I have been traveling for several years now. Be it solo, with a buddy or in a group. I am not a travel veteran nor an expert in all its aspects but I have pretty much learned many things that even novice travelers can call as considerable tips.
1. Plan and Book Ahead. For longer and out of the country trips, I book my air tickets at least six months to one year ahead. I take note of seat sales which has become frequent nowadays. Even if that means waking up at 12 AM during the middle of work week. I was able to book uber cheap round trip tickets in the past.
2. Prioritize. And this I mean in the places you will go to. A place may have many touristy sites you’d like to experience. But it really is up to you what you prefer visiting. If you are a foodie, why not focus on the still unheard of hawkers’ stands in Hong Kong. Love museums? Take note, entrance to the National Museum is free on Sundays! You can still soak up all the wow-this-is-cool allure of a place you have never fully explored without breaking the bank.
3. Prefer Hostels/Backpackers’ Inn. Sure, it is no doubt that you’d want to lay down on softly-covered beds and treat yourself to a hot shower after a full day of exploration. Pampering yourself can still be done in other ways though. Not only that choosing hostels or inns are cheaper, but culturally, you will be more than satisfied. Mingling with people from other countries is an experience in itself. While instead of going out and buying that 2-dollar latte from the local cafe, you can always strike out a conversation with them. Look for lodgings that has a common/eating area and expect a new friend request in Facebook in no time, complete with a selfie and all.
4. Refrain from (over) shopping. Of course, you can still stash a few hundreds for this therapeutic activity if you really want to. But if you were really in for the local life, and you can find these stuff back at home, skip shopping if you can. You can instead reward yourself with a locally-made beautiful trinket or just be content with the pictures you have taken and be humbly amazed at how your photography has evolved over the years. The pictures are one, if not, the best travel souvenirs there is.
5. Eat local. If you do not have any qualms, religious/dietary restrictions or do not have a sensitive stomach, you can save a lot more by trying out local dishes. Not only you are knowing what their culture ‘tastes’ like, you can finally veer away from the unhealthy fast food most of us have grown accustomed to back home.
6. Mix & Match. In travel, I avoid buying clothes. What I do is I research on the local customs and try to blend in. I did this in my visit in India and not only did I feel safer, I also felt respectful towards their culture. Bring clothes that you can mix & match without letting the world know that you have worn that skirt a few more times. For girls, simple accessories helps too. A scarf or shawl can double as a sun protection and act as a cover-up which you need in entering some religious sites.
7. Take Note of Your Expenses. For long journeys, I write down every amount spent. Though a bit tedious, I find this very helpful when it comes to monitoring and budgeting my travel funds.
There may be a few more practical tips I can add to this list. But these are the more frequent ones I do when planning my travels. For the not-so-rich like me, every Peso/Ringgit/Dollar/Baht/Kyat matters. I see to it that my budget is stretched to the fullest so I can visit as many places I can.
Happy traveling everyone!