July 18, 2018

Budget Tips for Savvy Travelers

I wish I had a bunch of money and my brain doesn’t have to process how much I am spending when traveling. But the reality is the opposite. Here are some main parts to look for when planning ahead and while on the go. Hope it’s helpful!

Off peak

Two major parts of the expense are flight tickets and accommodation. Off season is the best if your schedule can fit in. If you happen to get a great deal, you’re saving a bunch already. In some cases, off season can be boring and a disaster though. Take Europe for example, there are some great deals available during winter, as low as 1500 USD for a ten-day trip including flight tickets and accommodation. But the thing is, the weather is just going to be freezing, you don’t even want to take out your hands out of your pockets to take pictures.

With some tropical islands, there are months considered to be off peak, while the weather isn’t making much of a difference. It will be less crowded for sure, but the party scene is not going to be the same. With this case, it really depends on how you like your vacation to be. If you’re traveling with your boo, a nice hotel room would already make a good trip. But if you’re traveling with your mates, night life is the wilder, the better.

One more off-peak tip. When you’re eating out, look out for off peak discount. In Southeast Asia, my ultimate favorite app is “eatigo”. You get 50 percent off during certain hours going in to restaurants, from five-star hotel buffet to nice family diner. Happy hour is great as well! Day drinking is the best when you’re on vacation mode! Everything is next level pleasant when you’re tipsy.

Eat in and Get Local Food

Dining out can really add up. Especially, if you’re travelling for longer-term. I remember when I was a student, I saved up and traveled to Europe, I brought a bunch of granola bars because I couldn’t afford eating out and granola bars are very easy to carry around while you probably spend your whole day being out and are far from where you’re staying. What I should have done is to go to the super market, get bread and ham to make sandwiches to-go instead.

Snacking can be more expensive than having a regular meal. Street food and beverages seem cheap and are hard to resist, while it can really add up. Before you know, you already consume way more sugar than you should. If you would like to stay healthy even when you’re traveling, bring water! This way you stay hydrated and avoid extra sugar and extra spending.

It can be frustrating when ordering food in a foreign country when you don’t speak the language. But with the restaurants that do provide English menu, are usually more expensive by a certain percentage. Foods are a lot less expensive if you walk just one or two streets further from the super touristy center. Learn a few key words in their language if you’re feeling motivated. You can walk into a super local restaurant and simply point at the things that you want. Have a big smile on your face when walking in, be polite and show off a few sentences of their language, people are usually super welcoming, nice and friendly (even in France)!

Make sure there’s a kitchen in your hostel or in your Airbnb. Cook your own meal is the way to budget! Also, there are usually some great discount if you get prepared food in super market or convenient store in the late hours.

School Zone is Golden

When picking which area to stay, forget about hotels all together and go straight for school zone. There will be options that are a lot cheaper if it's close to a university. Not only the food is going to be cheaper, it’s likely to bump into some cool cafes and cheap college bars around there as well. Skip the most touristy and you get to save about 30 percent without any efforts.

If you are staying longer, why not make friends with the locals and hangout with them? College students are naturally the kings and queens of budgeting. They know where the free events are. Speaking of free events, there are numerous museums that are free of charge as well as some exhibitions while some frequently offer discounts and even free days.

College students are usually very genuine and love to make friends with foreigners, plus they speak better English compare to regular people. Download “couchsurfing” whether you’re couch-surfing or not. It’s a fun community, and it’s easy to make friends there.


If you want to save money with transportation, you really need to spend time doing your research. With flights, make sure you use VPN when searching and include neighboring airports as well. Prices can be different depends on your location. You can simply use a VPN or use incognito window to avoid this situation. When flying longer distance, you can play around different combinations to find the greatest deal. In many cases, you can easily save around three hundred dollars flying across continents but end up spending another full day. Consider visa situation for layover as well. When it comes to transportation options, remember that prices don’t always relate logically to the speed or the mode of transportation. But make sure you do your research and know what’s most important to you, whether it’s time or money.

For domestic transportation, if the distance is long overnight buses are great because it’s cheaper and you can save accommodation for one night. For transportation within the city, make sure you do the math and maximize those one-day pass or 14 days pass. Sometimes it’s not necessarily cheaper, though. One of my favorite way to get around is definitely biking! If you’re staying longer, you can get a second-hand bike to get around and sell it when you leave. In most cities, there are city-bikes available for cheap price. I honestly think it’s the best way to explore!

So here you go, those are the tips on saving money when traveling. Happy travels!

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