Many times have I been asked my secret about how I travel cheap. Until now, I get the same emails, comments and DMs about this question. Actually, I never kept it a secret. This blog is my brainchild because I created it for the main purpose of sharing my budget “tipid” travel guides to my readers.
Tell you what, I’ve tried getting scammed multiple times and tried sleeping in bus stations or travel at night just to minimize hotel expenses. And after that I write a detailed travel guide with tips and reminders so that my readers will not go down the same road as I did. I’ve been an open book since the start.
You’ll probably ask me the question “Why“?
This is why. Because my goal is to change people’s perspective about travel. Nowadays, when you say the word “travel” it always meant big amount of money. And most people are not accustomed into spending a lot of money for pleasure. There are a few reasons why: (1) breadwinners, (2) future savings and (3) breadwinners and future savings. Grown-up stuff. I know.
Still, give me the chance to help you travel while helping your family and saving for your future at the same time! In this article, I’ll give you effective tips on how to travel cheap! These are based on my personal experiences and travels. Therefore, these tips and suggestions are proven effective and tested! Continue reading below..
How to travel cheap?
And now the real question is “how to travel cheap, Joan?” As a solo traveler and a girl captivated by wanderlust, I have gathered the list of effective ways to travel cheap. Note that I am not a rich kid nor a daughter of an elite family. No! Like most of you, I am a breadwinner and someone who is also saving up money for my future. But these things never became a hindrance for me to start traveling and exploring. I always find time to indulge myself in a relaxing environment without having to spend too much money.
Choose the closest destinations
Firstly, you have to know that traveling doesn’t always mean going too far. If you’re just starting, you can go to nearby places from your place. For instance, if you’re working in Manila you can go window shopping to the different malls around the area. Or visit theme parks like the Christmas Villages in every malls and towns. There are discounted tickets available in Metrodeal to creative museums like Dessert Museum and Art Galeries. In addition, theme parks like Star City, Sky Ranch and Enchanted Kingdom are also available in Metrodeal so go check it out!
After that, you can try going farther than that. Like the closest provinces in Manila. For example, you can go to Tagaytay in Cavite and visit SkyRanch or try their famous delicacy of “bulalo“. Or you can go beach bumming or freediving in Batangas. Hiking is also famous in this province. Furthermore, chasing waterfalls in Laguna might also interests you!
The cycle just keeps advancing and advancing. You won’t even notice that you’re going farther and farther!
Target a destination “outside the popular list”
A good rule of the thumb if you want to travel without spending huge amount of money is to target a destination outside the popular list. And what’s outside the popular list, you may ask? These are the counter destinations of Palawan, Siargao and Cebu. In other words, the road less traveled destinations. You got that right!
For instance, our SOCCSKSARGEN backpacking trip. You can read our budget and itinerary here. We only spent PHP5,254.00 each for a 5-day backpacking itinerary which consists of: chasing waterfalls, river rafting, zipline, mosques, etc. Another is my trip to Biliran and Leyte provinces. Even though I was a solo traveler that time, I only spent about PHP4000.00 for my 4-day trip to these provinces.
To sum it up, the master key is targeting the destinations outside the popular list!
Wait for seat sales and promo fares!
The most cliche and obvious tip to lessen the expenses when you travel. After all, expensive fares are one of the top reasons why most people say that traveling involves a huge amount of money. As a result, people ignore traveling as an option to keep the stress at bay. Worry no more! Below are the exact steps I do to score lower fares.
- As a frequent traveler, I highly recommend Cebu Pacific especially to budget travelers.
- Follow their Facebook page and click the notification icon to get notified every time they announce something.
- You can also go to their website and subscribe with your email so that you’ll get notified every time they have seat sales. Although between step 2 and 3, I recommend step 2 to be more effective since I am mostly online on Facebook compared to my business email.
- Check the airline’s travel dates for seat sale and find the cheapest fare within the travel dates.
Book discounted tours with Klook
This is highly suggested especially if you’re traveling outside the country. They have the best discounted rates to countries like: Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Korea. Check them out!
- Here is a sample item I purchased during my HK & Macau trip last 2019 and I saved at least PHP5,000.00! Click here.
Invite friends to tag along
Another proven and effective way to lessen the expenses is to split the fees. You can only do this if you’re traveling in a group. Hence, asking your friends to tag along will be very essential! Plus, nothing beats the fun-filled activities with your friends. It will not only make the trip less expensive but it will also be super fun and memorable!
