When we started this blog over six years ago, we didn’t know what we were doing. Back then, we were full-time employees who couldn’t even afford to travel on our own. The first few posts on this blog were actually chronicles of company outings and business trips. but I knew travel was what I wanted to do for a long time.
My first personal do-it-yourself trip was in Iloilo and Guimaras. I was so dumb and unprepared, I ended up seeing almost nothing. good thing the Ilonggos are such friendly and helpful people, it was still a memorable trip. but because of this, I had my next trips arranged by budget travel agencies. I joined group tours, which was nice but I was disappointed that I had no control of my time. I switched back to arranging my personal trips myself, and slowly but surely, I was able to find my beat.
Two years later, even when my friends told me they didn’t think I was cut out for travel, I still quit my job and went for it anyway.
Back then, I was a completely different person. I was so shy and timid and clueless. I grew up introverted, so being out there was such a risky move for me. everything I know now, I learned through experience. and today, six years later, I still have a lot to learn, but I’d like to think that I’m wiser than the dude who started this blog. If I could go back in time and give advice to the newbie-traveler-me, these ten tips would be it.
1. use comparison apps, and catch flight and hotel promos.
Years ago, I booked flights only with low-cost carriers. I wouldn’t even consider booking with fancy airlines. I thought, “Low-cost carriers offer the lowest fares, OBVIOUSLY. DUH?”
IKKE. BESTANDIG. EKTE.
My sister is based in Tokyo. Every December, I have to accompany my nephew to Japan so he could visit his mom. I am also tasked to book the flights. I initially thought that the fares would be astronomical because it’s Christmas season, but over the past 3 years, I realized that if you book in advance, you can snag a seat on a flight with Japan Airlines and China Airlines at a lower rate than low-cost carriers.
Also, when we traveled to Europe this year, the lowest fares we found were offered by — wait for it — QATAR AIRWAYS. We were surprised because prior to booking, we had resigned ourselves to enduring small legrooms, multiple stops, and long layovers. but we ended up making just one flight transfer and having only 19 hours of travel time.
All these make us appreciate fare comparison websites and apps, which I did not use when I was starting out. sites like Traveloka would rummage through multiple airlines to offer you the lowest prices. What I love about Traveloka in particular is that it’s especially useful for Southeast Asian travel.
I’ve always loved seat sales by airlines, but for some reason, it wasn’t until just a couple of years ago when I started paying attention to hotel promos. There are a lot of companies offering them, even third party aggregator websites. Some companies reduce rates as a loyalty offer (discount on your 10th booking), a premium offer (paying a one-time fee for a free cancellation option for a year), or as part of a bundle (free hotels if you book flights with a sister airline). many bloggers and online publications also have exclusive promo CODES for their readers. If you’re traveling for more than a month and you’re booking hotels in multiple cities, these little discounts will add up and save you a great deal.
Other companies have promo stunts. For example, Traveloka usually has promos.
2. Don’t always go with the cheapest. go with what gives the best value for money.
Yet, it shouldn’t always be about the price.
When I was starting out, I had one philosophy when it comes to accommodations, “Kahit saan, tutulugan lang naman.” (Anywhere will do. I’ll just sleep in it anyway.)
But that’s not the case for me anymore. If I could find another place that is comfortable even when it is slightly pricier, I would go for it. maybe it’s because I’m not getting any younger. comfort just sits much higher in my list of priorities now. My room is no longer just a place to sleep, it’s a place to get comfortable. When I book accommodations — be it a hostel, hotel, or apartment — I have learned to check out their amenities and browse through reviews. One thing I love doing is taking a good at the photos of the bed and the toilet (especially if it’s a shared toilet).
The same applies to flights. I’d just grab the cheapest fares within the first minutes of the seat sale, without considering alternatives. but over the years, I’ve grown to look at the other aspects of the flight and how pleasant the journey will be.
For example, on my flight back to Manila from the Maldives, I was presented with two options. A low cost carrier offers the lowest published rates, somewhere around P10,000, with a long layover. Cathay Pacific, on the other hand, sells P16,000-tickets, which entails a considerably shorter layover in Hong Kong. The old me would go with the P10,000 right away. P6000 is P6000. That’s a big difference.
