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16 March 2009

Shoestring Tips : How to be Cheap!

By Yvonne

It’s not that I am cheap, (ok well, maybe a little cheap) but the current economic situation has made me pull the break on frills like say…oh, I don’t know…an automated letter opener, a golden encrusted dog collar and maybe even an underwater handbag.

We’re all being careful with money these days. We may have all indulged in extravagances in the past but now we’d have to tighten our belts a little and get creative.
For travel bugs who still enjoy seeing new places, cultures and meeting new people, how about these to keep the bank accounts intact and make the heart happy?

1. Travel in groups
Share the cost! You’ll be amazed at how much you can save (not to mention try) when you have a group of a travel buddies to share the price. Imagine ordering dinner, you’ll get to try different dishes at the cost of one. One extra head is also one extra ‘talent’ within the group to haggle prices down.

2. Research, research, research…
Look out for interesting and FREE places to visit. Opt for places that do not charge an entrance fee. You’ll find that markets, museums, beaches, places of worship and parks are usually free. Malls of course are also free provided you have the will power to resist…

3. Meet locals
I once met a guy who went to Thailand and spent most of his time in the temples and its premises teaching young children how to draw. He had with him a few boxes of crayons and paper, where he distributed to kids.
Make friends with the local community, and hear what they have to share. They
often have very interesting tales to tell.

4. Invent your own games
This is one of my favourites. I love challenging my friends to loony, wacky things when we are on holiday like running a short distance race or saying hello to a stranger. You can do almost anything and even set up your own rules. Do a mini Amazing Race and battle your friends to various check points with the least amount of money.

5. Carry bottled water
”It’s only a dollar” you may hear yourself say. We all know how dollars build up and then you’ll be thinking, were did my money go? Be prudent, bring along a container and fill it up with plain water before embarking on your day out. Most hotels and hostels provide boiled water free of charge when requested.

6. Pick up new skills
Did you know that a compact camera can do a lot? Try different angles and wait for the weather to change for different effects on the picture. Taking up photography is just one of many new skills you can hone that doesn’t cost a thing. You can always learn a new card game or try your hand at art (draw portraits, paint buildings – the works!) or even do origami with leaves/grass.

7. Observe nature
You’re sitting by the beach and you notice that there are little crabs running about you. Ever wondered what they are doing or what the balls or sand by their homes are for? Observing nature is free and is something anyone can do almost anywhere. If your curiosity is not quenched by just watching, look for free WiFi and Google it!

If you love having fun for free, share your tips with me! :-)

  • Calvin

    Enjoy the local foods the local way (Which usually means roadside stall la!) It’s usually a fraction of what you pay in the nice restaurant.

    Research on public transport. They are usually much cheaper than taxi, or organized tour. Eg. from Khaosan to MBK is only 7baht vs 100 baht.

  • Yvonne

    Hi Calvin,

    Thanks for the tips. Got to agree with ya, eating at roadside stalls are just as yummy and half the price!

    transportation – when it is near, get some exercise and walk :-)

  • Calvin

    I used to like to go to the business district of a city, just sit and see people rush to work. Is like showing off: Hey, I don’t have to work today!!

  • Yvonne

    lolz… the perks of being on holiday!

    I usually see thought bubbles coming out from thier heads. Friend and I love guessing what strangers are thinking about while commuting.

    oh and one more tip… buy in groups/bulk – higher chances of getting a much better deal!

  • Loke

    Check out those tourism brochures, guides and ask at official tourism offices for vouchers for free or discounted entrance fees, meals, souvenirs etc. Also, ask ticketing counters at zoos, museums etc for possible discount for travelers (passport as proof).

    Sometimes, you may even be able to bargain for cheaper room rates at family-run motels, hotels, chalets, cottages during non-peak seasons. This happened to me before along Great Ocean Road and I got a really good deal!

  • Yvonne

    free maps from tourism offices! :)

  • Nickee

    Lovely pictures especially the Taiping lake and the bowl of noodle. Yum!

    I agree with tip #1, travel in group because travel agency tend to penalize single travelers by charging them extra for hotel room. Not all people choose to travel two-by-two like animals up the Noah ark?

    But anyway, I’m going to travel in a group of six this April, I hope I can survive the drama to blogged about it! XD

  • Yvonne

    thanx! i love Taiping :-)

    two can be a little quiet..think four is a good number for travel

    oh can’t wait for your blog post! good luck!