By Alya Nadiah
Would you like to travel when your bank account doesn’t seem to agree? No worries! Nowadays, travelling is accessible to anyone, including students who are lacking in finances. By following these tips, you can save money and acquire even more interesting experiences.
Travelling is always about exploring an unusual place. To learn new things, new culture, new language and to meet new people. It does not only apply to visiting a foreign country, but it’s also a journey to a place out of our comfort zone for leisure, a business trip or simply visiting a friend. It’s what we all enjoy. I went to the United Kingdom a few weeks ago. Apart from visiting my sister who is currently studying in Sheffield, we went to a few other places.
But what about low cost travelling? When we talk about travel, a tourist must be thinking of spending a lot on the journey, accommodation, meals and others. There are, however, so many ways a traveller can cut costs.
Don’t just think of staying in hotel
Seasoned travellers know that accommodation incurs a lot of expenses. Definitely, hotel is not the only place to spend the night. It is difficult to find a hotel that costs less than RM100 a night. Other choices of accommodations can be AirBnb, hostels, a friend’s house (applied to a destination where there’s an acquaintance), house swap, where you share an accommodation with other travellers, and a couchsurf, for people who would not mind sleeping on a couch. There are websites which connect you with people who let a stranger crash on their couch for a few nights for free. Other alternatives are renting a room in groups or putting up at camp sites for some adventures.
As for me and my family, during our last trip to London, Manchester and York, our accommodation in all these cities were in AirBnb. In London, we managed to rent a three-room terrace house for just 34 pounds. The house was not completely comfortable but it did not really matter to us since we were only planning to spend the night in the house. The location of the house is quite close to a tube station and a halal restaurant.
Taxis are expensive, consider other means of transport
What about transportation costs? This is the easiest to cut costs. Instead of taking a taxi or uber to a place within a short distance, consider walking while enjoying some fresh air and getting yourself mesmerised by the scenery along the journey. Moreover, you can take a train and experience the local culture. Taking a taxi should be the last resort, if it is too late at night, or it might be too dangerous walking in an unfamiliar place.
Since our house is within walking distance to a tube station, we took the underground train to almost all the tourist destinations in London – the London Bridge, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Circus. Besides, it is easier since almost all the tourist spots in London are connected to the tube stations. We never took a taxi because we realised it is quite expensive, and walking around London is really a good experience to venture.
Bring along your food
Before starting your journey, no doubt breakfast is essential. Travellers can cut cost by bringing food you cook at your accommodation rather than eating at a restaurant for lunch or even for dinner. Other options can be buying some bread or kebab at local stalls.
As an Asian, wherever we go we just can’t miss taking rice. Nowadays, you can find instant biryani rice, simply pour rice into a bowl and place it in a microwave oven for five minutes, and there it is ready to be eaten. For a traveller, it is not recommended to cook a meal that might need more than 30 minutes to serve because when you are in a foreign country, you want to spend valuable time outside. To save more, you can also buy an instant pasta, cook it, and bring it along with you. My family did this because it is not easy to find halal restaurants in the middle of the city, and if there is one, it is expensive.
Buy air tickets during promotion
As for air transportation which brings you from one country to another, airplane tickets are now available from the cheapest the company could offer, depending on the promotion and the time you buy the tickets. Airplane tickets are cheaper if you buy a few months ahead before the trip. Air Asia often gives a promotion where tickets can be bought at a price below RM100.
Since Pound Sterling’s (GBP) currency is now quite high compared to RM, we can’t afford to spend much on shopping for self or for souvenir items. Despite a low cost vacation, I had so much fun and the experience I gained is really “an expensive one”.
After all, travelling is about seeking for new experiences, new cultures, new people, and to enjoy the creations of Allah SWT. Moreover, travelling is openly and highly encouraged by Prophet Muhammad SAW.***