“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t want to travel. Who would not love to spend vacation to relax and to see the other side of the world? Or to learn about other people’s culture, and their ethnicity, and discover their uniqueness and pride? Given the time and of course, money we would all take the opportunity to travel. However, money is a crucial consideration prior and during the travel.
Here, we present some travel budget tips while you are on the go, without having to worry much about running out of money.
1. CREATE A BUDGET
Find out how much you actually need to save prior the trip and how much will it cost your airfare, accommodations, food, transportation, entertainment, and shopping. Creating a budget means calculating the total travel cost and setting up a fund. It also involves finding ways to generate the amount that you will need.
You may set aside an amount every payday, or cut on your spending, get into sidelines to earn additional income, sell on a garage, set up savings jars, what-have-you. The ultimate goal is to raise the money for your dream travel, and that would entail tightening your belt and sacrificing some of your splurges.
2. PLAN YOUR ITINERARY
List down the places or tourist attractions that you would like to visit in a certain country or locality. Check websites for the list and browse for entrance fees if there are. Some botanical parks, museums and beaches offer free admission.
Planning includes finding budget-friendly accommodations like hostels, apartments, backpackers and pension houses, instead of hotels so you can save more on lodging and food. You don’t need to book expensive hotels since you are outdoor most of the time during the day. A clean room with a comfortable bed would suffice to get you through a night of rest.
The trick is, research well your trip to avoid incurring costly mistakes. Personally, I would check out travel blogs to read reviews and to obtain relevant information about the place.
3. BOOK AIRFARE EARLY
Booking your flight two to three months prior the date will give you ample time to scout for promo (and cheapest!) airfare. For my Singapore trip in February, I have already booked last October (that’s 4 months prior departure) which enabled me to avail the fare at a very low price. That’s real savings! Prices vary and rise as the day comes near. It is usually cheaper to travel on regular days and off-season rather than on weekends and during holidays.
I always check the two one-way flight and compare if it’s much cheaper from the round trip ticket. When booking, try to save more on your airfare cost by slashing seating arrangement fee and food onboard.
4. AVOID BUYING CURRENCY AT THE AIRPORT
It is very expensive to exchange local with that of foreign currency at the airport. Visit and canvass in your local money changers days before the flight so you get to compare forex conversion and avail the most economical one.
5. BRING LIGHT LUGGAGE
Nothing beats packing light. Bring just enough clothes to wear and as much as possible, lightweight items to avoid paying extra charges for your carry-on luggage or suitcase, and to enable you to cram in other important stuff. You might want to bring a handbag for personal belongings such as phone, passport, and camera. A piece of advice is to always put a piece of shirt or dress in your hand-carry bag or backpack, in case of lost luggage or emergencies.
Bringing a tote bag can also be very useful. It can be folded to a small size and fits inside your handbag. And it can save you money! At one time, I was over my baggage limit so I had to pay for excess baggage fee. Had I brought a tote bag, I’d be able to transfer and stuff in some of belongings there from the luggage and save money from paying the extra charges.
6. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD (BYO)
Instead of buying in airport cafes and restaurants or buying food onboard, why not bring your own food? It will be much cheaper to bring your own. You may bring noodles, biscuits, oatmeal and coffee. Liquids though are not allowed through security but you may bring empty bottles to refill with drinking water.
7. WALK. STROLL. WANDER
It would be better to explore the city by walking around. You get to take photos (selfies and groupies!), talk with local people and experience their way of living. I believe that is the best thing about traveling. You get firsthand experience of the place and its culture. Walking is a good exercise, too. As part of your itinerary, you may plan your sightseeing geographically to save you time and energy, and from getting lost.
FINANCIAL LITERACY ADVOCACY GROUP. APRIL 2016. SINGAPORE
8. RIDE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
It is less costly to ride public buses and light railway transits than taxis or vans. Local public transport in Macau is not a problem at all. Bus trips within the city are free. In many countries, their trains and buses provide cheaper fare and shorter travel time than other means of transport. You may also try traveling at night by train or ferry. That way, you spare yourself from spending on hotel accommodation.
This is what we did on our way to Woodlands, Singapore from Kuala Lumpur. We traveled by train late night and arrived early in the morning thus, we were able to save a night’s accommodation fee.
9. AVAIL INSURANCE
This is often neglected by many travelers. One way of protecting our life and that of our family is through insurance (travel and health). We don’t want to worry about where to source out money in case of accidents or hospitalization, especially abroad!
Our team was able to avail a travel insurance for as low as 300 pesos on our last trip. The insurance is for our peace of mind.
10. TRY STREET FOOD MARKET AND EATERIES
This will allow you to explore local specialties and delicacies than when you buy them in malls or supermarkets. You may also try eating “brunch” or buy fruits for snacks at the local markets. Bring sandwiches, bread or nuts just in case you crave and need to munch. Try eating at nearby city parks or local neighborhood. It will save u a lot than eating out at expensive restaurants.
11. SHOP LOCAL FOR SOUVENIRS
Ask for the cheapest price. Bargain if you have to. The rule is: haggle, haggle, haggle. I had a great time shopping at Ben Thanh Market in Vietnam, the counterpart of our very own Divisoria. I bought each shirt at 50 Dong from the original 250 Dong! Talk about great savings!
12. COMBINE BUSINESS WITH LEISURE
The truth is, I don’t travel just for the sake of it. I usually travel to attend conventions or conduct lectures abroad. While I love traveling, my ultimate and primary goal has always been to learn. Travel just becomes secondary. With education, business and leisure, I consider every penny I spent was worth it. Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Well, it does all the time.
Attending a Convention with Filipino Financial Literacy Advocates in Vietnam.
13. HAVE AN ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET
As you walk around, observe businesses. Discover products selling like hot potatoes in the market. Look for ideas and innovations. John Gokongwei of the Universal Robina Corporation got the idea of producing “C2” during one of his trips to China where he noticed the popularity of bottled iced tea. From then on, C2 becomes a great product that has changed the local beverage industry that used to be dominated only by colas.
During my last trip to Vietnam, I discovered a store that offers an original bag costing 1,200 pesos that is being sold at 5,500 pesos in the Philippines. I bought a couple of bags and sold them at a mark-up thus, I instantly recovered some of my travel cost. Just don’t forget that there are certain items that need to be declared and paid as you pass through Immigration.
14. CONSIDER A TRAVEL BLOG
You might want to consider writing an online journal or working part-time for a certain blogger for a fee. I have friends who volunteered for a church mission, all expenses paid. Or, if travel is really a passion of yours, why not start your own travel blog? There are a lot of opportunities out there. You just have to be creative in finding solutions. Initially, the goal is to travel and save money but who knows, your passion could be a profitable undertaking someday.
15. TRAVEL IN GROUPS
Last but not the least, travel in a group. It will save you and your group a lot if you get everyone to share the expenses. Plus, it’s more fun to travel with a set of people with the same desire and mindset. You don’t want to take selfie all throughout the journey, right?. Bond with your family or friends. I’m sure, sharing good memories together is a treasure to last a lifetime.
Who says travel is only for the wealthy and financially independent? With careful planning and good money management, you can travel the world less costly and more enjoyable.
What’s the use of traveling if it would only drain your bank account savings and retirement fund? You don’t want that to happen, do you? If it is really your dream, go ahead. Just remember, nothing beats planning.
Plan your travel well. Plan ahead of time. Planning will not only save you money, it will also enable you to maximize your time, energy and resources while enjoying the journey.
Author: Divine M. Cabaddu