The best part of travelling to Southeast Asia is that, it is very friendly to your budget and Vietnam is by all means no exception. However, there are number of ways on how to save every bit of penny and yet still enjoy your stay in this wonderful country. Here are some money saving tips for your trip.
Book Accommodations Early
When it comes to finding a place to stay, your best bet to lower down the cost is by booking early. Apps such as AGODA and BOOKING.COM (covers most of Southeast Asia) are your best friends who often provide a lower rate when booking in advance. Make sure to research on all options offered through these channels and grab the best rooms available suiting your budget and location.
After stepping foot on Vietnam, avoid airport moneychangers! The best way on getting a better deal is though moneychangers inside the local markets especially with jewelry shops. These establishments often provide the best fair rates without any extra fees. Sometimes you can even bargain their rates just remember to smile in doing so.
Vietnam is a foodie haven; it can be very cheap as long as you avoid dining in fancy restaurants. Getting your meals at places along the streets can only range between $1 and $3. Make sure to fix that Pho and Bahn Mi cravings with street vendors. Trust me – the flavor and authenticity is a hundred times better compared to those in bigger restaurants.
Book Local Tours
If you are staying inside the city and want to go to remote touristy location (Chu Chi Tunnels or Ha Long Bay for example) your first choice to avoid getting scammed and ripped off should be by joining a “group tour” and booking it with local tour agencies. These establishments are found all over especially around local markets. Yes, it might be more expensive compared on going on your own however, these organized tours will avoid you getting scammed by locals which often or not have you pay almost double for your experience. Another good thing about these tours is that almost everything is inclusive (meals, entrance fees and transportation). Most importantly, haggle! The prices for these tours can still be bargained down especially if you go in groups.
Learn the Arts of Haggling
Shopping can be very tempting whilst staying in Vietnam. The variety and options of quality goods can be overwhelming and we can’t blame you if you give in with the temptation. There is only one rule in shopping in Vietnam and that is, bargain! Most of the prices posted by vendors are not fixed and can be bargained down to almost a third of its original price. Don’t be afraid to haggle and get the most out of your shopping experience here. Can’t agree to a price? Walk away, sometimes these vendors will chase you down and offer you the price you have bargained for.
Avoid the Touristy Places
If you want to avoid tourist prices, avoid touristy market places (such as Ben Than Market) especially during the day. At night, there will be a lot of pop-up stalls offering the same goods at lower prices. Just make sure to research the nearest night market on your location and get to enjoy shopping while binging down a couple of delicious local street food.
Walk As Much As You Can
There is no finer way to enjoy a city’s architecture and culture other than walking your way into it. Try checking Google maps and plan out a route on where you want to go before deciding on getting a taxi. Sometimes the tourist attractions are just near to each other, save those couple of dollars for taxi fare and just walk while enjoying the view. Vietnam is a very safe place to walk around and who knows? You might end up discovering a new location or two that you’ll love.
What better way to quench your thirst in a hot humid day than drinking a cold glass of beer? I mean a very cheap beer! All around Vietnam, there are stalls in street corners surrounded by small stools offering this. This local beer (Bia Hoi) is known all over the world to be the “cheapest beer” and is freshly brewed everyday, which only costs around 20 cents a pop. Before enjoying a night adventure, try sitting in these small stools and interact with the locals. I guarantee that your sessions will be longer and way cheaper than that of local bars. So, look out for the “Bia Hoi” sign and prepare to fill up your tanks.
Overall, Vietnam is a really good country to travel on a budget. You will end up getting a lot of good memories and unforgettable experiences without hurting your wallet. Once you get home and check the total cost of your trip, I am sure you will be coming back for more.