Tips on How to Travel on a Tight Budget

Friday, April 29, 2016 Justin Vawter 9 Comments

Traveling is expensive. It's a form of luxury. That's what I used to believe in. Perhaps, it's what most of us think. We always think of traveling as something fancy but ever since I got involved to budget traveling, I realized that traveling need not be expensive. That's one of the reasons actually why I started the #BudgetClimb and #BudgetTrip series: to show and encourage everyone to travel and change the way we look at traveling.

Yesterday, I was blessed to be a speaker at the Tourism, Lifestyle and Business Expo at the Glorietta Activity Center. It was a nerve-wracking moment for me. It was my first time speaking at a public event and I must say, I had a great time. Bucket list check! To make a quick summary of my talk yesterday, here are my 10 Tips on How to Travel on Tight Budget which I hope will inspire you all to go out and explore the world. 

1. Do Your Research

This is the most important thing to do. While it is fun to get lost at times, you must also know that being prepared will help you win the battle. Before going to the place, do your research. Google is out there, with just one click you can get a lot of information on the world wide web. This will help you decide how much budget you should allot to your trip. And who knows? You might just find a new place you've never even heard of.

2. Create an Effective Itinerary.

Writing an itinerary is more than just jotting down the estimated time and sequence of events. It involves critical thinking, assessment and a lot of considerations. What I usually do is list down the places I find interesting during my research stage and arrange them accordingly based on their distance and nature. It is very important to consider nature and time when arranging your itinerary. You should think the best time to go to. For example: I always go to church at noon so I can have the place to myself. Plus, it helps me fight the heat outside. Go indoors from around 1-3pm to avoid extreme heat (you don't wanna look haggard immediately!). If you'll visit open spaces like parks and beach fronts, best time is around 4-6pm just in time for the golden hour and sunset. The temperature has already cooled down and the colors are perfect for photos. These small considerations can have a huge impact on your travel experience. Also, make sure to arrange them based on distance so you can save money for transpo.

3. Have a Fixed Budget.

When you say that your budget is Php 500, make sure it's exactly or less than Php 500. Stick to it! Avoid overspending. Control and discipline is the key to a budget friendly travel.

4. Look for alternatives.

Always look for an alternative. If bus is expensive, try to search if there are other modes of transpo. Also, go with the locals. Instead of dining at fancy restos, go check the local market for food. They are usually cheaper. Don't be afraid of checking other options too. Weigh it in. It's better to have many options than to stick to one. (This doesn't apply to love! Always be loyal.)

5. Maximize Sale and Discounts.

Still a student? Maximize your student discount. That 20% discount can make or break your budget. Normally a bus trip to Baguio city costs around Php 450 but if you're a student, you only pay Php 300+. See the difference? And you know what makes a traveler go crazy? Seat sales. Turn your notifications on popular budget air lines and watch out for their seat sale. I was able to book a round trip Coron ticket for just Php 400 (See you Coron this August!). It took me 12 hrs to book it, I was online at 12mn where the sale started and was able to book at around 12nn. It takes a lot of patience but trust me, it's super worth it.

6. The More, The Merrier, The Cheaper.

While this is not always the case, it's better to travel in small groups with at least 4-7pax. In this way, you can have someone to share the expenses with especially transpo. Also, this is very helpful when dining since you can try a lot of dishes at the same time (as much as possible, we don't order the same dish).

7. Learn to Haggle.

Master the art of bargaining. After all, we are the masters of tawad! Don't be afraid to ask for discounts especially when buying stuff or renting a tricycle. But you must also be considerate. If you have spare cash, give them the right amount. It's the locals you are helping not big corporations.

8. Be Contented.

You are not traveling first class, you are not in a 5-star accommodation so stop complaining. Instead, make the most out of your budget. Remember, you get what you pay for. And who knows maybe camping might give you that experience of a lifetime.

9. Appreciate the Small Things.

Normally when we travel, we always look far. But try to look at the small details of your trip. That Php 20 ice cream may be the best ice cream you've ever tasted. Don't be afraid to try new things. Try the cheap street foods. Go local. It will make your trip more authentic (and of course budget friendly).

10. Just Enjoy.

We all have different ideas when it comes to budget. To some, their ideal budget is Php 10,000. To some, it's just Php 500. But at the end of the day, while budget matters too, it's all about the happiness. When we look back at our trips, it's not how much we've spent that we remember, it's the experience. So while making sure that you are still within yor budget, don't forget to enjoy the moment.

These are some of my tips and hopefully you learned something.


- Justin -


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