Karina Chronicles

How To Travel in Style Without Breaking the Bank

Prime Sarmiento is a journalist, solo female traveler and budding mediapreneur based in Southeast Asia. She is the author of an inspiring e-guide for solo female travelers which you can download for free at solofemaletravel.net.

I’ve been traveling solo for the last ten years and  learned that a modest budget won’t cramp my style.  So whether it’s a working or leisure trip, I made sure that I’m comfortable, relaxed, happy and pursuing my passion. Here are some tips to keep cheap and chic while traveling.

1. Avail of low airfares
Go to sites like Kayak.com, Hipmunk, Momondo or Bestfares so you can compare prices offered by different airlines.

Get a credit card associated with a frequent flyer program so that you can shop while accruing miles without even flying!  Of course, you can also stick to budget airlines.

2. Don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep  and a hearty breakfast
Couchsurfing is the cheapest  and free option – but you can’t do this if you’re not comfortable staying in a house of someone you hardly know.   For discounted rates, book a hotel/hostel room through sites like Agoda, Trivago, Hostels, and Booking. You can even read client reviews so you’ll know what you’re getting.

If you prefer homestays, book a room at airbnb.  You’ll get a chance to know and live with the locals, get a cheap room, and enjoy the privacy of a paying guest

3. Travel to cheap place at a cheap time
The world is a big place and there are tons of  fun and cheap cities out there. If you want a bigger bang for your buck, try traveling to South America and Southeast Asia  – these two regions offer great beach resorts, trekking sites, interesting museums and galleries, fabulous cuisine and shops to satisfy the fashionista in you.

It’s also advisable to travel at low seasons  – like autumn/winter in Europe –  prices of hotels and airfare go down during this period. And whatever happens, never ever travel during Christmas, Thanksgiving or Chinese New Year.  You’ll have to deal with steep prices and the hassle of huge crowds at the airport.

4. Bargain and bargain hard
If it has a price, then it can be negotiated. Don’t settle for the price quoted; you can always get a discount if you ask for it.  The best time to do this is during the off-season (see tip # 3) when customers are few and you’ll probably get what you want.

5.  Splurge on things that you love
And scrimp on everything else. After all, you travel to enjoy yourself! If you love to eat, then allocate a big portion of your budget on food or taking a cooking class. If you want to shop till you drop, then perhaps you can just stay in a cheap hotel or stay for free at a friend’s house.

Best of luck with your trip!

image by shannon pix, for sale here

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