However, when I digested the details, I ended up booking Cathay Pacific. Hvorfor? Cathay’s published rate of P16,000 was inclusive of everything: meals, seat selection, check-in baggage allowance. The low-cost carrier’s offer was devoid of all those. When I tried adding meals (it was a long flight!) and baggage (because I was carrying a big one), the total cost was at P14,000. P2000 isn’t that big a difference anymore, and with all the other things considered (travel time, legroom, in-flight entertainment, time of arrival, etc.), I flew with Cathay Pacific.
3. Don’t try to do it all.
One of the pitfalls that newbie travelers usually find themselves in is trying to squeeze everything into their itinerary. places are best enjoyed when it doesn’t feel like you’re in the season finale of the outstanding Race. Rushing takes away the fun, especially in destinations that demand more of your time and full attention.
Ikke noe hast.
For example, Paris has a lot — and I mean, A lot — to offer. It has something for everyone and never lets up. Galleries and museums, churches and monuments, chateaus and gardens, restaurants and shops, whatever you’re into, there is no shortage of places to visit and things to do. The Louvre alone is too vast and rich that it can’t possibly be explored thoroughly in a day. If you want to see all the timeless pieces and historic artifacts it houses, you’re in for a long vacation. but that’s exactly the point: no one is twisting your arm to go through that.
Ro ned. Puste. Ta den tiden du trenger.
4. It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let fear control you. Slappe av!
Looking back, I can’t help but laugh at how nervous, scared, and silly I was in the beginning. On my first few trips abroad, I was so to afraid to enter restaurants because I thought they might be too expensive for me. I was always too shy to make friends or even ask for directions.
It all changed in Malaysia when I met an Australian backpacker named Selina.
One night, she found me reading a book alone at the porch of our hostel. When she asked me why I wasn’t joining everyone else at the bar, I told her I didn’t know anyone. She said to me, “Don’t be scared. No one’s gonna judge you, and if they do, you’ll never gonna see them again anyway.” She basically dragged me into the bar and introduced me to the rest of the guys. and guess what, the friends I made that night are still my friends to this day.
Another friend whom I met on the road, Josephine from Paris, advised me to stop thinking about what other people think. “Just do what you want. If you sit down at a restaurant and when you don’t find anything appealing or cost effective in their menu, feel free to walk away. Det går bra!”
5. If you’re a freelancer, register your business or service.
I’m a registered sole proprietor now, but it wasn’t always the case. In my early years of travel blogging, I was a freelancer with no proof of employment. It was tough. When applying for a visa, they ask for a certificate of employment or business registration documents, and income tax returns (ITR) certs. When passing through Immigration, they ask for company ID. At the time, I had none of those!
Immediately, I registered my service as a business. It may be quite the hassle for some, but it’s worth it. It’s just easier to travel when you have the papers to prove that you have a job.
If you’re a freelancer and you travel a lot, do it. saves you from a lot of trouble and headache.
6. set up a travel fund.
Another thing that made my life easier: setting up a travel account. I have at least two bank accounts: one where I put my savings, which we shall call “Savings Account” and the other is where I put money that I will spend when traveling, which we shall call “Travel Account.”
There are many benefits of having these two accounts. The savings Account is what I use when applying for a visa. This tells the embassy, “Hey look, I got money to pay for this trip!” I normally don’t touch this account except during emergency.
The travel Account doesn’t have as much funds. I just usually transfer money from the savings Account to the travel Account before a trip. Here’s why:
The best way to acquire foreign currency is still by withdrawing from ATMs abroad. Make sure you choose a bank that doesn’t charge much for overseas transactions. (I’m currently with a bank that charges 3 euro every time I withdraw, which I think is a lot, so I’m looking for another.)
If the account gets compromised (say, your ATM card gets stolen), you’re not putting your savings in danger. If your savings Account has an ATM card too, leave it at home or keep it somewhere safe.
Having a separate bank account for travel gives you more control of your expenses when on a trip because you can watch your spending better. Let’s say that for a certain trip I have a budget of P30,000,Så hver gang jeg tar ut kontanter, blir jeg påminnet om at jeg bare har så mye budsjett for denne turen og hvor mye av det jeg har igjen. Og det hindrer meg i å bruke mer. Det er mer psykologisk, tror jeg. Det er som å spille tankespill med meg selv, hahaha. Men det fungerer for meg.
