January 8, 2014

The Globetrotter

It's 5 o'clock sharp. I turned on the out of office auto-reply email notification and bid goodbye to my colleagues. They watched me left the office with envy.

" How can you afford to travel so frequently? "

That's one of the questions I have always received from them, as well as from my friends and acquaintances.
Most of them concluded that I am a rich man's daughter. Oh well... how I wish we have a money tree at home.

I'll tell you how I did it without spending a fortune. The secret is not so secret la actually.

I travel cheap.

#1 : Fly with Budget Airline
Thanks to AirAsia, I had the opportunity to visit a number of countries: Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Australia, India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Japan... I got most of my flight tickets during their promotion period. Among the best deals I got - RM 655 (return airfare) to Tokyo, RM 557 (return airfare) to Incheon, RM 140 (return airfare) to Hong Kong. I love you long time la Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. hehe..

#2 : Travel Light
Still trying hard to pack my things within 7 kg! But I guess it is necessary now since there's no more 15 kg check-in baggage for AirAsia. 20 kg is a little too much for me, and it cost a lot. Hmmm..

#3 : Stay at a Hostel
Staying in a dormitory is not only cheap, it is also the best place to meet new friends. I book the hostel through Hostelworld or Hostelbookers. There are plenty to choose from. I usually sort the hostels by its ratings, rate per night, location (walking distance to public transport and attractions) and the facilities (WiFi is a must!).

#4 : Public Transportation
Ditch the taxi and hop on the bus, metro, train or tuktuk. Look for the train passes. Some countries or cities have public transport passes that allows you to travel within a specific area for a set amount of time such as the Kyoto City Bus One-day Pass. But it also depends on your travel plan. Sometimes point-to-point tickets are cheaper.

#5 : Walk
Time for some exercise. If the attractions or something is within walking range, and the weather is nice, I'll walk. It's a great way to savour the atmosphere and life of the city.

#6 : Sleep While Travelling
For long distance travel between cities, I choose to travel at night. Night bus or night train. Saves me a night's accommodation and of course, time. Win!

#7 : Pack Own Food
I save some of my money by having simple meals. In countries where halal foods are limited, I bring energy bars, chocolates and biscuits to snack while sightseeing. Then of course there's the beloved maggi. hehe.. Even so, I always make it a point to try local food as well.

#8 : Research
I read the Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and other travel blogs for travel tips and recommendations. Do some homework and plan ahead. Some hotels, transportations and attractions offer discounts if you buy online, book early etc. A little bit of homework can also avoid you from being scammed as well as help in making decisions. I'm really glad I read about the scams in India prior to my trip. Would be cheated by some filthy guys had I not.

#9 : Be Flexible
Planning ahead is important but I still go for flexibility. I do make itineraries while travelling but I always keep my options open. Nowadays I don't pre-book everything. I only book my accommodation for a night, and take it from there. Just go with the flow. This strategy goes back to research where I take note of hostels, transportation options etc before heading to the place.

#10 : Limit the Shopping
Except for souvenirs for myself, family and friends, no shopping for me. Period. (Exception if there is a factory outlet.. haha)

In all seriousness, I did splurge and went over budget at times. Don't wanna be too cheapskate till I forget and miss to enjoy what the country has to offer; the local cuisine, the attractions etc. After all, I don't know when will I have the chance to visit those places again. So it is once in a lifetime experience kan? 


Ernie Khairina said...

whatever it is..i'm waiting for your story!

Kay Haleman said...

Hi Rara,

I've been your silent reader for two years I guess. Haha for this list, I got to agree with you, especially no 2. Last month, I went to Melbourne with 10kg backpack. Nak tak nak I had to purchase 20kg check in baggage. Burn another 10kg..huhu

rara said...

@Ernie: And I'm waiting for your story!

@Kay Haleman: Hi! :)
Tu la... My backpack pon usually around 10kg je. That's why rasa rugi sangat kalau purchase 20kg.

siti masyitah said...

Hi Land Lady, I'd like to ask some question. I am planning to travelling to Malaysia for 4D3N along with my parents at the end of this month.
First day, I plan to stay in KL. Second day, I plan to visit Singapore from KL by bus.
Is it possible to have less than 24 hours visit to Singapore and be back again to KL with the evening bus? Reminding that day will be Chinese New Year, will it be the good time to visit Singapore?
Looking forward for the answer. Thank you in advance :)

aud said...

Hi there ! :)

I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with your list, because those are exactly my reasons too!

I love Air Asia (who cares what other people say esp yang always travel full service airlines)

Travelling light, staying in dorms, walking everywhere where I can, overnight buses, no shopping, simple meals, lots of reading and research - all these allowed me to stretch my ringgits.

I only usually splurge on books if they are cheaper than Msia, and also the last meal/dinner at the destination (just to finish up the local currency too.

FYI I will be referring to your blog for (hopefully) my South Korea trip this year.

#travel safe, #travel happy !


Hafiz Azmi said...

Nice. thanks for the tip. Yeah... most of us travel like that but a more season travelers like yourself can offer a lot more tips than I can ever do as for now. Hehe...

Thanks and please hang out to my humble little blog. Just join the league not 4 month back i think.


Hafiz Azmi
fellow blogger

rara said...

@siti masyitah: it depends what u wanna see and do in singapore. It's possible but a bit rushing la. Shops maybe ada yg close, or they open lambat sikit. Try tengok train ticket. From KL malam so u'll arrive in SG early morning. Ada extra time la

rara said...

@Aud: Hi 5! Hehe.. Yup, i also usually splurge on my last day to finish up the currency. U're planning to go to South Korea? Make it happen! I miss Seoul!

rara said...

@Hafiz Azmi: I'm just a normal traveller. Takde seasoned mana pon :)

siti masyitah said...

Oh yaa... If it'll be a rush trip, I guess I m gonna skip visiting Singapore coz I am coming along with my parents. Wish me luck on my Malaysia trip. Terima kasih. Sukses selalu buat lalalaland :) :)

rara said...

@siti masyitah: yup.. Better stick to KL only. travel with the parents kena style slow and steady. Hehe..

Cik NUFA said...

Hi Rara! ^^

Nice tips! Should be a good reference for me & others as well :)

rara said...

@Cik NUFA: hi! Glad to share :)