travel budget

Malaysia, Singapore, Travel Budget

Travel Budget: Singapore and Malacca Birthday Trip

I honestly wasn’t looking forward to tallying up my expenses for my last trip, yet at the same time, I was eager to see just how much damage I did. And if I really spent enough to buy the 50mm f1.4 lens I wanted. I didn’t, but a couple more thousands and I could’ve bought the 35mm f1.8. I’m just consoling myself that at least I’ve finished my Christmas shopping in one go and bought some things I really wanted for myself.

Also, I realized how relatively cheap Malacca is for a daytrip from Singapore. The drive from the island to the heritage town is more than double the time it takes to drive down from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca, but it’s a better alternative to Johor Bahru, where most Filipinos go for a visa run. For about Php 2,000, you can do this day trip from Singapore. That already include the bus (public bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru, domestic bus from Larkin Terminal to Malacca), admission fees, meals and transport within Malacca. Melaka is compact enough that you can just walk to see the main attractions. I’m definitely heading back there when I go to Singapore.

Oh, I’ve omitted my personal shopping expenses from this travel budget. It’s certainly not for public consumption.
read more

Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Southeast Asia

A year ago, Robert Alejandro and Jetro Rafael shared their experience of traveling through Southeast Asia on a shoestring budget: 9 countries (including China, Macau and Hong Kong), 3 months, for only Php 50,000. I was amazed at this figure they presented, because I was able to easy spend roughly the same amount in just one country for 14 days back in 2006. Right at that moment, I decided to give Southeast Asia another go, and really try to stick within my budget this time.

Though my trip was only through five countries for one month, I aimed for the same amount, knowing that I do have a habit of overspending. Well, as I finished adding up the travel expenses from my June backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, I realize that traveling on a shoestring is not for me. Well, I still travel on a budget, but I do believe in indulging once in a while.

So how much did I spend for one month in Southeast Asia?
read more

Cambodia, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Traveling solo is really more expensive than traveling with a group. Unless you find other travelers to share the cost, you’ll be paying big money for the guide and transportation. When I was doing a rough draft of my travel budget, I knew Cambodia would be the most expensive destination, that’s why I made it my first country to visit.

I managed to keep my expenses lower than my estimate, but it’s still quite high, in my opinion. But in the end it’s a pretty good investment, as the Angkor Wat is really worth the visit.

All the costs listed in here are those that I inccured within Cambodian borders, including the plane fare.
read more

Preparation, Wandering thoughts

Ways to save up for your dream holiday

Traveling is sadly, an expensive hobby. Unless you’re filthy rich, if you want to pursue this, you need to save up a lot of money to sustain this lifestyle. Though airfare has gone down dramatically over the years, and more budget-friendly transport and accommodation has sprung up, traveling can still take a chunk of your savings. Weekend trips can be as low as Php 2,000, but do it every weekend for a month, that adds up to Php 8,000 per month! The figure goes up dramatically if you plan on traveling overseas, and even more so if you plan to travel for a long time.

But as I, along with thousands of Filipinos who’s been bitten by the travel bug, it is possible, even on a third-world salary. Here’s some tips that I personally practiced to keep me traveling:
read more

Hong Kong, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Hong Kong

I’m back from my trip to Hong Kong over the weekend. Since I always keep track of my expenses for every trip, the budget is always the first entry to be finished.

This Hong Kong trip was certainly one of the cheapest trip I’ve had lately, specially since it was an international trip (coming close to Batanes and Boracay in terms of value). I’m quite proud that I was able to stay below my budget. I even have extra money! I guess the perk about being so exhausted is that I’m not in the mood to buy anything.

I was so used to seeing prices in US, Australian and Singapore dollars that when I see the prices in Hong Kong, it all seemed expensive to me. The average rate for US$1 is Php 48, AU$1 is Php 30.84, and SG$1 is Php 31.42, while HK$1 is only Php 6.3.

Another thing about this trip was that we avoided the usual tourist hotspots. We did go to the Temple Street night market, but that’s about it. Our major activity was watching the local festival, and hiking on the Wilson Trail in eastern Hong Kong.
read more

Palawan, Philippines, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Coron 2008

This trip to Coron was certainly one of the cheapest trips I’ve ever had. Of course, it helps that we got to fly for free with Seair, but living in the island is surprisingly cheap. The expensive part of the trip are the island hopping expenses. Apart from the cost of the boat rental for the day (which is actually quite a bargain, since the boatman also acts as your guide and they can even cook your lunch for you), you also have to pay for each of the places in your itinerary.

The cheapest part about this Coron trip was the food. Coron town is pretty small, and there’s plenty of cheap dining options. If you’re not to picky, there’s plenty of carinderia near the market that serves pretty good food at affordable prices. If you love fresh seafood, head on to the market to buy shrimp for as low as Php 180 for a kilo, and a huge lapu-lapu for Php 140. We treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at La Sirenetta after a long day of island hopping. While the food was great, the service was disappointingly slow. This dinner was our most expensive at Php 380 per person.

All in all, Coron was worth every peso. If you’re in a tight budget, it’s best that you travel with a group who can share your expenses. There are places in the island hopping circuit that doesn’t charge for admission: I hear the CYC island is free, and the Twin Lagoons is included in the Kayangan Lake entrance (there are probably more, but I’m too tired to Google. Go research in Owen’s Coron site). My personal favorites among the places we visited were Banol Beach and Kayangan Lake. To further lessen your costs, pitch a tent instead of staying at hotels and resorts.

For the most amazing three days with such a fabulous group of people (not to mention the most spectacular photos), Php 4,593.00 is a bargain.
read more