MG: I think I can actually boil my travel education down to two interrelated lessons:
No. 1: The best way to be a frugal traveler is to learn to truly love the things that don’t cost a lot of money, like eating honest, simple food, gazing at unfamiliar scenery or making new friends. If you crave the five-star lifestyle but don’t have the cash for it, you’ll always be disappointed.
No. 2: It takes a lot of traveling to figure out what you really like (or don’t like). Maybe medieval churches are not for you? Maybe you’re a hiker at heart? Maybe you just love a plush hotel bed? You won’t know unless you try a million things in a billion places, and while you may find disappointment at times, you may also find enlightenment. No traveler is born — we’re all made.
Although it may sound like it, Go-Jek is not a strange type of tropical fruit. In fact, it’s a full-blown, born in Indonesia unicorn that made it to Fortune’s 2017 list of 50 Companies that Changed the World.
In 2010 twenty motorscooters armed with an Uber-like app hit the Jakarta streets. Eight years later there’s over 1,000,000 drivers and 18 app-based on-demand services that’s dramatically transformed Indonesian life:
Uber can offer you a car, or supposedly a car with a pool (ok it’s just a bunch of people without bathing suits in the same vehicle). Go-Jek offers you the rear half of a crazy scooter driver’s ride, a car without pools, a taxi-type service, and this:
Plus 15+ other services. If you’re staying in Bali for at least a week, it’s worth downloading the free app.
You want breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack delivered to your door? No problem. You can choose from the full range of food types and styles, explore menus, and get it all with an almost imperceptible additional delivery cost. Give yourself 40 minutes or so for your order. Relax. Your Go-Jek driver will most likely call to confirm the order. Even if the driver doesn’t know English you can just tell him, yes Go-Jek order, please deliver. Thank you
Want to stock up on a week’s worth of groceries but you’re nervous about piling lots of bags onto the limited real estate of your rented scooter. No worries:
Want a private massage without leaving the comfort of your villa or hotel, at 1/2 or 1/4 of the cost? Try Go-Massage:
The top button tells the service if you are a man (Pria) or a woman (Wanita). Then choose the duration of the massage (60, 90, or 120 minutes). The cost of each is listed in rupiah. For example a 90 minute massage is 90,000 rupiah or $6.47 USD. Then choose whether you want a man or woman masseuse, or whether you don’t care (Tidak Ada).
The degree to which Go-Jek is integrated into the bedrock of Indonesian life is remarkable. To open a warung (small restaurant) without listing yourself on Go-Jek would be instant suicide.
An anecdote: Shelly and I were on our way to the airport a few weeks ago and when we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants, about 75% of the way to the airport, Shelly realized she forgot her phone. We instantly freaked out and I thought, oh well there goes the vacation. Then Shelly says she’ll send for it with Go-Jek. We called the manager at our villa. He handed the phone to the Go-Jek driver when he arrived (having wrapped it to protect it while waiting for the driver — a nice touch). Forty minutes later it was back in Shelly’s hand. We arrived at the airport with time to spare. The cost to get the phone back to Shelly: 25,000 rupiah ($1.80 USD).