A breather. A learning experience. I get both when I travel. Take these travel tips from someone who has enjoyed traveling alone, making mistakes and getting lost along the way like me. Keep these travel tips in mind to help you make the most of your travels.
“You’re such a traveler!”, a dear friend once told me but hey, we are all travelers even in our mundane daily routines.
I occasionally attend trainings and meetings for work, regularly do errands for my family, and once in a while go on camps and get-togethers with family and friends. All these make me travel in one way or another.
Labeling myself as a frugal traveler who wants to give you travel tips does not mean I always go for the cheapest option but I go for what I think gives the best value for the money that I can afford to spend.
While getting lost and making mistakes contribute more to the fun and adventure, I am still sharing these travel tips to help you avoid some traveling mistakes and inconveniences.
1) Choose a Strategic and Good Accommodation
Choose an accommodation that is close to a transportation station.
This will not only save you money, it also saves you time and energy.
When I was in Osaka, I stayed at Fuku Yado – Fuku Hostel located at the fourth floor of a building. Guess what? Kintetsu-Nippombashi station is right at the ground floor of the same building!
This was crazy extreme but imagine how more convenient it is to have a train or bus station right at your doorstep than having to walk farther or ride a taxi to the nearest train or bus as you start your day or when you go home.
Choose an accommodation with good feedback.
Read the guests’ feedback and you will know if your accommodation is clean, safe, new, noisy, or messy.
I am not comfortable staying in a place with no feedback yet but saying an accommodation is good is still subjective. Choose what suits you and your budget best.
2. Book on Trusted Sites
I have been using Agoda and Airbnb in booking my accommodations. I tried using another booking platform before but my credit card details unfortunately got compromised and had unauthorized purchases after I encoded my card details. Make sure you book through a trusted and reliable site.
In Agoda, I can book with the Pay Later option with free cancellation just a few days before the check in date. You know how very convenient this is!
Through Airbnb, I get to stay in a place that feels so much like home where you can cook, wash the dishes, wash your clothes, be friends with the owner and connect more with locals.
Frugal Moves: Filter the price range and amenities.
I always initially filter the price range to a maximum of around more than Php1000 (USD20) per night for one person so I don’t have to browse through accommodations I cannot afford anyway.
If there are several options, I filter further to show only those that offer free breakfast. Frugality at its finest!
I have been booking admission tickets, joiner tour packages, pocket WiFi, passes and more with Klook since I started traveling.
I was also able to book a very good package with Trazy during my winter trip in South Korea.
3. Go around by subway/train.
All the countries I’ve been to have very efficient transportation systems but I personally prefer to go around using the subway or train as much as possible. Why?
- It’s free to go back to your intended station when you overshoot.
As long as you haven’t tapped your card to exit and there is a ride back to your intended station on the same train line on the opposite platform, you can go back without having to pay more. You can’t do this on buses.
- You get to avoid road traffic.
I want to maximize my time when I visit a new country. One way to do this is to avoid traffic as much as possible as I go from one place to another.
- It’s the easiest option for me and it’s usually the cheapest option.
I only need to familiarize the train map to know where to ride and where to transfer as long as I know where to alight. You need to do more if you prefer to take the bus or other means of transportation.
4. Use Reloadable Smart Cards and Take Advantage of Tourist Passes
The Octopus card in Hong Kong, the T-Money card in South Korea, the Easy card in Taiwan, and the Pasmo or Suica cards in Tokyo/Kansai Region make you ride the trains and buses on discounted fares. Other countries are offering similar cards but these are the ones I have used so far.
Buy and load one for yourself right after arriving at the airport to save time and energy on having to purchase a single journey ticket everytime you ride a train or a bus.
You can reload and use these cards to pay on stores and pretty much everywhere else.
When we ran out of cash in Pyeongchang because we thought we could fully utilize our cards, we were able to convert the loaded amount to cash in a convenience store.
These cards can do wonders for you.
5. Make Sure You are Connected
My second visit to South Korea made me rent a pocket WiFi on my next trips as it was quite an adventure getting lost in the outskirts of Suwon and not knowing exactly where I was with no English signs around.
6. Invest in good shoes.
It took me three trips with really tired and hurting feet to finally decide to invest in good walking shoes and training shoes later.
I walked around Hong Kong in elevated slippers and around South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia in canvass shoes. My feet just hurt like crazy. I bought a good pair of shoes at an outlet and I never felt tired walking all day moving forward on my next trips.
7. Be a responsible traveler.
“Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.”
A clichè that I hope we don’t only understand but also do wherever we go.
8. Be prepared.
Know the weather forecast on your time of visit.
Don’t get caught offguard with how very cold or hot another country can be. Bring the right set of clothes that matches the climate during your visit.
Know the costs and save for your trip.
Nothing beats the rewarding feeling of taking a break by reaping fruits of your hardwork. On the other end of the spectrum, nothing also quite beats the worries of having to pay for accumulating debts when you have other obligations and bills to pay.
Let’s be financially well and do things that come with a price only when we are fully able.
Know where and how you’ll spend your time.
Researching to come up with an itinerary to follow makes me manage my time well as I look forward to visit beautiful places and experience new things.
It’s more exciting to spend the day at your own pace knowing well how to go around, how long you’ll travel from one place to another, and when the best time is to visit the places you want to experience.
That’s it! If you ever get lost, just ask around. Make friends, do what the locals do, and respect a country’s culture and etiquette. I’ll stop right now or this travel tips list will get longer. Enjoy traveling!
Natasha was a full-time banker who got to take a breather when she traveled. She loves the outdoors so much. She is currently in the UK pursuing postgraduate studies!