1. Arrive with US dollars or local currency
When you arrive in Cambodia or Vietnam, ensure you have a small sum of US dollars with you so you can pay a taxi or tuk-tuk when you arrive. You don’t want to be arriving in a new country and heading straight to an ATM. Easy target.
2. Haggle, haggle, haggle!
Tuk tuk drivers will always try and get the highest price (and you can’t blame them for trying!) but don’t be afraid to barter. Most short drives (5 minutes or so) will only cost a couple of dollars. If they are asking for too much, walk away. Often they will come running after you with a better price! Read our tips on haggling in Asia>>
3. Book hostels direct
Don’t bother with Hostel World or Hostel Bookers. By all means use them to find a good place – but then book direct through the hostel website. It’s cheaper and often you don’t have to pay a deposit.
4. Don’t carry an expensive handbag
Don’t attract unwanted attention with a handbag. I had mine almost swiped at the side of the road by someone on a motorbike. Carry a little woven bag (get one you can wear across your body) and never take more than $60 out with you. At night, leave valuables at home.
For the guys out there, carry your wallet in your front pocket!
5. Don’t drink the tap water!
Buy water from supermarkets and shops rather than restaurants and cafes. Always check the bottles are sealed and avoid tap water.
6. Keep your valuables locked away
The best item we invested in was this Pacsafe bag. It’s big enough for an iPad, phones, kindle and passports and you can lock it to anything in your room. Unfortunately opportunistic crime is high and rooms /dorms are never 100% secure.
7. Carry tissues with you
Toilet roll is few and far between at cafes and bars, so take tissues with you in case of emergencies. Hand sanitiser is also a good idea.
8. Never go skinny-dipping and leave your wallet on the beach!
We have spoken with countless travellers who get drunk, go skinny dipping and return to find their wallet and phone has been stolen. Just don’t do it!
Always be friendly and respectful when negotiating prices. A lot of people are poor and work long days in blistering heat. A smile and a tip at the end goes a long way.