08 September 2014

8 facts of budget travelling for indonesian youngsters

hola!

so i've been travelling (well, backpacking), mostly on holidays, since 2010. first trip was to phuket, thailand, with my ex-roommate, using the money that i won from one competition (yuhu!), where i lost my passport, so in the end i kind of gotta depend on my parents' money, at least to fund the charge of losing my passport (yes, they CHARGE you for losing your passport pfft) and the return ticket --' not a good experience. this very moment i'd like to share 8 things people mostly don't know about travelling (uhm, as indonesian youngsters) because all people see are only the updates in facebook/path/instagram/whatever social media where we travellers can give a little bit of 'eternity' to the trip lol.

ps: this is only based on my experience, so you might find some of these facts are quite personal. but generally speaking, these things did happen ;)

1. budget, budget, budget!
frankly speaking, budget will always be one of every traveller's first world problem. your budget has to cover your bed, food, and transportation from the beginning to the end. plus, we indonesians still have that habit of converting the currency to IDR so we sometimes do have to facepalm ourselves how much money we could've spent if we 'only' spend our money locally. as a newbie traveller, i prefer having a fixed itinerary way loooong before the trip begin, so i could have the best deal, especially on the transportation mode. for instance, by booking a train ticket on high season (christmas+new year) about 3 months before, i could have a 25 euros deal rather than the crazy 60 euros++, if i bought it only weeks before. this normally happens equally to the plane and bus tickets. and you gotta be discipline with your itinerary! as for your bed, up to now i haven't got any couchsurfing experiences, yet. but if you have friend/relative/whatever in your destination, you would save a crazy amount of money, trust me!

2. planning, planning, planning!
in order to save budget, we gotta plan everything right. this means spending time on googling, reading guide books, even buying them when you didn't find any at the university's library. yep, we gotta deal with all the 'must dos' and 'must sees' on those sites and plan a very tight itinerary for us to carry on with, of course, the best deal. the craziest itinerary i've ever made was to go back to paris from romania as cheap and worthy as possible. the plane fare from romania and bulgaria (which was the closest from romania) was crazy high, while there was a very good ryanair deal flying from thessaloniki (greece) to brussels charleroi (belgium). so i decided to go around and stay one night in sofia (bulgaria), continued by train and bus to thessaloniki airport the next morning, flew to brussels charleroi, slept on the airport, went to the city with the earliest shuttle, went around the city a bit before continuing my way to paris with the cheapest bus in the modern western european history: megabus! believe it or not, this crazy long way 3-day ride was the same price as the 2-hour flight from bucharest (romania) to paris! and i got to see another 3 countries, wohoo!

3. perfect timing is everything
i can say that i was lucky choosing france as my postgrad destination. not only that it is located in europe (i chose it purposely, go schengen and EU territories!), but also it gave me a crazy amount of holidays! in total, with a reduction of my 2-months internship, i've already had like... 2,5 months holiday!! no kidding! 1 week for all saints, 2 weeks for christmas, 2 weeks for winter break, 1 week for spring break, and the resting 1 month of the summer break. but this amount of 'not working days' won't be happening in my 2nd year of study, no more holidays except a short 4-day long weekend and the 2 weeks christmas till you finish your freakin' thesis! that's why, you really gotta make time to plan the itinerary, buy the tickets, maybe make some extra money, and of course, enjoy your life!

4. visa. yes. VISA.
the biggest obstacle one indonesian youngster would always find: VISA. yup, say it again: VISA.  ok, we have the ASEAN community that will always accept us without visa, but come one, who doesn't want to taste the sweet picturesque view of europe, south america, even rusia?! our neighbours, the malaysians, are crazy lucky because they don't have this freakin' restriction. so do the south koreans, japanese, europeans, americans, you name it! so yup, being a student in the EU territories would be the most AMAZING thing that would ever happen to one wanderlust! but this ain't no one night miracle either. i'll give you the details on the next fact.

