Most people think that when you travel, you’re rich. Or you have a lot of money. 🙂 Hmmm.. might be true for some, but any ordinary “Juan” , to borrow that word from Cebu Pacific, can now travel these days without spending too much.So with my limited experience, I am sharing with you my tips.
1) Plan Ahead.
With John and I, we know which places we would like to see. So planning ahead gives us time to prepare. Not just the financial part of the trip. But all the details we need. It took us one year of planning for the South East Asian trip we did last August. I paid everything months before our trip. So we don’t have to think of unexpected expenses while travelling.
2) Book A Ticket:
I signed up an online membership with Cebu Pacific. So before their promo comes out, I get an email from them ahead of time. Plus I wake up really early (before the roosters, remember? haha) so I have time to scout for cheap tickets , air promos , etc. You know, a P99 ticket to Manila, for instance. That’s a big saving already right? For those who can afford to splurge, do it if it makes you more comfortable. 🙂 My opinion is that, if I can travel the same way, without spending too much I would take the opportunity so I can use the money for our other businesses. But then again, that’s the “kuripot” me talking. Cebu Pacific does not have much of a leg room. So John and I realized something during one of our trips. I usually pay for an advance seat booking when I buy a ticket online. John told me one time, why do you get these seats always when you can get the front row seats or the seats beside the exit door. And I thought, hmmm.. you’re a genius! That means, I am not so bright for not thinking that in the first place. LOL (You would have to excuse me though because I do this normally around 4 or 5 in the morning. I think I was still half asleep then. hehehe.. Nice excuse right?!) Seriously, if you can get those, travelling would be a lot better because of the bigger space.
3) Research On Line:
Once you know where you’re going, then start researching online. Specially about VISAs and stuff. There are countries who have Visa On Arrival facilities. But with most western countries, you need to get a visa. Tsk..tsk.. did that before with the US embassy, but luck wasnt on my side that day. So I got declined, without the consul, looking at my documents. Sucks right? 😦 But from what I read from fellow bloggers, with Canadian and European embassies, they let you submit the documents and those will be properly inspected. That should give anyone the chance to prove yourselves.
During our South East Asian trip, the time I spent researching on a place , its people, culture, places to go, what to do, etc. really paid off. It made travelling a lot easier for both John and me. Except at the boundaries of Thailand and Cambodia. Gawd, that was such a mess! (Tip: if you want to go to cambodia, take a plane and land at Siem Reap Airport. Lesser stress that way. You’ll understand if you read my story about that last August. )
4) Book A Hotel in Advance:
The website, www.agoda.com
, has an extensive list of really nice hotels at a cheap price. Just type your destinations and date, then voila! A list of the hotels which come with photos, customer comments, prices, etc. will automatically be presented to you. Booking was safe and my stay with the hotels were really memorable. Choices from hostels to high end ones are available. You just have to choose what fits your needs and budget.
5. Money Exchange:
If you’re going abroad, the first thing you will need outside the airport is fare money. So be prepared. Go to a money exchange center and make sure that you have the local currency of the country you’re visiting before leaving yours.
Arriving in a foreign land is stressful enough, so make sure everything is ready before you leave. That way, you’ll have time enjoying the little things while you’re there. 🙂
6) Make A List:
Of what to do before you leave, ie: make sure that cellphone roaming is activated. Note: I was probably the only one who didn’t know that smart will charge you for received calls while abroad. Really stupid of me huh? For not knowing it, that is… But yes they do, so if clients call you, be aware that charges run expensively by the minute. hu ..hu.. That was an expensive lesson learned.
Of what to bring, ie: cellphone charger, extra battery for the camera, sunblock, mosquito repellent (this is a must in any Asian trips. Being tropical countries, mosquitoes abound. So if you don’t want to get malaria or dengue fever, bring the mosquito lotion!). When we got back from our trip, I looked almost black. I did not know that mosquito repellent and sunblock lotion don’t go well together. hehe… So my skin got burned. But I got home safely. So between Dengue and a burned skin, i’ll take the latter anytime. 🙂
7. Bring “baon” :
If you’re on a road trip in the Philippines, chances are you will be exposed to mostly mountains with no stores in between. So bring your own baon. (BYOB) .. Per experience, fried chicken and beef steak last longer than most. Bring bread, water, rice, etc. It’s cheaper and home cooked food is better , anyway. Right? 🙂
8. Bring a Bag…
That has a long strap. So you can put it on your shoulder and hold it infront of you, specially when there’s a thick crowd. Why? So it’s difficult for the thieves to steal it. I’ve heard and read about these things when you’re travelling. So before we left for our South East Asian trip, I bought a new bag with a very long strap.
Taken in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The bag I’m using when we were travelling was a big help. John had his own backpack – for water , towels and other stuff.
I don’t normally shop when we’re travelling. Why? Because it’s expensive! duh.. Specially in Singapore. That’s an expensive country. So I just buy souvenir items like : ref magnet, scarf, tshirts with the country’s name in it. More than that, nope. I have to discipline myself and ask if I need it or not. Most often, the answer is no. Besides, airlines charge expensively on excess baggages these days. So it’s really not advisable to shop abroad unless of course, you don’t mind the expense.
10. ATM Withdrawals:
When you withdraw abroad, it comes with a fee in US dollars. 😦 And it is not cheap. So make sure like I said above, exchange your currency to US dollars or the country’s local currency. And make sure that you bring enough. To avoid additional expense.
11. Keep track of your budget:
During vacations, it’s easy to splurge because you’re having a good time. But life goes on after that. And if we’re not careful, we’d end up paying more than what we can afford. So make sure that your expenses are recorded so you stay within your means.
These are just my practical tips based on personal experiences. What about you? Do you have something more to add? 🙂
Lea C. Walker