How To Travel Without Breaking Your Bank
It’s hard not to feel pangs of wanderlust living in tiny Singapore. The desire to see the world often comes with a tinge of guilt, no matter how slight, that a trip is going to cost us some hard-earned money.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Depending on your level of budget-consciousness, here are some tips on stretching your dollar while you travel.
When it comes to saving on your accommodation, the sky is truly the limit. Of course, depending on how budget conscious you are.
Couchsurfing is one of the cheapest (actually free) ways of getting a place to stay for a night, and if you’re a sociable and likeable person who loves making friends with locals, it’s definitely one to consider. Stick to the ones with the best reviews though, and couchsurf at your own risk.
Airbnb has taken the travel accommodation industry by storm, in a good way. If you’re budget conscious but not one who loves hanging around hostels and sleeping in a dorm to the sound of snores, you’d want to bookmark Airbnb. Find anything from gorgeous properties at the price of a night in a hotel, or much less. If you’re travelling solo you can find a private room that costs you the same as a hostel, or rent an entire apartment (or villa!) for a group.
If you’re still a hotels kind of person, then make use of booking sites like Trivago, which compares prices from various common booking sites so you can get the best deals for fancy hotel or guesthouse.
For flights out of Singapore, look no further than Skyscanner to get the best prices for your air tickets. And, stay updated with frequent promotions from the regional budget carriers like Air Asia, Tiger Airways, and Jet Star.
If you’re travelling within Europe, buying your train tickets in advance could save you a lot of money. There’s also Europe’s favourite budget carrier, Ryanair, which could be ridiculously cheap, and somehow still rather safe. Watch the baggage allowance though, and be sure to check the airports that they use. You don’t want to save a lot on air tickets, only to blow it all on expensive transportation to the city centre.
For those who love slow travel, nothing beats traveling by a night bus. The idea of spending 12 hours on a bus may seem intimidating at first, but in regions where inter-state bus travel is the norm for locals (e.g. South America), you’d be pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the journeys are with seats that recline 180-degrees. You can even get meals on board included, like steak with red wine in Argentina. Who’s complaining?
Another good way to eventually save on transportation is to accumulate frequent flyer miles with a credit card. The Citi PremierMiles Visa Card, for example, allows you to accumulate miles without an expiry date, double the miles with overseas spending, and even a decent travel insurance coverage.
Live to eat, eat to live
Singaporeans live for food, but you don’t have to hunt down every Michelin star restaurant to have a good meal. With peer-to-peer travel changing the way we see the world, open your hearts and stomachs to sharing gourmet experiences in a local’s home.
Websites like Bookalokal and Eatwith allow you to choose a dining experience with home chefs, or even take cooking classes if you’ve fallen in love with the local cuisine. While you most probably won’t find a five-dollar meal, and of course prices can differ greatly depending on where you’re travelling to, but it certainly is a unique way of dining well at reasonable prices.
Another plus? Making friends along the way!
Seeing the city with a local
The best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to getting a good overview of the city is to sign up for a free city tour. Giving a tip is non obligatory, though that’d be a nice thing to do, especially if you’ve enjoyed it. Young, energetic and incredibly passionate people usually run free city tours with lots of knowledge about the city they live in. Perhaps the most famous one is the Sandeman city walking tours in Europe. Most people (me included) have only good things to say about the guides.
Alternatively, look up popular hostels and check out if they do city tours. Since they cater to the young and budget conscious crowds, most of them offer city tours or pub-crawls at good prices.
For the peace of mind
Lastly, don’t leave without first buying travel insurance. This may feel like an unnecessary expense, but could actually be the one thing that saves you thousands of dollars.
Travel insurance covers you financially for a wide range of situations, ranging from illness, loss of property, to travel delays and cancellations. If you have a travel credit card, check if they include coverage for you. Otherwise, get your own for as low as $20, depending on your destination and duration of travel.
Travel is no longer as cost-prohibitive as it used to be. Budget travel no longer means roughing it out and sacrificing all creature comfort. With so many alternatives today, you can get great experiences for a steal.
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