How to plan a trip to Indonesia on a budget

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Asia is a popular destination for backpackers because a lot of the countries are quite cheap. The flights to get out there might cost you a bit but once you arrive, places like Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam are relatively cheap and your money goes a long way. But not all Asian destinations are that affordable and there are some places like parts of Indonesia that are a lot more expensive so people tend to avoid them.

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That’s a real shame because Indonesia is an incredible country that has so much to offer and you’ll get a different experience compared with a lot of the other popular backpacking destinations. It doesn’t have to be expensive if you don’t want it to be either, there are ways that you can save a lot of money. You might have to make a few sacrifices and maybe miss out on some of the more expensive activities while you’re there but you can still have an amazing trip without breaking the bank. These are some of the best tips for people that want to travel to Indonesia on a budget.

Plan your flights properly

It’s no secret that booking flights early is going to get you the best prices so start looking right away and keep checking the flight comparison sites daily so you can find a good deal. The further in advance you book, the cheaper it’s going to be so if you start getting organized now, you’ll save a lot of money. You also need to plan the best route and compare different routes into Indonesia if you want to save money. Often, people find that the cheapest way to get there is to fly into Kuala Lumpur and then get a connecting flight to Jakarta or Bali. Depending on where you want to go in Indonesia, it might mean doing a bit more travelling when you arrive, however, it could save you a lot of money on flights so it’s worth it. Always check the different routes available and find the cheapest one rather than the quickest or most direct one.

Pick the right season

Like anywhere, the seasons will have a big effect on the prices in Indonesia so if your schedule is flexible, try going in the off-season. The most expensive times are during the school break (June and July) or anytime around new years. The cheapest time to go is in October or March, the weather might be a little rainy but it will still be nice and it will be way cheaper. If you’re going with the family and you’re limited by the school timetable, you might have to pay the higher prices but if you are more flexible, try going in the off-season. The tourist attractions won’t be as busy either and the ticket prices for some things are likely to be lower.

Avoid Hotels

Aside from the flights, the accommodation is going to be your biggest cost so anything that you can do to save money there will reduce the overall price of the trip by quite a bit. Hotels are out of the question if you want to do it on a budget because most of them are pretty expensive. But if you search rumah murah sekitar Indonesia (cheap homes around Indonesia) online, you’ll find plenty of affordable apartments that you can rent. This is ideal if you’re going with a bigger group because, when you split the price between everybody, it’s way cheaper than getting a hotel.

There are also a lot of hostels available in Indonesia, especially in areas like Bali which do get backpackers. If you don’t mind the heat and you’re looking for an incredibly cheap stay, you can get rooms without air conditioning for next to nothing. But if you want something a little more comfortable with a few more facilities, you’ll pay a bit more. Either way, it will be a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel.

Shop at markets

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If you need to buy anything while you’re out there, always go to the local markets and avoid any bigger shops because the prices tend to be a lot higher in there. You can get food, souvenirs, clothes, and handmade crafts in the markets and you’ll be contributing to the local economy as well, so it’s a win all around. If you’re staying in an apartment with cooking facilities, you can save yourself a lot of money if you buy local ingredients from the markets and cook for yourself rather than eating out all the time.

When you’re shopping at markets, it’s vital that you know how to haggle properly. Most vendors are going to be open to haggling and when they find out that you’re a tourist, they’ll start off with a very high price. If you accept the first price that you’re given, you’ll be paying over the odds for everything. The best way to haggle is to offer them around 50 percent of the original price, they’ll give you a counter offer that is slightly higher but you won’t pay anywhere near what they originally offered you.

Avoid cabs

When you’re trying to get around cities in Indonesia, cabs are probably the most convenient mode of transport but they’re also the most expensive. If you want to save yourself some money, you should go for public transport instead. The bus and train services are pretty good in most cities and they’re very cheap. You might have to do a bit more forward planning if you need to be somewhere for a certain time but it’s worth it for the savings that you’ll make.

If you are going to use a cab, you should use ride share services like Uber, Go-Jek, or Grab. They’re a lot cheaper and it’s way more reliable than standing on the side of the road trying to hail a cab.

Indonesia, and particularly Jakarta, can be quite expensive to visit but you shouldn’t let that put you off. If you use these simple tips, you can still have an amazing trip without going outside your budget.