Have money, will travel. Don’t have money? Will travel still. Let us show you 6 simple ways to traverse the world even if we need to stretch our Ringgit.
1. Skip the hotels
Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a ratty, bedbug-infested dormitory for the duration of your vacation. Nowadays, a whole variety of alternatives are available for the savvy traveller on a shoestring budget. Little family-run B&Bs often come with a cheaper price tag and cosier ambience (home-cooked breakfast, anyone?), whilst Airbnb or Couchsurfing in someone’s house gives you the chance to interact with a local host. There are plenty of clean and comfortable hostels that offer private rooms too. Even better still, the rise of the “poshtel” – posh hostel – lets you enjoy hostel prices without sacrificing on comfort.
2. Travel at the right time
When it comes to booking cheap flights, you’d be surprised at how low prices can get if you’re flexible on the date and destination. Don’t do what everyone else does and plan your trip around designated holidays; take off to unknown destinations at unexpected dates for jaw-dropping flight prices. How so? Search for flights to “Everywhere” on Skyscanner if you have no destination in mind. If you have no fixed dates, click the “cheapest month” button when searching for flights, then plan your trip around that time period instead.
- How to use Skyscanner
- How to view flight prices across a month or year on Skyscanner
- How to use Skyscanner’s Price Alerts feature
3. Buy groceries and do your own cooking
Now, this is when not staying in a hotel gives you double the savings. If you rented an apartment or Airbnb with a kitchenette, or if your kind B&B hosts let you use theirs, then whoopee for you – you won’t need to stretch your budget eating out! Hit the nearby grocery store upon arrival and stock up on simple foods you can easily prepare, such as eggs, fruits, cold cuts and salads.
You could splurge on a few meals for a chance to taste the local cuisine, but for the most part, your budget won’t be used to keep yourself fed.
4. Be aware of hidden charges
Booking a rental on an amazing-sounding promo? Hold up – are you sure you’re aware of all the extra charges that come with the vehicle? Insurance and taxes, airport concession, additional surcharges for drivers below 25 and so on could easily come together to form a bill that will shock you at the end of your vacation.
The same goes for dirt-cheap air tickets – are taxes included in that RM200 flight? Do you have to pay an extra fee for check-in baggage, or for seat selection? Though the additional costs may seem trivial, add them all up and you may be left barely saving anything. Note that prices on Skyscanner always include an estimate of all taxes and charges that must be paid. To find out more about the rates that are displayed on Skyscanner, read this guide.
Also, booking a cheap roof over your head in the middle of nowhere may seem like a good way to save until you factor in your transportation costs to and fro. Perhaps it makes sense to pay slightly more for a room that’s right smack in the city centre.
What you need to do is to keep all these factors in mind and do the maths before making your purchase.
5. Travel at night
This point is pretty self-explanatory. if you can travel at night and sleep on the plane, bus, train or car, you save yourself the cost of a night’s accommodation. On top of that, you won’t waste valuable waking hours twiddling your thumbs on the ride. Just pack a comfy travel pillow so you can grab a valuable shut-eye anywhere and everywhere.
6. Pack light
The curse of the magic wardrobe – there’s nothing to wear when you’re getting ready to go out, but way too many things to bring when you’ve got to pack light. A small and light luggage may seem like a pretty superficial cost-saving (if at all a saving), but you’d be surprised. On top of avoiding extra baggage charges on your flight, a lighter load will also free you up to travel on foot more so you can save on transportation (and sometimes porter) costs.
Originally published in October 2015 and updated in November 2019. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.