Airbnb Review: An Awesome STAY at COMESTAY (Seoul)

It’s always good to save a lot of money when you are traveling. Do you get happier when you spend much on your trip? Of-course you aren’t! We even become the happiest if we’re able to catch a good deal. Isn’t it? But being able to create a one of a kind and memorable travel experience at the same time saving a lot of money, well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Booking hotels ahead of my travel is actually my top priority. I make sure I have an awesome room view, comfy bed, spacious room and obviously those with commendable service. Well, who wouldn’t want? However, each of those means money and it’s a fact. Yet if you are lucky enough, you might can get some great deals and promotions (which most of the time, I do get) Yeeey! lol

But this time round is different! 20161125_155018-01-02120161125_155018-01-011Voila! Enter Airbnb. I pretty guess, everyone knows about it. Who doesn’t?

I was introduced to this get-home-sharing app sometime in 2014. It’s actually a peer-to=peer online marketplace of a home away from home. My first Airbnb experience was in Japan last Spring. Too bad I was not able to blog about my reviews yet and even my whole Japan trip. My bad! I know it’s already a looong overdue post by the time I can publish it but surely I still will do (just hang in there) lol.20161125_152356-01-011So for my recent trip to Seoul, let me share my first ever blog review of my Airbnb experience.

Meet Jinho Kim of Comestay.20161125_172018-01[1].jpeg
It was a pleasure meeting him and his wife. And it is certainly a pleasure to say how wonderful our trip in Seoul while staying in their humble place. It turned out to be exactly as what others say on their reviews.

The living room and dining room were spotlessly clean and comfortable, well-equipped kitchen, too spacious bedroom, 3 toilets, and a roof top to chill. Indeed a well-maintained house. And not to miss the admirable host, Jinho. The kind of host most guest do wish to have. Big thanks Jin! I must compliment on the assistance Jin gave us especially in booking a last minute tour package and shuttle service to visit Vivaldi Ski Resort. Oh my! I guess our itinerary won’t be all possible without his help.20161124_193658-01120161124_193416-01120161125_152009-01120161125_151856-01-01120161125_151856-01-02120161124_193426-01220161125_151810-01-01120161125_151452-01120161125_151730-011My favorite part of our stay was when we had dinner & drinking sesh with the other guests. Jin organized a simple dinner for his guests. He cooked and prepared authentic Korean food for everyone, not to mention their very own KIMCHI which is always present in every meal. (expect it!) lol. 20161124_193412-01120161124_195151-01-01120161124_1953010-011Oops.. It doesn’t just end there, hollah! cheers everyone! Wine, soju, korean beer.. hmm, What else did I missed? haha! If i remember it right, we ended almost 2am. Now spell FUN!

Indeed a one of a kind and memorable trip to Seoul. Choosing Airbnb is definitely a fun way of meeting and knowing locals and other travelers.

20161125_154935-01-01-011Love,

Stylishwanderer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Singapore on a Budget: 6 Important Tips Before Your Trip

It’s no secret that Singapore is an expensive city to be a tourist. Whilst known to be the most prosperous city in South East Asia, it’s the smallest nation by land area. And because of its compact size, traveling around would be so easy without worrying of your safety.20160409_222309-011It is true that costs here are significantly higher than the rest of Southeast Asia, but still a lot of people continue to visit Singapore. Why? Simply because of its unique and top-notch attractions that cater to almost every type of traveler. Certainly, Singapore will give you a fun-filled yet expensive experience but with a little planning and information, you can enjoy this amazing Asian City-state on a budget. Yes, you’ve read it right. Fret not of losing all your cash.

So here are some tips to get the most bang of your Sing-dollar on your trip.

BTW, just so you know, I am a Filipina working and living here in Singapore. Hence, I will be giving Philippine currency alongside every Sing-dollar cost in your SG trip. 🙂MYXJ_20161107024436_save-01[1].jpeg

Let’s start with ACCOMODATION:

1.) Accommodation will be your biggest expense in Singapore. A small private room with en-suite bathroom will probably set you back close to S$100 (3,500Php) a night. Reputable Hotels range from S$200 – S$300 or 7,000 – 10,000 pesos. This also depends if you book beforehand, if not then it can go as high as S$350 over or roughly 12,oooPhp.