Save money every month
Saving money every month will help you prepare your pocket for a trip in Visayas or Mindanao. Although it’s not going to be very expensive compared to going out of the country, it will still be best to be prepared. For instance, you can split 10% of your salary for travel purposes.
DIY travels over tour packages!
I think this is one of my ultimate secret for lesser travel expenses! Doing everything in a DIY-way has a lot of advantages. Not only it minimizes the total cost, but I also learn a lot of things when I do everything in my way. Above all, I control my own time and not following in a group tour. Moreover, I meet a lot of friends along the way and it’s one of the best things ever!
Tip: And one more thing, DIY travels also means minimizing the use of taxis. Go for cheap public transportation like jeepney, tricycle, multi-cab, habal-habal, etc.
Read travel guides in advance
Whenever I search for travel guides on Google, I always put the keywords “DIY” and “Budget Itinerary“. These keywords help me to find helpful travel guides for budget travelers. Hence, it gives me more idea on how to backpack the place while avoiding scams or paying extra money.
Cheap accommodations equals lower expenses
Consider camping in a beach or bringing your own tents. It’s another best way on how to travel cheap. You can also bring your shawl at the beach and have a picnic setting to avoid renting cottages. In a city, you can look for hostels, motels or inn. As long as there’s a decent bed and a security that would be fine. After all, you’ll only spend the night there and you’ll be out during the day to travel around. As for me, whenever I travel solo I only pick backpackers room or a dormitory room. It’s cheaper compared a night in a hotel.
Travel tip: Book discounted hostels with ZEN Rooms here and use my code “JOANSFOOTPRINTS” to get a 15% discount! They have hotel chains all around South East Asia countries!
Related Article: Best Staycations Around Manila with ZEN Rooms Plus 15% OFF!
Long trips at night to save hotel expenses
For most backpacking trips, long trips isn’t something new. Just like when I traveled to the Indochina countries I experienced 15 hour bus rides to get to the other country. In the Philippines, I tried overnight ferries to Sulu from Zamboanga. Another is to Romblon from Batangas. If you will be traveling this far, booking an overnight trip will be the best option. First you will minimize hotel expenses and second you will save time in the day especially if you’re traveling in a time sensitive manner.
Bring water bottle and refill refill refill!
I cannot stress enough the importance of being hydrated all the time and taking care of our nature at the same time. You can do this by bringing your own water bottle. Through this, you can avoid buying water every single time you drink. You did not just helped the planet by minimizing the use of single-use plastics but you also kept yourself hydrated at all times.
Tip on how to travel cheap: you can refill your water bottle in your hostel or while eating in a cheap restaurant.
Become a travel blogger!
I have included this on the very last list since it won’t be applicable to everyone. Of course being a travel blogger is not something that can be done overnight. And I wouldn’t really recommend it to everyone. Hence, why it’s on the last part of my tips and suggestions. But, I still included it because it works for me! And like I said, I’m an open book so I won’t let this slip from my list.
Being a travel blogger has its own perks too you know. Sometimes it could be hard but at least it still comes with a lot of freebies. Even if most extra curricular activities are not included on the manual. It’s still worth it and fun to do!
Here are some of our perks as a travel blogger:
- Free tours
- Sponsors of staycations, food, things for traveling, etc.
- Discounted tours from travel agencies
- Paid promotions/advertisements
Suggested Budget Destinations
Since I’ve been traveling for 3 years now, below are my most suggested places for you to travel!
Around Manila or Luzon Area
- Instagrammable staycations in Manila with 15% off. Check here.
- Visit museums like Dessert Museum and Lakbay Museo in Manila.
- Visit theme parks in Manila like Star City and Ocean Park.
- Day tour in Tagaytay.
- Try hiking in Batangas.
- Beach bumming in Batangas.
- Chasing waterfalls in Laguna.
- Batanes of the East in Dingalan, Aurora.
- Surf in Baler, Aurora.
- Check out the coves in Zambales.
Visayas & Mindanao
Here are my top budget places to visit in Visayas and Mindanao! I traveled most of the places here alone and I didn’t have to spend a lot of money for these trips. Check it out below!
- Biliran Province in Visayas.
- SOCCSKSARGEN backpacking trip in Mindanao.
- Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao.
- The island born of fire in Camiguin, Mindanao.
- The land of healing in Siquijor, Visayas.
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