How Do I Manage to Travel on a Shoestring Budget?

Jun 21, 2014

As I have many times before, I am poor, hahaha But that does not stop me from traveling!  I should be using my money to pay for other things, but I sometimes use it to travel.  But I find ways to make it as cheap as possible, without having to sacrifice our safety or comfort.  So how do I do it? Here's how:
  1. For both trips, we bought our tickets during the P1 seat sale of Cebu Pacific. I paid no more than P3,500 per person for Manila-Siam Reap and Ho Chi Minh-Manila round trip tickets. I think regular fares are around P11k to P12k per person. Our February 2012 tickets were bought in March 2011, and our February 2014 tickets were bought around March-April of 2013.  Yes, we have almost a year to save for our pocket money.
  2. I signed-up with Agoda and looked for the cheapest hotel possible, with free airport transfers and breakfast.  Since we will arrive at night, free hotel transfers means a lot of savings.  And eating a heavy breakfast means savings since we loaded up, and forego lunch.
  3. I booked our Tuktuk with the Tuktuk drivers themselves so I can haggle with them.  They cost more when you book through your hotel.
  4. I made a detailed itinerary and places to visit, so that I can show it to the Tuktuk driver, and maybe get a discount since we wouldn't be taking a full tour, just the more beautiful ones to avoid being 'templed-out'. That means seeing too many temples that they become one big blur of temples, and forgetting the more memorable ones.
  5. We decided to get a one-day pass only and maximize the whole day.  We only paid $20 for a day pass instead of $40 for a 3-day pass.  We loaded up during breakfast and had sandwiches while touring.  We also brought our own water from the hotel because they cost more at the Angkor complex.
  6. We also alternated between eating in good, local restaurants and street food, both for variety and for savings.  We get to everything from a $10-dollar dish to a $0.50 street grub.
There are a lot more ways to save, as long as you know how to stretch your budget.  Always research the places that you will visit, and read about other people's experience. I think I only spent $250 on my first time in these places, and $350 on the next. The difference is for pasalubong, hahahaha. Not bad for almost a week of travel, right?

Next post: Siam Reap itinerary.

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