Category Archives: Frugal Living

Home Financing: Which Is Best for You, a Pag-IBIG Loan or a Bank Loan?

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Home-ownership is a major aspiration for most working Filipinos and their families. However, the majority of people who dream of owning property seldom have enough cash to immediately pay for a house in full. This is why many turn to housing loans for their property purchase.

In the Philippines, it comes down to either turning to the Home Development Mutual Fund (or the Pag-IBIG Fund) or a private lender, mostly commercial or universal banks, for the needed loan.

As you search on printed classifieds or online listings for your future home, it is ideal to know the differences between the two housing loan types available to you, as it not only affects what size of home you can buy and when you can buy it, it also affects your finances for the foreseeable future.

QUALIFICATIONS

Pag-IBIG Private Bank
• Pag-IBIG member for at least 24 months
• Must have completed at least 24 monthly Pag-IBIG contributions (can be paid in a lump sum)
• Must be no more than 60 years of age at time of loan application
• Have no existing loans that are in arears
• Have no existing Pag-IBIG loans that have been cancelled, foreclosed, or bought back.• Be legally able to acquire and encumber real property
• Borrower must be between the ages of 21 and 65 years old
• Must have tenure of at least two years with present company of employment, or
• Have at least three years’ worth of profitable operation if running a business or practicing profession
• Must meet the minimum monthly gross income set by lending bank (commonly ranges between Php30,000 and Php40,000) per month

When considering applying for a housing loan, the first that comes to mind for most working Filipinos is the Pag-IBIG loan. As it should be, since all full-time employees in the country are required to make monthly Pag-IBIG contributions, and not taking out a loan when needed would make those contributions seem for naught.

The biggest advantage for borrowers when opting for a Pag-IBIG loan is that the requirements are comparatively not as stringent as that of private lending institutions, letting almost anyone who is a member apply. Simply making timely contributions, not being 60 years of age, and having other existing loans, or at least those not in arears, all but guarantees approval for a Pag-IBIG loan.

LOAN AMOUNTS

Pag-IBIG Private Bank
• Maximum of Php6 million (can be sum of multiple loans)
• Subject to other qualifiers like the member’s actual need and capacity to pay• Loan amount must not result in a monthly amortization that is 35% of borrower’s total gross salary
• The minimum offered by banks differ with each, with some like the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) offering as much as 80% of the total price of the property being purchased, as long as the loan does not exceed Php5million.

• The amount can also differ depending on where the property for sale is located, as is the case with banks like Philippine National Bank (PNB), whose loans differ between properties in and outside of Metro Manila.

While a Pag-IBIG loan is more accommodating for low-income borrowers, bank loans have stricter qualifications because they in turn are a more viable option for home-seekers who have pricier properties in mind. Private mortgages like those of BPI’s can cover as much as 80 percent of the total price of a property, as long as the loan does not exceed Php5 million.

In contrast, the Pag-IBIG Fund offers a current maximum of Php6 million via its End-User home financing program, or as a sum of numerous loans as the primary borrower or as a co-signer. Additionally, one does not need to be a depositor or member of the private bank to apply for a loan, or for that matter, make monthly contributions.

Pag-IBIG Private Bank
Interest Rate On June 1, 2015, the Pag-IBIG Fund decreased their interest rates to encourage more members to make use of housing loans:
6.5% – 3-year fixing period
7.27% – 5 years
8.035% – 10 years
8.585% – 20 years
9.05% – 25 years
10% – 30 years
*On July 2016, Pag-IBIG announced their lowest rate ever of 5.5 % per annum
Some banks, like BDO and Metrobank, offer as low as 5.50% of interest for the first year, which is then subject to re-pricing:
6.25–6.50% – 3-year fixing period
6.88% – 5 years
8–8.5 % – 6–10 years
11.5–12.5% – 16–20 years
Loan Terms Often set a median of 15 years, but with a maximum of 30 years. Generally between 20 and 25 years, but again varies with each bank, and sometimes on the purpose of the loan. PNB, for example, offers maximum loan terms of 20 years for loans used for the purchase of a house and lot, townhouse, condo unit, or for the construction of a house; and only 10 years for loans used for buying a vacant lot or for home improvement.

Interest and loan terms are significant aspects of home loans, and for many it tends to be the decisive factors of considering what type, and how much, of a loan to apply for. Generally, Pag-IBIG housing loans are more favorable with regard to loan terms, as it provides borrowers a lengthier time to pay versus private bank loans.

While Pag-IBIG housing loans also involve less miscellaneous and processing fees, private bank loans may be the better option when it comes to saving money in the long run. Private loans’ interest rates, due to the constant competition between lenders, have the potential to decrease during the loan period. This is on top of the rates already being competitive at the onset of the loan.

Utilizing either a housing loan from Pag-IBIG or from a private bank remains the most efficient way to become a homeowner, but with a financial decision as significant as buying property, a lot of considerations must be made. While understanding the pros and cons of Pag-IBIG and bank loans through research is beneficial, it is still recommended to consult with loan officers and real estate professionals to reach the most informed decision possible.

 

Sources: PagIBIGfund.gov.ph, BDO.com.ph, BPIHousingLoans.com, PNB.com.ph, RCBCSavings.com, SecurityBank.com

N.B.: This is a guest contribution from Lamudi.com.ph.

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Mothers, How Healthy is the Space You Live In?

Note from blog owner: Since I’ll be having a newborn a couple of months from now, I’m featuring here an article from a guest contributor, Derek Lotts, an Advisory Editor of SmoothDecorator.com, on how to make sure that our place becomes an ideal abode for our newborn infants.  I still don’t know where to categorize this (I’m temporarily posting this under Green Living and Home Organization) because this is something new here, but I’m sure I’ll be writing personally about my experiences as a first time mom very, very soon.  – EOD

A clean home should be a priority, not an option. There are various pests and dangers lurking in the dark corners of your home, so do your best, invest a little time and money and secure a healthy environment and a bright future for your children.

Heavy Metals

Heavy Metals

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

Even though it sounds silly, heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and aluminum can be found in everyday households and pose a serious threat to the children. These can be found in drinking water, pesticides, some seafood, vaccines, antiperspirants and lead paints. In order to make sure that your children are safe, use cold water for drinking, cooking and making tea, install water filters, avoid eating fish that is high in mercury, avoid using products such as Teflon cookware or Scotchgard and avoid using treated wood for desks and children’s playrooms.

Mold and Fungal Toxins

Mold and Fungal Toxins

Photo Credits: 1

Mold can be extremely harmful for the health of your family. There are many people who are allergic to mold, and some people develop it later in life. Additionally, exposure could lead to suppression of the immune system and cancer. Since mold occurs mostly in damp areas where the temperature changes frequently, you should keep the humidity in your home below 60%, keep the filters of the AC clean and make sure that any newspapers, cardboard and books are kept in dry areas.

Dust Mites

Dust Mites

Photo Credits: 1, 2

Dust mites are small scavengers in our beds that can cause so much trouble, especially when it comes to newborns. There are numerous cases with children developing allergies to dust mites, which results in heavy breathing and trouble sleeping. Additionally, house dust mites can possibly trigger development of childhood eczema. In order to protect your newborn, you have to make sure the bed is completely dust mite-free. To do that, you can replace the old one, find new non-toxic mattresses online, wash the bedding on 60 degrees, air the bed daily and keep the baby room completely dust-free.

Unhealthy Foods

Unhealthy Foods (eat healthily)

Photo Credits: 1, 2

It’s not only chemicals and toxins can harm your child. The food has its hidden dangers that can pose a threat as well. Firstly, you want to minimize the consumption of sugars, such as refined sugar, molasses, syrups and brown sugar which can contribute to tooth decay. Also, substitutes such as aspartame and sucralose are found in many processed foods and have no nutritional value whatsoever. Make sure to give only natural sugars found in fruits and veggies to your children. Besides fruits and veggies, your child should eat plenty of grains, dairy products and meat and its substitutes.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Photo Credit: 1

Polyvinyl chloride contains phthalates (industrial compounds known as dialkyl or alkyl aryl esters) which are primarily used to increase the lifespan of fragrances and to soften plastics. However, even though it is useful, it poses a great danger for our health. It can damage the endocrine system because these chemicals mimic hormones, and it’s extremely dangerous for children. PVCs can be found in plastic wrap, bottles, food storage containers which can let the phthalates into the food. So, when buying plastic products for the home, ask if they contain PVC or phthalates. Also, never microwave or eat the food that is in a PVC container, find PVC-free drapes and shades, use natural fibers instead and always check the labels on baby products and protect your newborn.

Like being a mother is not tough enough, the house has to make its own troubles. Be on the lookout for these toxins and allergens, and secure a healthy environment and home for your children of all ages.

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Booking for a Budget Accommodation Near NAIA [24 Days Non-Stop Travel in Northern Luzon – Part 1]

I’ve been really, really planning to write about this but I only got the time, drive, and resources right now. Hopefully I can finish blogging about all the memorable and unforgetable experiences I had during those 24 days.

An Opportunity to Travel for the First Time in Batanes

It was around January or February last year when a friend asked me if I would like to go with her to Batanes.  I grabbed the opportunity without a lot of thinking.

Batanes is part of my Travel bucketlist. Thus, when an opportunity came, I didn’t have any second thoughts.

There’s so little time to prepare. Our scheduled flight from Manila to Basco was on March 1. We need to be in Manila the day before our scheduled flight.  This means that I needed to book an overnight accommodation near NAIA because our flight schedule was around 5 in the morning.

Unfortunately, I had the dates (of our depature to Manila and departure to Basco) jumbled, and ended up needing to book for a 2-night stay. Clumsy, disorganized me. ):

Searching for a Budget Accommodation near NAIA

Agoda is my most favorite hotel search engine when it comes to booking for accommodations that brings value for my money.

After careful filtering and scanning of guest reviews, I booked a 2-night stay at DG Budget Hotel NAIA.

DG Budget Hotel NAIA Review
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You can never really find a decent accommodation in Manila under one thousand pesos.

DG Budget Hotel costs 1.3K plus per night despite the fact that it is a semi-hostel with no private bathrooms.  But, despite these, the good things about this accommodation completely outweigh the bad ones.

Location

DG Budget Hotel is only 5-minute away from NAIA Terminal 4 via taxi.  Location-wise, this is one of the nearest accommodations to the airport if you are flying to Basco.

The place is near convenience stores and there is a bank and ATM at the ground floor.

Cleanliness

Our room is quite clean and their common bathrooms are odor-free. The corridor leading to the information area is also well-maintained.

