5 Ways to Save While Travelling
If You Are Not Dan Bilzerian, Read On
For those of you who stay at the Four Seasons when you travel, have unlimited amounts of cash even poker player Dan Bilzerian would be jealous of, or use the #richkidsofinstagram hashtag whenever you upload your travel photos, please stop reading now. I dedicate this article to those who have a normal job and do not make more than 100k per year, yet want to see the world without breaking their bank account or their sanity once they’re back home.
1. Have a List of Things You Want to Do/Visit
I know it sounds fundamental and almost everyone who travels will have their itinerary prepared, but this list should contain all the things you want to do or the places you want to visit. This itinerary should also contain the costs associated with each activity/place. Calculate in advance how much you have to spend in order to see the Mona Lisa in Paris, or how much that return speed boat ticket for cliff diving at Ariel’s Point in Boracay is going to cost. Once you have factored all the costs into your overall budget, plan when you are going to do these things, hence your itinerary. The tip in preparing the list is, always remember that you don’t have to see or do every tourist attraction listed in the Lonely Planet to be happy about your travel. If buying the ticket for that opera show at Teatro Alla Scala costs you your monthly car installment, then you should probably give it a pass.
2. Set a Number for Souvenirs and Stick to It
As much as it is tempting to buy souvenirs for Paul from Accounts who assisted you on your last project or Mandy from Marketing who once advised you on how to get rid of lice on your Siberian Husky, please refrain from doing so. Souvenirs are a great way of saying, “hey you are important to me and here’s something I thought you might like from my travel to XXX”. However, not everyone you give it to is going to a) remember who gives it to them and b) use it. I mean let’s face it, my fridge is literally covered in magnets, and I can’t even distinguish the ones I bought from the ones other people bought for me. Allocate your budget to buying stuff for the people that matter to you—your parents, your nieces and nephews, your BFFs, your significant others, anyone that matters. This gives you more satisfaction as you know what they do and don’t like, and the chance of your Pisa Tower fridge magnet getting lost in the sea of forgotten magnets at my house is very slim.
Have a travel objective. If the objective of your travel to Rome is to visit the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and the Coliseum, allocate most of your resources to buying entrance tickets to these places as these are the fixed costs that you cannot compromise if you want to meet your travel objective. Anything else, like food, transportation, accommodation, or I-Love-Roma t-shirts for your relatives are all variables which can be manipulated and altered to accommodate your main objective.
3. Utilize Your Promotional Coupons
Most hotels will use promotions to drive revenue. The benchmark is 30-35% of revenue should come from promotions, and you can expect that most hotels advertise their deals on hotel-booking sites such as Booking.com, Agoda.com, and Trivago. On top of the common deals, frequent users of the sites will occasionally receive promotional coupons that will save them a lot of money. If you are not already on these sites, do sign up. If you can pay 50% less to stay at a 5-star hotel, why would you spend the same amount of money to stay at a 3-star?
4. Choose a Cheaper Mode of Transportation
If you can afford to take Thalys or TGV in Europe, then good for you. But for those who think that that money is better spent elsewhere (read: shopping), or if you are just plain ol’ stingy like me, and you have a good amount of time to spare, consider taking a bus instead. Though your travelling time would increase by 2-3 hours per trip, you get to save 50% of your travelling cost, and who knows what that extra 50% could do? It might bring home that Channel bag you have been eying since forever. Or it just might bring about a giddy feeling like the one I had, knowing that I did not have to pay full price and still get to be in Paris. (Score!). Because, let’s face it: no one is going to ask you how you got to Paris once you have been to Paris. They are going to ask you how beautiful the Eiffel Tower or the Notre Dame is.
5. Have a Travel Objective
Last, but not least. Have a travel objective. If the objective of your travel to Rome is to visit the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and the Coliseum, allocate most of your resources to buying entrance tickets to these places as these are the fixed costs that you cannot compromise if you want to meet your travel objective. Anything else, like food, transportation, accommodation, or I-Love-Roma t-shirts for your relatives are all variables which can be manipulated and altered to accommodate your main objective.
These are my five tips. So, go ahead, book that hotel and flight. However, be selfish and stingy once you are there, because at the end of the day, the single most important person to impress and satisfy during your travel is you.