Tag Archives: frugal travelling

How to Save Money during the Year to Go On Your Dream Vacation

For too many people, going on a dream vacation can feel like an unattainable goal. While it would be amazing to travel to exotic destinations like Thailand, Australia, Singapore or Jamaica, many of us think that we would never be able to save up enough money to travel to these places comfortably, even if we were able to score last minute vacation packages. After all, most of us have mortgages, tuition payments and other assorted bills to worry about.

How to Save Money during the Year to Go On Your Dream Vacation

Night shot of Marina Bay during our Singapore trip – December of last year.

Thankfully, this line of reasoning is completely wrong. You can go on that dream vacation, but it will require giving yourself a year’s time to plan and save accordingly. Here are some tips on how to save money during the year to go on your dream vacation.

Determine How Much You’ll Need – The first step is to sit down and calculate exactly how much money you’ll need to enjoy your vacation comfortably. While you want to create a figure that you can logically save up in a year’s time, don’t budget too much. After all, you want to have enough funds to truly enjoy your dream vacation.

Create a Plan – Once you’ve determined how much you’ll need, you simply need to create a plan determining how much and how often you’ll put money into your vacation savings. This is as simple as dividing your total amount by 12, the number of months in a year, or 52, the number of weeks. It’s a good idea to create a savings account for your vacation money. This way, you won’t be tempted to dip into it.

Stick To Your Plan – The most important aspect of saving for a dream vacation is really sticking to your plan. It will be tempting to dip into your vacation savings for little purchases throughout the year, especially around the holidays. However, sticking to your vacation savings plan will be something that you thank yourself for once the time for your dream vacation comes.

Get the whole family involved in this year of vacation saving. This is a great way to teach your kids about the benefits and rewards that come with diligently saving money. If you create a year-long plan and stick to it, you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to fly away to the destination that you’ve always dreamed of visiting.

 

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My Top 3 Remaining Travel Schedules for 2013

Pitogo Island 2

Sunset Shot with Dude at Pitogo Island

At the end of October, Dude and I, along with Minette, will be moving to Pitogo Island.  We will be basing there temporarily or for good (there’s no final plan yet).  We’ve been planning for this move since early this year.  Dude will be quitting from his office job this October for various reasons but one of them is to have a flexible schedule to travel with me.  One of the reasons of our limited travel trips is his work schedule.  Also, we feel that Toledo City is a hostile place to live in.  It would be a relief to get away from this city. (Will try my best to write a separate post detailing about our misadventures here.)

Pitogo Island

Pitogo Island in front of me

In all honesty, I’m actually hesitant about the prospect of living there (though I fell in love with its scenery and the beauty of the surrounding islets), but this move also has to do with our financial stability.  We feel that we can have more savings living in an island compared to living in a sub-urban area.  Also, we have the peace of mind going to trips and travels knowing that our valuables are in a safe place.

My Travel Schedule for the last quarter of 2013

I write about our moving plan to give a detailed picture on how hectic our schedule would be a few months from now.  Thus between our preparations to move and settle down in an island (this time), we’ll also be inserting in our schedule the remaining travel plans we have for the rest of 2013.

September 6 to 9 – Boracay

Boracay from Boracy Camera Live Screenshot

Screenshot photo from Boracay Live Cam – August 15, 2013 – That’s White Beach!

 Definitely my first time going there!!! I’m sooo bloody excited that I booked our flight and hotel last June.  We’ll go there during those dates to celebrate my mother’s birthday.  Mama will be turning 48 this September and it’s really my long-time plan to bring her to a relaxing vacation because she’s so overworked “nannying” her grand kids plus all the “bone-breaking” work at home.  I really can’t imagine my mother’s hard-work all these years.  I intend to bring papa as well but he refused because there’s no one around to check on my younger sister and her kids (her husband is currently away due to work).

Frugal Tips in Booking a Flight to Boracay I booked two one-way flights. Booking a round-trip flight would cost you more especially if your flight destination is to Bora.  Luckily, I managed to grab four seats that were on sale.  The base fare is Php399 (per head). (:  In our flight back to Cebu, I booked the Kalibo to Cebu flight to avoid the very costly Caticlan to Cebu fare.  Take note that the Kalibo to Cebu fare is not on sale but it only costs Php588 (excluding all kinds of taxes and fees that would make your head spin).

