Throughout the years I heard so many stories about people backpacking in Asia. After my time was up in living in Thailand, I decided to investigate the matter and see just how much it would cost me to visit a few countries. I checked a few third party travel apps along with the direct airline sites and found that traveling around SE Asia from a central point in Asia is indeed incredibly less expensive than traveling RT from the States to each place.
So I decided to book my flights in advance all the way to the end so that I could take advantage of the cheapest flight options. Unfortunately some of these options came with less than desirable flight times; and in hindsight I would have opted for the day/morning flight instead.
The reason being is unlike a lot of the people I see on the plane- I am unable to get ANY plane sleep. Its just not comfortable enough for me to fall asleep. So I end up staying awake on an overnight flight which negatively affects my 1st day in that country. I’m literally a zombie dragging myself to not “waste” the day by not opting to catch up on the sleep I missed. So I go through the day not fully enjoying myself in this new country because all my body wants to do is lay down and sleep.
Also, what I’ve found is that there is a reason you hear people say “backpacking” through Asia. I hate carrying things let alone anything such as a heavy backpack for long periods of time. So I opted for the “check baggage through Asia.” Once again in hindsight I should have prepared myself to endure the heavy backpack instead of a rolling luggage. I could have saved so much money by opting for the former. These “budget” airlines are for people who don’t have checked bags, don’t buy food on the plane, and don’t want a special seat. I found that the most of these airlines don’t even give you anything to drink or eat for free. Unlike most of the carriers in the States who at least offer you free water/soda/juice and a snack.
Lastly, I found out the hard way that not pre-paying for the checked bag online during booking cost me 3X as much at the airport check-in terminal. So if you are going to opt for the checked bag route, at least take my advice, pre-pay for your bag online and save your money.
So my advice to you is to learn from my unfortunate experiences and book the best flight option that allows your body to get the best rest, even if that means you fly during the day and “lose a day.” Also, if you are going to use a budget airline try to pack only enough for a carry-on bag and eat/drink just before you get on the plane.