Asia is one of my favorite areas of the world. It's rich with delicious food, incredibly friendly people, and cheap cost of living. Digital nomads and virtual entrepreneurs choose Southeast Asia as a great place to work and have a great quality of life.
Over the past 8 years I've been traveling through Asia and have learned some indispensable lessons:
1. Plan your gear ahead of time & pack light
Even though many of the technology tools we use are made in Asia, sometimes it can be difficult to buy the things you need, so it's smart to plan and purchase your gear ahead of time.
A few years ago I wrote this post about how to pack smart, and I'm still using a lot of the same travel gear.
- Osprey Travel Backpacks
- Compression sacks
- Best travel laptops
- Unlocked iPhone (so you can put in international sim cards)
2. Set up smart banking services to save money
Thankfully we're past the days of travelers checks and expensive Western Union wire services.
I'm a huge fan of digital currencies like Bitcoin, but most Asian countries don't use them yet. So in the meantime, I use “smart banking services”:
- Charles Schwab investor checking account – Get unlimited ATM fee rebates and a bunch of other benefits.
- Best travel credit cards – Offers are constantly changing, so do some research to see how you can maximize your rewards.
3. Use the best travel websites for travel and lodging
It's never been easier to find affordable, highly rated hotels, apartments, houses, and hostels. You can find nice Airbnb apartments in some major Asian cities, but you'll also need to have some good hotel booking sites in your toolbelt:
The beautiful thing about booking flights in Asia is you can get cheap last-minute flights. Unlike in the United States, Asian airlines don't typically jack up flight prices if you book within one week. I start by searching for flights on Kayak and Google Flights.
4. Try to keep a consistent schedule for productivity
Entrepreneurs and traders need to stay productive while traveling. It can be easy to slack off and frustrating to be productive while having conflicting schedules with people in the U.S. and Europe.
I usually like to plan my travel no more than 3-5 days in advance, that way I can create a work schedule that fits with my travel and adventure activities.
The best timeframes to work are early mornings and late evenings. When it's early morning in Asia, it's early evening in the U.S., and visa-versa.
5. Take care of priority #1
You need to stay healthy! Getting sick on the road sucks. Most illnesses can be prevented or treated quickly if you're diligent.
For example, the other day it was 117 degrees in Bangkok! It can be really easy to get dehydrated, which is the cause of a host of health problems. There's no shortage of 7-11's or other convenience stores to stock up on water and vitamins.
Don't forget to eat healthy. Only eat street food from clean stalls and that's cooked in front of you. Avoid street food that's been sitting out in the open.
Also, be very careful while driving or riding motorbikes. If you go to any backpacker area, you'll see dozens of people with bandages on their arms, legs, and head. Most of those injuries are from crashing while on a motorbike.
Motor vehicle death rates are nearly DOUBLE that of the U.S., so be extremely careful and always wear a helmet! I actually saw someone die on a motorbike in Thailand, which could have been prevented if he was wearing a helmet.
Beer is really cheap in Asia. Drink responsibly.
6. Learn the local core basics before you arrive
It's always smart to know the basics about where you're headed BEFORE you arrive. For example, know the simple currency conversions, top local language phrases, and common do's and don'ts.
A little bit of effort will go a long way! It will save you money and keep you safe.
7. Use your travel experiences as inspiration for new money-making ideas!
It's amazing how travel can open up your world to get creative and find new ideas and possibilities.
By taking the “risk” of coming to Asia, you'll learn so much that will set you up to find new entrepreneurial ventures and money-making ideas!