Why the AirAsia Asean Pass is Perfect for a First Time Visitor

Planning to travel to Thailand, Vietnam, or Indonesia? Read Why AirAsia Asean Pass is Perfect for a First Time Visitor to SEA. #explore #wanderlust
Last year, during a craving for adventure, I hopped on a flight to Singapore knowing jackshit about SEA. I had added it to my bucket list years ago and completely forgotten about it. Until (there’s always an until 😉) my parter in crime asked me to meet up with her during her world travels.
Generally, my protocol is to wing it when I get there. but since I only speak English and a decent amount of Spanish, I was making myself slightly nervous. Having a history of getting myself in pickles, I decided to look into a little something called AirAsia Asean Pass.

What is the AirAsia Asean Pass?

For about 120.00 USD, you are given 30 days to complete 10 credits worth of travel. What does that look like? Kuala Lumpur > Chiang Mai > Bangkok > Ho Chi Minh City > Bangkok > Penang. The majority of flights are 1 credit, although some longer routes, like Bali to Bangkok, are 5 credits. We were able to do Sing(1)> Kuala Lumpur(1) > Bali(5) > Bangkok(1) > Chiang Mai (then took overnight train to Bangkok to catch flight to)> Phuket (1)>Bangkok (1).

Over 140 Routes between Kick-Ass Destinations

The worst part about it was simply not having enough time! Bali? Philippines? (Am I saying this right?/A place I can’t yet pronounce?) The pass allows you plenty of options, with multiple cities in each country. Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, and Cebu are a few of the cities that are available, but you can find a full list here.

Narrows Down the Playing Field.

Some travelers like to do a ton of research before visiting a new destination… Some prefer to arrive with no expectations. Being part of the latter group, I had no preference for our SEA trip, other than some white sand beaches and an elephant or two, of course. If you start looking on Pinterest for “Southeast Asia”, you might become slightly overwhelmed with the options. I sure as shit was! The destinations on the AirAsia Asean are all easy to deal with as a first time traveler and offer plenty of options. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos are some of the most popular countries for backpackers.

Forces You to Plan Ahead

As I’ve mentioned before, my fear of commitment has bitten me in the ass before. This is especially true for flying, when a slight fluctuation in tickets prices can destroy a simple budget. Since you cannot change tickets after 14 days prior to take off, we had our itinerary set. This also gave me the opportunity to narrow down the search on a massive, unique part of the world. I was able to find the water ceremony in Bali,  an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, and comfy hostels. Even the most spontaneous of travelers can benefit from a little structure.

Things to note

You HAVE to choose your destination two weeks out, or you lose the points and thus the chance at an adventure!
 
You do not have to depart from your most recent arrival. Which means you can use other forms of transportation to explore, like overnight trains and busses.
 
There may be airport taxes. Imagine my surprise to see an email 24 hours before my flight that says I owe taxes – 142,900 IDR 😱 But don’t fret! The most I spent was 10 USD, the equivalent to 142,900 IDR. Don’t let the exchange rate scare you.
 
If you are planning on checking a bag, consider paying ahead of time to avoid extra fees. From our experience, different airports had different protocol. But, it was almost always cheaper to pay online instead of at the airport. You are allowed one carry-on up to 7 kg as well as one small personal item.
Some destinations are more popular during the summer months, like Bali and Phuket. You might want to base your travels around your most desired destination and go from there. Every place is worthy of a visit! 

How to do San Diego on a Budget

What to do in #SanDiego on a budget. || #travel #explore

San Diego is one of those cities that begs you to get out and about. Whether that be chugging beers at a local brewery or doing yoga on a SUP, San Diego has a lil something for everyone. Enjoy everything the city has to offer without breaking your budget, every day of the week.

 

Monday – Muscle Up at Wonderland

With full windows overlooking Ocean Beach (and the pier), Wonderland Ocean Pub is one of the best spots at any time, day or night. Enjoy their happy hour until 6 nightly, and then gorge yourself on their half-priced mussels and oysters until 10:00 p.m. Did I mention live music?

 

Tuesday- Take in the Marine Life at La Jolla Cove

A little different than the beaches; you actually walk down into a cove, which ends up combating the wind when it gets too strong. Look above and you’ll see tall, thin palm trees swaying, below you’ll see seals sunbathing and splashing in the water. The best things in life really are free.

