A lot of people want to travel and reap its benefits but due to budget constraints, many end up not doing it. With a bit of creativity though, it’s possible to satisfy your wanderlust – even if you consider yourself a cheapskate.
Without further ado, here are some useful tips you can follow so that you can still explore what the world has to offer even on a shoestring budget.
1. Look for promo fares.
As long as there’s a holiday, you can pretty much expect most airlines to launch a promo fare. From doing Independence Day sales where you’ll see fares at ₱12 (to coincide with the June 12 date) or the New Year’s sale where there’s an actual “piso” (₱1) sale because it’s January 1, you’re bound to see these promos throughout the year.
If you are itching to score affordable flights to anywhere in the country, just make sure to mark your calendars with all the Philippine holidays. Seat sales usually start at 12:00 AM but some airlines open online booking for promo fares 30 minutes before midnight. Staying up late and making sure your internet connection is stable are two things you must remember to do!
2. Book ahead of time.
While it may require crazy planning or manghuhula skills to figure out if you can in fact book a plane ticket a full year before your planned trip, taking a more conservative route and booking a few months before your actual travel date instead may actually save you a considerable amount of cash. Flights booked a year or a few months before your trip date is usually cheaper than flights booked a few weeks or days before. And because you’re booking ahead of time, you’re also guaranteed a seat!
If you weren’t able to book a year or even 9 months ahead, then shoot for 3-4 months before your preferred travel date. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically the cheapest days to depart, Mondays the cheapest day to return while departing and returning over the weekend is usually the most expensive.
Booking ahead of time not only gives you cheaper seats, it also gives you ample time to save and plan for your trip.
3. Master the art of traveling light.
A strategically-packed bag is the first step to enjoying your trip. It can save you money from paying for airline check-in baggage fees and it also allows you to move freely and conveniently just in case you opt to ride a tricycle or a habal-habal. You can save even more money as you will not be forced to take a cab just because you need a vehicle with trunk space for all your bags.
Make a conscious effort to limit your hand carried baggage to 7 kilograms or less. Roll your clothes to give your bag or suitcase more space, and to avoid wrinkles. Put heavier clothes first followed by the lighter ones. Reduce the weight of your toiletries and go for sachets or use travel bottles for your favorite shampoo and lotion.
4. Research in Advance.
Before going on adventure, be sure that you have made your research in advance. Read travel blogs or watch travel vlogs since fellow travelers can actually give you first hand tips on what to expect, suggest affordable but decent place to stay, and the cheapest possible way to commute to get more bang for your bucks. Consult Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet for more reviews and star ratings.
5. Make friends with the locals.
Traveling is not about the destination but the journey. Talking to locals not only widens your horizon but they can actually be instant guides that can offer great information that might come in handy in your trip. One time, while riding an ordinary mini bus to Pagudpud, one local asked us if we already have a tour guide and offered the service of his husband, who is a tricycle driver. Seeing how badly his husband wants to tour us for a minimal cost, we got his service, and the rest they say, is history. He is now a full pledged tour guide and one of the most popular guides in Pagudpud. Until now we still have contact with him and even promised to tour us again for free if ever we plan to go back to Ilocos Norte as a way of thanking us for promoting him online to other travelers.
6. Shoot several birds in one stone.
If you have more time in your hand, opt to go on a road trip to hit several provinces. If you are planning to buy a plane ticket to Cagayan de Oro, it won’t hurt if you also target Iligan, Camiguin, Bukidnon, Davao, Pagadian and Zamboanga. Boat and bus rides may sound tiring but going this route is definitely a great way to discover more places in a cost-effective way rather than booking separate round trip tickets to these provinces.