Activities and day to day tips
11. Cheap isn't always good
One of the things we sometimes forget, especially on holiday, is that cheap isn't always the best option. When buying anything, especially clothing, is how long will we use it for. I'd much rather spend $100 on a shirt I can use for 5 years than $30 on one that might last me 1-2, for one I don't know how much it might cost to replace in 1-2 years time (Maybe it would be $40?) - but maybe that's because I'm not a fashion follower!
Take an example of my brother though, he bought a pair of flip flops for $3 at the start of a week holiday. After the week was up he threw them away because they had already broken. He uses flip-flops for about 3 months out of the year, that would be $36 if he bought a new pair each time they fell apart. But he could have paid $40 for a pair that lasted 2 years, saving $32 over the two year period (not to mention not having to spend time looking for yet another pair).
I say the same about the cheap tours you can buy, you end up cramped in a tiny bus or sharing a bowl of rice between two people - at the end of the day you get what you pay for and on long term items like clothes it's best to pay for the quality
12. Be wary of the season
Bali is close to the equator, which brings with it some very different climate systems to those most people are used to. Around October-March is wet season, the other 6 months is dry season. This of course means two very different sets of challenges - how to stay dry and cool and not get bitten by mosquitos, or how to stay cool and not get burnt to a crisp.
The tourist trade is quite aware of this and of course this in turn means the things you need in that season are more expensive than normal. Umbrellas in January will be twice the cost, and comparable to what you pay at home, and usually the umbrella will be cheap and nasty and not last long in the heavy rain, where as Suncream in dry season is bound to be more expensive than during wet season.
For the rainy season I recommend a poncho - easy to carry around when its not raining, but great at keeping out the water when the rain starts. Who wants to carry an umbrella around anyway?
Another thing to look out for is "Ojek Payung" - usually children - who carry around spare umbrellas and rent them to those who need them. They don't mind playing in the rain, and the money is very welcome.
13. Pack less - save on the airfare
If you fly with a budget carrier they probably make you pay for baggage. Packing less can save you $50 right there - and the things you don't need to pack can either be bought in Bali or worked around. Here's a list of things I usually buy when I land:
- Tooth brush
- Tooth paste
- Shaving cream / razors
- Mosquito repellant (wet season)
- Sun cream
- Medicine (travel sickness/headaches or whatever)
- Books to read
You can also be clever with your clothes. I take 3-4 days worth and then take advantage of the washing services dotted all over the island - 1kg is usually about $1, so $2-3 every 3-4 days which if you are there for 1-2 weeks really works in your favour.
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14. Use the local services
The saying goes "Time is money", and if that's true then you can save a tonne by using all the services on offer. The Balinese people are well known for being generous and friendly as it is, but you may be surprised at what kind of things they are happy to do for you to make your holiday better.
Starting at the airport you can get a porter - you will spot them easily in their uniforms - and for about 5000rp a bag (Airports are strict on pricing and the price should be displayed) you can get them to look for your bags on the carousel (They will need your baggage tickets, and may ask for the colour/s of your bag/s), and then carry them (or wheel them) as far as your taxi. They may even help you get a taxi if you don't have transport lined up as well. They can't take them through security for you, but they will do the heavy lifting. During this time you can be changing money, getting your visa, lots of things.
At the hotel your porter is more than happy to do the rest of the lifting, as well as providing you with soap and other hotel goodies you might need. Be mindful and remember who your porter is, and give them a tip, their pay probably isn't that high and they will remember you for any other time you need their help.
If you like to be pampered then go and find a salon, hair, nails, massages, all kinds of therapies are available for a fraction of the cost you find in a lot of other places. I've seen women with 3 attendants working on the skin, nails and hair all in one go, and it probably only cost $50 at the end of it. Pay for the higher quality products as well, the skill of the therapist will be as good as anything you've had before.
Find the right bar and the barman will make sure you have a great night, want a specific drink? Just ask! Maybe they don't have olives for your martini, but they will go grab some for you while you wait and then tell you where the best place is for your party to continue.
15. Carry lots of change
My last tip is pretty small, but can save you quite a bit. Try and keep a lot of change on you - it makes it easier to give out tips, but also it helps when bartering and paying for things. If you have the right change then you won't have to worry whether the vendor has change to give you.
Become familiar with the notes as soon as you can - the biggest note (100,000) looks quite similar to one old versions of the smallest (the 10,000). And all the smaller notes are similar as well. Coins are virtually worthless and are best used as tips and paying for parking and other small costs.
Thanks for reading, I hope you have a great time in Bali. If you missed the first two installments
15 Top Tips for a Budget Bali Getaway - Part 2 - Food and Shopping