The only bad thing is, they don’t provide a trash container in our room. We have to make use of a plastic bag as a replacement.

Comfort
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As a budget inn, it provides enough comfort for travelers on the go. The 2 single beds room that we booked are not that spacious, but it doesn’t matter because we didn’t stay there all day long.  We went out most of the day to the mall.

Their standard room with double bed though is quite comfortable.  We booked that room on our last 2-day stay in Manila before we returned to Cebu.

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They also provide a free hot and cold water station which is really helpful especially for someone like me who need more than 1 serving of coffee when I’m working.

Staff Performance

The staff are okay. There’s not much things to do other than man their mini grocery area where you can buy instant coffee and cup noodles.

Internet

Because I bring my work anywhere I go, internet connection is a crucial factor I consider when booking an accommodation.

DG Budget Hotel NAIA has above average internet connection speed. It’s also satisfying that they have two WiFi connections.  This is one of the major reasons why we stayed again there before we went back to Cebu.

Value for Money

Definitely one of the best choices when it comes to budget, location, and of course, internet. Be sure to book the standard room with the double bed. It’s bloody comfy.

I highly recommend this place for fellow budget travelers.

Next: My First Flight to Basco, Batanes Aboard SkyJet Air.

[Screenshot photos used in this blogpost are all from Agoda.com]

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Top 7 Frugal Ideas For Home and Condo Living

 

Condo living is often associated with luxury and convenience. In so many ways, that’s true. Location is supreme, condo amenities are world-class, and comfort is of prime importance. But this doesn’t mean that trends in condo living do not value being practical, realistic, prudent, and even frugal.

The concept of frugal living isn’t really new. A lot of us have already been doing it out of necessity. But frugal living trends nowadays have been elevated as a matter of lifestyle, something that people do to live better. In the past, frugality was associated with negative connotations such as penny-pinching, tight-fisted, and even cheap. But times have changed and frugal people now are wise consumers and prudent human beings finding ways to live well within and even below their means.

A 2014 study on stress and health by the American Psychological Association found that money issues as the top stressor for American adults. This is what the frugal movement wants people to understand. Being frugal doesn’t mean living like a pauper in a hut or out in the street, but about enjoying a better quality of life that is simple and less stressful.

It is no surprise that home and condo trends now include a lot of recycling, do-it-yourself activities, and going back to basics. This is what frugal living is all about: reducing waste, saving resources, and living simply. Living in a condo doesn’t mean you have to live as extravagantly as what some people associate your choice of residence with. In fact, condo living will give you a lot of opportunities to live frugally. Here are frugal condo trends that you should know about.

 

Stop eating out of the box, start growing your own food

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Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn via Flickr

Home cooked meals have regained their charm. Suddenly, people subscribe to online cooking videos, enroll in cooking classes, and find people who can cook sexy. Condos in the Philippines recognize the renewed appreciation for home cooking and transformed kitchen and dining areas more functional and stylish.

So stop ordering take-out meals or calling for delivery. You have very good reasons to stop eating out of the box. You eat healthier and save money. It is also recommended to prepare your own lunch to bring to work instead of eating out.

Frugal living tells you to cook your own food and start growing your own food. Even if you live in a condo, you can grow herbs in the kitchen or create your own urban garden right at your balcony. Not only do you save on spices, your house will look more alive and vibrant with all those greens.

 

Get a roommate, split expenses

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Photo courtesy of Tulane Public Relations via Flickr

Are you living on your own? Does the idea of having a housemate bother you? If not, then get one. Finding a roommate, subletting, and putting your condo for rent are among the real estate trends today. And for good reason — split the bills, save more money.

Never mind if you live in a studio or one-bedroom unit. Haven’t you seen 18 sqm transformations yet? If you’re not home most of the day, getting a roommate is really a practical solution (especially a roommate that does not share the same shift as yours so you can still have the condo on your own). Having someone split the bills, association, dues, and monthly rent will allow you to put your money where it matters. You may also rent out your parking slot.

 

Embrace a sustainable lifestyle

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Photo courtesy of Eric via Flickr

Sustainability and green living are such big industries these days. After all, natural resources are wearing thin and we owe it to the next generation to protect the Earth.

Start this noble lifestyle at home. Unplug things that are wasting power. Don’t put appliances on standby. Get a power strip that you can flip on and off easily. Keep thermostat at 25 or 26 degrees Celsius and save on electricity bill while still feeling comfortable.

Open up more to let natural light and air come through. Make your own dishwashing soap and freshener, and use baking soda and vinegar as your main cleaning agent. Getting ideas on how to recycle things around the house is just one search query away. Some of the common things you can repurpose are plastic containers, empty bottles, newspaper, clothes, and even compact discs.

 

Ditch cable and find free entertainment

The good thing about technology is that it renders entertainment subscriptions, such as cable and home phone, obsolete. You know what makes that even better? Condo trends these days provide technology for free.

Ditch your cable subscription and use the free Wi-Fi in your condo. Major condos in the Philippines also invest in game rooms and entertainment halls, so use them. You can also try and be more active by playing basketball or pool. That’s not only free entertainment, you also make new friends.

 

Enough with clutter and fight impulse

Remember this: a buy one, get one bag for free promo only makes sense if you need two bags. Fight shopping impulses and stay away from malls. It would also help if you leave your credit card at home, and better if you pay off the debt and cut your card in half. Also, stop subscribing to e-mails of your favorite shops and brands to tell you about the latest sale and promo.

Adopt a minimalist lifestyle at home. Invest in a few pieces that you actually need. In choosing your wardrobe, go for ones that go with everything else. If you usually wear casual clothes to work, stop making an excuse for buying that ultra-expensive pair of leather boots that you probably won’t use anyway. This will also make picking an outfit less stressful. Two words: Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. Successful people stick to one wardrobe because they’re too busy changing the world to even stress out on what to wear.

When it comes to furniture pieces in your condo, don’t overdo it. Space won’t allow too many pieces anyway. If you don’t really need them, don’t buy them. If you have things you don’t use, sell them.

 

Do it yourself

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Photo courtesy of stevepb via Pixabay

Try to do things on your own and get a little bit more creative. Smart trends in condo living encourage you to “do it yourself.” This will take more time and effort but it could be more fun and educational, and absolutely more satisfying. Make it a family project if you must. Need things done inside the house? There’s always YouTube. You need to give a gift to someone? Personalize it. Need storage for books? Make one.

 

Save on transport, stay at home more

Ask your condo neighbors if they want to carpool with you or you can carpool with them. Use your feet and take the public transport more. Try to run multiple errands on one trip. Want to give bike-to-work a try? And finally, make staycations fun so everyone will be more excited about staying at home for the weekend.

Frugal living requires a change in mindset and lifestyle. Never think of it as a cheap effort, but rather an attemptrt to live a life that is simple and within your means.

 

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Our Favorite Activities in Boracay Philippines

While Boracay has long been a top international tourist destination, this breathtaking paradise does not fail to amaze people with new adventures whether you want to relax or to unleash your inner daredevil. Thanks to its countless splendid wonders and to people’s ingenuity to make the most out of them, you will never run out of activities to do in Boracay.

From soaking up in loads of water fun and land adventures to getting the best out of your Boracay beach resort and hotel accommodation, here are some of the best activities you can do in Boracay. So take your pick from this list, pack your vacation essentials, and head to Boracay to have a time-off blast.

 

Re-enact mermaid tales with mermaid swimming

Bring to life your mermaid dreams and channel your inner Dyesebel or Ariel by taking classes in mermaid swimming. Yes, it is no longer restricted to professional mermaid swimmers as one school opened classes for that kind of fantasy. The Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy offers private and group sessions where you get to don monofins or mermaid tails. More creative and challenging than your usual swimming, mermaid swimming will not only let you live out your imagination, it will also push you to use your core muscles as your legs will be bound by a monofin. No worries though, all lessons are closely supervised by trained instructors.

 

Take advantage of your resort and hotel accommodation

Photo Courtesy of Doun via Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Doun via Flickr, Creative Commons

More than excellent staycation venues, a number of beach resorts and hotels in Boracay also offer water and land adventures such as speed boating, water skiing, and parasailing as part of your guest privileges. To enjoy convenient and thrilling excitement on top of your accommodation, inquire about these activities before booking so you get to compare different deals and select the one that will best suit your preferences and budget.

Upon checking in, ask about details such as schedule so you can adjust your vacation itinerary as needed. Speaking of checking in, Alta Vista De Boracay suggests that you double-check your vacation essentials such as toiletries, phones, sunscreen, snacks, and so on upon your arrival. In case you forgot something, you can bring it up to the front desk along your inquiry into the land and water adventures that they may offer.

 

Discover more of nature with eco tours

Travel to the off the beaten paths that you have not yet been to by going on eco tours that will take you to the neighboring areas of Boracay. Such eco tours are the perfect alternative for those who would love to experience Boracay vibes, but with fewer crowds. Moreover, ecotourism, as its name implies, upholds eco-friendly travel to protected natural areas, which will fit you if you are on the lookout for more pristine destinations with lush forests and the wildlife. It also boosts the local community by providing livelihood to the locals and making them feel proud of their place. Go spelunking in one of the country’s longest caves, Basang Cave in Nabas, Aklan. Afterwards, bike your way around or rejuvenate in Hurom Hurom’s springs. Experience two more caves in Hacienda Maria in Buruanga, Panay where they also have a majestic waterfall. Visit the nearby island of Antique and cross their famous long wooden bridge.

 

Row, row, row your board, that is, the stand-up paddle board

Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Taylar via Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Taylar via Flickr, Creative Commons

Inspired by Hawaii’s Hoe he’e nalu, this fun water activity will get you rowing while maintaining your balance on a stand-up board. Using a board that is bigger than your typical surfboard to maneuver shallow waters, this is one great introduction for those who have yet to go full blast with the traditional surfing. Paddle away in White Beach or to take it up a notch, go all the way to Diniwid Beach. If you want it in a different setting, try it on Panay’s slow and meandering river. If the sun gets too much for you, you can always swim every now and then.

 

Make friends with the locals

Photo Courtesy of Niraj Rajmohan via Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Niraj Rajmohan via Flickr, Creative Commons

One of the best ways of experiencing life in Boracay is getting to know people who grew up in the area. Aside from the fun in meeting new people, you can get interesting Boracay stories — and tips — from the locals who know the island like the back of their hand. Enjoy a game of Frisbee or skimboarding with them. Join them in their early evening strolls on the beach with the backdrop of the sunset. Also, do not hesitate to ask help whether you got lost or just wanted to try out something new.

