5 Wallet-Friendly Travel Hacks to Save the Day
I take pride in the fact that I always pay in cash: whether that’s hard-earned gadget or a travel ticket. I use my credit card primarily for emergencies, and travel – being a luxury – doesn’t count as one for me. Therefore, it may sound weird to many, but when I book that ticket to Coron or Taiwan, I pay using my trusty debit card. That’s cold hard cash and savings. I only book when I can afford it, believing that I shouldn’t use the credit card as an excuse to think, “OK, I can pay for that later.” This is what happens when one has lived on her own since she was 21. (Others can be trusted with their credit cards, and that’s fine. Whatever floats your boat, I have no judgment!)
However, just because I pay in cash doesn’t mean I don’t have travel hacks. There must be a balance between living a good life but also saving for a rainy day. Here are some tips that have helped me budget my money wisely – and still travel in style.
1. I normally book plane tickets with NO add-ons yet.
Most piso sale promo tickets I book are usually bought at least six months to a year before the actual travel period. So that I don’t overspend, what I do is book the ticket for the fare alone, and then gradually buy the add-ons in the succeeding months. Of course, if you can spend your money in one go, why not? However, for people like me who would rather spend gradually because I plan out my expenses well, this works. I usually add two more things: travel insurance (yes, because not only life insurance products are important, but also even travel ones) for the entire trip, and prepaid baggage (only when I have to! When I travel solo, my carry-on luggage and my trusty handbag are fine).
2. I look for a good Airbnb deal rather than spend on hotels.
I once made the mistake of booking hotels when I was still unfamiliar with Airbnb. (For one, I stayed in a four-star hotel in Bali. It was good, but looking back, don’t I just sleep in the hotel for a few hours anyway? I could have spent the money for more shopping instead.) I am so happy to note the amount of money I have saved (or not – because they instead become pocket money) when I started booking accommodations through Airbnb. Sifting through comments won’t do you harm to ensure that the Airbnb is safe and well-kept. Trust me: The more patient you are in looking for an available Airbnb accommodation, the better. There are gold mines in the app, but of course, if you want the best deals, you need to book earlier, too.
3. When in a different place, be adventurous and try food kiosks!
While it’s OK to dish out money in well-rated restaurants, the heart of any place, I believe, especially its cuisine, can be found on the streets. When I traveled in Singapore, I had to pay SGD 22 for a serving of salmon sashimi. In Chinatown, however, I ate to my heart’s content for as low as SGD 2. That difference of 20 Singaporean dollars could already be spent on other things such as pasalubong. While it’s OK to be cautious about the surroundings and conditions of the food, eaters who aren’t picky make the best travelers. Their tummies and pockets are glad, too!
4. A water container might just be your best friend.
Well-traveled people know that service water (water that’s offered for free in establishments) is not a thing in international destinations. This is why I always bring an empty water container with me (placed in my luggage, of course) so that wherever I may go, I can have water with me and I won’t need to spend a lot just for beverages. Usually, hotels and other forms of accommodations provide a water dispenser, so I use that to get my daily dose of H2O. Not only is it convenient, but it saves me the trip to the nearby convenience store as well!
5. Of course, when there’s someone to share the trip with, do share away! Whether it’s family, friends, or a significant other, splitting the bill is not a harmful thing.
I know not everyone is too happy about splitting the bill especially if they’re too prideful or they’ve probably just been raised to think that whenever they ask people out, they should be the ones to take care of the bill. However, not only is such an attitude impractical, it also defeats the very essence of adulting. Shouldn’t grown-up adults be able to shoulder their own meal, anyway? (It’s OK to treat others when you want to, but to do it all the time? That’s just not wallet-friendly. Remember how hard it is to earn that money every payday? Think about that next time before saying, “Sagot ko!”)
I enjoy traveling with friends because we get to share food and even other bills pertinent to the trip. Not only do we get to manage our money, but we also get to manage our money together and learn from each other. Isn’t that great?
Hopefully, these travel hacks can help you as much as they have helped the kuripot in me. Traveling is not a bad thing nor is spending, but the difference lies in whether one is responsible or not. As for me, I still have other bills to pay, including my insurance premiums for my retirement fund. I think that the travel experience is better than just having that Instagram shot in a five-star hotel that I couldn’t even frequent because what’s the point of traveling if you’re just going to stay in a hotel all day.