Bali on a Budget: 6 Helpful Tips
One of the hottest travel destinations for Filipinos nowadays is Bali in Indonesia. The island is famed for its beautiful beaches, particularly those that can be found in Kuta and Seminyak. There are also stunning, sparkling blue waters in Uluwatu and Nusa Penida. Meanwhile, the town of Ubud in the uplands of Bali will charm those interested in Indonesian culture. Here, you can immerse yourself in traditional Balinese arts, crafts, and performances—as well as visit various temples.
If you’re planning on a Bali holiday soon but don’t have too much leeway in terms of your budget, here are some tips to help make your vacation dreams happen!
Get a Tour Package
For Filipinos, the good thing about Indonesia is that you don’t need a visa to visit. All you need is your passport with at least 6 months’ validity and you’re all set. This will immediately reduce your travel costs to Bali. You’ll save some time, too! For even more savings, it’s best to search for a Bali tour package. Doing so will give you better rates on both your airline tickets and your accommodations.
Book a Homestay
Alternatively, you can also drive down the cost of your accommodations by ditching hotels in favor of a homestay. There are plenty of homestay options in Bali, which not only cost less but will also allow you to feel more immersed in Indonesian culture during your stay. So if you want to “live like a local” and have a more authentic experience, homestays are the way to go.
Travel on Leaner Seasons
Like the Philippines, Indonesia (and by extension, Bali) has warm weather all year long. This means that you can generally visit any time you want. For the lowest hotel rates, however, it’s best to go during March, April, and May. This period is the lean season, which also means you’ll have a considerably more peaceful time on the island. For reference, the busiest seasons in Bali are Christmas and New Year, Easter, as well as the sunny months of July and August.
Be Wise in Exchanging (and Spending) Money
The Philippine peso goes a long way in Bali, with an exchange rate of PHP 1 to about IDR 269 or higher. However, it’s best to bring US dollars to Indonesia and have it exchanged to rupiah when you get there. Though you can directly exchange pesos to rupiah, you won’t get good rates. If you want, you can also withdraw money directly from ATMs in Bali. Just make sure to make arrangements with your bank beforehand, so they won’t flag and block your account due to “suspicious” activity. Finally, be more conscientious in spending since it’s easy to get lost with all the extra zeroes. Make sure to do your research on the average prices of meals, transportation, and the like so you don’t end up overspending during your trip.
Rent a Motorbike
Solo travelers who know how to drive and have an international license should definitely consider riding a motorbike in Bali for a cheaper and faster way to get around. If you don’t know how to ride a motorbike or don’t have a license, taxis are also quite reliable in Bali. Flag down the blue cabs, if there are available ones. Their company, Blue Bird, is the most reliable of the lot. It’s also a good idea to always bring smaller denominations of the rupiah for paying drivers. Finally, be aware that the fares are usually rounded off to the nearest IDR 5,000 and the excess is considered a tip.
Get a Local SIM Card
If you’re planning to stay online for the whole duration of your trip, save yourself the exorbitant mobile network fees and get a local SIM card. For further savings, buy it in advance to get discounted rates. For those traveling in groups, the best option is to rent a pocket WiFirouter. Of course, you can also rely on free WiFi in hotels and restaurants. This way, you can check-in on your loved ones in these establishments, stay offline while you’re exploring, and reserve the use of your own data services during emergencies. The bottomline is that you should guarantee that you have a way to keep in touch with people back home, especially if you’re traveling alone.
Have an Itinerary and a Strict Budget
You probably already have an idea where you want to go, but it’s still best to prepare an itinerary and follow it to the letter. This will help minimize side trips, which will throw your budget off. What’s more, preparing an itinerary also gives you an idea of how much you’re going to spend in terms of entrance fees, tickets, and the like. After all, most of the attractions in Bali have entrance fees, including the temples.
In terms of your budget, make it a point to avoid extra expenses but also set a maximum amount that you’re allowed to go beyond your allowance for the day. There are times when you can’t help but spend a little bit more, so just make sure you don’t overindulge to keep your budget on the safe side. Finally, and more importantly, allocate an emergency fund and DON’T spend it for non-emergency situations.
Almost all of these tips can essentially be applied to almost any foreign destination you’re planning to visit. Still, Indonesia is one of our Asian neighbors and it’s also one of the easiest ones to visit. So with these tips in mind, make your plans, book that tour, and enjoy Bali on your next vacation!