Understanding Low Cost Airlines

Walk through the check-in counters at pretty much any North American airport or visit the social media timelines of any major carrier, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about the relationship between some consumers and the airlines.  Flyers seem disgruntled about value they receive given what they pay for air travel.  It’s a popular topic of conversation, and often mainline airlines are the punching bags of favour for travellers who feel robbed.

It’s against this backdrop that low cost carriers (also known as LCCs) have marketed themselves as a budget-friendly alternative for people wanting cheaper air travel.  With fares as little as $0, many LCCs have garnered attention and buzz.  But what exactly is a low cost carrier?  And what does that ticket actually buy you?

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Backpacking Budget Savings and Splurges

Now that I’m back in Canada and am looking over the things I bought for my trip through Asia, I’m starting to think about the areas where I could have saved some money. Whether it’s discovering you’re a different kind of traveller than you really are or not being as reliant on a piece of gear as you thought you might be, there are always budget cuts you can make in hindsight.

Further, there are some things I wish I would have spent more money on before leaving.

Here is a breakdown of the areas I wish I would have saved (and splurged) on.

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I Hate Haggling

When it comes to the popularity of Southeast Asian backpacker trail, there are really two major reasons why the region rates so highly with westerners – and they’re as diametrically opposed as the left and right brain.

On one hand, Southeast Asia has some of the most glorious vistas in the world. The cultures are unique, the people are warm and welcoming, and the scenery is phenomenal.  It really is a special place that is worth taking time to come and appreciate.

On the other hand, Southeast Asia is easy on the wallet. You can snag a bed in a hostel for roughly the same price as a Starbucks latte, eat an entire day’s worth food for the same as you’d spend on the value menu after a night out drinking, and beer can sometimes be cheaper than bottled water or Coca-Cola.  There is a lot to love about how far your dollar stretches in this region.

Money, however, is also at the root of one of Southeast Asia’s least attractive features – having to haggle.

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Tools of the Road

I am a planner. I love to plan travel. It gives me a bit of a high hitting that “confirm” button and handing over my money to make another travel adventure a reality.

Along the way, I’ve discovered a number of tools online which have made booking travel easy, painless, and on budget.

Whether you’re travelling for 7 days or 7 months, there are a multitude of tools you can use to plan your trip.

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Onward North

Leaving Langkawi was tough.  I really wanted to spend a few more days there.  But, reality was that the hostel that had grown to feel like home was quickly booking up for the Chinese New Year weekend, and I would need to move onward.  Penang was in my sights, and George Town was the destination.

In the spirit of going with the flow, I changed my plans for Penang on the fly when I realized that fellow Langkawi roommate Sean – who has a fantastic vlog site called Twenties – would be on the same flight as I was.  We bonded over our shared destination and chatted over a few duty free beers while in Langkawi before landing in Penang.

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