Asia has popular routes well treaden by
travellers from around the World. Tourist routes have brought a change
in culture and injection of much needed funds into poor Asian regions.
This money has helped develop good travel infrastructure, designed for
Knowledge is powerful when travelling- knowing where to go, when to go and how much is key information you will struggle without. I'd also recommend that volunteers and travellers research the history, culture and customs of the countries they are visiting.
A travel guide such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide can be like a bible when travelling in a foreign country. We have filtered the most relevant travel guides and language dictionaries, which can be found in our Amazon Store. We encourage members to use our Amazon Associates store to contribute towards the development of this site.
Travelling Asia by air can be a cheap and efficient option for many, but travellers must research airlines thoroughly, as some national airlines have poor safety records, low quality standards and lack reliability. A supposed cheap flight can become an expensive mistake when bags go missing or flights are cancelled.
We recommend that you use a flight search engine to find the best, latest and cheapest deals in the marketplace. A flight search engine is typically unbiased - it is in their interest to find you the best option, irrespective of the airline provider.
Whilst low-cost flights are readily available, err on the side of caution when racing to the checkout. Expect to pay taxes far in excess of the ticket price, in addition to fees for 'added extras', which you would expect to be included for free. Providers have begun to charge for check-in, payment, hold-baggage, administration, infants, amongst others. The message is clear: 'read the small-print'.
Whilst low-cost airlines can land at remote locations, Asia has strong travel networks connecting major airports. Although research and planning ahead is always advised, even travel by taxi can be relatively inexpensive.
The standard, cost and reliability of Asian rail travel is varied and fragmented. Whilst the majority of countries have reasonable nationwide networks, continent-wide rail links lack connectivity. Middle-eastern and South-East Asian 'troublesome' zones, such as Burma and Pakistan, have made establishing reliable bilateral routes difficult.
Despite a number of problematic networks, there are established and reliable routes through Russia, China and South East Asia. Expense may be an issue in comparison to direct flights; much of which is outweighed by the experience of Asian railways.
Information about Worldwide rail networks can be found at Seat61.
Follow the rickety road that are Asian roads and you'll enjoy the scenery, but end up with sores, aches and pains. Most countries have private sector coach companies for the most travelled routes, which are reasonably priced but can take an age. Depending on the region, coach travel can be the most economical option, and high quality services are available around South East Asia. For long distance travels, air and rail can be the best value for me, but always think about what you want from your travels.
While large savings of time and money can be made by using different modes of transport, travelling by roads remains the most direct and practical method for getting to your destination. I would advice that travellers utilise rail and air networks for longer journeys, and coaches/ cars/ taxis for shorter journeys due to a lack of comfort and increased expense for the latter service especially. Though, if you're a real penny-pincher, many countries run overnight coaches, which will save on accommodation and get you there bright and early for the next morning, so can can make the most of the day.
The waterways of Asia are a real treat. While most people will think of ferries and cruises from a Western perspective, when they hear of travelling by water, citizens across Asia seemingly utilise every drip and drop of water, and travelling via water is no different.
Ask around; check your travel guide; or look up a local map for the nearest port, whatever option you choose, if the destination is near water, services will be running. Expect a variety of options from canoes to luxury boat trips - available to tourists and locals alike. Many businesses, tourists facilities and communities are built around their water supply, so don't worry too much if you get off at wrong port.
Don't forget that some destinations around Asia cannot be accessed by the normal modes of transport. Being able to navigate narrow waterways with a guide, can help you to visit remote locations you would otherwise be unable to. Some of these destinations will be special places, different to the the mainstream cities or tourists destinations you'll come across, and omitting them may prove a real miss.
Asia has become a hub for travellers and one reason is the cost of accommodation. Wherever you travel, tourist destinations can be easy to navigate and finding cheap rooms without pre-booking is common place. Though paying a little more and booking on-line can relieve worries about being left out in the cold. Hotels are relatively inexpensive and hostels are even cheaper.
Accommodation quality varies substantially, thus checking out on-line reviews can minimise an unwelcome surprise.
Hostels typically drop a little luxury and privacy, but promote sharing and sociability. Travelling alone, from hotel-to-hotel can be lonely;making hostels and guest houses a great way to meet new people and socialise with other travellers in a similar position to yourself.
Asia has well-travelled routes, which can be followed by a good guide book. These include accommodation listings for most popular destinations and can save a lot of time and money, in addition to avoiding being conned into going to the most expensive place by the locals (who are on commission and see you coming).
Camping is unusual due to the availability of low-cost accommodation. However if you want an adventure or want to lower your costs- couch-surfing or homestays are a viable options.
Although the recent recession has led to a surge in insurance premiums, a solid travel insurance cover needn't break the bank. A number of large banks and insurance companies offer inclusive insurance for the home, car and travel, which you may be eligible for. Planning can equal large savings.
Frequent travellers can be better off with annual cover, which may work out cheaper and save a lot of hassle.
If you are going skiing or on an adventure holiday, it is essential that you check that your travel insurance policy covers such activities. You may require specialist sports insurance.
Finally, do not forget to check the excess charges of your cover before you pay. What may be the cheapest policy, isn't always the best value. Always check how much of an excess you would have to pay if a certain outcome occurred. For example, if the value of your possessions is less than the excess you'd have to pay if you lost them, the benefit of that policy would be questionable.