 

Wednesday – Wander Around Balboa Park

Everyone’s secret pride and joy. As one of the biggest parks in the country, it’s a good place to go when you want to get a lost in this little city. Immaculate Spanish architecture and bubbling fountains lead into the Japanese Tea Garden. Don’t miss the free Botanical Building with innumerable orchids and other exquisite blossoms.

 

Thursday – Three Miles Later…

You’ll be so happy hiked to the highest point in the city, Cowles Mountain. The distance is perfect for a morning or sunset hike, and should be hiked with caution during the heat of the day (12:00-2:00). Dogs are permitted, and Smokey had a great time. Bring water, nuts, and fruit to enjoy at the top. Once you get up there, you won’t be able leave.

 

Friday –  Free Your Mind

With a mediation class at House of Yogi San Diego. Friday evenings at 7:15, join like-minded individuals find relaxation. Not to mention, when a class normally costs $18 for a drop-in, I don’t feel guilty for doing a $5-$10 donation class. Especially when the studio is as adorable as this one is AND the results are phenomenal.

 

Saturday – Shop Like a Local

The Little Italy neighborhood is a treat 24/7 but Saturday is when the show is really on. Vendors line about 8 city blocks from 8:00 a.m-2:00 p.m. selling everything from live uni, to flowers, to handmade jewelry. Don’t feel bad about taking the free samples, you probably won’t be able to walk away! Find the details here.

 

Sunday – Say Goodbye to the Day at Sunset Cliffs

San Diego has plenty of little tucked away beaches, but Sunset Cliffs is the one you really can’t afford to miss. Bring two blankets- one to sit on and one to wrap around you as the sun goes down. The most beautiful colors tend to appear about 20-40 minutes after sundown, so stick around! *Recently, there had been an issue with cracks appearing on the cliff, the sure to avoid any areas that are marked off.* 

What is your favorite city to visit on a budget? Should I have included happy hours?

Ballin’ on a Budget: Street Food

This week in the Ballin’ on a Budget series, we explore one of my favorite traveling treats- street food! 

 

If you want to travel the world on the budget, get used to the magic of street food. The highest cost after boarding is usually food, but don’t let that stop you from trying the local delicacies! In many places, the street food is actually more sanitary than restaurants. You can also get by on countless cities on less than $5 USD (Thailand, most of South America, Bali, etc.) Even if you aren’t in a traditionally street food city, like Bangkok, keep your eyes open for food trucks and hawker stands. Here are 8 cities across the world known for safe, delicious street food, what to eat, and how much you should pay in USD.

 

Singapore

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($3.00) Kaya Toast & Kopi  A tasty treat made from toast + kaya jam (egg yolk, sugar, coconut milk, etc) You’ll need to Kopi (creamy coffee) to dip it in.

($0.50) Satay Chicken, beef, and all types of pork (pork belly anyone?) for a ridiculous price.

($3.50) Laksa Oh sulty food, how I enjoy you so. Curry, coconut flavors, chili, and rice vermicelli served up steaming hot.

Tip: Only eat satay and skewers from from stands that appear fresh (the skin of the meats will look moist). 

 

Rio de Janeiro

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($0.50) Pastels A deep fried pocket stuffed with anything from shrimp, to cheese, to heart of palm.

($.50)Pao de Queijo A small cheesy roll with a crisp outside.

($2.00) Açai na Tigela If you ever get sick of the fried cheeses, refresh yourself with the original Acai bowl.

Tip: Don’t miss out on the world-renowned churrasco style just because of a budget! Look for carts that have the same type of skewered, shaved meat throughout the city. 

 

Bangkok

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($2.50) Kuay Teow Also known as boat noodles, by far my favorite meal possibly in the world, it’s very similar to Vietnamese pho.

($2.50) Pad Thai I will never be able to eat American pad thai again. That life-changing.

($1.00) Mango Sticky Rice How could something be so simple, extremely flavorful, and healthy? With chunks of mango, white rice, and coconut syrup, that’s how.

Tip: Get your drinks to go in a plastic bag, they even do great iced coffee! 

 

Berlin

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($2.50) Currywurst Part sausage, part Indian delicacy.

($2.00) Soft Pretzels  The perfect, salty partner with beer.

($3.00) Doner Kebab One of the most popular snacks and for good reason, meat is carved off of a vertical rotisserie and served wrapped up to-go.

