Welcome to the latest installment of the "Save, Splurge, Steal" interview series. Getting great value when I travel is always such a fun challenge for me and I love to learn how other people get the best possible experience for their available time and money. I'm asking top travel bloggers to share their expertise and I hope you enjoy their responses as much as I do!
Meet Beth from Besudesu Abroad!
Originally from Chicago, Beth of Besudesu Abroad, got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back upon graduation and is currently living in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel.
1.) How do you save money in order to travel?
I work while I travel. While I like taking shorter trips to places on occasion, what I really prefer is long-term travel to become fully immersed in a country and its culture. I try to spend one year in a country before moving on—although Hong Kong has kept me a bit longer than planned! Of course while I’m living there, I need to make a living, so I've found jobs such as teaching English or freelance writing are perfect for allowing me to travel longer.
2.) Everyone needs to splurge now and then – describe a time when you blew your budget and it was worth every penny.
On our trip to the Maldives, sleeping in an over water villa was definitely not in our budget (honestly, is $1,000 USD per night in anyone’s budget?!) but when presented with the opportunity to do so, we knew we had to make it work somehow. While we did find ways to keep costs down, it still blew our budget but we have absolutely no regrets. It was a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip and the most beautiful country I’ve seen yet!
3.) There’s nothing like a bargain – name your favorite great steal of a deal?
In Asia, I love eating street food to keep costs down, but I’ve found it’s also good to pay a bit more for restaurants that offer “Western portions”. These portions are generally enough for 2 whole meals, so I carry a collapsible Tupperware in my bag and can put all the leftovers in it.
4.) What tips do you have for a traveler to get the best value for their money?
Planning ahead! I've been traveling through Malaysia recently and it’s amazing how many people have come to the hostel I’m staying at, looking to book a room but it’s fully booked. The Chinese New Year festivities have already begun and most cheaper hotels are fully booked for the next few weeks. Even a few people I know didn't plan ahead and are now paying high prices in the only hotel rooms available, where if they had just planned ahead, they wouldn't be breaking their budget!
So make sure to research when you’ll be visiting a country. Are there festivals going on? Is there a public holiday? Is it “high season” for tourism? Taking all of these questions into consideration can help you plan ahead to get more for your money.
5.) Time is valuable too – how do you make every moment count?
Again, planning. No, I’m not one of those people who plan a trip down to the exact minute; I usually don’t even plan things for specific days. However, I do make a note of what I want to see and do while I’m in a particular place. I've met so many people that planned nothing, and that’s exactly what they got out of the trip. They didn't see or do anything, and they ended up leaving disappointed while telling people not to visit that country because there’s “nothing to do”—which was not the case at all!
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Save, Splurge, Steal Interview: WonderfulWanderings
Save, Splurge, Steal Interview: TrueNomads
Save, Splurge, Steal Interview: Tammy and Chris On The Move