“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
– Pat Conroy
True to the quote, I wrote this post in a sleeper bus on our way to Mui Ne from Ho Chi Minh City. I can’t get my mind off our next adventure.
Many of my friends wonder how I get to go to places they dreamed about. I guess most of the time, the wrong impression gets in the way that I can afford a lavish lifestyle and have riches to spend on luxury travels. In truth, i still work an 8-5 job (9:30-6:30 in my case) or more and rely on holidays and weekends and paid leaves. I get stressed out most of the time, yet it keeps me sane that I have a journey to look forward to at the end of the month.
I still have bills to pay and savings to worry about, but all the extra funds are well budgeted for emergency, insurance, investments and leisure. We live and breathe an epic quote, we gotta work hard and travel harder. Hard earned money deserves some conversion worthy trip, yes? How about Indonesia, Iran or Vietnam, for your one-day millionaire shenanigans? We go distance by our own pockets to relieve ourselves from the hectic city life.
So what’s the secret in saving for our next dream travel destination?
These tricks aren’t new to backpackers but for most, it’s quite a challenge to do. Skipping luxury in exchange of bunk beds, bringing own food to save from eating out. Packing light and ditching extra baggage. No new gadgets unless necessary. Have an eye for discount vouchers and ticket fare sales. Delving into an endless quest of finding cheap yet cozy accommodations. Spending a lot of nights researching for tailored fit itinerary.
The cheapest air ticket I bought for international flight cost less than $15, ticket for two, Manila-Jakarta-Manila. While the cheapest accommodation is free, if you can count staying in with relatives during travels. Or if paid, I spent only $6 for double room in Bohol. See how cheapskates work? Aha, that means more shopping money. $$$.
Say I’m planning a trip to London and I’m positive that my application for visa will be approved, I’d probably rummage over the net for air ticket sales at least 3 months prior to my travel then I’ll get a better chance of scoring cheap flights. A good planning period though is between 6 to 8 months before departure date. That way, you have enough time to save for the trip and a lot of time to think about the route you want to cover up, say a country side tour from Oxford to Cambridge to Chartwell. Time is your only limit yet you’re not confined with tour arrangements if you do navigate by your own. Most people don’t mind getting lost, it’s where your own adventure happens.
Next to worry is accommodation options in London. Since I am saving money for tours and souvenirs, I will definitely skip high priced hotels. I can do without bathtub, TV and aircon in the room since I will not actually dwell in the place for long and would be out for most of the time. No use for those add on luxury, if what my heart longs for is to admire the skyline beyond the confines of the hotel windows.
Hostels are also popular among hardcore backpackers, if you don’t mind sharing toilets and common rooms. B&B’s or Bed and Breakfast are almost as pricey as hotels but offers a little more personalized service. It is a top choice for honeymooners and couples who desire for cozy staycation. Another less expensive option is rental homes which allows visitors to stay in London’s stylish homes while the owner is out of town. Rentals from onefinestay.com allow travellers to stay somewhere with a homely feel, with the services expected from a hotel. I have yet to try one, but I definitely would want to stay in a home away from home, and a local to show me around is a big plus.
In the end, all that matters is if you were able to make the most out of fun and adventure without sacrificing your convenience.