Tip: Don’t try to keep up with the beer drinking without eating the right (meat and bread) food. 


Istanbul

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($0.50) Simit Tasty sesame covered bread, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

($0.50) Midye Dolma Ooo tasty tasty tasty cinnamon-y, garlicly little stuffed mussels.

($0.50) İçli Köfte A deep fried bulgar ball stuffed with ground beef, lamb, goat, or camel (yes, really) and spices.

Tip: Tea is life in Istanbul, enjoy it with every meal!

 

Soeul

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($2.50) Dukbokki Extremely popular, spicy rice cakes.

($0.50) Fish Cakes Easily the cheapest food you can find. Drink the soup (it’s free!) to cure a hangover.

($1.50) Gimbap A lighter alternative to the typical fried street food, think of a California sushi roll stuffed with kimchi and vegetables.

Tip: Head to the Noryangjin Fish Market for the freshest fish in the city.

 

Mexico City

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($0.50) Street Corn Covered in mayo with pepper, pretty hard to beat.

($0.50) Fruit Bag  A bag of fresh fruit doused with pepper, expect sliced pineapple, mango, and papaya.

($0.25) Churros The perfect texture of crispy, crunchy, and soft, these little treats are covered in cinnamon sugar

Tip: Better safe the sorry in Mexico City, only eat at stands that look busy and drink from unopened bottles without ice. 


Mumbai

Don't bust your #budget while traveling abroad! Follow the Ballin' on a Budget #travel series || a tipsy gypsy life #wanderlust 

($0.25) Samosa Deep fried pillow of peas and potatoes.

($0.50) Pav Bahaji Spicy mashed vegi’s served with butter soaked buns.

($0.50) Falooda Part milk-shake, part party in your mouth. Basil seeds pop in your mouth and vermevilli noodles slip around. It’s delicious.

 

Where is your favorite place to eat street food? Is there anywhere you won’t eat street food?

Ballin’ on a Budget: How to Start Saving for Your Big Trip Abroad

 

When you plan an exciting trip, especially your first one abroad, you might get overwhelmed with the idea of being able to afford it. The best offense is a good defense and I would definitely agree with that when it comes to travel. By starting early and keeping calm, you’ll have enough money saved up in no time.  Follow these steps on how to start saving for a trip abroad.

But before you start…

Think about what you exactly want and why you want it. Are you planning a 6 month backpacking trip through South East Asia? Do you want to meet new people or spend time roaming alone? Do you want to be able to rave in Ibiza or will you be living off of street food?

Audit yourself.

This should be the FIRST thing you do when you get serious about saving. Track what you buy for one day, one week, and one month. Take one or two items you normally purchase in each category ($150 in nails? Daily Starbucks? ) Be sure to set yourself up for success! Canceling your gym membership when you have never once done an in-home work out is NOT a wise choice. If you pay for cable but only use your Netflix, consider saving a couple hundred doll-hairs on that.

Hit up happy hour.

If you just love going out to eat and drink, that’s understandable and luckily still doable while planning a trip abroad. I’m a HUGE fan of the happy hour at restaurants because you get to munch, drink, and socialize.

Utilize your student ID card.

I can’t tell you how many wonderful things you can get discounted with a school ID. Not only great for clothes and traveling, but even things like Photoshop.

Let your friends know.

My friend told me a tragic saving tale of going to brunch on Miami Beach with a friend and friend’s friends. She was trying to keep it light, one mimosa and a salad. But when the bill came, since everyone was drinking a lot they decided to split it. Let your people know that you have big dreams and plans and they’ll do what they can to help.

Don’t be bougie.

Do you really need the SMART water when the local brand is 50% less? Not if you want to travel the world! There is no reason to be bougie, generic brands are 99.9% of the time the same exact thing as the “name brand” especially home items.

Minimalize.

Go through it all, keeping a close eye on clothes or electronics. A $400 camera isn’t really worth that much when you never use it. Sell it and save it. As for your closet, keeping minimalistic clothing (neutral colors with a few pops of bright) will keep you from buying more clothes because pretty much everything matches. Stick with whites, blacks, greys, and the color pop of your choice.

Get serious with rewards.

They are there for a reason! CVS and Walgreens constantly battle it out for the best coupons and rewards. The cards are free AND they give discounts on wine often 😉

Buy in bulk.

