Travelling on a Tight Budget – 5 Websites to Help You Cut Costs
While one can scrimp on food, board and luxuries during travel, it is always difficult to do the same when it comes to transport. Of course, one can opt to walk around town or rent bicycles to save costs in a city, but the same can’t be said for intercity or international travel. Flights, railway, public transit – each ticket and pass slowly chips away at your travel budget and your mood. Saving up diligently just to have most of the money spent on transport instead of fun and entertainment can be a huge blow to the enthusiastic traveller.
Thanks to some nifty trends and the Internet, your financial woes can be solved from the comfort of your home. Whether it’s splitting transport costs with fellow travellers or booking railway passes – some of which offer unlimited rides to certain places – in advance, these websites are set to reconstruct your budget so you don’t have to fork out unnecessary amounts to experience a truly wonderful holiday.
1. Expedia – Transport and accommodation under a roof
Expedia is a combination of Agoda and airline websites worldwide. It also has the advantage of being the only online travel agent to provide AirAsia flights (not a particularly big perk, but still a perk). Expedia offers flight + hotel packages, which can help you stay onboard when it comes to planning a comfortable budget. If you’re worried about renting cars from shady shops, Expedia’s got it covered as well – just key in your pick-up and drop-off city, as well as the respective times and your age – leave the rest to Expedia.
Last minute deals are another great feature of on the website – it offers even more discounts on certain flight + hotel packages. The website even offers travel insurance, starting from RM15 for domestic trips in Malaysia, and RM 41 for international areas (prices listed are based on solo travellers). Travel insurance packages for families are available as well. Expedia isn’t only travelling made easier – it’s travelling made cheaper.
2. Compartir – Carpooling redefined
Compartir in Spanish.
It goes without saying that hitchhiking or splitting transport bills definitely helps to relieve transport costs. Hitchhiking, however, poses its own dangers as you don’t know the person behind the wheel. Compartir though, may prove a saviour. Made possible by cities, companies and organisations, Compartir brings together people (with similar interests) looking to share a drive between cities. Best of all, the service is completely free!
Compartir currently runs in over 40 countries. After keying in your departure and arrival address, a route map will appear showing you the expected drive route (if your journey is offered). The website keeps your data confidential to other users, so if other users want to get in touch with you, you’ll receive an email with said users’ details before you decide to connect. Compartir offers its service in several languages, including English.
3. Lyft, Uber and BlaBlaCar – personalised “taxi rides”
A passenger entering a Lyft car, and fare-splitting on Uber.
Offering rides in private cars is a money-saving trend that has taken the US and Europe (in particular) by storm. Lyft, Uber and BlaBlaCar are just a few of the phone apps that are connecting drivers looking to earn some extra cash with those looking for cheaper rides. To hitch a ride, fill in your departure and arrival address, plus the highest rate you’re willing to pay, and the app will link you to your driver, complete with GPS location of the car and details of the driver. Payment modes are either by cash or by automatic, secure charges to your credit card.
Lyft screens all drivers and cars before allowing them to offer services, with a pink moustache to help verify their identity. Uber has an option for a group of friends to split the bill together, so that everyone’s credit card gets charged equally. BlaBlaCar offers a ladies only option for female passengers if it helps them feel more secure. All three apps have a two-way rating system – drivers and passengers rate each other to help operators improve the experience for future passengers.
4. Vayable – Tours with A Difference
If you’re sick of booking tours with travel agencies only to crowd with tourists and rush around to catch the bus, you may want to consider Vayable for your next trip. True to its motto – “Discover and book unique experiences offered by local insiders” – Vayable offers insider tours into the local culture and experiences in (primarily) European and American cities. Themes range from culinary journeys to street art, photography to “alternative” experiences.
Booking is pretty simple – if you see a tour that you like, click on the tour to explore more details, and if you’re pleased with the price, you book through online credit card payment. Tours usually list the price per pax and duration of the tour. Some tours have video verification, and Vayable can give your recommendations based on popularity of tours. Vayable is a great way to cut down on touring costs with valuable insider help.
5. WWOOF – A Trip like No Other
Looking to experience an unusual trip? WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) may very well be your cup of tea. You help out on an organic farm for a period ranging from a couple of days to six months, and your hosts will provide you with free meals and board. It’s a great way to truly experience local, rural life in a foreign country, not to mention picking up some handy foreign language skills.
WWOOF is more of a volunteering stint rather than a trip, but granted it remains a great way to explore life in a different setting. Hosts come from over 50 countries, with different backgrounds. If you’re interested in becoming a WWOOFer (volunteer), you need to register with WWOOF and pay an annual subscription fee of €25, or €35 per family. A picture and contact details are required, as is the same with hosts. Both parties must read each other’s profiles carefully before agreeing on a date and time for the volunteering. After that, it’s mostly travel arrangements, and you’re set for an eye-opening journey!
The next time you’re planning a trip, give these websites a nice browse before you set your mind on cramming in overcrowded buses or straining your leg muscles to save money. Travelling can be a much less pricey affair thanks to these trend-setting websites and the people behind them.
Passenger getting into Lyft car – http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Lyft-for-riders-is-a-downer-for-SF-taxis-3842622.php
Uber split fare – http://www.designasaurusrex.com/split.html