Traveling is a fun and worthwhile hobby, but let’s face it—for many budget-conscious Pinoys, it can also be quite expensive. That’s why airfare promos get sold out within minutes and travel expos get thousands of attendees. Still, even with discounted tickets and rooms, you may end up going over your budget if you’re not wise in both planning and spending.

For budget travelers who want to get the most value from their hard-earned travel money, here are a few tips.

Stay at a Pension House

If you think an Airbnb is cheap, you probably haven’t booked a room in a pension house yet. Pension houses are perfect for fuss-free travelers who don’t want extra amenities like a gym or pool and simply need a clean and comfortable place to stay. Places like Ong Bun Pension House in Iloilo even offer rooms that have either air-conditioning or a fan, plus a host of other creature comforts. This way, you can further lower the cost of your accommodations.

Find a Place with a Kitchen

It might feel counterintuitive because you’re on vacation, but cooking some of your meals can help cut down your expenses. This is especially true if you’re traveling to a place where food is expensive or if you’re staying for a week or more. Additionally, for long travels, you may also want to find a place where there’s a washing machine and dryer. Doing your laundry means you don’t have to pack half the contents of your closet and avoid expensive baggage fees.

Bring Your Own Toiletries

Some of you are probably already doing this, especially if you have a fixed body, skin, and hair care routine. However, for the rest who are perfectly fine with just the basics, it’s still a good idea to bring your own toiletries if the place you’re staying at doesn’t provide them. You may end up spending a hundred bucks or more for soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant (and sunscreen if you’re going swimming). Even more so if all that’s nearby is a 24-hour convenience store. Finally, bringing your own personal care items will help reduce trash and wastage.

Prepare a Budget and Itinerary, and Follow It

A set budget and itinerary can help lessen the chances of overspending. An itinerary is particularly beneficial because you can plot out the most cost-efficient way to reach every destination in your list. Make sure to follow your budget and itinerary, but be prepared to adjust and deal with situations out of your control that may happen.

Pasalubong is NOT Required

No matter how much your friends and family may tease you about it, you aren’t required to bring home pasalubong. However, if you really want to buy some souvenirs and gifts, it’s ideal to shop for these near the end of your trip. This is because you’ve had more time looking around and visiting stores, so you have an idea where the most affordable ones are.

Look for Free Attractions

There are a LOT of tourist spots and attractions that you don’t have to buy tickets for. In the Philippines alone, there is a wealth of parks, monuments, and museums that are free of charge. If there are places that you really want to visit, for example, Disneyland, limit it to that specific destination and check if there are coupons and discounted tickets. Moreover, it’s often better to go on individual tours rather than booking from a tours company. Not only do these guided tours cost money, you’ll have limited time to explore since they often have a schedule to follow.

Bring Snacks and a Water Bottle

This is even more important when you’re travelling with kids. Bring some healthy snacks like dried fruits or some trail mix so you don’t end up buying overpriced, overly sweet snacks. Pre-packed munchies can even serve as distractions when you’re on a long, boring flight. Also, don’t forget a water bottle (one per person), especially if you’re going to be out and about for hours. However, it’s also a good idea to allocate some money for local treats.

Walk or Use Public Transport

If the distance is reasonable enough, you can just walk to and from your destination. You might even find neighborhood secrets that you may not have discovered otherwise. For those places that you can’t reach on foot, use public transport like buses or trains. These will almost always be cheaper than hiring a cab. Moreover, some cities actually promote the use of public transportation by issuing cards that can also be used for other purposes, like gaining free access to tourist attractions.

How about you? Do you have tips to share with your fellow travelers? Did you find these tips helpful? Keep these in mind for your next vacation. Your wallet will surely thank you!