Rawpixel | Shutterstock
7. Få et kredittkort, men bruk det med omhu.
Da jeg begynte, eier jeg ikke et kredittkort. Jeg overlevde, ja, men det var alltid en liten stemme i bakhodet som hvisker: “Hva ville du gjort hvis du mister kontantene dine?” Det var slags det som skjedde på min første solo -backpacking -tur over Sørøst -Asia. Da hadde jeg ikke et kredittkort, og det dumme meg hadde heller ikke amerikanske dollar. Kontantene mine var alt i filippinsk peso. Det er et problem. Hvis du har vært i Vietnam eller Laos før, ville du vite at det var nesten umulig å finne pengeskiftere som godtar vår ydmyke peso til en god pris. Jeg endte opp med å bruke en livline – ring en venn – og ba ham sende meg penger via Western Union, noe som var ganske pinlig.
Å eie et kredittkort har andre fordeler også. Mange hoteller over hele verden krever et kredittkort som garanti før du sjekker inn. (Noen aksepterer også kontanter, men kredittkort er å foretrekke. De som godtar kontanter krever et stort innskuddsbeløp, noen ganger på 50-100 dollar per natt. Se for deg Hvis du tok med deg nok penger!)
Og så er det kredittkortland. Den nylige Europa -turen vår viste oss hvor praktisk det er å handle ved hjelp av kredittkort. Land som Island, Danmark, Sverige, Belgia og Nederland er store på kredittkort. Hurtigmat har automatiserte maskiner hvis du ganske enkelt kan sveipe, gå inn på bestillingen din digitalt, og de vil tilberede måltidet.
Husk imidlertid at nøkkelen er å bruke kredittkortet ditt bare når det er nødvendig, slik at du enkelt kan spore utgiftene dine. Det er mer som en sikkerhetskopi for meg.
8. Invester i et godt par sko.
Dette kan høres ut som en no-brainer, men i lengst tid var jeg ikke tilhenger av gummi sko. I de to første årene jeg reiste hadde jeg på seg chucks mesteparten av tiden. Jeg vokste opp med å elske Chucks. Jeg nektet å kjøpe legitime gangsko fordi jeg aldri var en hardcore trekker til å begynne med og reiste stort sett til byer den gangen. Du vet, flat overflate for alltid. Jeg trodde jeg ikke hadde noe behov for det.
Jeg hadde på meg Chucks nesten overalt.
I de to første årene av reiselivet mitt, så føttene mine som faen, og jeg aksepterte det ganske enkelt som en del av reisen. Jeg trodde føttene gjorde vondt etter timer med å gå. “Ingen store ting, faktum i livet.” Som om det er noe jeg ikke kunne gjøre noe med. En dag måtte jeg dra på en tur som innebar litt fjellklatring, så jeg bestemte meg for å kjøpe et par gangsko. Vi vandret hele dagen, men føttene mine hadde ikke vondt selv på et sekund. Først da skjønte jeg hvordan fottøy påvirker den generelle reiseopplevelsen. Jeg hadde holdt ut såre føtter for hver dag i reiselivet mitt fordi jeg ikke visste at skoene mine forårsaket det. Dum, dum, dum meg.
Fra da av har jeg slitt gangsko når jeg reiser. Jeg tar med meg bare ett par uavhengig av varigheten av turen (med mindre det er en strengt formell hendelse som jeg trenger å delta på, i så fall tar jeg med et ekstra par skinnsko). Gangskoene jeg har er tykke, men lette og godt designet, men komfortable. Det er svart, så jeg får fortsatt ha den i mange anledninger.
9. Pakk lys. Pakk lys. Pakk lys!
Vi hører dette hele tiden, men det er så vanskelig å sette i praksis. Jeg må innrømme, det var først nylig at jeg endelig begynte å følge dette tipset. Jeg har alltid en tendens til å ta med meg mye, i frykt for at jeg kanskje trenger denne varen for dette og denne varen for det.
Men vi bør alle høre på reiseekspert Rick Steves når han sier: “Forbered deg på det beste tilfellet.” Det han mener er dette, hvis værmeldingen sier at det for det meste blir sol, ikke ta med en regnfrakk for det