Monday, August 23, 2010

Cheap travel: Tip # 1

The Pinoy Mafia traveled a lot when we were studying in Netherlands. We made sure we could cover as much of Europe as our Schengen visa and allowance would allow. To stretch our budget, we had to get creative with our resources.

So how do we travel cheap?

First tip: BRING FOOD.

Of course, part of traveling experience is to relish the food of the place you are visiting. A country's food carries with it history, culture and society. Thus, to truly visit a place is to eat its food. However restaurant meals are usually expensive. For those of us with limited budget, it was not advisable to buy in restaurants nor even in kiosks every meal time.

So yes, we brought tupperwares of food whenever we travel. And not just any food, but FOOD. Of course, we had the usual cookies, biscuits and chips. But we also brought rice, adobo flakes, pasta! Imagine how funny we looked whenever we go through the airport inspection. We often laugh at our frugality, but we could not care less either. A traveler's got to do what a traveler's got to do!

Our first group trip in Prague, we spent the night before cooking rice and flaking our adobo. The food lasted us around three meals. As we walked around Praha, we stretched our energies with JB's Euroshopper biscuits. Most of us recycled our water bottles and refilled it with potable tap water. That alone saves us two euros plus we pollute the earth less too.

When M, RM and I went to Groeningen using our Kruidvat train tickets (another cheap travel tip!), M packed fusili pasta which we shared. When we three went to Amsterdam to see the "Starry, Starry Night" exhibition, I brought an entire pack of smoked salmon and half loaf of bread which we shared. I just spent on additional coffee to warm myself from the cold spring weather.

The fusili that M brought to Groeningen

Enjoying our meal in the woods of Groeningen.

Having our lunch at Brugges.

And guess what lunch was? Stinky shrimp paste, dried fish and cherry tomatoes.

I am most amused and most proud with the food that we brought along when MT, M, RM and I had our Good Friday visit of Brugges. MT and M are the culprits of that wonderful meal. They brought with them tupperwares of rice, dried fish and shrimp paste. We were asked to bring the tomatoes. Of course, they also brought the complete utensils for our meal.

So there we were along Brugges' river, seated on the benches by the river eating our rice and viand while other tourists were eating their sandwiches and doner. We were laughing at how silly we looked, to be confirmed by the double take or the lingering looks of passers-by. I could imagine what they were thinking, "those people are eating a big meal in the middle of the street! how is that possible?"

Well, trust the Filipino to find a way to save money, use it for travel and still enjoy his rice meal. :P


Ibyang said...

my family also brings food whenever we travel---i agree, that is one of the ways to save. bringing food is advantageous when you have kids around coz they sometimes don't like what the adults ayun instant picnic na lang :)