5. best way to do it: scholarship!
scholarships are plenty, but the good ones are not. me myself i've struggled for about 2 years with all the obstacles and challenges before i could really step into this blue continent with LPDP scholarship on my back. and that 2 years means school and scholarship hunting, language practices and tests, and also, making money in between. well people can easily say that "yeah yeah you're lucky that your parents can pay your first months before completely having a scholarship" or "yeah yeah you're lucky that your scholarship doesn't make you wait till you suffer and die slowly." man, i've searched and read all the scholarships that you could've possibly think of. chevening, total, erasmus mundus, orange tulip, nuffic neso, aminef, fullbright, ads, that new zealand scholarship which name i forgot, eiffel, BGF, kuota scheme in Norway, DIKNAS, DIKTI, you name it! and yes, LPDP was THE ONE that suited me the most, and by the grace of God i got it. and i can return all my parents' investment FULLY for those first months :') ps: personally i kind of avoided those last 2 scholarships, as i already knew the fact before it's blown up currently. that's why, you really gotta choose your scholarship wisely.

6. you want a scholarship? you'd better work, b*tch!
first thing first, you gotta get to the best undergrad school as you could. most scholarships only consider people from universities that are widely known all over indonesia when you say the name/abbrevation. enough? NO. you gotta make a minimum 3.00 GPA (ahem, which was no easy game at my institute --') even 3.20 or 3.25 in some crazy demanding funding bodies! that's it? NO. you gotta have certain language skill: a minimum 550/580 TOEFL or 6.0/6.5 IELTS, and sometimes, like what i did, a certain level of another foreign language. these scores requires TIME as you gotta spend hours, days, weeks, even years practicing to have them! and money. to pay them. even if you didn't pass. finished? NO. you gotta have one certain and strong motive to be an awardee. some of the people i know have the same destination of life as mine: to teach. some others have a company in their mind, a will to be in the governmental bodies, even to represent indonesia in international bodies such as the UN. these drives must be proven with our achievements that are written in our CV and recommendations letters. so yeah. these are what we, at least i, have been through in order to get the funding.

7. lower your everyday lifestyle.
what would you expect when you already spent 500 euros/month to pay your rent, another 200 to pay your food, and maybe another 100 to pay your transportation. oh, and don't forget your monthly simcard payment, internet, social expenses, etc. etc. no. you wouldn't save any. well maybe some 100 euros/months if you're lucky. so what i did was, choosing the right place to learn, which is not a big city, so i can spend less than what i got from the funding. but still, it gotta have the best education i could get. and also, i gotta make my lifestyle as down to earth as possible: cooking my own food almost everyday, living in certain type of lodging, less social expenses. you can please yourself by buying good cup of coffee and good cooked food sometimes, but come on, those cups of starbucks and buckets of KFCs won't get you anywhere!

8. this one is VERY indonesian. you gotta have 'oleh-oleh' budget.
'oleh-oleh' means souvenir/gift/food/whatever you can buy to share your 'travelling experiences' with your relatives/friends. and this thing, ain't cheap at all. first thing, we might love to send postcards to our loved ones. then some fridge magnets. then some local jewelries. then some local snacks. then some t-shirts. then some... argh! we indonesians respect our family A LOT, and whenever we came back from one travelling, even if it is the lowest budget travelling, people will easily ask you "where's the 'oleh-oleh'?" or "you went that far but didn't buy me anything?!" or even "pfft. so you're a great person now. how arrogant." and believe me, it's completely NORMAL to say those to your relatives in indonesia. so your 'oleh-oleh' budget MUST differ from your travel budget, as it sometimes might take about 1/4 to 1/3 of your WHOLE travel budget (if you have a big family like mine, hukhuk). it was freakin' hard for me at the beginning, but when i thought about their smile and pride while wearing a pair of earrings i bought somewhere while telling people "oh, this is from my niece, when she went to (insert country). she still remembers me! what a great girl" i say to myself "come on gab, those earrings means nothing compared to the love that they gave you all these 23 years and counting." so yup. deal with it. indonesians.

okay, that's all i can share! i hope it opens up your mind how travelling is not as 'easy' and 'happy' as it seems. like other hobbies, it requires dedication, in the form of time, energy, and money. when you have all three of them together at the same, or at least similar time, JUST GO! because when you decided to 'just go,' congratulations man, you've just went through the hardest part ;)

2 komentar:

  1. Been reading your posts for quite a while, Gab. Glad to know you're doing swell!

    BalasHapus
    Balasan
    1. ATHAAA! aih jadi malu #apah! hahaha gw juga jadi baca blog lo lagi gegara lo comment hehe.. ntr gw link klo udh ketemu laptop/pc lagi yah!

      Hapus

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