“You must be rich because you can travel a lot.”
That’s what frequent travelers always get from friends or even relatives. True enough, traveling could be expensive especially if you did not think of practical ways and take advantage of what could have helped you save money.
I daresay that we’re now in an era where traveling is no longer a luxury and is now for everyone who is willing and dreaming to wander and explore.
If you wanna tick off items on your travel bucket list without breaking the bank, here are some smart and practical ways you can do when you travel:
1. Take advantage of airline seat sale – Small to major airlines hold seat sale from time-to-time. You can start following the airlines’ social media pages to keep updated on their scheduled seat sale. They’d usually announce their seat sale first with some teasers, and open the sale at 12:00MN. A list of your dream destinations should come in handy prior to doing the booking. Likewise, you need a stable internet connection, a trustworthy laptop (or smartphone), your (and your loved ones’) personal/passport details, and tons of patience.
2. Fly indirectly to your destination – You may want to consider booking indirect flights for long haul destinations. For instance, a flight to Europe from the Philippines could be cheaper when you choose a flight offered by non-major airlines with quite a number of layovers. Skyscanner, Skoot, and Expedia do have these options and you’ll notice that there’s a relevant difference in total ticket prices. This is not to mention that some layovers are long enough to allow you go outside the airport and explore some nearby spots.
3. Plan your trips over holidays – It goes without saying that it’s better to save your vacation leave credits than to mindlessly use them, right? You can do so by scheduling your trips on non-working holidays. Traveling on a non-working holiday means more travel time, less salary/leave credits deduction. For our Filipino audience, here’s the list of non-working holidays, close to weekends, for the new year 2018:
4. DIY travel in groups – For most travelers, the best way to travel is to go on a DIY trip. DIY trips are without a doubt budget-savers. Traveling in groups could help you save some money on accommodation, transpo service rentals, and even food. Just be sure to set your travel buddies’ expectations (i.e., tight budget) prior to the trip. Assign a traveling accountant to keep track of your spending, too!
5. Find convenient but accessible and cheap accommodation – Accommodation may take up majority of your travel money, if not properly planned. Instead of a hotel, you can try booking a hostel or any other alternative options. Hostels are best both for solo traveler and those in groups. At times, hotel rooms are also on sale but be prepared to still shell out a little more. Booking websites (such as booking.com and agoda.com) have partnerships with hotels and would usually offer rates at a discount. If you’re with travel buddies, AirBnBs could even be a more practical choice. Depending on your personal preferences, it’s wise to plan way ahead and compare rates before finally making a decision. If you’re lucky enough. some would even offer free booking cancellation in the event you found a more suitable accommodation.
6. Grab deals from tour websites – Tour and travel activity websites can be very helpful when used properly. For example, you could buy much cheaper Hong Kong Disneyland tickets in Klook than buying them on-site. In most countries, you can book from GetYourGuide, for instance, which handles not only your transportation but also your food, guide, and even refreshments at a reasonable rate. Doing your math in comparing rates and deals is a must, too!
7. Take advantage of public transportation and be a wise commuter – Public transport service is not just a cheaper mode for traveling but it also allows you to immerse yourself in the travel destination. Most countries have efficient train systems that you could take. In Japan and European countries like Switzerland, they even offer train passes that give you unlimited use for a given validity period. A word of caution, though, when taking some other modes of transport that aren’t officially regulated by the government. They might trick you into a scam, or end up paying more, if you’re not vigilant enough.
8. Eat local (street) food – The best food could be found where locals usually eat them: by the streets. You can find cheap but tasty (most of the time safe and clean) local food in streets or night markets. It’s okay to eat in malls or restaurants once in a while, but if you want to save money, then local street food is the way to go. In Thailand, you could get your tummy full for a day for only 200-300 Thai Baht (USD5 – USD7) and we’re talking about sumptuous and delicious authentic Thai food!
9. Pocket Wi-Fi versus local SIM card – When traveling abroad, it’s always a good idea to have your own internet access to check information, access maps, and even update your friends on Facebook or Instagram. If you’re traveling solo, it could be cheaper to buy a local SIM with internet access upon arrival at the airport. However, if you’re with a friend or traveling with a group, renting a pocket Wi-Fi may be a lot more practical. These two options are almost always smarter than activating your data roaming services when traveling across the globe. (No pun intended!)
10. Most landmark attractions are free to access – You don’t have to pay for every tourist attraction that you visit. Most tourist spots do not have entrance fees, and you can definitely enjoy the harv experience at no cost for most museums, temples, churches, and heritage sites. For example, Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, one of Japan’s most visited destinations, is free for everyone. Remember, traveling the harv way need not be expensive.
There you have it! These practical tips, by all means, always help us stay within the budget when traveling. The next time you’d get a question such as how you are able to manage traveling more often than expected without being rich, share this article to them and let them discover, too, more ways to enjoy traveling!