Last year, I started dreaming about traveling again when I started to recoup from some personal tragedy. I can go melodramatic here and start telling my sob story-only child, orphan, no regular job. Instead of wallowing over things I have no control over, I started dreaming and planning ways to reach my dreams. Forget the big house with picket fence and tons of money, I am quite contented with what I have. I thought about what will make me happy. A job that I love, yes. A happy family of my own, why not? While I search for that, I can’t just sit and watch the world go by. Traveling makes perfect sense. Since I live off my savings, I do freelance writing on the internet. Most of my articles are posted here. Working on the tight budget can challenging but it can be done.
Some of the things I do to be able to travel.
1. Be on the lookout for promo fares. Last year, I was able to book a trip to Cebu for 4 for P471.00 (roundtrip). Booked it on June 2010, we flew to Cebu on February 2011. I know. I booked 8 months ahead. Some people can’t wait that long. I can. I even booked a trip to Hong Kong on August 2010 and we flew to Hong Kong on June 2011. Blessings come to those who wait. While that amount may not be possible these days due to increased fuel surcharge, you can still travel cheap if you plan ahead.
2. Skip hotel accommodations. In Manila and Cebu, we stayed at a relative’s house. In Davao, we stayed in a pension house ran by a church. (We do not even belong to that congregation.) In Hong Kong, we stayed in a hostel. While in transit, we slept at the airport. Sleeping in NAIA Terminal 3 is allowed, many passengers wait for their next flight and opt not to find a hotel. We got to meet interesting people and learn a thing or two about their lives. (This is not for everyone, though.)
3. Travel light. For a short trip (less than 7 days), I carry a backpack. Some airlines charge less if you do not check-in your luggage. I’ve heard of stories of lost luggage and luggage picked by strangers. Worse, stories about strangers slipping illegal drugs into another person’s luggage. I have seen Brokedown Palace. It made an impact on me. If I have one small bag, I would be fine as long as I keep an eye on it.
On a trip to Singapore, compare my backpack to my friends’ luggage. (That’s my friend, Ann. One of those huge maleta is hers.)
On our 4-day trip to Cebu, I carried these.
On recent Hong Kong trip, my aunt and I carried these. The smaller bag behind is a foldable bag which we needed to use for our pasalubong. I know it looks gross to be putting our bags on the MTR floor. We were already going home. Our bags contained our soiled clothes. The bags are waterproof.
4. Use cheap public transportation. Taxis are okay if there are four of you sharing the cab fare. When traffic is bad, it is easier to take the train. Downside, be prepared to stand during rush hours. What impressed me most about Paula and Charlie was that they were very much comfortable taking public transportation. They took a jeepney, tricycle, small boat and habal-habal ride with me without showing any slight discomfort. They rode a van (together with other passengers) from Surigao to Butuan. If it were me, I would take the bus. (But then again, I have motion sickness. I need to be comfortably seated during land trips.)
5. Bring food. You will never know what food to expect in your destination. While I am quite adventurous with my food choices, sometimes my travel companions are not. Sometimes my stomach does not agree with me, too. Biscuits, candy, nuts can fill an empty stomach while you search for a place to eat.
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. -St. Augustine
There is so much to explore in this world and I hope to see as many places as I can in my lifetime.
P.S. still to be edited for typos.
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