Budget Traveling

“You see that?” a friend pointed out to a showcase of a tiny, tiny room that was labeled Tune Hotel.  “That’s exactly the size of your room”, she said as we walked pass it at the arrival hall of the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Maybe it’s the penny pincher in me or me just being practical that led me to save wherever and whenever I can since I got lured into traveling.  Oftentimes traveling on a budget.  Whatever savings I get, I throw back into my travel fund and splurge on other things like food, keepsakes or tours.  This is where budget airlines and hostels come in very handy.

Air Asia – one of my favorite airlines – the low-fare, no frills airline with a route network that spans through more than 20 countries, mostly but not limited to Asia. They had been shuttling many Filipinos since 2005, when they started offering flights to Kota Kinabalu (KK) and Kuala Lumpur (KL) out of Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.

And the good news is: Air Asia Philippines is the newest kid on the block; launched only last February 28, becoming the 13th regional hub of the Air Asia Group.  Future destinations are said to be HK, Macau, Inchon, Singapore, Japan, Bangkok…

Yes – it may be a bit of a hassle to travel all the way to Pampanga but the cheap fare makes it worth the effort, me thinks.

My first trip to KK in 2007 (en route to a diving expedition in Sipadan) was with this airline and many more followed since.  A satisfied customer is what I am – if you look at it as a no-frills, budget airline that it is, without expecting much in the service and perks department, then there really is nothing much to complain about.  The flights are almost always on time; the seats are comfortable enough but are first come first served.  If, however, you pay a little extra and go for the hot seats, you get to choose your seat online and board first – definitely worth the extra shell out.  I always pick the 1st row seats for the leg room. The food… well really, who needs to eat on a 4-hour flight anyway?  We normally just have our meals at any of the gas stations along the expressway before reaching the airport.

The downside here is that Kuala Lumpur, being their main hub, has most flights flying out of there.  It doesn’t help that their flights often need an overnight stay as well.  Sometimes having to pay for a room in nearby Sepang defeats the savings on the airfare – so what’s the point, right?

That’s where Tune Hotel comes in.  Just a stone’s throw away from LCCT, in fact you can spot it from the arrival terminal.  Although a shuttle is provided for just MYR 1, its schedule seemed unreliable (or maybe we were just impatient).

We waited until we realized that it takes less than 10 minutes by foot to get there, cutting through the parking lot by way of a walkway.  You can even take the trolley all the way to the hotel.

This hotel follows the same no-frills concept of its partner airline and is the answer to travelers who just need a few hours to sleep and shower.  We booked a 12-hour package for MYR 129 (that’s about US$ 40).

This came with a package of 1 towel, soap, shampoo and conditioner.  Slipping the key into a key holder turns on the power and the 12-hour countdown starts.  It stops when you take out the key.  So if you’re out most of the time, 12 hours is more than enough. US$ 40 for half a day is not exactly cheap when you think about it but it is a brilliant concept, don’t you think?

The room is exactly as seen at the airport.  It is practically the size of the bed with a bit of extra space to walk around albeit one at a time.  The bathroom is similarly as tiny and can likewise only fit one person at a time.  It is relatively clean and the bed is quite comfortable.  Oh and make sure you don’t bring a huge luggage as there is no space for that.  We brought backpacks so that worked well for us.

The upside to this is that it is conveniently located without having the need to wake up earlier than needed as flights are often scheduled early in the morning.

It has a nice courtyard just outside the hotel lobby with enough tables and chairs to hang around with a nice cold beer or coffee.  Decanter, the restaurant there, serves decent food and if budget is a concern, there is a 7-Eleven right beside and a coffee shop that is open 24 hours.

For a few hours, Tune Hotel serves its purpose of providing “reasonable” comfort and convenience for less.

2 thoughts on “Budget Traveling

  1. I’m with you here. I don’t normally splurge on hotels because I don’t stay there as much during my stay, only to sleep and shower.

    Yap, eats is good for a 4-hour flight, but really not necessary.


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