(Image photographed by: Leizel Avila)
Common thoughts about travelling requires lots of money, right? Right, but it doesn’t mean its true. Well, its true for those who doesn’t know that there are options to get it cheaper but often we ignore it (because we buy the marketing ads against cheap tours). What most of us doesn’t know is that, our trip makes it dearer because of the taxes, extra charges, and over profiteering of the agencies and agents. It’s business, but if you know where to get it or how to get the right information to get the right deals then you don’t have to worry about postponing your trip because you think you do not have enough savings to spend.
10 Tips on How to Travel Cheap
From the fares, accommodation, food, tours, and activities you want to do in a place you have to think about the budget. The less you pay, the more you can do, see, and the longer you can stay. So how do you do that? This is how backpackers do it… Cheap and smart.
- Get the promo fares- Instead of booking through the agencies, book it yourself. There are different ways to pay your fare ticket (credit/debit cards, Paypal, Western Union, bank deposits, etc.). Right timing is great for this (or luck).
- Use local transportation- Wherever you go, use the local transportation that place have. They usually charge cheaper than taxi or VIP transpo plus the fact that you get to experience how locals do it everyday in that place.
- Research- Always research about the place where you plan to go to before going there to find out more about it and would not get culture shocked. Find out where the best places and activities to go to and from there you research for the cheapest accommodations. Get as much ideas of local prices of all the basics and activities you want to do that you can use later on for haggling. As they say, “Knowledge is Power”.
- Stay in hostels/guesthouses- Skip the luxury hotels and resorts, you can save lots of your money if you stay in a dorm room or guesthouses (if you don’t feel like sharing room with other people, private rooms here are still cheaper). You get to meet new people here too. I just noticed that people in hostels and guesthouses are friendlier than high end accommodation though.
- Eat local food- Local foods are always cheaper than the food you are used to, simply because that is what they have in abundance. It’s fun to try out different tastes anyway rather than being stubborn getting your burgers or pastas for a price that costs as much as a night stay in a dorm room. If you are game, you can even eat street foods (and its way cheaper than restaurants) but use your good judgement for its sanitation (I always go for on the spot cooked street foods).
- Travel light- Travelling light saves you money for baggage allowance fees, its handy for a long trek too.
- Bargain skills- Use your bargaining skills when you are approached by a hostel or tour person but make sure you haggle reasonably(although in Vietnam, you haggle half the price they give you in the market).
- Join friends on tours- Joining your new found friends from your dorm or friends you met at your favorite food hang out on their tours/activities to have someone to split off the cost. If you are not that type, then you can just talk to an agent that can probably squeeze you in to a group tour.
- Pair up- You always meet new people along the way, specially if you’re travelling alone. Normally, you get to talk to your seatmate on a 16 hour bus ride border crossing from country to country. Use your instincts if he/she’s got good vibes to trust, pair up for an activity or two to enjoy it more.
- Avoid Shopping- Avoid big shopping centers, flea markets, etc. Being bombarded with lots of goodies will let your shopping signal on its highest level, you might end up getting things you will regret buying on the rest of your trip because it will add up to the weigh of your backpack(or luggage) and the budget you have for the trip. Yes, this one of what backpackers should not do.
I know these tips aren’t easy for the first time backpackers, but you will learn your lesson on your own. I’m just saving you from all those hassles if you will listen to this, but then again, its always best to learn it yourself (this is just a heads up).