small local restaurant or bar. There you will pay way less and most of the times the food is way better there too.
5. Use GoJek, Uber or Grab
Transportation in Southeast Asia is very cheap. Local taxis are usually 20 to 30% cheaper than the ones in Europe. If you use the Online Application GoJek, Uber or Grab the prices will be even lower. Moreover, they offer a lot of other services. You can order food, get a scooter transport, car transport, order a massage and get medicine to just name a few.
So, Grab, Uber and GoJek provide their clients with very cheap fares and they work in most every South East Asian country. The only thing you have to consider with those Apps is that they can drop you off wherever you want, but they cannot pick you up everywhere. For example in Bali, some local taxi services are protesting against those Apps, so there are areas where they’re not allowed to pick up people. To overcome this problem, just walk a little bit around and try to find a quiet place where they accept your ride.
All in all, South East Asia is cheaper than Europe or other parts of the world. If you have a small budget just try to stay away from the “Tourist Hotspots” and spend your money wisely. Until then, may the force be with you!
This blog post was written by our intern Valentin
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