I’m not saying you need to buy a 6-box pack of quaker oats, not at all. But staples like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and paper towels are items you use every day so why not save time and money?

Consider applying for a grant.

If you are a student, or seriously involved in a profession, you can win scholarships for a living stipend to study abroad. Keep in mind you should be very involved in the field you are applying in.

Write before you buy.

I’m SERIOUS about this one. It’s okay to need a coat when winter rolls around. It is not okay to buy the same boots in three colors, mittens and gloves, and ear warmers. Especially if you live below I-10. Making a list before every trip (grocery, mall, Walgreens, etc.) will save you from impulse buys.

 

 

Where will your savings take you? Do you have any savings tips? 

Ballin’ on a Budget – European Hotels Edition

Welcome to my new series “Ballin’ on a Budget.” In this weekly series, we will discuss how to spend and how to save while traveling. This week we focus on hotels in European cities, an often tricky and disappointing adventure. 

Want luxury for less without breaking your #budget ? Follow the series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

Whether you’re a backpacker looking for a night of rest and relaxation or a well-seasoned traveller who knows what she wants, we all occasionally desire a little luxury for less. Also known as “ballin’ on a budget”, the following properties make sure you feel pampered without the “I-just-blew-my-budget-on-the-second-week”guilt. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.

 

Barcelona, Spain
Hotel Market, Carrer del Comte Borrell, 68, 08015 Barcelona

Under $100.00 USD
Book here

In one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, Hotel Market is a romantically urban gem. Every room has a full bathroom (bubble bath anyone?) and drumroll please…. AIR CONDITIONING! Spending a hung-over July morning in Barcelona fanning yourself out of hotel the window is just cruelty, trust me, I’ve been there. You don’t even have to stray far from your temporary home, the restaurant is exquisite and the bar is even better.

 Want to ball out without breaking your budget? Follow the travel series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #tips Oh yeah, free Wi-Fi

 

 

Praha, Czech Republic
MOODs Praha, Klimentská 2006/28, 110 00 Praha, Czech Republic
Book here

~$80.00-$100.00 USD
Praha, or Prague, whichever you prefer, is a city that doesn’t sleep. Absinthe, stag parties, and decriminalized cannabis adds to the persona. After all that adventure you might need a massage and a nice long bath. Get the best of both worlds (if that’s what you’re into, you little rascal) at MOODs Praha. Want to ball out without breaking your #budget? Follow the series ballin' on a budget || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #tips

Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Boutique Hotel View, Leidsekade 77, 1017 PM Amsterdam, Netherlands
About $100.00 USD
Book here

The perfect blend of culture and craziness, Amsterdam should be a must-see on any traveler’s list. It is one of the more expensive cities, although totally worth it, so accommodation can seem intimidating. This perfectly adorable boutique hotel is a classy little place with an awesome view- make sure to get a room over looking the canals for the full Amsterdam experience. Location is prime, putting you at walking distance of the Museum District and Vondel Park. If you couldn’t tell, Amsterdam is one of my FAVORITE cities that I hope to call home one day 🙂
Want luxury for less while traveling? Follow the series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

Paris, France 
Hotel Mayet, 3 Rue Mayet, 75006 Paris, France
~$110.00- $130.00 USD
Book here
Paris is another notoriously pricey town that shouldn’t be missed. Located in the Saint Germain des Prés district, guests can expect a quiet neighborhood with friendly locals. Each room was colorfully decorated by local the local artists André and JonOne. Besides the decor, a delightful mini-bar (yes, there is a pattern here…) is the star of the room. Free wi-fi and A/C make it that much sweeter.

Want luxury for less in Europe? Follow the series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life

 

Berlin, Germany
Park Plaza Wallstreet Berlin Mitte,  Wallstraße 23-24, 10179 Berlin, Germany

 Under $110.00 USD
Book here

For those looking for less of a boutique and more of a all-inclusive ordeal will love the Park Plaza Wallstreet Belin Mitte. Take advantage of the fitness center because we all know how important staying fit while traveling is. The hotel bar is open until 1 a.m. and room service goes until 11:00 p.m. The menu boasts items such as “fried scallops on mango and papaya salad with cinnamon foam puree.” I’d say you’d be pretty satisfied staying in.

Want luxury for less without breaking your #budget ? Follow the travel series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #tips

 

Do you have any hotel suggestions? How do you stay on budget while traveling in Europe?