 

These fun and exhilarating activities to do in Boracay will have you experience the different sides of this blissful destination. Select from these to include in your itinerary. You can also use these land and water activities as jumping boards for more adventures so it is important that you leave room for spontaneity. After all, there is always something in store in Boracay to delight you that will surely have you come back for more.

 

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Shangril-La Mactan’s Cowrie Cove Restaurant: Food Review

Are you looking for a restaurant to spend your special days or holidays here in Cebu?  Cowrie Cove Restaurant in Shangri-La, Mactan is one of Cebu’s fine dining destinations wherein you can enjoy your food while savoring the view of the beach.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to sample their Festive menu along with my fellow members of Cebu Bloggers Society.  Here’s the menu that Cowrie Cove specifically prepared for us.

Cowrie Cove Shangrila Mactan Cebu2

Here are the people I was with while enjoying the foods, small chitchats, the sea breeze, and the pleasant humid atmosphere at the sea view part of Cowrie Cove.

Cowrie Cove Restaurant Shangrila Mactan with Cebu Bloggers Society

Photo Credit: Sinjin Pineda of Libotero.com

Food Ratings and Review for Each Dish Served

We officially started our dinner with this appetizer.

This is the Sauteed King Prawn with Orange Salad and Roasted Carrot.  The sauteed prawn is a 9, orange salad an 8, and the roasted baby carrot a 9.5.  I love everything about this appetizer.  The flavor is very light and citrusy.

Next is the soup.

For our soup, we had the Pan Seared Scallop in a Truffle  Scented Polenta Soup with Parmesan Tips. The pan seared scallop is an 8.  Overall rating for this soup is 7.

Next is our main course.

The is Surf and Turf.  This main course is composed of Roasted Beef Tenderloin Rossini, Rock Lobster, Strawberries, and Balsamic Vinegar.  Definitely a winner.  Roasted beef tenderloin is a 9 and Rock Lobster a 10.

And last, but not the least, the dessert.

To cap off our dinner, we had Oven Roasted Apple and Raisin Vanilla Ice cream.  The roasted apple is a 7 and the raisin vanilla ice cream a 7.5.

The ambiance inside and outside Cowrie Cove is an 8 and the food service is a 9.5.  Overall, I enjoyed our dinner and would love to go back there to try their other menus.

 

N.B.: I am not paid to write this review.  Cebu Bloggers Society is a non-profit organization that mainly aims to promote everything about Cebu.  Happy New Year!

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12 Capture-worthy Places in Asia Every Photographers Must not Miss

It’s no secret that Asia is home to some of the best scenic views in the world. Considering that it’s the world’s largest continent, you’re sure to discover places any photographer will deem as paradise.

However, the entire continent is vast and it would be tremendously time-consuming for you if you’re embarking on a quest to capture the best places with only your camera and your wanderlust to bank on. You need proper information to make your hunt for great capture-worthy sites as efficient as possible.

Make your travel photography a breeze with these 12 capture-worthy places in Asia:

The Picture-Perfect White Beach of Boracay
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Photo courtesy of Hani_Han via Pixabay

The breathtaking contrast of Boracay’s sky blue waters and pristine white sands makes it impossible for photography enthusiasts and professional photographers to walk away without capturing a great shot.

Aside from the health benefits of going to the beach, another great reason why photographers visit this famous Philippine island is its underwater scenery. If you’re willing, a quick scuba diving lesson will allow you to capture the stunning coral reefs and marine ecosystem with your waterproof camera.

The Serenity of Li Riverriver-892346_1920

Photo courtesy of DEZALB via Pixabay

The serene beauty of China’s Li River is another place that budding photographers shouldn’t miss out on. The calm water, the towering mountains, and the touch of fog gives an otherworldly atmosphere that amplifies the scenic effect of your shots.

It’s highly suggested for photographers to take the raft when looking for great angles. Compared to being on a cruise, it allows you to get a closer look at the water . Best of all, the raftman is always willing to stop so you can take clearer, better photos.

The Kikuchi River Paradisejapan-1040657_1920

Photo courtesy of DeltaWorks via Pixabay

Kikuchi River in Japan allows you to be more attuned to the unrivalled beauty of nature. Capturing how the luminous waters, engulfed by trees, while making its way through the Kikuchi Valley produces engaging and dynamic photos.  

Kikuchi Valley is also known as the “Healing Forest.” Just like the benefits of relaxing by the beach, visiting this

renowned Japanese forest bathing site can boost your health and reduce stress while engaging all of your senses, making it a great place for great photos and relaxation.   

The Dazzling Sheikh Zhayed Grand Mosquemosque-618303_1920
Photo courtesy of
jpeter2 via Pixabay

The architectural beauty of this mosque in Abu Dhabi makes it one of the most noteworthy places every photographer should visit. The beautiful harmony of white and gold, decorated with subtle lines and paintings, bring out its solemn structural beauty no photographer should miss when visiting Asia.

The perfect time to visit Sheikh Zhayed Grand Mosque is around 4 o’clock as you can take photos of this structural beauty at your own pace. By the time you had your fill of photos, end the day gracefully by taking the complimentary Sunset Tour offered at 5 p.m. and try to capture the precise moment when the mosque is bathed in sunset colors.

The Splendid Angkor Wat Temple Complexangkor-809753_1920

Photo courtesy of Poswiecie via Pixabay

The Angkor Wat is the reason why 50% of tourists visit Cambodia. Visiting the place itself will answer the question why. The marvelous photos one can capture at different angles make it a photographer’s dream. The imposing archaic elements of the temple complex allow you to take splendid shots with almost no mechanical assistance from your camera at all.

The Majestic Taj Mahaltaj-mahal-1030894_1920

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay

The Taj Mahal is one of the wonders of the world for a good reason. The spectacular weave of details and balance is noteworthy, and these critical elements are the reasons why the Taj Mahal is heavily regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture and India’s jewel of Muslim art.

With Taj Mahal, close up photos alone won’t do justice to its beauty. Make sure to take wide angles to capture all of its architectural glory. One good tip is to position yourself across the river so you can take photos without interfering activities.   

A Touch of Delicate History with Ephesus
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Photo courtesy of tpsdave via Pixabay

One way to ensure that you’re seeing the best of Asia is to visit the delicate remnants at Ephesus. The remaining structures are still something to marvel at. It will be a great addition to any photographer’s photo journal as it allows you to capture the history of Turkey in its splendid aftermath.

The Enchanting View of Phu Quoc Island
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Photo courtesy of Quangle via Piabay

Phu Quoc Island offers photographers what an untouched natural environment looks like. This peaceful island has scenic spots that can easily be captured into stunning photos. In addition to the picture-perfect sunset by the beach,  the hospitality of the locals will be one more reason that makes the trip to Vietnam worthwhile.

The Fascinating Gardens by the Bay
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Photo courtesy of cegoh via Pixabay

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay offers unique images waiting to be captured. This enthralling blend of structure and nature makes it appealing for photographers and tourists alike. Make sure to enjoy a fine long walk on a warm evening to get a beautiful shot.

The Lovely Racha Island
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Photo courtesy of karin_isme via Pixabay

Racha Island is one of the pleasant discoveries you’ll encounter in Asia. The way the fine white sand meets the clear waters will make you reach for your smartphone or camera for a quick snap. Another reason why visiting this uninhabited island of Thailand is that it offers solitude for people looking for a private moment to themselves. This makes it easy for photographers to take marvelous photos without too much human traffic.

The Delightful Offers of Nusa Dua
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Photo courtesy of Mariamichelle via Pixabay

Indonesia’s Nusa Dua is a great place for photographers looking for quality shots of turquoise waters meeting whitish sands. It’s a bit isolated, allowing photographers to roam around and take great shots without any difficulty. Visit the Geger Temple, located at the top of the cliff, for better angles and a bird’s eye view of the entire location.

The Stunning Banpo Bridge
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Photo courtesy tpsdave via Pixabay

The Banpo Bridge is one of South Korea’s architectural highlights and is the world’s longest bridge fountain. It’s definitely one of Asia’s structural features that photographers shouldn’t miss. One of the major reason is its dynamic nature: the fountain is designed to perform various shows day in, day out.

The fountain boasts a hundred configurations that simulate the movements of willow branches and its leaves during the day. During the night, the fountain dances to the beat of music while being illuminated by 200 different lights. The sheer number of combinations the fountain offers make it a must-capture for every photographer visiting Asia.

Visiting these 12 capture-worthy places encourages photographers to come up with a noteworthy photography portfolio. The photos of these places will make a stellar addition, not only to your photo journal, but to your travel experience as well. When you’re on a travel photography journey, don’t just focus on looking for visually-appealing places, look for places that can enhance your travel experience as well.  That’s how you know that you’ve truly found one of the best capture-worthy places in Asia.

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7 Disadvantages of Being Too Frugal: Why You Need to Loosen up at Times

money-saving-piggy-banksImage via: flickr

Living a frugal life isn’t bad, but overdoing it can certainly have its repercussions. Being strategic and planning all your expenses without reflecting on your actions can defeat the whole purpose of living economically.

Focusing on just the numbers can take the fun out of your life. What’s more, putting too many restrictions on yourself and going overboard with budgeting can prove to be disastrous. Here are just a few disadvantages of being too frugal that you need to be wary of.

You Might Become a Cheapskate

In your efforts to save as much money as possible for more meaningful things, you might start becoming a cheapskate, and this is certainly not desirable. For example, availing freebies of skin and hair products you like is acceptable, but buying items that aren’t right for your skin and hair just because they’re cheaper is not!

You Could End up with Things You Don’t Need

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Because you’re so obsessed with deals and discounts, you might end up purchasing a lot of things you don’t have need for and never will use in the future. So if you bought a hundred toothbrushes because the cost came down to a penny each, it’s time for a reality check!

In addition to this, people who have taken living frugally too seriously tend to hang on to stuff in the hopes that they’ll need it in the future. If your home is full of clutter that you don’t need right now, do away with whatever you can.

And Choose to Live without Things You Really Need

You might start giving up on things you need just to save some cash. If you’re living a difficult and uncomfortable life, you’ve already stretched it too far.

You Might Give up Frugal Living Altogether

Just like a diet that is too strict, a budget that doesn’t allow you to indulge in your favorite things can become suffocating. This can cause you to give up thinking about your expenses altogether and can be more destructive.

Apart from having the basic necessities, give yourself a break and buy that dress you’ve been eyeing for weeks or treat yourself to a dinner at an upscale restaurant once in a while!

It Can Be Lonely

https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2014/02/24/14/51/lonely-273629_960_720.jpgImage via: pixabay

If you have found friends that share your love for frugal living, good for you! But if none of your friends live the way you do, you’re bound to be lonely at times. After all, no one wants a friend who worries about money all the time to tag along to a weekend party.

