These days, a $100 holiday budget can only get you a massage, dinner and maybe bubble tea… if you’re vacaying in Johor Bahru. But three intrepid millennials — (main pic, from left) Hafidzhin, aka Zhin, 25, Fauzi Aziz, 29, and Xenia Tan, 24 — took budget travelling to the extreme by surviving on only a hundred bucks for a 3D2N trip in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan.
Their adventures are documented in Toggle’s original travelogue The $100 Nomad, which sees the show’s trio of hosts, who hail from TheSmartLocal website, stretch their $100 allowance to the max. It has to cover food, lodging and thrilling adventures in each city for the entire trip. They live to tell their tales, and share with us their best tips for a fun and wallet-friendly jaunt overseas. (But only one of them fools pickpockets by hiding his cash in his underwear.)
8 DAYS: Before filming The $100 Nomad, were you already a frugal traveller?
XENIA TAN: I’ve been a budget traveller for as long as I can remember, to a point where I don’t know how to not be that. [When I travel, I always try] to spend like a local.
HAFIDZHIN: Honestly it’s not that difficult to travel cheaply in Asia. It challenges you to think beyond other travellers’ mainstream ideas, which makes such trips super memorable.
FAUZI AZIZ: It’s super possible to do your research and do things like paragliding for a really affordable price, like I did when I was in Malang.
1/71/7Fauzi on an Insta-worthy swing at Batu Flower Garden, near Malang, Indonesia
2/72/7Zhin learns hand weaving from a villager in Batad, the Philippines
3/73/7Xenia on a motorbike in Kenting, Taiwan
4/74/7Fauzi's #OOTD while harvesting tea leaves at Wonosari Tea Planation in Malang
5/75/7Xenia at the lakeside Rock Garden Campground in Kenting, Taiwan
6/76/7Zhin dressed in a traditional Ifugao costume in Batad
7/77/7Zhin spelunking in Sumaguing Cave, Sagada