A lot of us are bitten by a travel bug. We want to wander and explore new places we’ve never been into. However, what makes us incapable of doing it is the associated travel costs.
A common mistake we all make when we go on vacations to a new place is that we end up spending too much by falling into “tourist traps”. Since the whole point of being on vacation is to relax and enjoy ourselves, we tend to forget to control our expenses.
I’ve been very active in travelling since the start of the year. Travel makes me happy as I meet new friends, discover new places, and appreciate the beauty of nature. I’ve been to a 6-day adventure trip to Cebu, Dumaguete, Siquijor and Sipalay a week ago.
Here are a few tips to save money while traveling to new places while still enjoying what our vacation destination has to offer.
Do Research. The best way to get to know more about the place you’re going to is to do a research. You can read blogs of travel bloggers or the reviews of fellow travelers from respected guides like Trip Advisor. You can also visit social media site like Instagram or join a Facebook travel group to ask details from travelers who have been there. In addition, you can also access web forums with restaurant, hotel, and attraction ratings in order to get a first impression of what to avoid and what to look forward to.
Doing research will also tell you, for instance, which are the traditional dishes of a certain place, the expensive areas, the ways to visit certain locations for lower rates, as well as the most secluded spots if you want to leave the crowds behind. Plus, there’s no need to eat out every day — and having to wait too long for a table — because you can just as easily find the local markets so you get good seasonal produce.
During vacations, and especially in popular tourist destinations, it is likely that you will encounter con artists as professional as those from 1973’s The Sting who will try to talk you into buying something or eating at a restaurant that might offer you neither the best nor the most traditional food. This is where the more you know, the less likely you are to fall prey to a scam.
Book In Advance. When you finished your research, book your room accommodation in advance using booking sites such as Booking.com. When I compared the rate in the site versus the actual walk-in rate in the hotel where I stayed in Cebu, the rate in Booking.com was actually cheaper.
Get a Travel Buddy. If you have a travel buddy with you in your travels, you will get an instant photographer. Aside from that, the travel expenses will always be split among you and your travel buddies so you can save on costs. Get a friend or two friends with you so you will always split the costs especially in expenses such as room accommodation and boat rides during island hopping.
Along the way, you can also meet new friends who could be your future travel buddies. Some of them maybe kind enough to offer you food and even accommodation. I’ve met new friends when I was in Sipalay and they even offered their room for me to sleep in. Having a friend or group of friends with you when you’re traveling also makes your travel more fun as you get to laugh and share your experiences with them along the way.
Have your credit cards ready but manage it. This will keep you from facing unpleasant — and unexpected — surprises. It also makes sense to travel with a credit card, as you’ll need one for hotels and shopping. However, please bear in mind to manage your expenses when using credit card. Since you are on travel and you can buy stuffs even without cash, chances are you may overspend. Again, vacations are about relaxation, which means that if your expenses are controlled — at least to a certain extent — that’s one less thing to worry about.
Avoid falling into a tourist trap by following these simple tips. You will not only discover that overspending doesn’t necessarily imply enjoying more, but it is also likely that you will take back home a more memorable and genuine experience that isn’t filled with any regret. And remember, research, caution, and preparation will help you access more traditional experiences wherever the summer season takes you this time around.
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