Lessons Learned While Traveling: Saving

Two years ago I visited Hong Kong while I was living in Japan. It was the summer holidays and customary for English teachers to travel for a few days to another Asian country. The trip was short and nice; we enjoyed the food, shopping and sightseeing. We also met some nice people.

One of the most recommended sights to see was Victoria Peak, the highest hill on the island of Hong Kong. We heard that the view from Peak Tower was breathtaking–the harbour, the many skyscrapers, Hong Kong island. We would take the Peak Tram to get there. We also planned on visiting the renowned wax museum–Madame Tussaud’s–and snap a couple of photos with famous wax figures. Hong Kong Disneyland was also a must-visit on our list.

Whilst waiting for the bus to take us to the tram station, we met a nice couple. They were from Israel and were on a short layover in Hong Kong. We exchanged stories; we were Jamaicans teaching in Japan; the wife was an engineer and the owner of a successful construction firm. The husband was proud to tell of his wife’s accomplishments. It was a nice chat.

We got to the tram station and joined the long line waiting to board the tram. We continued talking and mentioned what we planned to do at Peak Tower, and for the rest of the trip. The couple decided to let us in on a little secret. Well, maybe not so much a secret, but a clever way to enjoy some of the sights without breaking the bank.

Copyright © Larisa McBean

Hong Kong is known for its skyscrapers, which number in the hundreds. They said, “just take the elevator of one of the skyscrapers in the city and you’ll get the same view for free.” This is a no-brainer, right? Why would you pay to go to a designated spot to see a city you can see for free from a number of other spots? The thing is, we fall for ‘packages’, ‘promotions’ and ‘recommendations’ which are usually geared towards spending. And spending is important as it boosts the local economy. But what about those tourists on a budget?

This advice came from a wealthy couple. That in itself was a lesson for me. The rich can teach us a lot about saving money. Not all of them, of course, as they often splurge. But perhaps even those who splurge know how to pinch pennies and not pay for what they can enjoy for free. The not-so-rich sometimes try to show that they can afford to pay, even when they don’t need to.

Copyright © Larisa McBean

Long story short, we continued to the Peak and took some photos there. We skipped the photo package and the wax museum and took a free photo with Bruce Lee, positioned at the front of the museum. Suffice it to say, we had a good time and saved some extra bucks.

We never got the names of that nice couple.

Copyright © Larisa McBean

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Categories: Money Management, Traveling

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