Of course some of your friends might understand, but only if you live frugally within the limits. And at no point of time should you get into competition mode and try outdoing your frugal friends!

Your Safety Is Compromised

Living frugally can cause you to turn a blind eye to your health and safety. Perhaps you don’t have a life insurance policy or you don’t bat an eyelid when consuming cans of expired food from your pantry.

Either way, you could end up spending a lot more money should things go wrong, so think twice before you act! Make sure you go for regular health and dental checkups, and get your life, home, and car insured as soon as you can.

Note that food that is cheap might be low on nutrition and if you eat too much of the unhealthy stuff, you aren’t doing the right thing. Eat healthy foods- they aren’t always expensive!

Also take care of your belongings- remember that a stitch in time saves nine. Delay getting something fixed and you might have to spend a greater amount of money later on.

So Are Your Ethics

Submitting multiple rebates by changing a few characters of your name and address for items that clearly state ‘1 per household’ is wrong. It is also wrong to expect more from people than you give them in return.

If you no longer care about your values and have started compromising on your ethics just to save a few bucks, you’re definitely on the wrong track.

Conclusion

Living frugally isn’t bad, but you don’t want to forget the ‘living’ part when you’re focusing primarily on saving money. Frugal living is all about making wise financial decisions and not making life uncomfortable for yourself and your loved ones. Also, you can’t have your lifestyle decisions turn you into a laughing stock.

As such, drawing the line between what is and what isn’t acceptable is important. Whether you’ve just started taking your expenses into account or you’ve been living frugally for quite some time, the information provided here will help you examine your way of life and identify the mistakes you’re making by being too frugal.

Just relax and live life to the fullest- it’s possible to do so on a budget!

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Philippines and Its Eight Remarkable Beaches You Need To Visit

While Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London’s got the Big Ben and New York has the Empire State, the Philippines’ pride is its natural beauty away from the cities. In a global report, the Philippines ranks among the world’s best places to visit because of its splendid, natural attraction: the beaches. This is unsurprising to anyone who has visited any of these majestic beaches in the Philippines, spread across the country’s 7,107 islands. Powdery soft sand, gentle sea breeze, rich aquatic wonders, year-round sunshine, friendly smiles—all this and more make the Philippines a must-visit. So when are you traveling?

 

White Island, Camiguin

Photo courtesy of G.B. Khuta via Flickr

Photo courtesy of G.B. Khuta via Flickr

The White Island of Camiguin does not usually land in popular lists of the best Philippine beaches. Such a shame, for it is a scenic getaway that deserves attention. The White Island is a desolate sandbar a few minutes away by boat from the main island of Camiguin. Upon arrival, you will notice that no tree inhabits its vast expanse; what you have as backdrop is the lush green island of Camiguin itself. The combination of seascape and lush mountainous vista makes this beach destination a breathtaking place. The sleepy town attracts travelers all year long, but energy bursts during the Lanzones Festival in celebration of the unique, local fruit famous  for its succulent sweetness with a sour kick.

 

El Nido, Palawan

Photo courtesy of Nennn via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Nennn via Flickr

To say El Nido is a paradise is an understatement: there are not enough words, no sufficient image, to describe how beautiful the place is. Part of the environmentally gifted main island of Palawan, El Nido perpetually attracts an international set of travel connoisseurs including Hollywood celebrities. Its popularity is matched by its undeniable luxury. But while El Nido hosts some of the most expensive and exclusive beach resorts in the world, travelers with a penchant for rustic budget hotels have options as well.  

The beaches of El Nido are nestled between bay views and towering rock formations that appear to be unravaged by time. The contrasting features of its beaches create the perfect setting for wanderers. Its diverse marine life also makes the place an ideal stomping ground for biologists, social scientists, and local life. Don’t miss the sunset: the sea against the dramatic sky will leave you breathless.

 

Mactan, Cebu

Mactan is sometimes referred to as Maktan, yet this distinction does not affect what travelers commonly experience when they visit — amazement for the place and its people. An island part of the thriving city province of Cebu, Mactan’s natural attractions include marvelous beaches, underwater adventure, and affectionate smiles of its people.Travelers to Mactan won’t fail to notice the warmth of its people. Although the Philippines is globally rated as one of the happiest countries in the world, there’s something extraordinary in the smiles you will encounter here. The French have an apt phrase for such enigmatic quality: Je ne sais quoi (I don’t know what). The world-class beaches of Mactan and the universal happiness of its people make this destination truly memorable.

 

Puka Beach, Boracay

 

Photo courtesy of Angelo Juan Ramos via Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Angelo Juan Ramos via Wikimedia Commons

For many travelers, a voyage to the Philippines is not complete without experiencing the white beaches of Boracay, which is arguably the most popular beach destination in the Philippines. Countless travelers continue to rate it as the top spot for a relaxing vacation.  Traditionally, Boracay is divided into three inter-connected stations filled with beach resorts and interesting establishments. A Boracay beach resort in the first and second stations, such as Discovery Shores boracay, is considered a hip area because the location is embellished with upbeat party scenes.  

More secluded, tranquil locations have deservedly received more visits in recent years. One such place is Puka Beach, an 800-meter stretch of white sand dotted with puka shells located at the northern tip of the island. The place is a great option for travelers looking for best, alternative locations to the bustling parts of Boracay. Soft, gentle waves interact with the sand, creating a laid back atmosphere with relaxing acoustics. Shells in Puka Beach abound, and they make for great ornaments such as necklaces, bracelets, and house trinkets. These chic, tasteful handicrafts are conveniently sold in shops in the area.  

Activities are endless in Boracay. Kayaking, island hopping, parasailing, a relaxing moment on the beach—all these are within reach. It’s great that hotels in Boracay are offering more options for travelers seeking a calmer island vibe.

 

Panglao, Bohol

Ah, the beaches of Panglao Island. The long, stunning stretch of Panglao is an extension of Bohol in Central Visayas.  Both Panglao and Bohol are a traveler’s nirvana, and for good reasons. Both islands have  topnotch white beaches and diving centers, centuries-old churches, diverse wild life, verdant rivers, and a world-class children’s choir. From wild encounters with tarsiers and dolphins to inspiring views of the the Chocolate Hills — a UNESCO World Heritage site — the whole destination seems to have it all. Another must-see in Panglao is its close neighbor, Balicasag Island, which is famous for diving and snorkeling activities. More temperate travelers can opt to lounge by the beaches of Panglao. Gastronomic pursuits are also recommended; the island offers a multitude of delicious and healthy eats. There are high-end beach resorts should you wish to splurge, but travelers can easily adjust to budget hotels without missing any of Panglao’s delicate charm.

 

Coron, Palawan

 

Photo courtesy of Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ via Flickr

Coron, like El Nido, is located in Palawan. But don’t make the mistake of comparing the two as some sort of “rivals.” They are emphatically not. Any traveler who has visited Coron and El Nido knows that it is unwise to prefer one over the other: the only proper choice is to prefer both. Apart from the pristine beaches of Coron, the place has loads of other treats. Water-enthusiasts would be delighted to know that Coron has both sea and fresh water as comely attractions. Hopping from one beach to the next is highly recommended, just as hopping from one lake to the next is. The seven enchanting lakes of Coron — of which the two most famous are Lake Barracuda and Lake Kayangan — are among the clearest and cleanest in the world. Rocky cliffs of marble and limestone dot the landscape, and climbing them is fun yet challenging. Coron is called by some a “jewel” among the islands of Palawan. No doubt are they right: Coron leaves an indelible imprint on adventure-seekers lucky enough to sample even just its pure waters.

 

Siquijor, Siquijor

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay

Siquijor is an island province that lies southwest of Bohol. If there is a word often used by travelers in describing the island, the word frequently uttered is “mystical.” Magic and sorcery shroud the island with spell-binding mystery. Love potions are sought by travelers from local apothecarists and self-labeled occultists. (Judging by the mesmerizing pull of Siquijor among travelers, one can bet the potions are working!). Once the enchanting dust settles, however, what comes clearly to view are the legendary beaches of Siquijor. Already at the port, you will be greeted by the clear waters of the island. And the local people are generous with their warmth and hospitality.  Salagdoong Beach, famous for its cliff diving site, is without a doubt an enticing destination. Cliff diving sites, you might think, are quite common enough. But Salagdoong is a cut above the rest. The picturesque jumping point is not only thrilling but also enthralling. Siquijor and its royal blue waters — enriched by shades of cyan, turquoise, and cerulean — are truly, in a word, mystical.  

 

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

 

Photo courtesy of tacitrequiem via Flickr

Photo courtesy of tacitrequiem via Flickr

Proudly facing the West Philippine Sea, Pagudpud’s beaches are nothing less than amazing. Coconut trees line the sundry landscape of its fine beaches. Pagudpud is a coastal town, and it requires around 9 hours of land travel from the Philippines’ capital, Manila. But the adage “All good things come to those who wait” is true for travelers who endure the long journey to Pagudpud. Perhaps after waking up from a relaxing nap on Pagudpud’s beaches, why not consider kitesurfing? Pagudpud is among the top kitesurfing destinations in the world.  To the uninitiated, kitesurfing is akin to wakeboarding; but what pulls the former is not an electric cable but the wind of the open seas. Drifters who journey to Pagudpud’s beaches appreciate that it’s not yet as crowded as one might expect. So if you’re dreaming of a solitary travel, head on out to Pagudpud. Now.

 

The Philippines and its remarkable beaches are inviting to travelers in search of familiar and less familiar destinations. What literary great Kate Chopin says,“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace”could readily capture the journey to these beaches. So off you go, traveler, these slices of heaven await you.

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The Journey-Destination Perspective: Making Traveling a Magical Adventure

 

 

For both intrepid and newbie travelers, the question remains: just what exactly compels one to begin and continue traveling? What is the animating force that moves one’s feet to explore and re-explore?  Ultimately, is it the age-old quest for the journey or the destination — or should a fruitful objective be a combination of both?

Let us build on some common objectives of traveling you yourself might have. See how magic appears by occasionally diverging from these travel objectives. From solo traveling to family sojourns, from traveling for its own sake to traveling for recognition, from the value of flexibility to the importance of travel destinations, below are possible extensions to some common travel objectives — a warm invitation for you to make traveling an extra memorable and magical adventure.

