Plan your trip
Buy your airline tickets about two months before you fly, and you'll likely get the best price by booking early in the week. Also it is recommended to follow all the major airlines on social media and subscribe to their free newsletters to get the inside track on deals. You can also compare prices via a travel search engine such as Skyscanner. It would save you time and money by finding the best airfare deals in just seconds by comparing flights from most airlines and online travel agencies.
Next Level: How to get a taxi
Found a flight? Getting out from the airport particularly requires you to get a taxi, but if you want to avoid the monopoly taking place there, you can grab your luggage and walk outside the airport to get the meter taxis (who aren’t allowed to pick up passengers inside).
How to find cheap accommodation in Bali
Traveling during the low season may give you great deals or even upgrades to nicer rooms in many hotels that are keen to fill their rooms. The main backpackers in Bali are located in Kuta & Legian while some cheap guesthouses operated by local villagers are available around other areas like Ubud or Canggu. Although they tend to be very basic, they’re fine for a night’s sleep. Find a selection of accommodation here. If you are spontaneous, there is always the option to walk around the area you like and look for homestays. Go in and ask, very often you can get a good deal.
Everyone in Bali is a driver, so you will have no trouble finding someone to take you wherever you need. Consider though that it costs roughly the same amount to take a motorbike/scooter across town as it does to rent a scooter for a day! Just be sure you have an international license. Another option is to share a ride. Grouping together with others can also be a fun experience when going to some of the more popular destinations. For the solo travelers are the apps ‘Go-Jek’ or ‘Grab’ helpful as they offer rides as a passenger by scooter or by car.
Discovering Bali by bicycle
For the sportive amongst us: a more adventurous way to explore the island is to go by bicycle. Plan 7-10 days to circle the island, start during the nearly traffic-free sunrise and experience the wonderful Balinese culture. If you are not afraid of heights: plan a couple of more days to ride over the mountains inland.
Eating out and drinking
Whether it is street food, a hole-in-the-wall eatery or a sit-down restaurant, the locals usually know where the best and cheapest food is! If a place has a crowd you can almost guarantee it will be good. Don’t avoid the local food just because you think you may get sick. Both fancy restaurants and street vendors all buy their food from the same markets. If the locals are eating there, it is probably safe.
Wanna save some extra bucks? Cut back on alcohol. It will reduce your travel budget. For example, the average cost of a beer in Bali is about $2,50. So if you have five beers every night when traveling, that sums up.
Exploring the island
Freebies are always just around the corner in Bali. From natural vistas of beaches and mountain panoramas to temples and royal palaces, most are free while some temples urge you to pay a ‘donation’ at the gates. Watch villagers rehearsing their dance performances in communal halls, ask your local host to take part in a ceremony or check for annual festivals that put on a public parade for all to watch, presenting Balinese culture.
And then there is always nature. Walk through the rice fields, choose that mountain road, enjoy your own sunset chill-out, the beach is free… and so is the strip in front of that popular and sophisticated beach bar. Beats spun from the DJ booths are audible enough from where you’re sitting and you’ve got your own cold drink with you anyway.
Slow travel as a way of budget traveling
Staying in one place for an extended period of time allows you to work out where the cheapest places are to stay, eat and drink. Make a deal with your accommodation and get a better price for a weekly or monthly stay. By staying long term, you can also get to know the culture better, connect with locals and expats in your area and get a different Bali feeling than the one you experience when speed hopping from place to place. Another advantage is that you cut on your transport budget, as you will probably have fewer stops during your holiday.
Yoga and Meditation
Bali is famous for its great selection of yoga shalas, teacher trainings, meditation centres and retreats. Whatever modality there is in this field, you will most likely find a class of it here. Almost every yoga studio offers community classes, which have low prices or are donation based. You would love to join a retreat? Check some options here. If you plan to do a teacher training plan ahead and benefit of early bird prices, which most of them offer. You find a great selection of YTTs in Bali here. To catch some silence we recommend to join a silence retreat, go into nature, away from the crowds or try to meditate during one of the daily ceremonies, listening to the traditional music and letting your thoughts go.
Relax in Bali's Spa world
A blissful holiday in Bali wouldn’t be complete without a pampering session at one of its many spas. No matter what you’re looking for – a traditional Balinese massage, soothing facials or nail services – Bali’s amazingly affordable spas will make you feel like a queen/king. Look out for clean and appealing spas, the massage depends on the therapist (so request their most experienced one) and ask other travelers about their experiences. If you would like to experience one of Bali's unique Spas, read more here.
Shop locally and sustainably
Cheap knock-off items sold by peddlers at the beach can be tempting, especially if that silver jewelry or Rolex is offered at a price that is too good to be true. Because it obviously is! Better avoid. Bali’s art markets are a good starting point but it is always hit-and-miss, and all goes down to how good your bargaining skills are. They offer the most unique shopping experience, where you can discover a treasure trove of artworks and handicrafts by talented local craftsmen, all at bargain prices. Nevertheless, there are fixed price art shops and for more popular items plenty of modern shopping malls. Get inspiration for local sustainable shopping here.
The best option for your budget: don´t buy things you don´t need. Avoid overspending by choosing alternate, non-budget-threatening ways to unwind – a walk at the beach, a visit to a temple, coffee at a friend's home, etc. The easiest way to stop yourself from buying stuff you don't need is to avoid temptation altogether.
Try to keep an overview of where your money goes, keep track of your expenses and you will enjoy `The Island of the Gods `while saving money to extend your trip.