Authored by Denise Nelson
Traveling to Thailand is one of the most exotic trips you can take, and luckily, it’s a very easy country to experience on a budget. Even first times travelers can easily spend under 100 USD a day, and that includes your hotel, activities and transportation!
There are many ways to save money while traveling in Thailand, but here are 7 tips for the traveler who wants to come in under budget.
7 Tips for Budget Travel in Thailand
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Tip 1 – Eat Street Food
Street food is incredibly cheap, delicious and well-made in Thailand. You’ll have some of your best meals while walking around the city and markets.
Staying on budget is important, so eating street food is one of your best options. You’ll want to pick busier stalls since their food has quicker turnaround times, which means the food is fresher and safer to eat.
Tasty street food won’t put a stop on your spending, and you can try many different things for cheap.
Tip 2 – Find a Place to Sleep in Person
While booking a hostel or hotel online might make you comfortable, get out of your zone and find a local place.
Online booking can seem cheaper and easier, but once you find a place to stay, you can haggle prices and get free upgrades and perks for staying at a local place. If you rather do a free version, you could also try couch surfing at stranger’s homes.
A lot of people may have reservations about the safety of such an arrangement, but the couch-surfing community has developed a trusted reputation, and if you do need a place to sleep and don’t have the money, this is an option and the locals are friendly.
Tip 3 – Shop at a Weekend Market
The local markets are the best place to find great deals on goods, foods, wears, and more. Regardless of which city you’re in, seek out the markets whenever possible, because you truly can’t beat the deals here.
Most of the items you’ll find are a lot more expensive in stores or from daily vendors, but these prices drop as soon as you hit the marketplace. You’ll find yourself surrounded with so many bargain prices that you’ll want to spend over your budget anyway!
Make sure you decide how much you want to spend before entering, because you could blow your daily budget, or more, in this area if you get too carried away.
Tip 4 – Buy Alcohol at Convenience Stores
Alcohol at bars will be three times as much as convenience store alcohol. At bars, you’ll pay about 30-40 Baht for a local beer, while buying a local beer at a convenience store will only cost you about 3-4.
Stay local in your beverages, even though they do contain more alcohol than US beers, but buying imported drinks will drain your budget with one purchase.
Imported alcohol will cost you anywhere between 50-300+ USD. Avoid buying an imported drink in Thailand, and stick to drinking like the locals.
Tip 5 – Use Public Transportation
Local transportation in Thailand is very cheap if you stick to buses. Taxis and other forms of transportation can get expensive over time, but the public buses are very easy to use and will cost you very little, about 20 cents per ride.
You can even ride a day train for under 1.50 USD, while the night train will cost you about 16 USD. Keep in mind your budget and pick the transportation you need at the time; it’s okay to indulge sometimes!
Tip 6 – Haggle Activities Cost
There are two types of costs in Thailand, Thai local’s prices and tourist prices. Sometimes you will always pay more, and the admissions offices to the events won’t budge. However, for some events, tours, festivities, and local activities (cooking classes, dancing classes, etc.) will have a price that you can haggle to save money.
If you end up taking a motorcycle ride, make sure to haggle the price before you take the ride. You want to be sure of the price before arriving and being stuck with the price they say.
Tip 7 – Rent a Bike and Save on Luggage Price
Bringing your hand-built mountain bike with you on your trip to Thailand might seem like a fantastic idea. It’s not. Bringing your bike will cost a lot, and in the end, it’s not worth it.
Many places where you’ll stay for the night will have bikes that you can use for free while staying there, and you can rent a bike very cheap in Thailand.
Don’t waste your precious money on bringing along your bike, rather rent a bike or use a free bike to explore what Thailand has to offer, you won’t need a high-performance bike in Thailand.
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