 

Solo shouldn’t mean lonely (or scary)

One great advantage of traveling solo is having the time to enjoy at one’s own pace, without the usual hurried tempo when traveling with a partner, family, friends, or group. Yet a corollary concern arises: solo-traveling runs the risk of being lonely and anxiety-provoking. In some cases, it may also mean a little more expensive since there is no one to split expenses with. This of course has not discouraged a growing number of people who are becoming courageous in plunging into the surprising delights occasioned by solo-traveling. A very recent international study shows that among first-time travelers, going solo has become a global trend, increasing to a 37% rate in 2015 from 16% in 2013. The increase is more than double!

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Photo courtesy of The Wandering Angel via Flickr

If the global rise in the number of solo-travelers does little in appeasing your worries of trying it out solo, then a good starting point might be to induct yourself to a travel destination, instead of going somewhere totally off the beaten path. Herein lies the importance of travel destinations: they have with them the experience and knowledge of previous travelers you can use as guidepost. In many cases, travel destinations also have a more established system to welcome visitors. This perhaps explains, for instance, why traveling solo in Boracay, a popular travel destination, remains to be among the top choice of activities by both neophyte and seasoned travelers. As is becoming more of the case today, there is also the emerging concept of affordable luxury, which appears more in the checklist of solo-travelers and providing anew some explanation why travelers keep coming back to Boracay and other travel destinations.

But whether exploring the beauty of the familiar or biting the bullet by going somewhere relatively unknown, solo-traveling as an objective is less daunting if emphasis is placed on the whole traveling experience rather than on the word “solo.”  After all, a solo-traveler need not encase his or herself in a shell, but instead might want to consider linking up with other fellow travelers, or interact with locals for the coveted insider info. Putting the “we” in the solo can be potentially rewarding and memorable! Traveling solo does not (and should not) necessarily mean alone and scary.

 

You Can Never Go Wrong With a Family Getaway

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Photo courtesy of burningriver  via Pixabay; Creative Commons

The advantages of traveling with family are numerous and quite common knowledge. To cite one advantage, having as an objective a travel adventure with one’s family can definitely serve as a wonderful bonding opportunity to create lasting memories or even amend some strained relationships. But just like in solo-traveling, one should not feel constrained by the setup of having one’s family in a travel escapade. Quiet, alone times are permitted in family traveling, and these “selfie” moments can even be made sweeter by the fact that you have someone immediate to share them with.  Tons of activities, such as island cruises or the classic swim in the pool and/or the sea, can also be way more fun when done with family.   

 

The key is to be flexible

Understandably, many travelers approach the endeavor with strict objectives and guidelines. Some demand exclusivity, others demand hospitality, while some put emphasis on the journey more than the destination itself. Some even demand something as peculiar as a specific smell for the room. Without in anyway detracting from the importance of setting up travel objectives and careful planning, being open to chance does not diminish a traveler’s objectives and plans; rather it could exponentially enrich the whole traveling experience, ascending it to extra special heights.  

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Photo courtesy by tresdetres via Pixabay, Creative Commons

Each person has his or her own motivations for traveling. Any seasoned traveler would attest to the horizon-expanding benefits of experiencing something novel and amazing at the same time. Whether it is a vision of sunset’s purple patch or the gentle caress of sand or a chance encounter with a fellow traveler likewise in search of life’s wonders. Flexibility adds spice to the journey and to the destination itself, be it exploring something geologically ambitious like the Galapagos Islands or when returning to more familiar destinations.  

 

The Pleasure-Recognition Weigh in

Traveling in today’s modern world appears to have been largely influenced by what seems at first to be two opposed objectives — the pursuit of pleasure and recognition. The pleasure part draws heavily from the journey, which relies on the traveling process and the companion/s possibly involved. The Dionysian motivation for the pleasure of the senses puts value to the experiential elements that attend to the journey, sometimes more than destination alone. Think of a quiet walk by a hill alone or with glances to a dear partner’s countenance.

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Photo courtesy of Wapster via Flickr, Creative Commons

In contrast, the drive for recognition would at times account more for the importance placed on other people’s affirmation. This motivation is attached to a notion nourished by the Internet culture which deems any traveling event to be “true” and of “importance” if one has photos to display as proof for others to see. The jest “Show photos, or it did not happen”  is often heard or said among peers, attesting to the value placed upon the “brag factor” of traveling. Here, traveling is done less as something for its own sake (as something pleasurable in itself), but is something for the sake of other people.  

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Photo courtesy of Roderick Eime via Flickr, Creative Commons

Yet, sticking exclusively to these two motivations — to gain pleasure from the journey or to gain recognition from the destination – does not suffice to cover the whole magic involved in traveling. Choosing between pleasure or recognition, journey or destination, surely misses the point because it is a false choice. What perhaps can be more fruitful is to view both of them as complementary, where each can potentially enhance the domain of the other. One cannot deny the importance of pleasure just as one cannot avoid other people’s existence (compounded by the fact that social media is integrated in most of our lives, for better or worse). In the same way, one cannot remain too stuck to the whole journey and forget about the importance of the destination. A sort of balancing act is in order.

 

Life is beautiful, realize your adventures

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Photo courtesy of Frontierofficial via Flickr, Creative Commons

Whatever your travel objectives, it is important to remember that as with all travels, things can sometimes not go as thought or planned. You can get lost, you’ll likely forget something at home, it can rain just when you’re in the mood for an outdoor activity. Planning is important, but not all things are within our control. The key is to be open, to be flexible, and to look beyond our set traveling objectives. That way, the beauty of life can present itself to us warmly and unexpectedly. Great adventure sometimes begins at the point of the surprising unknown, providing us with the opportunity to make the journey and the destination worth all the effort.

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What is The Right State of Mind: 9 Fundamentals Before Traveling

People have different reasons for traveling. Some seek adventure, while some just want to simply get away. There’s also the thrill of meeting new people, discovering new places, and eating bizarre food. And for these reasons and so many others, travel has become a huge industry. In 2014, the United Nations World Tourism Barometer reported over one billion international tourist arrivals. A compilation of blogs and comments revealed that 32% of people travel out of curiosity. They want to see for themselves how other people live their lives. Gaining outlook and perspective is the second most popular reason for travelers. These are people who have skewed priorities and want a breather to hopefully get things right. The rest travel for adventure, for personal growth, and to see the world. And of course, there are those who travel to one place just to have the bragging rights to say that he’s been there. Whatever reasons one might have, traveling has always been a good thing. The many positive effects of traveling include keeping your heart healthy and your mind sharp, encouraging you to be more sociable, drive optimism, and essentially makes you happier.

But traveling is not easy. Before traveling internationally, there are many things that you should consider such as time off work, money, safety, and even getting your visa approved. Your traveling checklist should not be limited to what you should pack but other traveling fundamentals that actually affect the entire experience. Let’s go beyond what’s in the bag and find out the state of mind that all travelers must have. What are the things you should know about traveling? How can you really prepare for it?

 

Can you really afford it?

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Photo courtesy of Stock.tookapic.com via Pexels

You have to be realistic when it comes to your budget. A tour around Europe is nice. It’s a dream come true. But can you really afford it? If you find yourself having to sacrifice amortization payments, bills, and other necessities, then maybe it’s not yet your turn to see the Eiffel tower amid the breathtaking sunset. You don’t want to go broke upon your return. Other money matters include finding out the conversion rate, making sure your credit card will be honored in the country you will be visiting, checking out if there is are entrance and exit fees, and where you should exchange your currency for a higher value.

 

Safety always comes first

Do not just research about food and attractions. Research about security issues, travel warnings, and advisories in your target destination, too. Read news items regarding demonstrations, conflicts, and tensions if any. Before traveling internationally, download maps for you to be able to locate routes and attractions as early as possible. Before booking a hotel, check if it is located in a safe renting environment. Check if essential services like the police, hospital, or tourism offices are easily accessible in the area. “Safety first” should always be your state of mind.

 

Prepare for the unknown

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Photo courtesy of Tamas Meszaros via Pexels

Camping is a mystery to some. They say “why would you want to sleep in the woods and pretend you’re homeless?” The same thing goes for travelers. Why go elsewhere just to live a nomad’s life? This is because travelers do not fear the unknown. And that is the first phase in the psychology of travel according to Rupert Wolfe Murray. A traveler must learn how to let go of things at home or he will never appreciate the things that will come his way while traveling. A traveler must prepare to be blown away. How a place will make you feel is something no picture can ever capture. At the same time, not all experiences will be good so you must be prepared to handle disappointments as well.

 

Be open minded and have the right attitude

Before going out there, make sure that you have the right attitude. Be open-minded about things. It is only then that you will learn how to appreciate and have fun. Every nation has its own ways, practices, and traditions. Immerse yourself in them.

 

Know before you go

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Photo courtesy of unsplash.com via Pexels

Learn a few local lines, read about the people’s history, and research about their culture. Not everything should surprise you. For example, it helps to know that in Japan, it is okay not to give a tip for any service. Read about laws such as in crossing the street or littering. Read about customs such as taking your shoes off when entering a building. You may want to visit the neighboring cities in London too. Learning about a country’s history, culture, and tradition is a way to show respect.

 

Finding a home

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Photo courtesy of unsplash.com via Pexels

As long as you have enough budget, finding a hotel should not be a problem. However, it is best to explore your options. Aside from the usual hotels, you might want to consider short term renting a condo if you will be staying for a week or two. Find out the best condo rental locations for foreigners. Mind the proximity to public transportation and other areas of interests. Make sure it is in a safe environment.

 

Living with the locals

Interact with the locals as much as you can. This is the reason why learning a few words and sentences should be on your traveling checklist. Observe how they do things. Observe how they interact with each other. Observe how they behave on the train, when they order food, how they go on their daily routine.  Observe every chance you get because only then will you get to understand a nation’s people. No travel story will be complete without interacting with the locals.

 

A traveler’s perspective

fashion, person, woman

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com via Pexels

You should develop a unique perspective as you go about your travels. Use all your senses. Take things in. Once in a while, put down your camera and see things with your eyes and your heart. You should have a takeaway from every experience. Travel psychologist Dr. Michael Brein says that in traveling, a person must be able to re-examine the present in light of the past. T.S. Eliot wrote: “and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

 

Going back to normal

stairs, people, airport

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com via Pexels

It is normal for most people to hate the end of every travel. Going back to work and back to the usual daily is not easy especially if you stayed in a foreign country for a pretty long time. So as much as travelers prepare to travel, they must also be prepared for the moment when they must return. There could be shock or despair. Remind yourself why you are going away in the first place. Because most of the time, travelers embark on an adventure so they can be better versions of themselves when they return.

The fundamentals of traveling do not end with packing, money, or an itinerary. The traveler himself must be prepared.He must be prepared for the before, during, and after. Be open to new experiences, gain perspective, and prepare to be blown away.

