AUTHOR’S NOTE: So if you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you may remember my little 21st birthday holiday to Bali at the end of last year. After two weeks in that blissfully hot little country, I left craving some good orange juice and filled to the brim with inspiration. I learnt so much during my short stay; both about the culture and myself, and have been wanting to create a mini series surrounding my trip, which I have FINALLY begun. To start it off, I’ve decided to do a general tips and tricks post, because not only are they my favourite to write (why do I find such pleasure in giving people advice? Weird) but I feel like they are the most practical for my readers. So make yourself a nice cup of tea and enjoy!
- Jetstar will be the cheapest airline to fly with if you’re in Aus. Ever since they started their direct flights, Bali has been the young Aussie’s #1 holiday destination, as it’s close, cheap and is something different. If you’re looking to travel during the school holidays or at peak holiday times (i.e. Christmas) then be prepared to have to spend an extra couple of hundred each way. So take advantage of the sales when you hear about them!
- Travel expos are also your best friend, because there’s always loads of different tour and travel companies there (obvs), all in the one place to answer all of your questions. They also offer killer deals, so if you’ve got the cash it’s definitely worth booking during an expo.
- See a travel agent! If you’re 26 or under, or a student, then Student Flights will be your best pal. I think I’ve mentioned it before in this post, but my agent, Erika, was a total boss when organising all of my stuff for Bali. Together we sorted out accomodation, activities and transfers which I was not only able to pay off, but meant that I was totally stress free whilst being over there. The most I had to do was call up the transfer service the day before to confirm what time they were picking me up. And when you’re a young gal solo travelling, minimal fuss is exactly what you need!
- When booking your accomodation, ALWAYS opt to spend extra on the breakfast deal. I was a little hesitant at first, because I don’t always eat breakfast at home, but boy was I glad I did. Not only is it one less thing to spend money on when you get there, but the basic breakfast deals usually included something hot (e.g. eggs and toast or pancakes) as well as fruit, tea and juices, so it will fill you up well and truly until lunch time.
- That Jetstar flights leave and arrive in Bali at absolutely shit times. I’m pretty sure my flight left at 1am and got in around 5am Aus time, and I did not sleep a single WINK, so be prepared to spend the first day feeling a little out of whack. I was going to recommend adding an extra day to your trip (if you’re able) to compensate for this, but really, as long as you get a snooze in when you land and possibly a sneaky afternoon nap, you should be fine for the rest of the day for a bit of lazing around the pool and or shopping.
- Whilst we’re on the topic of the Jetstar flight: NOTHING IS FREE. Not even water of a cup of tea. So either grab some of either (or both) before the flight or bring some cash with ya for those mid-flight cravings.
- There are cheap massage places EVERYWHERE. For some dumb reason (oh yeah, I had $700 for two weeks – now THAT’S Bali on a budget!) I only got one massage the entire trip, but I spent a quaint $7.50 to get a 1 hour, full body massage, so I can’t really complain.
- Don’t be afraid to barter. I found it kind of uncomfortable to do at first, but a few encounters (and once you begin to understand what things are worth over there compared to Aus) I became more confident and managed to snag a few bargains. I found the easiest formula was to ask how much an item was, then offer way below that price (meanwhile having a maximum price in your head) and then see what the vendor says. If it’s a yes, then woo, go you, and if not, then offer a little bit more and see if they will budge. It’s sad to say, but a lot of the Balinese shop workers are quite desperate for sales, so they would rather make a deal with you than lose your money completely. So stick to your guns and don’t let them stuff you around 🙂
- If you’re looking to save some cash or have an early night taking advantage of the movie channels (me for approximately half of my trip :p) then room service will be your best friend, if your hotel offers it of course. I found that the room service menu at my hotel (Legian Village Hotel) was not only cheap, but had heaps of variety and had plenty of western options for all the weak-stomached bastards such as myself. I think the most I ever spent on room service was $14 and that was when I had a ‘treat yo’self’ moment and ordered like 4 sides for one person. When in Bali, eh?
- Some things AREN’T cheaper in Bali. I was excited to pick up some gear from all of the surf brands (Billabong can do no wrong in my eyes) but found that the genuine products were around the same price as they are back here in Aus, so definitely suss out the sales, but don’t be expecting to be bringing a bag back of authentic surf threads.
- Locate your nearest Circle K (think Night Owl or 7/11) and stock up on plenty of bottled water and snacks, because they will be cheaper there than anywhere else. Also, having at least 4 or 5 bottles of water in that little bar fridge of yours at a time is a MUST. You will thank yourself for it again and again and again.
- Be prepared to not buy any clothes. If you’re like me than the cheap clothes that Bali is renowned for will NOT be your style. And that’s perfectly okay. So make sure you pack enough clothes to keep you going for the entire trip, and buy some washing powder when you get there so you can wash every second day or whatever (because we all know drip drying in the bathroom isn’t the quickest way to get your clothes dry.
- Bring your own sunscreen and panadol – pretty self-explanatory haha.
- Buy an adaptor either before you go or as soon as you get there – because finding one isn’t as easy as one may think, and none of my hotels seemed to have them on offer.
- If you’re an avid reader then save some $$$ and bring a few books from home. Sure, they will add to your luggage weight, but at the end of the day you’re probably going to end up buying whatever you don’t bring with you, as I quickly discovered. I left with one book and returned with 4 finished ones. Oh man, the adventures I had to find them could be a whole other post…
I hope you’re able to find some of these tips useful for any of your future travels to Bali 🙂 There are so many more I could’ve added, but I wanted to make this a more money saving based post for all you travellers looking to get the most out of your holiday on the smallest budget (without eating chilli corn every night – which is flipping good by the way, but maybe not for 2 whole weeks). So remember to enjoy the heck outta yourself, because you worked hard for your little getaway! Also: take 10000000 photos and journal if you can. There’s nothing I love more than looking back through all my Bali snaps and trying not to book another flight.
Till next time,