How To Get Around in South East Asia… on a Budget

Today I’m going to share a few tips I picked up on my last trip to South East Asia to help you stretch that precious travelling budget as long as possible! (You can thank me later). Missed anything? Let us know @RouteSalad.

1. Insist on a metered taxi

If you jump into a cab in London, you can expect to be charged by the meter. Unfortunately that’s not always the case in Asia – especially if they think you’re a tourist who doesn’t know any better! Insist that the driver uses the meter before you hop in to ensure you are charged a fair price. If you have no choice but to accept a non-metered taxi, at least try and bargain them down!

Taxi Meter in Thailand
Photo credit:

2. Carry a business card from your hotel to avoid getting lost

Especially important if you’re in a hard to find hotel (but equally useful if you’re not) this tip will ensure you have the address of your hotel at all times, in both English and the local language. This should help cut down on additional driving time in a taxi (or aimless wandering on foot) while trying to find your hotel!

3. Consider public transport… sometimes

Okay so the Thai buses might have a bit of a reputation but the same cannot be said of the wonderful Skytrain monorail in Bangkok. A bit like the DLR, this awesome train costs just pence to ride and is miles quicker than a taxi for most destinations, avoiding the terrible rush hour traffic that saw me almost miss my flight on my last visit!

4. Use the free hotel shuttle to save money

We were amazed to find that no-one else at our hotel was using the free daily shuttle to get into central Bangkok – why not?! As long as you put a bit of planning into your day you can make use of the free shuttles which hotels often provide to and from the city centre, and perhaps even to the airport. Check with your hotel on arrival to see what they offer – there’s no harm in asking, after all.

5. Learn to love AirAsia for their cheap flights!

Think Easyjet… but red. AirAsia is one of our favourite airlines here at RouteSalad and will likely become your yours too when travelling around South East Asia thanks to their vast network of routes and bargain prices – I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than about £50 for a ticket and it’s normally a lot less! Sign up to their newsletter and keep an eye on their Facebook page for their popular “fly for free” promotion where you just have to pay taxes and the ticket is £0!

AirAsia - one of our favourite airlines for students!
“Now Everyone Can Fly”

BONUS TIP! Take a photo of your luggage before you check it in

Okay so not exactly a money saving tip, and it sounds a bit silly, but having a photo is a life saver if it goes missing in transit and you need to describe it to a non-English speaker! Here’s one I made earlier…

Bonus tip - luggage photo
Should have got a selfie


Photo credit: @devinkho on

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