16 Shameless Money-Saving Tricks

A Guide for Solo Backpackers

One is never too young or too old to start travelling the Philippines and the rest of the world. Aside from the thrill of learning about different cultures, meeting new friends and seeing the famous landmarks, shopping and eating is definitely on top of my lists. However, I’m always on a budget and I don’t want to break the bank — so, I’m on bare-backing-back-packing!

Here are the 16 shameless money-saving tricks you should know!

GO ON FOOT so you get to interact with the locals. Sometimes, getting lost in a certain place can be an adventure itself. You never know what surprises you might encounter while wandering.

BE A TRAVELER and not as a tourist. Take in the local scene and opt for a home stay experience. Surely, you’ll get the cheapest food and board while living with a friendly host family who can serve as your local guide.

WORK TO PLAY. On your next business trip, arrange for a later return flight and squeeze in an extra vacation leave for a day or two. Just enjoy the preferential rate at the hotel you’re staying in and use the time to build a good relationship with your business contacts. Locals love to show off their town to visitors. Remember that.

PICK YOUR PARADISE. Before booking a room, find out whether you will be spending a lot of time canoodling in your hotel or sight-seeing outside. If you will be mostly outdoors, skip the five-star service and go for a budget digs like hostels or pension houses which are safe and more affordable. If you’re on a group, consider renting a house instead of a room — it’s cheaper and more private.

THE SENIOR ADVANTAGE. Travel with an elderly. Imagine the gazillion other things you can do because you saved 20% from food, lodging and even entrance fees! PUVs are also discounted, so traveling long distances should cost less than bringing a car.

GETTING TRAVEL INSURANCE especially when traveling abroad. Check your credit card company or airline if they offer this. Make sure you choose the one that allows you to avail of a medical assistance without cashing out in case it’s not part of your budget. Bring lots of medicines!

WEAR YOUR HEAVIEST GEAR like jeans and cardigans on travel days, so you don’t have to worry about fitting them in your suitcase. Of course, you don’t want to pay the extra kilo for your baggage, right?

GET A REWARDS CARD. Use a travel rewards credit card to earn points and miles that can be redeemed for free travel.

COUCHSURF. Sign up to Couchsurfing or Travbuddy to get a free place to stay and get to know locals with hospitality networks. I haven’t tried this. However, most of my friends have Couchsurfing accounts and they said it is very helpful. I will sign up very soon!

JOIN FACEBOOK TRAVEL GROUPS to score the cheapest travel deals and promotions being offered by travel and tour operators. Join a group, meet new friends while enjoying the nature. Usually, these groups offer a day hike or out of town activities at a reasonable price.

TRAVEL AT NIGHT to save an accommodation. You can sleep on the bus while heading to your destination.

USE THE FREE DAYS. Visit museums or tourist sites during free days or when they are discounted. Check out their websites if they offer free days or discounts.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS to receive updates especially when Cebu Pacific, Air Asia or Philippine Airlines has on-going promo. Special promotion codes can save you money and you can also be notified of last minute deals.

WALK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Walking is free. Papayat ka pa! 

BRING YOUR OWN FOOD or eat the street food! I guess, this is self-explanatory, right?

CREATE A BUDGET. Track every single purchase or payment to your Excel or on your Notepad. As much as possible, save the 30% of your monthly paycheck for travel. If you can’t do it that much, then start saving just the 5% of your monthly paycheck.