How to Travel Cheap

Hey, Stephen! How can you travel so often?

Hey, Stephen! How often do you travel within one year?

Hey, Stephen! How rich ah! You travel a lot huh!

Hey, Stephen! When you are going to travel next time, invite me!

… … and etc.

Well, I have heard this kind of speech more than enough. Lmao! Why? Because I have been traveling on my own starting from September last year. I have been traveling once every two or three months and planning to have another one in October this year (and more next year).

Sit down and do some researches on some travel destinations have become my hobby. Before each time I travel, I spend around a week or two reading and planning out what I should do, where I should go, how I should get around from place to place, how much time I should spend at each attractions, how many day would be enough for the trip, so on and so forth. All of this information can be found easily everywhere online (Google, TripAdvisor, etc). But beware! Foolproof!

You don’t need to be rich to be able to travel, but you can be a budget traveler! Being a budget traveler doesn’t necessarily mean you travel cheap, but you make the most out of the money you have got on the activities in your trip. To be successfully doing so, hear me some tips:

1. Set a Clear Traveling Date:


Well, first thing first, you must have a great plan whenever you want to visit anywhere. Planning a head for two months or three at max before the exact traveling date will be best. Just come up with the idea where you want to go first, then start saving up. That is how I start each of my trip! By doing so, I will have enough time planning and can save that enough amount of cash to get lost in another city.

Moreover, your budget for traveling can be varied during peak and non-peak season. It may double up during peak season, so set your date wisely. However, you have to know that most attractions are only best for visiting in some specific times only, and also mostly they fall on peak season.

In short, it’s always a great idea to have set s specific date for your trip, so that you can do research on how will you spend your budget at that time.

2. Consider the Period of your Visit:


Come back one day earlier or extend one day further on your trip is all depending on your budget. You surly don’t want to have your budget shorten right in the middle of your stay (or whenever it is) abroad and have to stay in the hotel do nothing for a day or two, nor want to come back earlier than your expectation or planning. To avoid this problem, you have to sort out enough number of days of your visiting.

Please consider these criteria:

  • Visiting destination
  • Attractions
  • Admission fee
  • Transportation fee
  • Accommodation fee
  • Airfare
  • Visa allowance period
  • Meals, and
  • Etc.

The duration of your stay may all affect your budget since whatever you do, you need to spend money – no matter it is a month, a week, or even a day.

3. Book Everything in Advance and “Online”:


Pssst! This is my top-secret on how I spent so little on every trip I have been to. Book everything in advance can save you up to 50% or 60% on top of your walk-in price. You can do this on almost all of the activities in your trip, including: Accommodation booking, Flight booking, Day trip tour booking, Transportation ticket booking, and Admission ticket booking.

– You can save mostly from 5% to 20% on top of your accommodation fee if you book online. For me, I use to book any resident I want to. I have become a genius member, so sometimes I save up to 10% or 20%. (Anyway, Shh! Use the link here, you can get a 10% refund gift or copy this to your browser

– Booking flight online is much cheaper and gives you more varieties to choose from. Instead of going to travel agent, which I have gone to once only, you should use website such as: Skyscanner, Cheapflights, and These three are my most used website to book any flight inbound and outbound.

– Some attractions’ websites offer up to 40% or 50% off on top of their normal walk-in price. For your reference, I have just booked a pair of tickets to SIM Leisure ESCAPE at Penang, Malaysia (Watch this; Exciting right?) for my upcoming trip to Malaysia this October. It costed me 64.2 RM (around 16.5 USD) for the admission ticket per person, plus 20 RM for exclusive deals you can’t find in the walk-in price; so in total it costed me 84.2 RM (around 21.6 USD). On the other hand, it will cost 102.6 RM (around 26.3 USD) already just for the walk-in admission ticket per person.

– You can save even better for the day trip tour if you book it online – up to 50% or 60% off on your walk-in price. I remember last time, I visited Phi Phi Island. I booked online a day trip tour, which costed me only 42 USD. I met a family. They are also Cambodian, and they bought the same trip for the whole family. They bought it through some agents in Thailand directly. The tour covered pick up and drop off from the hotel to the meeting point, two ways boat trip (go and back), light breakfast, buffet lunch, refreshment, water, snorkeling equipment and a(n) English / Chinese / Thai speaking guide. It costed them 75 USD per person (and they have 7 members in their family). Well, you can see the different between the price of advance booking online and the walk-in price.

4. Use Ways of Getting Around Wisely:


Every time I visit anywhere, I try to use all kinds of transportation that available in the city. I ride taxi, tuk tuk, bus, motorcycle (rent), bicycle (rent), boat, train, sky train, metro and sometimes even walk (for Kilometers). You should try all types instead of sticking to one mean of transportations. Use what is suitable for the circumstance of your activity. For instance, for further journey you should try riding train so that you can enjoy the view and absorb some fresh air along the way (However, you can still enjoy the view by riding taxi, but it is costly compare to the local train).

For your information, if you visit Thailand and you want to go to Ayutthaya from Bangkok, taking local train costs only 31 THB (around 1 USD) go and back. Also, it’s highly suggested to use BTS sky train to roaming around Bangkok instead of riding Taxi or Tuk Tuk. You can buy the Day Pass ticket from any ticketing office at any BTS station closest to you. It’s good to use the Day Pass because it is cheap and you can use as many times as you want within a day (expire at 12:00 A.M. mid night). However, if you travel with a group, catching Grab or Uber is a great choice since it’s cheaper when you all share the cost.

5. Try Local Food & Local Staffs:


The purpose of traveling is to know more about the city you visit (history, culture, tradition and more), to experience something that you have never known before, and to understand the living standard of another country. Thus, when you travel, don’t do anything you can also do in your home country. For instance, instead of going to some luxurious (also called “Brand Brand”) restaurants, go to try some local restaurants or food courts or small shops along the streets. Instead of going to some high-end brand retail stores, you should try some local products which are way cheaper.

6. Get to Know Some People at Where You Wish to Visit:


Well, luck always comes at the least expected time. You will never know when you will get a free glass of wine in a bar; or when you will get free accommodation at where you visit. Make some friends! Whether it is before, during or after your stay abroad, you should get to know some people. Maybe they can help guide you through the city, maybe they can provide you a free room during your stay, maybe you guys can be … … err, you know, fall for each other. Lol!

I remember last time I visited Bangkok, Thailand – alone and for the first time – I managed to know some tourists there. Well, at night we hit a club together. I was there until 2 A.M. and I had to come back first because I had a morning bus to take to come back to Phnom Penh. That time, the team treated me right, so (lol) I didn’t have to pay a bit for the clubbing that night. See? Cool, right?!

Go ahead, make some friends now!

Be True, Be You, Be Unique, Be Proud, Be Wild, Be Unstoppable.

Wish you luck! And have a nice trip!

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