Ada, you managed to go travel alone, how do you spend money and budget them all? Tell us your secrets. I love to travel also for some time.
It was a question that brought me back to my past travel experiences where money was always a problem. I had no stable job and always broke, yet I managed to explore at least three-quarter parts of the country.
Promo flight fare to Cebu that brought us to Bohol
So how do I travel cheaply?
I book flights during promo period only.
Start bookmarking your local airlines’ website or even international that frequently offers promo flight fares. In the Philippines, popular airlines are Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, Airphil, and Philippine Airlines. Sometimes, Tiger Airways and Seair offers great deals too on top of other airlines. My last trip to Singapore was only PHP 1,500+ round trip via Tiger Airways.
By bookmarking them, it will be easy for me to access their website everyday to check for flight deals. I wish you could see my web browser fronting bookmarks of airlines in the Philippines! You can also subscribe to their Newsletter to get updates via email. “Liking” their Official Facebook Pages also gives you the opportunity to get updates through Facebook News feed. Keep in mind that flight fare promos are usually offered by online booking only.
Create a travel itinerary that includes cheapest places to see
I remember reading a travel mag about mastering travel itineraries. From there, I realized that travel itinerary has not just lead me to the right track but also helped me save a lot of money. My trick is to research for the cheapest possible way on how to get to my target destination, which is usually through public transportation. Another tip is to include popular places that doesn’t require entrance fees. Staying away from group package tours will save you big bucks too, try a DIY travel tour instead.
Instead of availing expensive group package, we did a D-I-Y tour in Macau.
Plan in advance
Now that you’ve already booked your flight or saved the date for your travel, start looking for the cheapest accommodation as early as possible. This will not only help you choose the best lodging option but this will also allow you to experience convenience as the date gets closer. Packing in advance also allows you to find travel items on “sale” or borrow other things from others in preparation for your trip.
When traveling out of the country, mobile services can be a big concern, so make sure to keep a copy of your mobile network’s guide to “activating international roaming.”
In the Philippines, some telecom or cell providers offers affordable roaming charges. For Globe Postpaid subscribers they can now roam worry-free to stay connected with their family and friends while adventuring as Globe offers a variety of Roam services like Unlimited Call and Text.
Try hostels, dorms, and other budget type lodgings instead of hotels.
If you are willing to step outside your comfort zone, staying in hostels or dorm-type rooms is a great alternative to expensive hotels. One bonus amenity that is very common in hostels is access free WiFi, that most expensive hotels don’t offer.
If you want a bolder way to immerse yourself in a community and experience being a local, try couch surfing either with a friend or a trusted stranger.
Stick to a daily budget.
When I traveled to Iloilo City for Dinagyang festival, I only had PHP 1,500 pocket money for 3 days. Given a tight budget, I stayed in a friend’s apartment and challenged myself to spend PHP 200 to PHP 300 per day ($5 to $7). As a result, I’ve only spent PHP 737 my entire 3 days in Iloilo City!
Traveling internationally on a tight budget was a piece of cake to me. In 2010, my budget for a 4-day trip to Macau and Hong Kong was only PHP 7,000 inclusive of taxes and terminal fees; and in 2011, a 3-day trip to Singapore only costs me PHP 6,000. Keep in mind that I stayed in cheap hostels and brought some noodles.
Most importantly, travel with someone who shares the same idea of budget traveling.
You’re all set for your trip; however, your travel buddy doesn’t share the same idea of your travel plans. That would simply defeat the purpose of budget traveling so keep in mind to set clear expectations between you and your travel buddy.