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  • 11 Ways to Stay Within Your Budget While Traveling

    These parents share tipid tips that worked for them while on a family vacation
    by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua .
11 Ways to Stay Within Your Budget While Traveling
PHOTO BY @Halfpoint/iStock
  • Have the family vacation of your dreams without turning it into a financial nightmare. Follow these travel tips and hacks from parents who do a lot of traveling to make the most of your savings!

    Transportation

    Avoid taxis

    “In first-world countries like Singapore, subways and metro transit rail systems are convenient, safe, and spacious. Strollers can easily fit inside with enough room for other passengers. Best of all, there’s no need to deal with traffic. Another option is riding public buses, which follow a set schedule and are clearly marked according to destination, so it’s easy to choose which one to get on.” - Simon Chavez, bank manager

    Take advantage of shuttles

    “Many major tourist attractions also offer free ‘hop on, hop off’ shuttle services, with pickup points at different places in the city. You may have to make reservations a few days or weeks in advance, but if it’s free, it’s worth the extra step.” - Melody Valpaiso, web developer

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    Look for tourist information booths

    “They have a lot of these in Europe, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. They’re like small offices or kiosks where the staff can give you information and advice, explain maps, and even assist you in booking tickets or transportation — all for free!” - Francis Zialcita, airline reservations manager

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    Accommodation

    Stay in business hotels

    “They’re clean and comfortable sans the frills, so they’re cheaper.” - Stephen Bautista, registered financial planner

    Look beyond hotels

    “[Also consider] dormitory-type hostels and family-owned bed-and-breakfasts, both of which are cheaper than staying at a hotel. If you’ll be spending most of your day outdoors and sightseeing, you don’t really need to splurge on a fancy room. A place that is safe, with clean bed sheets and a decent bathroom should do.” - Anne Dimacurawat, travel agency owner

    Food and beverage

    Bring [or boil] your own drinking water

    “A bottle of water may not amount to much, but if you’re traveling with your family and you multiply the number of bottles each member consumes in a day, that could be costly. Plus, unlike here in Manila and most of Asia where service water is free in restaurants, dining establishments in Europe and other parts of the world will charge you for every glass. It’s best to bring your own portable electric kettle and water bottles. Just boil the tap water from your hotel, refill your containers, and you’ll be good to go.” - Denise Soco

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    Buy your own breakfast

    “If hotel breakfasts are optional and not included in your room rate, good for you. The food will most likely be expensive and the restaurant crowded, and you’ll have to make it early to make it on time. What I do is the night before, I head over to the nearest cafe or convenience store and buy whatever we need for breakfast. The next morning, we eat at our own leisure in the comfort of our room.” - Mom Anne

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    Sightseeing

    Walk instead of taking transportation

    “In most European cities, the tourist attractions are close to each other, so research ahead of time, plot where you will go on a map, and set out on foot. It’s a great way to experience the city. You might even stumble upon interesting sights, such as neighborhood street fair, a concert at the park, or a quaint hole-in-the-wall cafe that you would most likely have missed had you taken the bus instead.” - Mom Anne

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    Buy theme park tickets in advance online

    “Not only is this cheaper, but it will also save you the hassle of lining up with all the other tourists at the tickets booth. Many major tourist attractions also offer a variety of packages (e.g., two-day pass, unlimited rides), so it will be best to plan your trip carefully and decide what you and the rest of the family would want to do.” - Dad Stephen

    Shopping

    Pay in cash, not with your credit card

    “The exchange rate is not favorable, plus it’s harder to keep track of your expenses if you don’t see the money leaving your wallet.” - Gennifer Tapiador, bank manager

    Avail of tax refunds

    “Many countries offer tax-free shopping, meaning you can refund the value-added tax (VAT) or goods  and services tax (GST) that you’ve paid for certain purchases as long as you present your receipt at the airport. Countries that offer refunds include Singapore, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and most of Europe.” - Mom Anne

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    Take advantage of shuttles

    “Many major tourist attractions also offer free ‘hop on, hop off’ shuttle services, with pickup points at different places in the city. You may have to make reservations a few days or weeks in advance, but if it’s free, it’s worth the extra step.” - Melody Valpaiso, web developer

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