How to Travel Southeast Asia on $30 a Day

When it comes to long-term travel, the most commonly asked question is “How can you afford it?” Traveling is a costly endeavor. You can only do it a few times a year for a few days to a week. To many, long-term travel simply seems unattainable. This simply is not true. This guide has all our tips for traveling Southeast Asia on a budget.

As a matter of fact, it’s quite possible that long-term travel could actually be cheaper than the life you’re living. It all depends on where you go, how you travel, and how resourceful you’re willing to be. For those who enjoy ballin’ on a budget, there’s no place in the world quite like Southeast Asia. It’s totally possible to travel here for $30 a day or less. We’re here to show you how to do it.

Researching a destination you’re traveling to can be time-consuming and stressful. This is true of planning a trip to just one city. Imagine what it’s like when dealing with an entire region. Before booking that ticket, you want to know how much it’s actually going to cost you for all the important things – transportation, accommodation, food/drink, and activities.

Southeast Asia on a budget
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You could spend $20-30 on a huge guidebook, get some highlighters, and lug it all around with you. You could also waste countless hours trolling Wiki pages and hotel or airfare sites to get an idea of the prices in the places you want to go. Or you could just go ahead and grab our brand spanking new Gypsy Guide – “How to Travel Southeast Asia for $30 a Day.”

It’s no secret that we love traveling. We moved to China to teach English so we could have more chances to travel. When that wasn’t enough, we quit our stable jobs there, gave up our nice apartment, and hit the road for a 14-month gap year trip. Most of that trip was spent traversing Southeast Asia, and almost all of it was done for around $30/day each.

In addition to that massive trip, we’ve been to Thailand on numerous occasions, visited the Philippines on holiday, and even lived in Bali for nearly a year on an extended honeymoon.

Aside from some big-ticket items – scuba diving in Ko Tao or a motorbike trip across Vietnam – we always manage to stick to a very frugal budget. If you’re picturing living in squalor in filthy hostel rooms with 15 snoring people, eating nothing but fast food, and spending days at a time on chicken buses, that couldn’t be farther from the reality. Even with just $30 a day, it’s possible to visit Southeast Asia’s bustling cities, historical landmarks, and stunning landscapes and still live comfortably.

Southeast Asia on a budget
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Even places like this fit into a backpacker budget.

Will there be an occasional chicken bus? Sure, but it’ll get you where you need to be, give you a funny story, and only cost you a couple bucks. Will there be hostels? Absolutely. However, you’ll be enjoying A/C, WiFi, and fun communal areas with pool tables and bars more so than you’ll be smashing cockroaches.

Is some street food in your future? Hell freakin’ yes it is! And it’ll probably be the most delicious, cheapest thing you eat that day. Armed with $30 for the day, you can go a long way in Southeast Asia. We’re here to show you exactly how to do it and get you started on that epic trip you’ve been dreaming about.

Southeast Asia on a budget
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Traditional Balinese food. This dish will set you back about $1.50!

Spending $30 a day works out to $900 a month. That’s probably about the same or less than you pay on rent and utilities alone. For that same amount, you could be lounging on the beaches of Thailand, wandering the rice fields of Bali, or partying it up in Ho Chi Minh City. We’ve spent a few years exploring this incredible corner of the world and have fallen in love with it.

Southeast Asia on a budget
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Chillin’ in a hammock by the river – relaxing and free!

If it’s financial concerns stopping you from booking that ticket to Southeast Asia, get our e-book and let us show you how to do it well and on a budget. You may never want to come home, and who knows? You just might not have to.

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Southeast Asia $30 a day
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10 thoughts on “How to Travel Southeast Asia on $30 a Day”

  1. Once again, your posts are making me miss this part of the world sooo much! And it’s really not helping by reminding me just how cheap it is!

    1. We are really missing that part of the world these days too! You can get by on so little, it’s amazing! Thanks for reading!

  2. I lived this life once and look back on it fondly. The moments of ‘ballerness’ were amazing. I have since never lived in such luxury! You almost have convinced me to go back 😉

  3. Damn! I’m ready to haul on my backpack and go! I haven’t been to SE Asia, and would love to, so it’s great to know it is financially do-able. Thanks so much for all these great tips and info to help me get there 🙂

    1. Southeast Asia on a budget

      We’re happy to help! It really is one of the most affordable places to travel. It’s also a great starting point for people who want to travel long term as they make it quite easy there. They have all the infrastructure in place, something that’s lacking in other parts of the world.

  4. I’ve always felt that if you want something bad enough, you’ll do what it takes to make it happen…especially travel! $2 meals in Bali were some of the best I’ve had in my life…and the most satisfying because of all the bootstrapping I had to do to make that trip happen. You guys are sharing such great inspiration and help. Bravo on all your amazing adventures!

    1. Southeast Asia on a budget

      I loved eating in little warungs in Bali. It was some of the most delicious and cheapest food I’ve ever had! Thank you for the kind words. Inspiring people to get out and travel is what we strive for! 🙂

  5. I’m excited to read your book! This is one area of the world I haven’t been to yet and I have no clue where to start. Thank you!!

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