In order to have that Singapore budget travel then You Must Settle For Budget Hostels, or if you enjoy backpacking then there’s a lot to choose from for as low as S$20-30 or (700-1,000Php) per night. Of-course not all would want to share rooms/bathroom with other guests so backpacking ideas would be a No-No for some. Aside from booking budget hostels then Airbnb would be a best choice. With Airbnb, you can experience the city like a local, live with a local by getting a room with own bathroom for as low as S$30 (1,000Php). Why Not! And if you plan to stay longer in Singapore or if you come in group, this will surely benefit you by getting 1 whole unit to share.

2.) Eat at hawker centers and taste Singapore’s multi-cultural food. Mains at casual restaurants start at S$12-18 (400-600Php) some of which comes in small share that won’t even feed your hunger pangs. But thanks to Singapore’s abundant hawker centers, eating is as tasty as it is affordable. Hawker stalls are Singapore’s version of low-cost eateries. Just be experimental with foodSingaporean cuisine is a complete delight for every foodie, you would surely savor every bit of the delicious options including chicken rice, nasi lemak, hokien mee, char kway teow, laksa, etc., at a price of S$3-5 (100-180Php).20160807_132419-01120160807_132415-01220160807_132659-011Just a tip:  A long line of people queueing at a stall is usually a sign that it serves good food and is definitely safe to eat. And before I forget, bottled water are too expensive here. Don’t get a shock if you see prices from S$3 – 6 (105 – 200Php) for just a bottled water. Drink tap water instead. Don’t be afraid, it is safe and clean. So might as well get a water tumbler and bring some water with you as you explore the day.

3.) TRANSPORTATION – Use Public Transport. Ride MRTs and buses — This is the cheapest way to get around. There’s no need to hire taxis because Singapore’s transport system is efficient and very safe. One train ride within the city costs between S$0.8 – 2 (28 – 70Php). You can even enjoy touring Singapore and go for unlimited rides with S$6.70 (250Php) per day! Read more from this link EZ-LINK Tourist Pass. And if you’re going to be in Singapore for a longer stay then get an EZ – LINK card (sold at MRT stations), take advantage of lower fares and transfer discounts.

However, when traveling as a group, particularly of 3 or 4, consider taking a taxi for short rides around the city center. The price difference (calculated per person) is not a big wallet buster. Your feet will thank you from the tiring walk to/from train stations anyway. haha! And if you want to experience SG’s Night Life, sadly, MRT is only until 12 Midnight but you can take advantage of the Night Rider and Nite Owl Bus.

4.) ATTRACTIONS – Get a good map and explore the city on your own tour.20150808_180334-011Go on a do-it-yourself (DIY) around Singapore’s different cultural districts if you want to save yourself from expensive admission fees at themed attractions. There are a lot of awesome things to do in Singapore that doesn’t cost a dime. Admission fees may take up a huge chunk of your expenses if you plan on visiting many themed attractions, rides, and museums. But there are also many museums offer free admission. Those that charge entrance fees usually cost S$10 (350Php) or less. Entry to Singapore Zoo is S$28 (985Php), Universal Studios Singapore is S$74 (2,600Php), Singapore Flyer is S$30 (1,050Php), Marina Bay Sands Sky Park is S$23 (810Php) and taking a ride of the Singapore Cable Car to and from Sentosa is S$33 (1,160Php). Plan your itineraries ahead and cluster them according to their locations so you can make the most of your trip.20150808_193023-01120150808_193352-011

5.) Shop SMART! No vacation is perfect without a shopping escapade, especially when you are holidaying at Singapore. But do take note that The best time to make a shopping trip to Singapore would be during the ‘Great Singapore Sale’ which begins mid-year and lasts for about a month. Shopping at Orchard Road, Bugis Street, Centrepoint can be a fulfilling experience for most shopaholics. myxj_20161108225858_save-011With such irresistible options for shopping, you can always go overboard with the budget for your shopping. Not only that, you can get a reimbursement of up to 3% on the Goods and Services Tax, if you shop for above $300 (10,000Php) from outlets with ’Tax-Free Shopping’. You can easily avail this reimbursement by showing your cheques at the airport. And even if you may not be able to make it on a Great Singapore Sale month, don’t be upset for there are still many bargains you can avail especially in Malls with many outlet stores.