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Ignore What They’ve Told You About Working Abroad

Whether you’re an upcoming graduate or an experienced professional considering a career shift, at one point you may have considered working overseas. While you were excited by the opportunity to discover a new country and get paid while doing it, it’s likely that some of your closest friends and family have already advised you against it. They would say you’ll be lonely, you won’t know anyone over there, or you don’t even speak the language. Those are some common lines you’ve probably heard from the naysayers. Still, you’re dying to get out into the world!

In fact, nearly 300,000 U.S students studied abroad in 2013 and that number has only increased then. Although you’ve heard some opposition, more and more people recognize the advantages of  traveling abroad. The world has turned into a massive melting pot and if you don’t take get with the program, you could be sorely missing out. A great example is teaching abroad. Today, it’s one of the largest markets when it comes to global job opportunities. Statistics show that a whopping 1.5 billion people enrol in some sort of English course each year. Teaching English abroad trends also reveal that there are more than 100,000 new openings each year, mainly Europe and Asia, and at least 20% of teachers will continue teaching in a new country after their first experience overseas. If that’s not enough reason for you to go against the grain, here are 8 more reasons why you should consider working or teaching abroad.

 

You’re More Likely To Get Hired

According to UC Merced,  97% of international students find employment within 12 months, post-grad. That means they were twice as likely to land a job as compared to to those with no experience studying or working overseas. Such experience will set you apart. With more and more countries becoming racially mixed, employers appreciate applicants with a global mindset. Whether you’re volunteering, studying or teaching abroad, when you come back home, you would have more opportunities that those who haven’t set foot overseas.

 

You’ll Have A Global Network

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Photo Courtesy of Unspalsh via Pexels

You might have expected this career benefit of going abroad. Other than getting to know the locals, and having an in-depth understanding of a new country, you’ll make long-lasting friends from around the globe that will benefit you in the long run. In the future, you might end up looking for new job opportunities, international investors for your start-up, or simply in need of a place to stay. Whatever the reasons, you can count on your global friends to lend a helping hand.

You’ll Learn Another Language

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Photo courtesy of nguyentuanhung via Pixabay

This is not a surprising benefit of working abroad, but it’s one that goes beyond face value. Other than impressing your friends with your bilingual abilities, both the personal and professional payoffs are large. According to the New York Times, speaking multiple languages makes you smarter and will even lessen your chances of dementia when you’re older. Being able to understand and think, no matter what form the words take, shows that your cognitive skills aren’t limited to language. In addition to this, you’re increasing your chances for success. Studies show that 31% of the world’s executives speak at least two languages, while 20% speak three, and 13% speak four or more languages.

 

You’ll Be Getting A Higher Salary

Working abroad has huge career benefits when it comes to getting paid. In 2009, some 60,000 job openings required bilingual applicants and this statistic has only increased since then. More than that, bilingual employees have up to  20% larger salaries, as compared to employees speaking only one language. If this hasn’t convinced you yet, higher pay also means higher appreciation. Especially in countries where English-speakers are rare, employers are likely to acknowledge the skills you’re bringing into the company.

 

You’ll Be Jet Setting Around The World

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Photo Courtesy of SkitterPhoto via Pexels

This is probably the most attractive and compelling reason why you should consider teaching abroad. Seeing the world is a life goal that most people have. After all, who wouldn’t want to be relaxing in an Italian cafe one year and enjoying authentic Japanese ramen the next? Tokyo, Seoul, and Shanghai employ up to 15,000 English teachers a year, while Madrid and Rome currently has around 5,000. Turkey is also set to hire a whopping 40,000 foreign tutors in the next five years.

 

You’ll Have So Much Freedom

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Photo Courtesy of Stockpic via Pexels

Working overseas will not only be one of the best career moves you’ll make; it will also be the most freeing. According to a Gallup survey, a shocking 29% of Americans, aged 18-35 still live with their parents. This just goes to show that even if you’re employed, it’s highly likely that you have the financial or even the emotional independence to move out. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, working overseas increases your chances to be paid a higher amount. Not only will this allow you get your own place, this gives you free range to travel abroad. Teaching in Europe? Take a train to the nearest country. The world is your oyster! At the same time, this gives you the chance to grow away from overprotective, overbearing parents. After all, you’re not a baby anymore. You’re a full-grown adult!

 

You’ll Be Connecting People Along The Way

Today, there are roughly 6,500 different languages being spoken around the world. However, 32.5% of those languages have less than 1,000 speakers. Meanwhile, the global English speaking population amounts to a total of 1.5 billion people. From these statistics alone, you can see how large the cultural barrier can be. However, by teaching English abroad, you’ll be part of the 250,000 people who are working to close that gap. This isn’t to say that English should be the primary language everywhere in the world. This just means that even speaking the basics can lead to better understanding between people of different geographical backgrounds. Having a better grasp of a common language also means people have a greater capacity to come together, no matter what the circumstance.

 

It’s A Once In A Lifetime Experience

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Photo Courtesy of Stockpic via Pexels

Last but not least, the main reason why you should close your ears to the people who are against your plan to work or study abroad, is because you may never have this chance again. Some people wait until they’re retired and have saved enough before they go and see the world. However, one can never know what the future holds. You may no longer have the financial or physical capability to travel this much. More than that, even if you are able to travel abroad when you’re older, it still won’t be the same as satisfying your wanderlust while you’re young. I assure you, seeing the world while you’re young leads to a fresh perspective and a global mindset that will change you forever.

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The Language of Traveling: How Experiences Turn Us Into Storytellers

Traveling makes us richer. It makes us richer with memories, experiences, and stories. It makes us richer with moments that take our breath away. We leave the comforts of home and throw ourselves into the unknown all in the name of these priceless moments (or perhaps a new profile picture). We can read all about the places and look at pictures, but concept is so much different from experience.

Traveling isn’t easy, of course. You invest time and money. You prepare yourself to be recklessly thrown into situations you have no control over. But on the other hand, the benefits of traveling are way too many to pass up while you sit in a corner your whole life. Studies claim that traveling is the best medicine — it makes your heart and brain healthier. It keeps you young and it makes your soul happy. Whether you are exploring a new city or relaxing by the beach, the wonder of being in a different place keeps our hearts healthy. A trip to Boracay Island in the Philippines will give you such feels. The warmth of the sun against your skin, the calmness of the beach, and how the sand exfoliates your skin are just some of the health benefits of beach travel. Yes, travel benefits both the spirit and the body.

It also makes us better storytellers. St. Augustine famously said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” The many experiences and memories we gain, both good and bad, make us more informed and aware. That moment when we see a place for the first time and we are speechless is exactly what makes us good storytellers.

The best and most believable storytellers are those who have seen and experienced the world. Here’s how traveling turns us into a storytellers:

 

The good, the bad, and the breathtaking

Photo courtesy of pulaw via Flickr, Creative Commons

No matter how many travel blogs and reviews you read, nothing will ever prepare you for the things that await you in one place. For example, before traveling to Boracay, you probably know all about the fine white sand and the postcard-worthy sunset, but knowing how the sand feels between your toes and how the sunset makes you swoon is something you have to experience. You have to feel it. You have to see it. Seeing the place for the first time and then falling in love with it over and over again is what makes an experience and it is what makes you a perfect storyteller. You get to tell other people exactly how the sand felt.

 

Experiences into life lessons

There are thousands of traveling tips that you can easily spot online — what to bring, what to wear, where to go, which hotel accommodation to book, etc. But it is only when you get to the actual place that you realize what you missed to pack. It is only when you experience a place that you get to realize that there are so many other options, so many things you didn’t do or things you did that you shouldn’t have, what to say or not say, etc. These experiences turn into life lessons that make every story more valuable.

 

Beauty of getting lost

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Preparing itineraries, maps, and schedules are a good thing. But getting lost in a new city and roaming free is when we actually discover the most beautiful secrets of a place. The importance of getting lost when traveling ranges from discovery of a place to the discovery of oneself. You suddenly realize that your problem-solving skills are superb. You realize that you are capable of figuring things out on your own and at your own pace. You learn to trust your instincts, you learn to enjoy conversations with locals and other travelers, and you learn that you are perfectly capable of finding your way back.

 

All of your senses at work

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Photo courtesy of skitterphoto.com via pexels.com

When you travel to a new place, your senses work very hard. You get to know a place by its exotic smell, its quaint sights, and how it feels — does it make you feel happy, giddy, safe, or scared? You go beyond visual details and go into sensory details. As a storyteller, you get to tell it as it is.

 

Meeting the locals

Locals are a big part of every adventure. Just by being in a bus full of locals will give you a glimpse of the different types of people when you travel — friendly, snobs, busy, tired, etc. You will learn about their peculiarities and what makes them unique just by observing and talking to them. You don’t get to read a lot of those in travel blogs. Traveling isn’t all about places. Most importantly, it’s about the people. You have to speak to the locals and allow them to get to you.

 

The food is everything

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Photo courtesy of poppicnic via pixabay.com

Food says a lot about its people. When traveling, skip the fast food and go for the authentic. When you travel to Boracay, you will realize that Filipinos are all about good food — fat, salty, sweet, and yummy. Healthy? Well, not so much. But fresh seafood? Now we’re talking. You will learn that in this island in the Philippines, food can be a conversation piece and can bring families and friends together. Meals are never quiet and formal. They eat with their hands and you should, too. You can write a book just by tasting a country’s delicacy.

 

New city, new rules

When traveling, you learn how to balance between allowing yourself to roam free while minding boundaries and restrictions. Rules are very important in telling stories about a place and an experience because they caution against needless hassles. Did you know that building sand castles is no longer allowed in Boracay? Did you know that giving “tips” is frowned upon in Japan? These are reminders that make a trip free from hassles and worries.

The possibilities when traveling are endless. You have to lose yourself. You have to be in the moment. Traveling turns us into storytellers by leaving us breathless and speechless. Experiences and memories fill our stories with sights, smells, and perspective. Traveling gives our stories value, authenticity, and emotions.

 

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Stunning Beaches in the Philippines That Will Take Your Breath Away

It is impossible not to be swept away by the charming and stunning beaches in the Philippines. The Philippines is home to clear, turquoise waters with the most diverse marine life. The powder-fine beaches, the majestic islands, and the very friendly locals are your gateway to the best vacation ever. So pack your bags and see for yourself what it feels like to be in a piece of heaven. Below is a list of seven of the best beaches in the Philippines that you must go to right away. Let’s start.

