Travel Hacks: How to Save Money While Fueling Your Wanderlust

Raise your hand if you feel an uncontrollable itch whenever you see a photo of a beach or a mountain on Instagram!

We all wish we don’t have day jobs but have enough money to travel regularly. Yes, we often daydream about far-flung destinations while sitting on our office desk, and the next thing we know, we are on the computer, booking a flight. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with fat wallets and loaded bank accounts—and not all of us are full-time travel bloggers who quit their jobs to travel the world, either.

I share with you this passion (and frustration)—that’s why I came up with this list. Below, I have 5 tips on how to save money while fueling up our wanderlust. Like you, I don’t know if I can quit corporate life, but I do know that I want to travel more—thrice a month, please?—so I hope that this list will help you plan out your trips and see more of the world even with an 8-to-5 job.

1 | Plan ahead.

While I’m a pretty spontaneous person myself, unplanned weekend trips almost always guarantee more expenses than vacation plans that are mapped ahead of time. Unless it’s just a quick weekend drive to Tagaytay or Rizal, you need to book flights and hotels in advance to get the cheapest, most economical rates. 

Most of my out-of-Manila trips are booked a year ahead, and 90% of the time from seat sales. Stalk all the major airline companies on social media to be up-to-date with all their low-fare promos. It’s a combination of persistence and luck—I got my Batanes flight last year for only PhP2,500, two way. Not bad, right?

Most hotels—especially big ones like Henann Resort in Boracay—would also do their flash sales during peak seasons (i.e. summer), and their rates drop by almost 50%. These promotions last for only a few days, so you better keep an eye (and your data on!).

2 Buy coupons from cash-saving websites like ShopBack.

Nowadays, there are a bunch of websites selling awesome travel and dining deals already—but none of them enables users to save more money through a cashback the way ShopBack does.

I discovered this website when someone from their team emailed me, telling me about their amazing concept and offers. Aside from providing shoppers a list of the best deals and discounts from hotels, airline companies, restaurants and a whole lot more, ShopBack rewards its shoppers with cashbacks—or essentially, a rebate, which is a percentage of what you spent to purchase a particular item via their website.

It’s pretty easy to navigate the website. Just select a category from the drop-down menu on the left, and from there you can see all available deals related to fashion, travel, food, and many more! So whether you need a new pair of shoes for trekking, a place to stay for your upcoming trip to Palawan, or a new camera for taking nice photos in Hong Kong, there’s something for you at ShopBack.

Great discounts + cashbacks = double savings. Pretty cool, right?

3 Invest in high-quality travel gear and gadgets (and buy in bulk when possible).

There’s nothing more wallet-draining than buying new shoes, power banks, or cameras every two months or so because your old stuff simply gave up on you. If you’re a frequent traveler, invest in heavy-duty luggage, backpacks, shoes, and gadgets that will last for more than a year. Remember, they are your companions in all your trips, so why not get first-class ones? After all who wants a companion who quits easily?

When shops are on sale, it’s also better to buy in bulk—not necessarily in tens, but .. it depends. For example, if shirts are on sale, I buy two or three pieces instead of just one. Same thing goes for shoes, especially if I know that I will be using them for a long time. I do the same thing for my personal care products—I hoard soaps, face products, and body washes for future use.

4 Travel with friends to split expenses.

Unless you don’t have any friends or just a hardcore solo traveler, you will agree that traveling with your best buddies is always more fun—and cheap. It took me years before I found the type of people I like to travel with (no-drama friends who like splurging on food and partying at night, to be exact), as well as the ideal number of people in a group (4-5; beyond that, it’s chaos). Stick with them as much as you can, especially when booking flights!

If you’re a couple, I’d hate to say this but it’s much more expensive to travel in twos. Certain activities—for example, the 4x4 ride in Paoay Sand Dunes—require around 4 people, and if there’s only 2 of you, you have to split the cost of 4 among yourselves. Not to mention splitting transportation costs for land trips. Family rooms and dorm-type accommodations are generally also much cheaper than the lowest-priced hotel rooms and suites.

There are a lot more expenses you can divide among yourselves to save money: alcohol, snacks, water activities, and many more. Plus if you are traveling with friends, you can save on rental and shopping fees as well as someone from your group might have a small cooker, a tent, or hiking shoes you can borrow, instead of buying new ones or renting.

5 | Be creative and look for alternatives.

Indeed, necessity is the mother of invention—and this is also true when it comes to saving money. We become more creative than we normally are just to hold on to a few more bills.

Since we love to drink, we always buy our own bottle of tequila or whisky and start drinking in our hotel before heading out to party. That way, we don’t have to buy too much of the exorbitantly-priced cocktails, plus we are already tipsy and sporting that booze-induced confidence to meet new people, LOL.

Since we love to eat, we shop for snacks in advance especially for longer road trips. This saves not only money but also time—and prevents us from impulsively buying stuff we see during stopovers.

Since we love culture, we try to eat where the locals eat and make sure to sample the local dining scene. It’s just stupid not to eat in a hawker when in Singapore, or try durian-based products when in Davao. You can dig even dipper and eat in a local’s house for a fuller experience!

We love buffets, but when our hotel booking doesn’t include breakfast, we eat stuff we can buy from the grocery.

The above things are simple ways but they indeed enable us to save a couple of bucks, which could be spent for something we love more, or for our next trip!

ShopBack is a shopping site that lets consumers pay online while enabling them to refund a portion of their payments in the form of savings, or cashbacks! The shopping site has established itself in Singapore and Malaysia and is continuously expanding to the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. For the best discounts and deals from over 300 stores, visit

What other travel tips and saving hacks can you share?

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