6. Night Life – drinking is an expensive activity.20160625_224624-01-011You may want to give your liver a break while you’re here. Singapore’s high tax on alcohol means that drinking is certainly an expensive activity. Bars and nightclubs charge significantly high, so take advantage of happy hour promotions. lol. Yes, there are many happy hour promotions at some pubs. Try to hit the popular watering holes at Clarke Quay from 6 – 8pm to avail such. You’ll still be paying around S$14 (5ooPhp) for a drink, but at least the next one will be free. Female visitors can also take advantage of ladies night every Wednesday, when most bars offer free entry and free drinks until midnight. So ladies you already know when to party. lol! 20160625_221453-011And if you want to experience SKY BAR offering 360 degree view of cityscape at night (which are my stress-relief after a week of work) don’t go for those with Entry Fee, like 1 Altitude. You’ll be paying for S$30 (1,050Php) for the entry that comes with a glass of drink. You wouldn’t want to waste bucks on that, right? So just for a feel though, you can go to Celavi at Marina Sky Park. Drinks are expensive of-course but no one will know if you haven’t ordered any drink. lol. (Just a tip. But don’t be too obvious, okay?) haha!

20151025_002343-011We all know how easy it is to spend money but surely we also don’t want to anyhow spend, isn’t it? If the fear of spending beyond your budget is giving you jitters and preventing you from making a trip, it is time for you to let go off your fears.

In an exciting and vibrant city like Singapore, I bet you wouldn’t want to miss it in your travel lists. You can savor the beauty and enjoy one of the best holidays at Singapore, even on a frugal budget.

 

Love,

Stylishwanderer

 

 

 

 

4 Vital Points for a Cheaper Japan Travel

Japan has an image of being one of the most expensive countries in the world, and if you’re staying in hotels, eating out, and traveling around a lot, then it can really cost you a bomb. It is never going to be as cheap as other destinations and while it may be an expensive country to visit, there are plenty of ways to make this country affordable.

To me, budget travel is value travel. So, I have listed 4 vital points on how you can cut down the costs and make this country affordable:

1.) TRANSPORTATION20160329_165523-02[1]Transportation is one of the most expensive aspects of travel in Japan and this will surely eat up your pennies. The bullet train, while awesome, comfortable, and fast, is not cheap at all. Individual rail journey can cost hundreds of dollars when added altogether. So in order to reduce your train costs, get a Japan Rail (JR) pass.Screenshot_20160709-184104-01[1]I repeat, do get a JAPAN RAIL PASS and here’s my BIG NOTE: You only can buy this pass outside of Japan and only people on a tourist visa can avail this special pass, so purchase this before arriving in Japan or else you will end up spending twice or thrice of its cost. 20160329_171011-01[1]Passes are sold at 7-day, 14-day and 21-day categories, includes all trains (shinkasen, express, local,etc..) and a few highway buses. I purchased the 7-day unli pass even if I was there for 12 days. I regret of not getting the 14 days instead. haha! I bought it at 28,300 yen (377SGD or 13000Php) It’s even expensive than your promo fare flight I guess, and it will make your spending double or triple if you don’t have it.20160329_165425-01-01[1]Many people are put off by the high cost of the rail pass, but if you’re going to travel all the way to Japan, it’s best to have a proper budget in place. So getting this Unli pass is a must to help cut down your expenses. In my case, I traveled OSAKA, NARA, KYOTO and TOKYO. So it definitely was a great deal for me and of course to anyone who wish to explore Japan.

2.) FOOD20160404_124447-01[1]There’s an array of cheap food options in the country, and unless you go out to mid-range or better restaurants, then you may not be able to cut your daily totals down. Sorry, I’m guilty on this. Since It was my first time visiting the country, I went a bit all out when it comes to food. But I never regret that I spent fairly on food than shopping. Oink! haha

20160331_171658-01[1]IMG_20160331_211442-01[1]20160331_171110-01[1]20160331_170714-01-01[1].jpegJust to give you an idea, roughly 20,000 yen (250Sgd/9000Php) for this meal. Yes, it’s crazy expensive but god! I couldn’t find the right words to describe how tasty it was. All I can remember that time was like, sh*t the beef melted in my mouth. haha! That’s how tender the beef was.

You actually don’t really need to spend much money on food. There are many affordable options you can consider to cut your food spending. And if you are there mainly for the picturesque views, breathtaking scenes and magnificent temples and gardens then cutting on your food budget will definitely help you hang onto your money.

