|Good to go!|
I do receive a lot of questions on how and why I get to travel abroad at least twice a year. They still think that traveling abroad is only for the alta (a colloquial term for rich people), which brings me to two things: (i) am I that dukha-looking?; and (ii) are they aware about piso or promo fares?
Kidding aside, I think it's about time to share on how I plan and execute my trips abroad.
1) The search for cheap fares.
In this day and age, most airlines offer low fares at a certain period of time. Usually, the travel period of promo fares are more or less six months (or more) from the promo period. The real challenge here is that you need to plan ahead of time and look for some alternatives. Plenty of alternate plans. The first thing I do is to look for some destinations that I have been dying to visit. Because traveling with a squad is more fun, I'd consult my friends who are also into traveling. The final dates and our chosen destination will serve as the backbone of our perfect itinerary.
2) DIY adventures
Now, the fun part: planning your OWN trip. There are several group tours offered by some travel agencies both here and abroad but they can be really expensive. Plus, you can't really modify their itineraries. Once you miss it, you're screwed no matter how legit your reasons are (from medical emergencies to oversleeping).
All you need is patience, and a stable internet connection. It's all about reading numerous travel blogs, news, weather bulletins, and even watching video blogs before concocting your perfect itinerary. Worrying about your accommodation? There are several booking sites such as Agoda and booking.com to help you. The best part of it, you can reserve a room ahead of time and pay during your stay. Cancellation is free of charge up to a week prior your trip.
3) It's all about the money, money, money!
Money is very important when traveling but you don't need to bring millions unless if you want to spend several weeks in prison due to money laundering. Again, it pays to have an extensive research before your trip. Not all countries have the same price for basic commodities. For instance, your Php 20,000 (airfare not included, only pocket money) in Vietnam and Cambodia will last for 5-7 days but in Singapore, that's only good for three days. Pro tip: I always bring extra cash. I'd rather have an extra cash with me rather than having a deficit in the middle trip. It's also better to bring your credit card if you have one. Some banks have perks or discounts if you use it abroad. For queries, don't hesitate to contact your local bank.
4) When in Roam
Local telcos in the Philippines offer unlimited internet access/ data roaming for Php 599 a day. I think it's better to buy a local sim because obviously, it's cheaper. If you are not using an openline smartphone, better find a wifi hotspot like your hotel, coffee shops, or other establishments. Just a friendly reminder that when you're traveling abroad, you don't need to be online 24/7 unless you're a freelancer or your loved ones demand you to give a blow-by-blow update of your trip. Remember that you travel because you want to experience new cultures. Take a break from everything, including social media. Besides, you can still post updates on your timeline when you go back to your hotel. My dear friend, there's always a time for everything.
5) Final Checklist
a) Travel documents. Check your passport and visas. Is it still valid? If not, then you have to renew it right away. Today, it takes at least 6-8 weeks before the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) releases your new passport. If you're uncertain of its delivery date and your travel period falls within that particular time frame, you can request for an extension of at least one (1) year. For more information, visit DFA's official website.
b) Bring print-outs of your flight and hotel reservation. As much as I wanted to save my travel documents on my smartphone (since it's more convenient and environmental friendly), there are some people who are still stuck in Stone Age and they won't consider soft copies of your travel documents.
c) #OOTD vs. Weather. Check the weather bulletin of your destination. Is it going to rain in the next five days? Are we expecting thick haze? Is there an impending snow storm? Do we need to bring raincoats or umbrellas? Things like these need to be assessed thoroughly. There are several weather apps that could help you in planning your trip.
d) Don't forget to bring your meds and vitamins. I always bring a few capsules of each: Anti-histamine, anti-asthma, anti-motility, antacid/antiflatulent, and ascorbic acid.
Traveling abroad does not need to be expensive. You only need time and creativity to create your own itinerary based on your travel preferences. I do hope that this post really helped you in planning your future trips. If you have questions regarding this topic, don't hesitate to ask me by dropping some comments below.
Remember, life is a one big vacation. Take a break once in a while. The world is waiting for you.
We shall be taking off shorty so please, straighten up your seats, make sure that your seat belts are securely fastened, window shades up, and your tray tables stowed.