Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

First time traveller - need help!

Posted by ChristD on 25/1/2014 at 15:59

Hey guys,

I've always wanted to go travelling and now I've finally got round to getting things in motion. I plan to work temping for the next 12 - 18 months and saving everything I can for this. Doing this I should be able to save between £10,000 and £14,000 depending on my spending habits in between.

I was looking to go travelling through South East Asia for anytime up to a year. The destinations I had in mind are below:

Thailand
Loas
Vietnam
Cambodia
Malaysia
Indonesia
Singapore

If I was to go travelling through these places for up to a year, how long would you advise I stay in each place, plus how much would be a good amount to budget for each location (as I imagine some places are going to be more expensive than others?). I'm quite happy to stay in hostels and eat fairly cheaply.

If anyone could also fill me in on any other costs that would be involved prior to the trip such as vaccinations etc. that would be great!

Also, I probably plan to go alone, how will that impact my journey at all? Thanks!

#1 ChristD has been a member since 25/1/2014. Posts: 14

Posted by antoniamitchell on 26/1/2014 at 02:55

Hi,
As you're travelling alone, it will cost you a bit more (a lot of guesthouses and hotels charge for a room, not per guest, and a lot of places don't have separate single rooms, so you'll be in a double or twin quite a lot of the time), but luckily most of SE Asia's still very cheap.
Do a search through this site, and you'll find tonnes of itinerary ideas/advice and lots on costs.

Finally, as you're in the UK, the main vaccinations (Hep A, Typhoid, Diptheria, etc) are all free from your GP. Make an appointment at least 8 weeks before you're due to leave.

Have fun!

#2 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Location: Singapore. Posts: 492
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Posted by MADMAC on 26/1/2014 at 05:22

There are several ways you can approach this. Most people tend to move place to place after a few days to a week. If you do that, your housing costs rise, so the amount of time you stay here shrinks. If you were to stay in one location for a couple of months, then you could rent a furnished apartment and save quite a bit on housing costs. If you have a university degree you might consider teaching for a year here and then travelling. The teaching would allow you to develop some language proficiency and get your feet wet before you start moving around and biting into your own money. You could also purchase a motorcycle and use that as your transport option (which has a host of advantages but the limitation of some countries not letting you in with it (Burma and Vietnam come to mind).

Look into visa requirements for each country first. Some have visa on arrival, some do not. Some only give 30 days for visa on arrival and you can stay longer if you procure a visa prior to coming. Remmember visas cost money, so they need to be factored into your overall costs just like transportation does.

You didn't say if you are a woman or a man, but if you are the latter (everyone hates when I bring this up) then usually sex costs (unless you are doing it with a fellow tourist). Realistically most men do not plan on going anywhere for a year and staying celibate if it's avoidable. With the "locals" it is seldom free, even if the girl is not a hooker. Maybe if you were living here and it was a real girlfriend, but not a one night stand.

Singapore is pricey. So a day there is going to equal a few days elsewhere.

#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by ChristD on 26/1/2014 at 05:37

The idea of teaching is something I'd actually considered. Is it necessary to have a degree to do this as I don't have one. I do, however, have fairly decent A level qualifications as well as a professional finance qualification under my belt. The paid teaching placements I've seen last about a year (with the initial training and then placement) - is this a normal time-frame for this sort of thing?

Also, have you done teaching yourself? I'd love to get a first hand idea of how the experience was as I've never done anything similar before.

I'm a 21 year old male by the way (forgot to mention that earlier). If I'm honest this hadn't even crossed my mind, but I think this is something I'd have to consider at the time, I mean I'm sure I'd be okay for a few months at least!

#4 ChristD has been a member since 25/1/2014. Posts: 14

Posted by MADMAC on 26/1/2014 at 05:59

I've done some teaching here, and while I have no teaching certificate I do have a university degree. I also taught on the side, not officially. I did have a friend from England who had a high school graduation (or whatever the English equivelent is) and got a job teaching since he had completed the TOEFL course and hence had a teaching certificate. Some schools will demand a degree, some won't. I can't speak for anywhere but Thailand however.

And a year I think is a good minimum committment in the interest of fairness to the kids.

BTW a lot of english programs teach more than just language. They also teach science and math in English for more advanced students, so if you have a strong math background, that could useful.

If it were me, I would not teach somewhere drowned in foreigners but would look for something rural or semi-rural which would isolate you (which can be difficult) and force you to work on your language.

#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by ChristD on 26/1/2014 at 07:46

I've been looking around and I found a course which is £920 (120 hour TEFL qualification including a bunch of information and starter packs etc). This doesn't include accommodation, food, Visas and so on, so I'd still have to get those. Also, does that seem like a more or less normal price for the course?

Taking all that into consideration, would my estimated amount of cash (most likely be at least £12,000 by the time I plan to go) be enough to cover me for the first year (accommodation, meals, activities etc.) as well as going for further travelling for at least 6 months after? This is assuming that I get a paid teacher position earning roughly $1000 a month, give or take. Bear in mind that that £12,000 will still need to go towards flights, insurance, visas and everything else I'll need before I go.

#6 ChristD has been a member since 25/1/2014. Posts: 14

Posted by MADMAC on 27/1/2014 at 08:29

If you get a job as a teacher, then that should sustain you and you shouldn't need to dig much into your base money except at the beginning. I think you'd end up with some 10,000 pounds left after the year was over if you were frugal, maybe less if you spent some of it on fun stuff while you were here.

#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


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