October 18 to 20 – Bacolod

Masskara Festival Bacolod City

Photo Credit

We’ve been planning to go to Bacolod because it’s just a ferry away from Toledo City.  Fortunately, a friend will also go there during the Masskara Festival.  That friend told me that she knows a very affordable inn there with high speed Wi-Fi.  Soulmate, a close friend of mine, will also come along with us.  Pretty much excited for this. (:

Frugal Tips in Going to Bacolod – If you are base near Toledo City, the best frugal way to go there is via  ferry.  The fare is only Php200 plus.  If you are  from Cebu City, you have the option to travel by ocean jet or via airplane.  Go for airplane if there’s a seat sale but the ocean jets are advisable if you’re on budget.

December 2 to 6 – Singapore

Singapore City

Photo Credit

This is a big year-ender for our 2013 travels.  I just got my passport earlier this month (after almost a year of processing!!).  I’ve chosen those dates because December 5 will be dude’s (my partner) birthday.  We’ve been planning for years to travel abroad together and 2013 is our lucky year.  I feel so lucky (again) because I managed to book a one-way  flight (Cebu – SG) when Cebu Pacific had a promo.  The base fare is Php1, 499.  Usually the base fare (if there’s no promo) is around Php4,000 plus.  I booked a separate flight for SG – Cebu and got a promo fare but it’s quite expensive compared to the latter since it’s priced in Singaporean dollars.  The total cost of the flight including all the taxes and add-on fees (back and forth) is Php7, 700 plus per head.  That’s Php4,000 plus cheaper compared to regular airfare and a round-trip flight.

Frugal Trips in Booking a Flight to Singapore – Never book a round-trip flight unless the airline company announced that they have a round-trip promo which very rarely happens.  Book two separate one-way flights to avoid paying more.

 

Praying and hoping for good weather during these scheduled trips.  I’m so happy that I’m slowly realizing my dreams to travel this year.  I’m looking forward for more trips next year.

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My Top 5 Apps for Budget Traveling #TopListSaturday

Top 5 Apps for Budget Traveling

In my recent travels, I found a few mobile apps that are very useful when I look for special deals and promos (to lessen my expenses).  Using these apps doesn’t guarantee that you can immediately get cheaper deals, but if you know how to use them (and if you are a wise user), you can definitely get a great bargain.  The following are my top 5 apps ideal for budget traveling.

1. Kayak

KayakKayak is a travel search engine that lets you search for flights (across all available airlines), hotels, cars, and a lot more.  In my case, I use it to look for the cheapest airline promos and deals.  Unlike other travel search engines, Kayak lets the users filter search results from the cheapest to the most expensive deals.  To get cheaper deals, make sure to book on weekdays and book a month or a few months before your travel date.

2. Agoda

AgodaDefinitely the most useful app I’ve been using for quite some time now.  Agoda allows its users to search for hotels all over the globe.  Just like Kayak, it has a filter functionality that allows users to view the results of their searches from the cheapest to the most expensive hotel deals.  If you are a registered user, you can get some special deals and they also offer reward points in every hotel that you’ve checked in.  Those points are convertible to cash which you can use to pay for your next check-in.

3. Tripit

Trip ItThis app automatically grabs every booking details in your email and organizes them in chronological order.  Tripit is very useful for people who have no time to plot their travel schedules.  It helps you save time and puts your mind at ease knowing that you can check all your travel details in one place, well-organized and updated.

4. Google Earth

Google EarthInstead of a map, I prefer to use this app in checking for places and locations I wanted to go to.  Aside from the very detailed satellite and aerial views, it also helps me in getting street details that are very important when I’m commuting (especially when I’m riding in a taxi).  Most taxi drivers would intentionally change your route so that they can charge higher fare.   This is very useful if you are traveling to a specific place for the very first time.

