Have you ever wondered how commoners can afford to travel abroad? Well, it’s no longer a secret.
Traveling abroad can be very pricey, more so if you’re going to stay in a 5-star hotel, eat in a fine-dining restaurant and shop a designer brand. But as we want to experience and embrace other cultures, most of us learned to brush off the luxurious part of traveling. Let me share how we made it attainable in Hong Kong.
Take a discounted airfare
Traveling overseas is even more affordable due to airlines’ promos. Cebu Pacific in particular has regular seat sales; you merely require subscribing to its newsletter or following its social media assets to get regular updates. We were able to reserve a round trip ticket at Cebu Pacific from Clark to Hong Kong Int’l Airport for less than 4,000 pesos, with baggage allowances.
Low cost lodging
Accommodation is a big chunk on your travel budget. We were just so lucky to be invited by a friend to stay at her home in Lamma Island. The house has four rooms, but only two are open for guests. We just paid 712 HKD each for 3 nights with free access to her kitchen for breakfast. Our sweet host even made lunch for us on our second day. The house was clean, spacious and organize, contrary to the room we booked via Airbnb on our last night.
We reserved a room at Rejoice Motel via Airbnb for a relatively cheap rate as it was part of BPI and Airbnb promotion. We attempted to reach the accommodation provider the night before our check-in date, planning to ask if we could have an early check-in, but the one who answered our call could not speak English. Hence, we strolled and shopped in the city with our luggage. It was 4PM when we decided to go there. The location was not that hard to find, it’s beside Bread Talk along Nathan Road. Only in our dismay, the room was really small, bed sheets were still unchanged, comforters were filthy, hair strands everywhere and the bathroom was dirty. We all felt cheated. We decided to spend our day outside and leave the premise very early. The owner, however, replied to our email explaining her side, but it was too late.
I would still suggest staying in a decent budget hotel if you can still afford it; otherwise, it is advisable to read reviews before booking online.
Food in Hong Kong is pretty expensive. Price of a decent meal is ranging from 30 to 100 HKD. In order to save some cash, we shared two big meals instead of buying individual meal. You may consider Café de Coral, a fast food restaurant located in IFC mall. They serve good food with very reasonable prices.
Here comes the train
MTR is the most well-known mode of transportation in Hong Kong. As usual, the fare isn’t cheap. I would suggest getting an Octopus Card at the airport for 150 HKD upon your arrival. You can still add value to the card in some MTR stations.
Hong Kong is known as one of the best shopping spots in the world with reasonable prices, variety of products and good services. If you’re wondering what to buy in Hong Kong, these are clothes, cosmetics and gadgets/electronics.
Harbour City, Landmark Square, Pacific Place are some places to go when buying designer brands, while Stanley Market, Temple Street Night Market, Ladies Market and Mong Kok Market are perfect when shopping for affordable goods, souvenirs and unique items.
I’m not an expert when it comes to foreign exchange, but I would suggest to bring USD when traveling to Hong Kong, although most Western Union branches change Philippine Peso to Hong Kong Dollar. Foreign Exchange rate at the airport is a little lower compared to Western Union located at the World Wide House.
If you’re planning to visit Hong Kong Disneyland, try to buy tickets at the airport. Some travel agencies there are selling tickets for discounted rates. We availed our passes for 415 HKD only. It is advisable to bring biscuits and bottled water inside the park. Water fountains can be found everywhere.
I availed an international roaming service on my prepaid Smart SIM for 100 pesos. I just sent ROAM ON to 333 an hour before our flight. There are lots of WI-FI spots in Hong Kong, so I would not recommend to get a local SIM card, unless you’re in a group that might be separated from time to time.
Set aside pre-departure expenses such immigration and terminal fee, food allowance and taxi fare.