Words by Anlin Melina, photos by ladyironchef.
Henry Rollins famously wrote that he begs young people to travel to “have your mind blown, eat interesting food, dig some interesting people, (and) have an adventure.” I couldn’t agree more with him. However, travelling seems to be a luxurious and expensive thing to do for some people. Really? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are 5 tips on budget travelling – let us show you how to get the best deals and save the dollar notes on your travel.
1. Plan early
Planning early for your travel will give you a lot of advantages, from flights to accommodations. Get your travel dates and number of friends travelling with you confirmed, and you can book your tickets way in advance.
Booking your flights early will give you a much cheaper price than booking it on the last minute – it can save you hundreds of dollars. The same goes for hotel accommodations. So try to plan about 6 months to 1 year in advance.
2. Stalk those sites
Airline sites, hotel sites, booking sites… Go to these sites everyday and check out the prices daily. You’ve got to do your homework if you want to get the best deals online. Look out for sales on special days where sites have huge promotions.
For example, I got my hotel at Waikiki strip at 70% off during booking.com’s Leap Day sale this year. So the point is to stalk these sites as much as you stalk your eye candy on Facebook.
3. Sign up for deals
There are lots of fantastic deals for restaurants, day tours, beauty and wellness, getaways, shopping and many more on the Internet that can give you up to 70% off the regular prices. But you would have to sign up (it’s all free, by the way) to get the insider news on the exclusive deals. Some of my favorite sites are Google Marketplace, Groupon, Bloomspot, MuchOnMe, and Gilt.
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4. Walk, walk, and walk
Minimize the number of times you take public transportation and maximize the chances for walking. I find that walking around the city as a tourist is always a good idea, because not only that you can save money on transportation, walking can help you burn off those calories that you ate from all the gastronomic delights and discover many more sights of the city that you could have missed.
5. Make (international) friends
It’s not as hard as it sounds! Especially with the social media era now, there are many sites online that allow you to connect with people from all over the world who are very kind enough to host tourists in their humble abode.
Check out Couch Surfing (for bunking in at people’s house at no charge) and Airbnb (people renting out their apartments for short period of time and usually the rate is cheaper than hotels’) for some of these.
Another plus point for Couch Surfing and Airbnb is your hosts who are the locals will be able to recommend cheap and good restaurants in the area, or sometimes even offer to be your tour guide for a day or two. But especially for Couch Surfing, you would need to plan well in advance to introduce yourself to the couch surf community and find the right people to host you. And it brings us back to the first point again – plan early.
About the writer
Anlin Melina is a Business Administration and Economics student at the University of California, Berkeley. She was born in Indonesia, educated in Singapore and is currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She speaks and writes in English, Chinese, Indonesian and French, and likes travelling and writing during her free time. Melina has recently completed writing her first book, titled “Once Upon A Blue Sky”, which is a travel guide book on cities in the United States.