When people learn I plan travel on my own, their expression is filled with wonder, and then they ask me how I do it. Honestly, traveling is costly. It would require you to save money for a month or longer, depending on your destination, and length of travel, but it doesn’t have to drain your bank account.

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Here are some ways to cut-off excess expenses for your next travel adventure based on my experience:

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PLAN AHEAD OF TIME

Learn to search for some blogs on the internet. Create an itinerary by researching about your destination. Some blogs indicate their estimated expenses and budget breakdown, so you could have an idea on how much food, transportation, and accommodation would cost in a certain place.

By researching, you could also have an idea on how long it takes for you to get from point A to B, available modes of transportation, and bus or ferry schedules. Just imagine how convenient it would be when you get to the terminal, and the guard would tell you that the last bus or ferry has just left (pun intended)? So now, go and subscribe on Mountains + Waters! LOL

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WAIT FOR THE SEAT SALE

Book early to spend less.

Most people will tell you that piso fare is just a myth airlines create, but I will tell you otherwise. Seat sales are totally real, you might just received the announcement late. Airlines usually announce their promos a day or two prior the seat sale period. It helps to create a reminder on your phone. A great way to get notified about their announcement is by bookmarking their fan page on facebook or subscribing on their mail list.

Make sure to book on the first day of seat sale so you could book your preferred dates. There are probably hundreds of people eyeing on the same travel dates you like, so if you don’t make up your mind fast enough, others will grab that ticket. Booking on wee hours when people are still sleeping is also better since the airline’s site usually crashes when too many people visit the same website at the same time.

Know that travel period usually begins after 5 months or more from the time you booked your tickets. For example, booking period for Cebu Pacific piso fare is from Sep 10-15, 2016, the travel date could start from June 10-December 10,2017. This means that your preferred date to travel should be next year. It’s actually a good deal for those who need to save for their upcoming trip, and with this you can have the time to search for a cheap yet nice place to stay during the trip.

I will be writing a detailed post about piso fare soon.

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STAY IN HOSTELS

Another way to cut-off some expenses is choosing where to stay. Hostels are becoming more popular in the Philippines, and a night can cost you around PHP 400-1,200 compared to a standard room of a 4-5 star hotel. Make sure to check reviews about the hostel you’re interested to stay prior booking for an accommodation.  There are websites like Tripadvisor that lets people review places.

 

A photo by Annie Spratt. unsplash.com/photos/lkvD9xlWdU0

TRAVEL AND PACK LIGHTLY

How many clothes do I really need to pack? How many undies or shoes should I bring?

This one depends on a person’s preferences. Most of the time, I pack my essentials in my old trusted backpack since I tend to stay in one place for only a night. Bringing a luggage bag would be hassle and would make my commute harder.

I also pack clothes based on my activities. Let’s say these are my activities for a 5-day-travel:

City Tour for Day 1 = I would wear the same clothes I wore from the airport

Island Hopping for Days 2 and 3 = 3 sets of swimsuit, 3 sets of blouse and shorts

Mountain Climbing for Day 4 = 2 shirts (1 is extra for post-climbing), 1 leggings

I pack 2 sets of pajamas since I only wear them for sleeping. They don’t get dirt or smelly since I wear them only for a short time. As for undies, I multiply my days of travel to 2, so in this case 5 (days) x 2 = 10 undies + 2 undies for extra, and 4 bras. I bring a slipper, and wear my trekking shoes or sandals in the airport so I have less weight in my bag. Basically, I’m more of a comfort than style type of person.

TIP: If you’re travelling to a cold place, you can also wear your jacket already to lessen the weight of your luggage.

As for toiletries, you can buy those in sachets or if you have the budget to buy small containers where you can put your toiletries. That’d also be great way to help conserve our planet in a little way!

 

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INVEST ON GEARS

True, a snorkelling gear can be expensive, but just imagine if you rent the same gear for 4 days in an island hopping in El Nido, you’d probably save around PHP 1,200-2,000. The same expense or even bigger for food for a day. Renting a tent would cost around PHP 400-1,000 per night, while pitching your own tent would only cost PHP 50-500 per night or even free. If you know what sort of activities you usually do when travelling, it’s best to invest on it, plus it’s hygienic.

 

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JOIN GROUP OR PUBLIC TOURS

Planning a DIY trip can be cheaper… or not. Like what I’ve said earlier, do research, and compare. Traveling solo is very expensive, so don’t be afraid to look for other groups who’ll be going to the same place you’re heading to.

On our way to Apo Island in Dauin, Negros Oriental, we were required to rent a boat, which costs PHP 2,000 for 1-4 pax.  It was only my cousin and I who were going to Apo Island since my parents didn’t want to join us. Instead of renting the boat for 2, we looked for 2 more people who are going to the island. Luckily, there were 2 other people who agreed to share the boat with us.

Another protip is never to be afraid to haggle the price. A sweet smile and a friendly personality go a long way!

 

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LIVE LIKE A LOCAL

This is probably the best advice I’ve learned. Don’t take the cab or that special tricycle that will charge you PHP 500 per way if you can commute by riding a bus or jeepney. Ask locals for directions.

If you’re not picky with food, ask another local where they usually go to eat. You could probably save some cash when you order an extra rice in that local store. Knowing how to speak the native language of the place might get you invited to a local family dinner.

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SAFETY

Safety is and should always be our top priority. Traveling is no fun when you end up injured or worst. Be responsible enough to heed on warnings, and always protect your belongings. Remember that you’re in an unfamiliar place, so lay your grounds on being friendly with strangers, and update your loved ones about where you are, and what you’re doing from time to time. Learn to discern if people are genuinely kind or just being shady.

The weather can also make or break your trip. If you’re about to go to the mountains, and yet it’s raining, better cancel it. If the tour guide tells you to wear your life jacket, don’t be pa-cool and listen to their instructions.

 

Have other tips? Comment below and share to fellow explorers!

Other photos from Unsplash