Boracay, Aklan

Photo courtesy of Ki via Flickr

It is not possible to make a list of the stunning beaches in the Philippines without including Boracay Island. It is the ultimate getaway for the adventurers, romantics, and party souls. All year round, the waters are pristine and the sand, well, as the whole world already knows, it is white, fine, and just perfect. Even foreigners say there’s nothing like it. Boracay is definitely one breathtaking reason why you need to travel to the Philippines.

Aside from the beach and the sand, the Boracay sunset and the view are to die for. During the day, you will not run out of things to do in Boracay from diving, snorkeling, island hopping, parasailing, cliff jumping, etc. At night, the five-kilometer stretch of the beach is pumped up with parties and good times.

When you travel to Boracay, getting a relaxing and luxurious accommodation is not a problem. Most hotels are lined across the beach front while a few more private hotel-resorts are nestled at higher points of the Island to give guests a more scenic and panoramic view of everything good in Boracay. These hotel-resorts spread out among the tropical mountains and the hillside of Boracay offer world class facilities and services which are your guide to a luxurious Boracay accommodation. They also offer exclusive access to the stunning Puka Beach. Boracay may be bursting with tourists but these fine hotels give you your sanctuary when you need some peace and quiet.

 

El Nido, Palawan

Photo courtesy of Ben Beiske via Flickr

There are over 50 beaches to explore in El Nido. Yes, that’s 50. Talk about luxurious travels, El Nido easily lands on top of any list.

Off the coast, towering marble cliffs, limestone formations, and clear blue waters will greet you. There are also enchanting lagoons and prehistoric caves that will lead you to more secluded beaches and many species of corals and other marine life. Among them is the heavenly marine reserve called Bacuit Bay. With over 30 dive sites, El Nido is popular among scuba divers. Cliff climbing, cave exploration, and windsurfing are also some of the rather wild activities here.

Hollywood also loves El Nido. That majestic scene towards the end of “Bourne Legacy” was shot here, so was a pit stop for “Amazing Race.” Alex Garland wrote “The Beach” while living here. Palawan is commonly referred to as the “Final Frontier” and once you have been to the breathtaking beaches of El Nido and also Coron, you will understand why.

 

Palaui Island, Cagayan

Photo courtesy of Stanley Semilla via Flickr

 

Palaui Island made it to CNN’s Top 100 beaches in the world in 2013 because “Palaui is all about raw beauty.” Here you can see white sands meet with volcanic rocks and clear waters. Divers are also welcomed with coral gardens and a rich marine reserve. Only the brave and determined get to go to the breathtaking stretch of the island. To get there, you need to trek through thorny grass, mud, and a mangrove forest with a local tour guide. But once you get there, all the weariness wears out. You can go camping under the stars — now, that’s real luxury no one gets too often.

 

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Photo courtesy of Eugene via Flickr

The province of Camarines Sur is also an up and coming travel destination. It’s star —- the Caramoan Island. If you are a follower of the Survivor series, you are probably very familiar to this island. The island offers real adventure for divers, beach bums, and island hoppers. Aside from the species of marine life, there are also caves, waterfalls, and underground lagoons and streams to explore. The white sand runs between boulders and huge rock formations.

 

Samal Island, Davao

Photo courtesy of Lady May Pamintuan via Flickr

 

This island prides itself in its 118-kilometer coastline of sandy beaches. It is a favorite among divers and snorkelers because of the vast coral garden marine park. The Shanipaan Shoal or popularly referred to as “The Vanishing Island” is also something to look forward to. It disappears during high tide leaving only an elevated cottage poking out of the waters.

As a burgeoning tourist destination, numerous hotel-resorts have been offering accommodations in the Island. You will find several fine hotels here for the luxurious travel of your dreams.

 

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Photo courtesy of James Gagen via Flickr

 

If you ask divers, Malapascua would be the most stunning beach in the Philippines. It is truly a diver’s paradise with numerous world-class dive sites to explore. Big fish encounters are also common here. Special mention goes to the daily thresher shark sighting.

Staying here is convenient with all the hotels and resorts off the main beach. Some hotels even have access to their very own private beach.

 

Sabtang Island, Batanes

Photo courtesy of Allan Ascaño via Flickr

Batanes is on the bucket list of many Filipinos. If they get to explore Sabtang Island, they will be even more convinced that Batanes is what dreams are made of. The majestic view and historical sites featuring traditional architecture are a must-see. Its own white beach called Nakabuang is famous for its sculptured arc which is the most photographed spot in the island. The white and slightly pinkish sand is fine and the waters are clear and refreshing. It is true what they say that looking at this island is like staring at a bright-colored postcard.

 

The Philippines will never run out of places to explore and discover. For one, the world’s best beaches can be found here. If you seek for adventure or just some quiet time, the pristine waters of the most stunning beaches in the Philippines will take care of that. See and experience these places for yourself and your vacation will surely be filled with moments that will take your breath away.

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9 Ways to Book the Best Airfare Deals

There’s never been a better time to be a traveler. With the popularity of bargain airfares and affordable accommodations, more and more people can indulge the travel lust in them. With so many options when it comes to booking deals, it can get confusing which ones to grab and even more confusing how and where to look for the best offers. Putting together a great travel package does not stop at knowing how to choose the best travels destinations; it also involves getting the best price for fare and accommodations.

There’s always a cheaper way to fly.

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Photo from Conny Sandland via Flickr, Creative Commons

Finding great deals in airfare is as important as finding the perfect vacation spot, the right camera for your travel photos, and the safest place to stay during your trip. Here are low budget tips on where and how to find the booking deals you shouldn’t pass up.

  • Book for last minute trips

Fare for weekend trips will sell for cheaper rates if they can’t fill the seats beforehand. Take the chance and don’t sign up immediately for seats; wait until late Thursday or early Friday to book so you can take advantage of last-minute rates. You can board Friday night or the following day and then you can fly back home on Monday.

  • Monitor your Facebook and Twitter accounts

Search for the social media accounts of airlines and like or follow them so you can see their updates on your news feeds. Airlines have recognized the importance of selling through social media since travelers are snapping up discount deals left and right. You have to be quick about it, though, especially if you’re looking for deals on hot destinations like Boracay. Discount packages for Boracay dream vacations are always in high demand. Imagine the number of travelers doing the same thing which means more competition for booking deals.

Your Boracay dream vacation may come courtesy of your Facebook feeds.

9 Ways to Book the Best Airfare Deals - Boracay

Photo from Gep Pascual via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

  • Plan your trips based on where it’s cheaper to go

We all have our dream destinations but there are places in which airfare will never become as affordable as we would like it to be. Unless you’re willing to penny-pinch for a long, long time to save up for airfare, why not explore your more affordable options and visit destinations where airfare is cheaper? You may be surprised at what you can see discover in random places. There are tools such as Kayak.com that let you see lists of destinations grouped according to specific price ranges.

  • Be flexible with your dates

Most people would love to book for weekend and holiday trips but ticket prices are usually high during these times. If you can’t afford to pay for the full price of a weekend summer vacation trip, you can do adjustments on your travel dates instead and book for days when seats are cheaper. Flying during the middle of the week is much cheaper compared to weekend trips so you might want to consider that. If you plan to fly abroad, take note of the busiest seasons for your destination and try not to book flights for that period. The time of the day counts, too. Flights during early mornings and late nights are less expensive because less people do not want to travel at those hours.

Keep your travel dates flexible.

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Photo from Oliver Symens via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

  • Check out alternative routes

If flying directly to your destination will hurt your wallet, why not take two connecting flights? For instance, instead of heading straight to Paris, you can fly first to Dublin then take a cheaper flight from there. Changing planes is worth the hassle if it means saving a couple of hundred or more dollars. This means you have to do your research and check different airlines to get the best deal for connecting flights.

  • Mix and match flights

Sometimes taking different flights can be more affordable than taking round-trip tickets. Compare one-way flights and choose the cheapest ones for your inbound and outbound flights. Also, consider flying from secondary airports, where budget airlines usually fly into. Rates are cheaper because secondary airports are smaller and charge less landing fees. Asia and Europe have lots of secondary airports so you’re lucky if you’re planning to fly into these territories.

Keep in mind that taking budget airlines and secondary airports mean lesser perks. They may not have fully air-conditioned lounges and the food is not exactly gourmet but just think of the hundreds you can save in airfare. Make sure that these secondary airports are not that far from where you live so you won’t have to spend so much to get to your flight.

Waiting in between flights can mean huge savings for you.

9 Ways to Book the Best Airfare Deals - Airport

Photo from marco monetti via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

  • Search for booking deals in the morning

Wake up at say, 5 or 6 am, go online and do your airfare checking while having your morning coffee. This is the time when you can see most deals on the internet. Discounted tickets can also be released throughout the day however, so make sure to check from time to time.

  • Watch out for realistic rates

Like it or not, super low rates are not always available and you will have to compete with thousands of other travelers for booking. When you’re monitoring airfare rates, decide on the limit that you can and want to pay and be ready to pay for that amount when it’s already available. Sometimes waiting for incredibly low rates can make you miss the realistic prices that you can already pay. Before you know it, prices will go up again, leaving you no choice but to pay more than your actual budget.

  • Sign up for mailing lists

They may clutter your inbox but you never know when a great deal can just arrive in your mail. Mailing lists give you regular updates on early bird rates, last-minute, and special booking deals. Some of those deals are only available for a short period of time so make sure to get your credit card ready for booking.

Be vigilant in tracking deals online.

Waiting for the best airfare deals can really test your patience but it’s totally worth the effort if you consider how much full-price airfare really costs. The satisfaction that you will get from being able to put together a winning package of cheap airfare and affordable accommodations will more than make up for the hours you will spend combing the net for the best deals.

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Sustainable Setting To Travel And Learn

Doesn’t the mere thought of traveling makes you happy and giddy? While typing “things to do” and “what to eat” in a certain country or city, you suddenly realize how wonderful it is to live. Add a little more something to it like a diploma and a degree and you got the recipe for the most perfect getaway.

It should not be surprising that the number of international students around the world is on the rise. Studying abroad has “lucky” written all over it. It’s not every day that you get to travel while learning. According to a 2009 statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, there are around 3.7 million international students worldwide. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics finds that the numbers are increasing by 12% each year, which means that as of 2015, some 2.6 million students have had the privilege to study abroad. In short, there are at least six million extremely lucky individuals who get to experience first-hand the benefits of traveling and learning at the same time.

The U.S., European countries, and major Asian cities are among the most popular destinations for international students. Young people get to study abroad via sponsorships, grants, and personal expense. Sometimes all it takes is to fill out that application form and know that there’s more to learning than crashing frat parties and scoring a date with a cheerleader or a football star. Yes, the struggles are real and there will be challenges and you will miss familiar places and faces. But it’s a big world out there. Go out, learn, and have fun.

