Because it is not very well known, Laos remains a destination that blends authenticity and affordability. The transport network is poorly developed, the sanitary conditions are deplorable, but the cultural heritage and the warm hospitality of the inhabitants will encourage you to visit Laos.
The official currency in Laos is the Kip, but you can generally use the Thai baht and the American dollar (recommended especially for large transactions) without too much difficulty. On 14 August, 2015, the exchange rate was 1 GBP = 12,795 LAK.
Visas for UK citizens cost 35 USD and may be obtained at the border or at international airports without any problem. The conditions are to have a passport that is valid for more than 6 months after your date of entry and two identity photos (which you can do on the spot for a fee).
Be careful, corruption is rife and many people working in contact with tourists will not hesitate to try to racket you. Do not hesitate to politely say no and go on your way.
The most typical beverage in Laos is Laos beer, which is the national pride and is brewed with a choice of rice and malt, which gives it its very special flavour. It is quite inexpensive and you can savour it for around 10,000 kip (.80 p). It is also available in 13 countries around the world.
As for the food, you can find dishes for less than 20 LAK (£1.60) (usually a bowl of noodles or rice with vegetables) on street stalls. In restaurants you can on average expect to spend about 40 LAK (£3.15). You will be able to taste Larb, the Lao national dish, which is a type of sliced meat salad.
In comparison with other countries of Southeast Asia, the buses are uncomfortable and the roads are not very well maintained. All of this for prices that are quite high. To get a better idea, a trip like Vang Vieng-Bangkok costs around 223 LAK (£17.50).
What's more, boats are not cheap either. They typically cost twice the price of a bus fare for the same journey. So, I wouldn't recommend them for those who are on a tight budget. Nevertheless, a journey down the Mekong is one of the most authentic ways of discovering Laos. For the more well-off, count 970 LAK/day (£76) and you can admire the floating markets, which take place mainly in the morning.
In short, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of everything that you want for a relatively low cost during your trip to Laos.