This is Part 2 of our post on the 33 Things We Learned While Traveling Abroad for a Year. You can view Part 1 here.
12. If you can’t research a meal ahead of time, going with the most popular place almost always works.
If it smells good, and it’s crowded, chances are it’s safe AND delicious!
Most of the time, Mrs. Selfish painstakingly researched restaurants days, or weeks before we arrived. Sometimes, however, the best meals were restaurants we spotted while wandering. If it smells good AND there’s a crowd, chances are it’s worth eating!
13. Goods cost pretty much the same everywhere…
Electronics in Akihabara, Tokyo are just as expensive as home.
Sometimes you can find a better deal on goods in their native country. For the most part, however, we found that goods cost just as much as in the States… except those countries never had any sales! Where’s a good Black Friday when you need one?
14. …but services are cheapest in Southeast Asia.
If it’s cheap manual labor ye be wantin’, head to Southeast Asia.
Without a doubt the cheapest services I’ve ever seen were in Southeast Asia. We paid $7 for an hour long massage in Bali, $10 in the Philippines, $5 in Cambodia, and $14 an hour in Thailand (the best one!). For haircuts, I found the cheapest (and best) was in Beijing, where I paid a whopping 10 yuan ($1.60). Unless it requires a huge amount of finesse, chances are it’s cheaper in Asia.
15. Shipping is cheaper than you think.
Especially if you don’t care if it takes months to get there!
While Mrs. Selfish and I loved haggling for goods, we had one major problem – we didn’t have enough room to bring them back! Fortunately, mailing stuff by by boat (which usually took 2 months), was pretty affordable.
In England, we paid roughly $100 for 10 kg (22 lbs). In China, we ended up paying closer to $40 for the same amount. In total, we shipped off 6 boxes with roughly 120 lbs worth of stuff, and almost everything arrived intact, with the exception of a mask we bought in Xi’an.
16. Deodorant is more prevalent in Asia & Australia than Europe.
Vive, la Stench! Sadly, a cliché for a reason.
Especially on the metro. Come on, Europe, you smell weird, and no one wants to be around you!