Backpackers from around the world love Thailand for the affordable prices and amazing travel experiences. Visiting on a shoestring is easy compared to other destinations. And you can also find luxury without spending a fortune such as renting a house in Thailand near the beach in the low season. So whether you’re on a tight budget or just want to get the most value out of your buck, check out the following ways to save money.
An essential part of travelling is unwinding with a cold beer or cocktail in a beautiful location. And Thailand has no shortage of beer, cocktails and scenic places. But, drinking along the beach or in the rooftop bars can be quite expensive. After all, you’re paying for the view. Savvy tourists tend to plan their drinks around Happy Hour, which is often between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. When you take advantage of buy one get one free drinks, either you spend half the amount or get to drink twice as much. Both sound very appealing!
Don’t Get Scammed
Falling victim to a scam or paying over the odds for something is an inevitable part of travel. Sometimes you let your guard down for a second and buy a tour or a souvenir that sounds like a good deal only to find out later it’s not. When we’re on holiday or travelling, it’s often unavoidable. But, the costs add up when it happens all the time, especially when you’re not careful with your money.
Tuk Tuks tend to charge much higher than taxis and relying on them to get around will prove to be quite expensive. And if you do use taxis, make sure they turn on the meter, regardless of what they say. You should also ignore people who tell you the attraction you want to visit is shut. They’ll only offer you their commission-based tours. If you keep your wits about you, the scammers will quickly move on to the next person who’s more of an easy target.
Visit the Food Courts
Food courts are vast halls filled with tables and vendors selling different food and drink. The setting is informal, and meals cost less than eating inside a local restaurant. Expect the food to be delicious and to have a lot of choices on offer. The only problem is the Vendor’s relative lack of English. But, you can quickly get around this by pointing at pictures or to the dish the person on the table next to you is eating.
Be a Tough Negotiator
Outside of the malls and supermarkets, nothing in Thailand has a fixed price. Souvenirs, tours and knick-knacks from the markets can be bought for much less than the amount they quote. In fact, whenever you ask what the price is, expect almost double of what a local would pay. This is where you need to be good at bargaining. Brush up on your skills and always be prepared to walk away if the price isn’t right. A savvy tourist will find a bargain and save a substantial amount of money if they’re good.
Drive an Even Harder Bargain for Tours
Walk along the streets, and you’ll see every man and his Tuk Tuk offering some kind of tour or tourist-related service. Some are more informal than others. It may be possible to get a tour for a fraction of the asking price if you’re smart. Operators want to fill all the seats and if you’re lucky and a tough haggler, you may be paying next to nothing.
Have a Luxurious Trip in the Low Season
Thailand’s rainy season is between April and November corresponding to their low season. Fewer tourists come at this time compared to the dry season, which means more rooms are vacant in hotels and resorts. Vacation rentals don’t sell out as fast too. Hotel prices may drop as low as 50% and the best value for money affordable rentals are still available.
If you want affordable luxury, the low season is undoubtedly the best time to visit. And the savviest of tourists will contact their accommodation beforehand and ask for a discount. Travelling in the wet season isn’t as bad as it sounds. Rain often comes in short downpours in the late afternoon. Mornings tend to be sunny.
Rent a Motorbike Outside of Bangkok
The fastest and most convenient way to get around Thailand outside of the capital is to have your own set of wheels. And not a car. Everyone drives motorbikes in the countryside, smaller towns and cities. Renting one is affordable, easy and gives you flexibility. If you can’t ride a bike, don’t worry it’s not difficult. With an automatic, just sit on and pull the throttle back and it goes forward. As simple as that. Motorbikes are by far the best way to explore Thailand’s islands giving you the chance to stop when you want for photographs.
Tap water isn’t safe to drink in Thailand, and you need to buy bottled water from shops. And because the weather is always hot and humid, you’re going to drink litres and litres every day. Buying new bottles adds up over a week or two. Instead, either boil the water first or refill at the street side machines like the locals.
Getting the Most Value for Your Money
Just because Thailand is a cheap place to visit, it doesn’t mean you should waste money. If you follow the tips here, you could end up saving a significant amount that could be better spent on a tour or having new experiences.