While students may shy away from traveling abroad because of the high cost, going to a place so vastly different from your hometown can enrich your cultural understanding. Vietnam is an Asian country filled with immense historical values, diverse culture, and breathtaking landscapes. If you are ready to step out of your comfort zone and visit Vietnam, here are ten tips for traveling on a budget
1. Learn the language
When traveling to Vietnam, it is useful to familiarize yourself with a few basic Vietnamese phrases and sentences. Not knowing the language could lead to misunderstandings, and may tempt locals into charging you higher prices than what you should pay for things.
2. Eat local
When choosing to dine in Vietnam, it is best to eat local. Buy from street vendors or local restaurants rather than Western fast food. Local food tends to be cheaper, and you get to experience more of the culture by enjoying traditional meals.
A bowl of Pho can fill your stomach quite nicely for a whole day
3. Learn to haggle
When vendors see tourists, they might ask ridiculously high prices on purchases. Haggling and negotiating on the price will ensure you don’t get ripped off, and the vendor still gets his profits. Be polite, and you can try to bargain down one-third of the price and slowly work your way to get a good deal.
4. Use motorbikes
Vietnam’s street culture ties with the motorbikes. If you are visiting for a short time, consider renting a motorbike to not only save you money on taxi trips but also gives you more freedom to sneak through the hidden alleys.
The price of renting a motorbike is from VND 150,000/day/bike (depending on which type of bike – manual, automatic, or semi-manual). You are required to have a license and wear a helmet when riding a motorbike on the Vietnamese streets.
5. Do your research on Vietnam
A smart traveler’s tactic for cutting down costs is to research tourist attractions before visiting. Most places of interest in Vietnam have pretty cheap ticket fees (around VND 10,000 to 40,000 – more or less than USD 2); some religious temples or historical spots even offer free entrance. Remember to prioritize buying tickets at the ticket booths.
Most ancient temples in Vietnam offer free entrance
To keep yourself updated with schoolwork while you’re overseas, spare some time to find online platforms and tools that can assist at the most reasonable price. For a limited student’s pocket, choose an affordable dissertation writing service when you’re traveling Vietnam. EduBirdie is a great choice in this regard because of its affordable, discounted prices.
6. Shop wisely
When shopping for souvenirs, check for the average price online if possible to avoid over-inflated price. Other than that, shopping at malls and supermarket are the safest way to get the quality of the products you pay for.
7. Buy a SIM card
International roaming on your phone is great until you get the bill upon returning home. Buying a local SIM card can save you a few hundred dollars on phone bills while abroad, and you can rest assured that your phone will work no matter where you are.
8. Get a budget-friendly visa
The Vietnamese government has recently relaxed its rules around visas to promote tourism. When choosing a visa, make sure it suits both your budget and the purpose of your visit to avoid running into legal problems.
*Note: this does not apply to the current situation of the Corona Virus. Certain passports may be restricted from entry to Vietnam.
9. Shop around for accommodation
A five-star hotel might be appealing, but it can put a strain on your pocket. Shopping around for accommodation might open up opportunities like hostels where you can meet other young travelers. Besides, many hostels arrange tours to attractions for an attractive price. Make use of online booking platforms to find the most suitable place to stay, or find a hotel in Hanoi below:
10. Enjoy Bia Hoi
Bia Hoi is Vietnamese for cheap beer and actually refers to a social custom rather than the alcohol itself. For less than USD 10, you can enjoy a nice cold beer while mingling with the locals. The two most famous beer streets in Vietnam are the Ta Hien Beer Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and the Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh Backpackers’ District.
Summing up the Budget Travel Tips for Students
Visiting Vietnam can be an enriching experience, and these budgeting tips should help you see everything you plan to see without breaking the bank. Additionally, do your research while planning the trip to avoid any unforeseen costs through error or miscalculation. It might also be useful to research exchange rates and make a sensible decision about where and when to change your money.