Saturday, May 9, 2009

Travelling on a Shoestring?

They say frugal is the new chic.


I'm still trying to improve when it comes to my spending. Sometimes, I 'discipline' myself too well that at the end of the month I am so pleased with myself that I think feel I deserve a reward, and end up splurging anyway. Duh. Bad huh.

I usually set a rough budget of how much I want to spend during my travels, both in cash and credit (coz I don't want to carry too much cash).

Flight-wise, I take Air Asia, for these simple reasons : cheap seats and the frequency of flights. MAS, there are rare occasions where they are cheaper than AirAsia; diligence is needed to scout around online.

One major change in my travels is my choice of accommodation. In my previous lives, working in a hotel meant I know where to stay and the best rates that I can get being in the industry and all. And I was lucky enough to have work-related travels to places like Bangkok and Bali, allowing me to stay in the finest hotels, accorded with VIP service :). 

(I must say, the best hotel that I have stayed in is the Plaza Athenee, A Royal Meridien, Bangkok. Excellent, excellent, excellent!)

Now, with more time to travel and having to do so on my own expense, I have become more adventurous with where to stay and have researched and googled and explored on what else is there on offer for someone with a certain budget for lodgings. My so-called 'international travel' is limited now, hence my main destination is KL, which is good enough for a short getaway, and an excellent gateway if you wish to jump off to another destination.

When in KL I no longer spend much on my room; I have discovered a reasonable, centrally located place to stay in Bukit Bintang for only RM30 per night for a dorm bed! I almost get a heart attack everytime I compare that with how much I paid per room per night for my previous travels. Gah. I feel like vomiting blood.

I've also reduced using taxis where I can. I take the monorail. I walk from Pavilion to KLCC and back the same way. For secondary locations I make it a point to try out the bus service. Nothing like being on the bus to feel the vibes of the place and observing the daily lives of the locals.

Food - I am not one for luxurious dining all the time anyway so this has not changed much. My simple rule is : I eat what I feel like eating. If I want to treat myself to ribs at Tony Roma's, then I will. Chicken salad at Chilli's? Okay. Nasi Lemak Jalan Alor? Yummy and filling. Popia from Food Republic? Even better coz it's nice and light. One more rule : no fast food, please. I'd rather have a roti canai and teh-o-ping.

I've stopped buying souvenirs and gifts for people too. I limit myself to a few stuff only for the family that can be shared. Coz I've seen how such little gifts are not appreciated. What a waste of time and money. I'd rather you buy me some foodstuff I can eat :)

Well, maybe I should give it more thought, this being frugal thing.

If it's the new chic, what was the one before?


  1. When I'm in KL I (now) put up @ Tune Hotel downtown KL. Cheap, clean, and very convenient. Not if you're traveling with a party though. Things could get kind of ugly with such a small space.

    Plus, food-wise I try to always get the "local" stuff straight off the streets. They are usually cheaper and a lot more tastier!

  2. Hi Charlene, I wanted to try out TuneHotel KL, but, ermm, heard some spooky story, so maybe not when I'm on solo travel :)..

    Yupp, local food is the way to go for me too.

    Thanks for stumbling by!