5. AirBnB

AirBnBThis is the only app in this list that I haven’t used yet.  Though I’ve already did some mock bookings, I haven’t decided yet if I’m gonna use this in the future.  I feature this here because it has been reviewed in a few famous budget travel sites (and the feedback is mostly positive).  AirBnB absolutely has the cheapest accommodation listings ever.  Unlike Agoda, its listings are not focused on hotels but accommodations from AirBnB hosts.  These hosts are ordinary people or fellow travelers who are accepting guests in their empty houses, apartments, rooms, or even bed spaces.  The accommodation set-up is done between the guest and the host.  Though it is very tempting, my cautious self is a bit hesitant due to the fact that a stay in a place with a complete stranger is very risky.  But, I’m not closing my door on this.

Have you used any of the apps featured in this post?  Do you use mobile apps to lessen the hassles and expenses while you travel?  Share your experiences and tips below. (:

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5 Top Tips to Travel on the Cheap!

N.B.: This guest post is brought to you by Roy Duffield, a fellow blogger from the UK.  Hope you will learn something from his tips.EOD

As kids we tend to think that life is free, and it’s hard to imagine that we’ll have to get jobs one day. We picture our dream lives, doing what we want, going where we want, when we want. All the while “Grown-ups” are telling us we are wrong, that one day we’ll become grown-ups ourselves, realise our mistake and have to settle down, get a job, get a mortgage, pay the mortgage, etc, etc…

For a while I feared this may be true…and then I discovered travel, and I became a kid at heart again.

The truth is, travel is a lot cheaper than you think, and whether you are tramping or travelling in luxury, there are always ways to save money, which in turn means that dream trip can last as long as possible.

Here are my 5 top tips to travelling cheap:

Accommodation

A major reason why a lot of people don’t travel is the cost. They say they can’t afford hotels. Well, I’m here to prove those people wrong. The cost of anything is relative to the GDP of the country you’re going to. Therefore, what we might class as a fancy hotel, can cost almost nothing in the cheaper countries in the world. Furthermore, when you think about it, you pay rent back home don’t you? Now say your rent is around £300 a month. That’s £10 a night, and trust me, there are a lot of nice places (nicer than a £300/month flat) out there for less than £10 a night…

Go long haul!

…which brings me to my next point. The other reason people often think travel is expensive and thus can’t understand how others do it, is because they’re thinking too short-term. One of the biggest expenses when going on holiday is the flight. Since most people only get a couple of weeks off work at a time, they are used to short holidays of a week or two. Now think about this: if a flight to Florida costs £450 and you go for 2 weeks, that’s £225 a week on the flight. However, if you go away for 3 months, backpacking the States, you’re only looking at around £35 a week. Much more affordable. Go away for a year, and the flight, spread out, barely costs a thing. Some great ways to extend your trip include learning a language as you travel, teaching one, or any other kind of work abroad (see below).

Couchsurfing

And there ways to cut down the cost of travel even further! Couchsurfing.org is a great example of how, if you are prepared to think outside the box a little, you can travel for practically nothing…and you also get a much richer travel experience, meet more locals, and so on. As long as you’re prepared to give as well as get – so, for example, offering to cook a meal for your hosts, teach them a skill, or about your own culture or traditions – this is the option for you! And don’t forget to ask the people you meet about their own money saving tips! Locals always know the cheapest places to eat, drink and shop.

Hitchhiking

And while we’re on the subject of travelling for free, hitchhiking is another great way to meet people, get deeper into the culture of the place you’re travelling, and save so cash that would’ve gone on buses, trains or even flights. You’ll also get more freedom than with public transport and you can choose which roads to travel, where you get on and off, etc. Just exercise some caution. There are plenty of great sites with tips for safe hitchhiking.

Work while you travel!

Finally, all of the above focus on how to cut your spending, but what about using travel as a way to make money? Whether you want to WWOOF (work on an organic farm), in a call centre, as an au pair, in a bar, or as an English teacher (TEFL), there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you all over the world, from Sydney to Cusco, Varna to Kamloops. If you’re a keen writer you can even make money from your blog, or also as a freelancer. There are plenty of organisations and websites offering various travel benefits in exchange for online content, whether it be a free room at a hostel, or a more long-term set up.

I hope you found this inspiring. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll all be on the move, livin’ the dream. But until then, happy travels! Don’t forget to let me know what you think or ask any questions in the comments.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

About the Guest Author

This has been a guest post by Roy Duffield. Why not check out his travel stories and notes from the road.

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