So here’s how you can save money on food:

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  • Eat at 100-yen shops – There are many 100-yen shops in Japan, where set meals, groceries, water, toiletries, household items, and more are simply 100 yen (1Sgd/35Php). Of course! as a thrifty shopper I did all my shopping at these shops. haha! Their names vary by region, so ask your hotel/hostel reception or Airbnb host where the nearest 100-yen shop is located.
  • Eat at Lawson (Japan’s Convenience store) – Max Value, 7-11, Family Mart, and other corner stores have a lot of pre-set meals for 100–300 yen. Additionally, supermarkets have many set meals at similar prices too and I noticed, this was even a popular choice for the locals.
  • Cook your food – Apartments that you book from AirBnb and some Hostels have kitchens, where you can cook and cut your food expenses to less than 800 yen (10Sgd/360Php) per day, especially by shopping at the 100-yen stores.
  • Get take-away meals from grocery stores – Cheap and fresh bento, take-away sushi, noodles, and udon are just some of the grab-and-go options available at Japanese grocery stores.

Don’t be afraid buying all the ready to eat food as it is prepared fresh daily in Japan. Even in the supermarkets and thus, they want to sell as much of their bento plates and pre-cooked foods by the end of the day. Hence, there are discounts when you buy late night. Sushi plates, salads, tempura and a lot more to try… all fresh and damn delicious!

3.) ACCOMMODATION

Finding cheap accommodation is indeed a real pain. Try to stay in Hostels or Ryokans, as Japanese hotel rooms are way too expensive. Ryokans are Japanese-style inns which will give you a more authentic Japanese experience as you sleep on tatami matt floor, futons, and some have onsen steam bath. While Hotel offers you the cookie-cutter experience of a room, a few amenities, and an overpriced minibar. Wouldn’t something different be nice for a change? Hmm. then I personally recommend Airbnb.Screenshot_20160709-185335-01[1]It was actually my first time using Airbnb.com and honestly I was skeptical about it. But, I managed to try myself and yeah I strongly recommend it after having an awesome stay in Japan. To be exact, stayed for about 4 locations since I explored Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo for about 12 days. Airbnb is something of a unique experience since you can find an affordable place to stay while having a home-away-from-home comfort in a new city.Screenshot_20160709-185531-01[1]Airbnb is a service in which homeowners rent out a room, or sometimes their whole house, to guests through an online profile on Airbnb.com. Both hosts and guests are reviewed and the service works on a rating system to help ensure that you’re not renting to or renting from someone who is completely crazy.Screenshot_20160709-185716-01[1]Experiences vary though, but generally you’ll be expected to interact with your host a little more than you would a hotel concierge. Some places offer more than just a room; they’ll provide you with breakfast, a drive to or from the station, and gosh! their hospitality is at the fullest, as locals are very warm-hearted that they will take extra mile just to give you a memorable experience. And I can attest because I personally experienced all of those. My Japan travel was made extra special because of my Airbnb hosts. 20160405_100050-02[1]20160405_100050-01[1]I so love their kindness, they are so helpful and very polite. I couldn’t forget that time when I reached Tokyo around 8 in the evening and my host prepared a sumptuous dinner, thinking that I still haven’t eaten from my trip all the way from Kyoto. Touched! Who wouldn’t be? Screenshot_20160709-185058-01[1]And here is my one bit of advice if you decide using Airbnb. READ THE REVIEWS! You will never go wrong in booking a certain place If it has nothing but all positive reviews, go with it. Read reviews and room details thoroughly. It’s not always cheaper than a hotel room either, so specify your budget in the search criteria.

There are literally over 1 million listings across the globe so you have tons of unique options that will make your next getaway unforgettable. Lastly, A word of warning – book your accommodation far in advance of your trip,  at least a month. The best and cheapest places book up very quickly, especially in blossom season!

4.) RANDOM SPENDING

This is the one area people tend to underestimate or rather not budget for at all. You will shop when travelling; it could be for souvenirs, gifts for family, or things for yourself, so you might as well put some money aside. Also, most people who visit Japan will spend on random things they don’t normally spend, you know why? Simply because Japan offers a variety of bizarre stuff, from unique charms to mouthwatering peculiar Japanese delicacies which you might want to bring home and give to your family and friends. So If you’re the type who likes to shop, you may want to budget a little more.

So here’s my final word for a cheaper Japan travel:

Japan can be done on the cheap, but if you’re going to travel all the way to Japan, it’s best to have a proper budget in place. You don’t want to miss out experiences because you didn’t budget properly. And if you are doing it free and easy then ready yourself from all the trip guides you can read online. Trust me, reading other people’s experience through blog-posts will really help you a lot specially on the budget. Didn’t this post help you? Yay! I pretty hope it did. Comments below are welcome!

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Love,

Stylishwanderer.com