Asia is an amazing place to live in and travel. Seeing all of the countries and sights that the region has to offer isn’t always cheap, however. Some of the better airlines offer high quality service, but at pretty expensive prices. Luckily budget airlines are becoming a more viable option for people wanting to travel Asia on a budget. There are several great options for traveling through Asia while saving money.Credit: John Redway
One of the best out there is Air Asia, a Malaysian low cost carrier that operates in several countries. Not just for Malaysia and other Southeast Asian destinations - Air Asia is a fantastic option for those wanting to travel to such countries as Japan, South Korea, and China. Their routes and flight options have been increasing sharply in recent years, and they have occasional sales and deals for those who want to save even more money. To give you an example of the savings involved while flying Air Asia, I booked a round trip ticket from South Korea to Tokyo, Japan in March of this year, which only cost me around 200 USD. The same flight with other major carriers - such as Korean Air or All Nippon Airways - would have cost me around 400 USD.
Like most low cost companies, Air Asia is good for saving money because things that are standard service on other flights - such as food service - are removed or only provided at an extra cost with their routes. They also have more fees for things like luggage weight allowance and choosing particular seats on their flights. This is a small price to pay for the savings, however, and even if you end up having to pay some extra cash for your heavy luggage, the overall savings rate is still very high. Service on each flight is also quite good if not to the standard of other carriers.
Next up is Jeju Air in South Korea, which is mainly better for saving money on Korean flights but also provides some decent options for international routes to countries like Japan. Jeju’s best - and most frequent - routes come from its namesake, the island of Jeju off the southern coast of South Korea. Flights from the capitol, Seoul, to Jeju are often just under 100 USD for a round trip, with the route being made several times daily. They also have excellent flights to other parts of South Korea such as Busan. In fact, Jeju Air makes a great part of an overall strategy to travel Korea on a budget.
International routes are more limited than with Air Asia, but the carrier still provides reasonable rates for trips to Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and other parts of the region. Jeju Air also implements the same cost saving strategy of low cost tickets, but with optional added fees for certain services, but like with Air Asia everything else is so good you won’t mind at all.
Last but not least is Peach Airlines, a domestic Japanese carrier. Like Jeju Air in South Korea, most of the great routes that Peach offers are domestic only. However it does offer some great rates - while looking up flights on their website recently, I noticed that flights from Kyushu to Osaka only cost around 100 to 150 USD. Considering the high costs of train travel and other methods of transportation in Japan, that price is more than reasonable. While most routes are in Japan only, Peach offers a few international flights to Hong Kong and Taiwan, and is also looking to expand into China.
Whether you’re a long term expat in the region or just stopping by, everyone likes saving money while traveling. With the rise of low cost carriers in Asia, people can experience the best of what the region has to offer without spending too much in the process.