Traveling has become a big deal in the past couple of years. Maybe social media is to blame for it again. On the plus side, tourism is good for any country and it does help widen a person’s interests. However, someone who may be trying this for the first time might be caught in the web of overspending for a trip.
First things first: Plane tickets
For people based in Asia, thanks to budget airlines, it is now possible for everyone to travel around the continent and not be limited to their own country because of expensive plane tickets. Many of these budget airlines throw out seasonal cheap fare promos throughout the year, so it is impossible for you to miss out on these special offers. You just gotta keep a watchful eye.
At this rate, it really helps to have a Facebook account to get the latest updates on promos from their respective pages.
If you are one of those budget travellers, this is the time to assess your expenses. Start with plane tickets. I don’t know any specific techniques but I find myself booking, when I do, for a week-long trip 8 months from now. The fares tend to be cheaper if the range is that far ahead — if it doesn’t land on a peak season.
Next up the list: Accommodations (A place to stay during the trip. Hotels, hostels, etc.)
Oxford Hotel in Bras Brasah, Singapore
I thought about putting this part at the bottom of this post but I plan begin it with “people should give priority to this the same they would w/ plane tickets.”. That would just be contradicting of me to do that, right? So I’m putting it here instead.
Like I said, put importance to your accommodations the same way you would prioritize your plane tickets. These two go hand in hand. Unless you are lucky and you know someone who will let you stay there unannounced and for free, or fortunate to walk-in a hotel and pay outright the expensive fees… be my guest and do all the booking last minute.
It’s not the same for the budget traveler though. Everything has to be planned right to the very core. Money is tight but you gotta make do to satiate the wanderlust in you. 😛 Should you book your stay in a classy hotel? A hostel? An inn? Guesthouse? What even are the differences of all those places?! (Let me know, no seriously. Haha.)
Usually I prefer to stay in a hotel (who wouldnt?!), but given that I was in a budget the last time, I have to try other things. And so, I began to appreciate staying in lesser-than-5-star hotels in the last trips I went to for the following reasons:
- I would be outside the hotel 90% of the time because with limited time of stay in the country, I have to make the most out of it and see many places as I possibly can. The only time I use the room is at day and night.
- You only literally just use the bed and bathroom in the entire room. WiFi is usually free even in guesthouses (Shocker: Hotels are actually the ones that charge for use of their internet). What is the point for paying generously for a well-serviced hotel room when you won’t be using the other unnecessary facilities of it?
- Sure you don’t get the free breakfast but outside where you’ll be staying is a myriad of food places to choose from and you’ll get to dine with the locals and feel like one for a day. Also, more reason to explore the area!
- The least you want to get from such a trip is all the touristy things tourists get. Aim to blend in and try/do a lot of things they do, their way. I think that’s the best souvenir you can take home that no object can beat.
- People in the front desk of these budget areas of accommodation are more friendly and talkative than the usual staff at the higher-star hotels I’ve stayed.
The cons of these places, would be of course the pros of staying in a hotel. Cool room, luxury treatment, an awesome view since you’ll be in the upper floors of the building. These things I don’t mind and would be OK not to have. Why? Because #1 from the list up there.
Best part of all this is that the money I saved from not booking the usual expensive hotel will mean more money for shopping! Hahaha JK.
So the next time you book for your next trip, instead of going the usual route of booking in a big fancy hotel, don’t be afraid to explore other options (even if that means it’s a few stars lower) and try another means of accommodation.
Booking in a 1-star guesthouse, I thought would be a bad experience, which I don’t mind going through since I wasn’t alone at the time. It wasn’t too bad like I was expecting. Even the reviews of said guesthouse were bad, but I don’t agree with it. Thinking of it now, and comparing to that one time I stayed in a fancy hotel, I had a better experience in the guesthouse than at the hotel.
I’d say it was a welcome new experience to gain at the end of that trip. The place may be small and cramped, but the willingness and helpful staff to assist you took all the cons of it and made it OK. Let’s just say the staff in the fancy hotel didn’t give a damn about their customers so that’s a couple of points off.
Hostels are still intimidating for me. It’s tempting to try out.. how many times have I browsed different hostels in SG before when I booked a random trip there?! But I’m just not ready. I need my space and privacy!
I’ve been meaning to try a place off AirBnb in all the previous trips from last year but it hasn’t worked out for me in a way that I found a place for cheap BUT with exquisite facilities. Maybe I’m just picky but I just think that if I’m paying for a room rate the same as how a regular hotel room, then I should probably just opt for a real hotel room instead of AirBnb. Say for example a room in a house that costs P17,000 for 4 nights sounds ridiculous to me. I would rather book a room in a real hotel. Feel free to prove me wrong though haha.
I also want to try booking a couple of days in a serviced apartment back here in Manila. I’ve seen a couple, thanks to convincing positive reviews of it online, that are reasonable enough.. problem is I haven’t come to that firm decision yet of letting my money go to that staycation idea.
Let me know if you have a good recommendation about a place you stayed in one of your vacations elsewhere (maybe around the Philippines or outside the country), I would love to hear about it! Plus points if it’s between a reasonable price range and it’s a private room.