Whether you are into the romantic, rustic, cultural or modern vibe, there is a very wide and diverse list of the best and coolest countries and cities to choose from, depending on the course or degree and other personal preferences. Here are some of them:

Oooh, Paris!

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Photo courtesy of Foundry via pixabay.com

For the third year running, Paris was ranked number one in the QS Best Student Cities index. The French capital is admired for its architecture and cultural heritage. There are a lot of internationally-ranked universities in Paris that often attract those studying culture, humanities, design and architecture, and also fashion. Do you know what is the common course requirement for studying French architecture? A trip to the Louvre.

The cost of living in Paris is rather high, especially for students, but the tuition fees are relatively low compared to other cities which offsets living expenses. In addition, you can stare and have the cheesiest photo at the majestic Eiffel Tower as often as you want.

Diversity in South Africa

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Photo courtesy of shilmar via pixabay.com

South Africa is among the most culturally and ethnically diverse places in the region. It’s history is also very interesting considering the country’s struggles during the apartheid and colonization. So if you want to learn about cultures, politics, and international studies, South Africa should be on top of your list. Plus, it’s also a great place to study linguistics. Did you know that they have 11 official languages? Nature is also a good discipline because of the wildlife and yes, the safari. And according to Abroad 101, Cape Town, South Africa’s capital, is among the top 10 friendliest cities in the world.

Awesome Australia

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Photo courtesy of pattyjansen via pixabay.com

You’ll never be bored in Australia. It is truly the perfect setting to travel and learn. From the beaches to the rainforests and postcard-worthy sites, Australia is simply a gorgeous country. Most of Australia is known for the beach life, night life and music. And of course, the way humans co-exist with animals.

Among its strong academic programs involve ecology, geology and marine biology. This is mainly because of the country’s varied topography and unique climate. The student population in Australia is large, diverse, and inclusive. There are also a lot of internationally-ranked universities across the country; seven can be found in Melbourne.

Nerdy in Germany

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Photo courtesy of tpsdave via pixabay.com

Germany is a cool destination for students, especially for those interested in the sciences and technology industries. It is a good place to study engineering and business, as it is a leader in both fields. Given its very rich history, Germany is also a good choice to study European politics. Students would also be glad to know that Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, gives subsidies to foreign students, making it an affordable study destination.

Museums and gardens are aplenty. Beer is also part of the culture.  Party nights can be a little notorious in cities like Berlin.

Lots of lovin’ in Dublin

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Photo courtesy of Clairetardy via pixabay.com

Ireland is a passionate nation. They pack so much pride for their sports teams, history, and heritage. Ireland is enriching on so many levels and it is just a fun country to be in. No wonder that among its strong academic programs are on the romance side — literature and writing. James Joyce, anyone?

Most Irish universities put a lot of academic responsibility on the students. These universities do not cover everything in lectures, and exams are not very popular either. Learning materials are given to students and they have to be responsible enough to go through them. Just a friendly reminder: it rains all the time in Dublin so be prepared. Aside from passport, visa, and other academic requirements, climate is also among the major things to consider when traveling and studying abroad.

A great Spanish mix

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Photo courtesy of JoaquinAranoa via pixabay.com

There are a variety of lessons you can learn in studying abroad. Aside from the course requirements, there is also the rich history and culture. And when you think of the perfect mix of modernity and tradition, Spanish-speaking countries got you covered.

Spain has it all — culture, history, heritage, and tradition. Art, theater, architecture, and linguistics are perfect disciplines. Hailed as one of the most livable cities in the world, its capital Madrid is both enchanting and exotic. It’s very modern and the traveler in you will surely enjoy the awesome nightlife and flamenco dancing.

Argentina is also a good study destination. If you are looking for a Latin American perspective on politics, history, and religion, then Argentina is the place to be. Given the European history of its people, the social sciences are also a strong point. Argentina is also home to a lot of exciting rural areas and vibrant cities that you can explore.

The demand for quality universities in Costa Rica is high because of the high literacy in this Spanish-speaking country. It’s 96%! Costa Rica has a very lush environment, making environment-related fields of study its strong point. In fact, many of its universities sponsor educational trips to research on and explore the vast natural resources.

Royalty in the United Kingdom

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Photo courtesy of pixolga via pixabay.com

The UK is home to some of the oldest and most respected universities in the world, so you are guaranteed to find a really good one. It also home to some of the world’s most notable politicians, economists, scientists, and writers so you could basically study anything in the UK. For the travel part, you can experience royalty in some of the palaces, eat fish and chips, dine al fresco, go crazy over soccer, and fall in love with the cute accent.

Fall easily with Italy

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Photo courtesy of 762090 via pixabay.com

It’s easy to fall in love with Italy over and over again. The food is great and the sites are gorgeous. Every corner is worthy of a selfie and you won’t run out of updates and posts for your social media pages. Art, history, and architecture are good study courses in Italy. There is also Rome for classical history, arts and architecture. Then there’s Milan for fashion.

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity. You get to see the world in a different perspective. You don’t go by an itinerary, but instead slowly take it all in. Do not be intimidated by the thought of studying in a different country. Embrace it like a true citizen of the world.

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Top 17 Recent and Upcoming Changes in Mactan Cebu International Airport (PHOTOS)

Probably one of the best travel-related news I heard these days is the current and upcoming renovations being done in our international airport here in Cebu.

On the 16th of this month, I had the chance to participate in an airport tour headed by Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive Advisor of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation.  We were briefed about the current and upcoming developments in Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Seeing the progress of the current renovation project made me feel more excited about the future of tourism and travel here in Cebu.  One of the best highlights of the tour is the development of a new terminal (terminal 2) wherein Kenneth Cobonpue is the interior designer.  Yes.  You read it right.  Kenneth Cobonpue, our very own Cebuano interior designer who is popular worldwide.  See a sneak peek of how the new airport terminal would look like in the photo below.

Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 Departure Lounge Retail View

Apology for low quality photo.  This is from Andrew’s Power Point presentation.

Terminal 2 is expected to open in the Summer of 2018.

Top 17 Current and Future Changes in Mactan Cebu International Airport

If you travel often, for sure, you already noticed the current developments done in our airport but if you haven’t been to the airport in a long while, you’ll definitely be surprised how the current contractor (GMR-Megawide) is currently doing their task in enhancing the functionality and accessibility of our airport terminal.

Current Changes You Can Now See in our Airport

This 25-year project between the government and GMR-Megawide Airport Corporation (the contractor that won the bidding) aim to construct and manage new commercial facilities within the airport terminal.  All new systems installed in the airport are part of ARINC CUPPS Systems.  Current visible changes are the following.

1. All Airlines Now Operate Using One Platform

New Mactan Airport Cebu 2

New Mactan Airport Cebu 3

Unlike before wherein airline companies used each of their own system in processing the needs of their passengers, GMR-Megawide had installed vMUSE (a common check-in system for all airlines) last June of this year to make check-in process more efficient.  Andrew emphasized that they don’t charge the airline companies for this major change.

2. New Flight Information Display System (AirVue)

New Mactan Airport Cebu 4

This new flight information display system is designed to enhance the operational flow inside the airport.  This helps passengers to keep on moving and help the airport increase their revenue opportunities through display advertising.  Read more details about this system here.

3. New Domestic Departure Area

New Mactan Airport Cebu 5

4. New Self Check-In Kiosk

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New Mactan Airport Cebu 8

All passengers of Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, PAL, and Cebu Pacific can now check-in themselves using this system (SelfServ – Common Use Self Service Check-in Sytem [CUSS]).

5. New White Taxi Boarding Bay at Arrivals Level

New Mactan Airport Cebu 9

Aside from the toilet problems, one of the most annoying part of the airport before is the location of its taxi terminal.  Now, the new white taxi boarding bay provides passengers a more comfortable and accessible place to get a taxi.

6. New Airport Medical Center

New Mactan Airport Cebu 11

The passengers’ medical needs and services are now catered in the new clinic located near the airport’s Engineering Office.  The new clinic also comes with a new fully equipped ambulance.

Upcoming Changes You Can Expect to See in our Airport

Aside from the gigantic changes that will be brought due to the development of a new terminal (terminal 2), here are first the things you can expect to change in the old terminal (terminal 1).

7.  New Terminal Seating 

Mactan Cebu Interntional Airport New Terminal Seating

 

This change is expected to be visible on September of this year.

8. Renovation Plan for Overall International Departures

Mactan Cebu International Airport Renovation Plan for Overall International Departures

 

9. New Plaza Premium International Lounge Interior

Mactan Cebu International Airport Plaza Premium International Lounge Interior

 

10. Airport Mobile Charging Stations

Mactan Cebu International Airport Mobile Charging Stations

 

11. Newly Designed Washrooms/Toilets

Mactan Cebu International Airport New Femaile Toilet

 

Mactan Cebu International Airport New Male Toilet

 

At last! The long wait is almost over.  Comfort rooms that are designed to provide comfort not discomfort.

12. Boarding Pass Validation with Automated Gate

Mactan Cebu International Airport Boarding Pass Validation with Automated Gate

 

Harrison said that our airport will be the very first in the country to implement this system.  Expect to see this change on the 3rd week of August this year.

13. Baggage Reconciliation System

Mactan Cebu International Airport Baggage Reconciliation System

See the rest of the current and upcoming changes in our airport in the Power Point slide presentation I created below.

Disclaimer: The compiled info in this presentation are based from Andrew Harrison’s original Power Point slides.

Exciting Features of Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2

The thing that excites me the most is the development of our airport’s 2nd terminal.  By just looking at the planned infrastructure, you can see that this one will be world-class.  Andrew said that they want the new terminal to be at par with the best airports in the world but at the same time maintain a theme and air that is uniquely Cebuano.

Without further ado, this is how the Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 will look like.

14. Boarding Gate Area

Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 Boarding Gate View

 

15. Baggage Reclaim Area

Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 Baggage Reclaim View

 

16. Check-In Area

Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 Check In View

 

17. Departure Lounge Retail Area

Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 Departure Lounge Retail View

 

Check the details of this upcoming development in the Power Point presentation below.

As I mentioned already earlier in this blog post, Kenneth Cobonpue will do the interior design of Terminal 2.  According to Harrison, the recent renovations and upcoming developments are expected to cost 17 to 19 billion pesos in the first 4 years of the project.

If you need more information about this current airport development project, you may visit the Mactan Cebu International Airport official website at www.mactancebuairport.com.

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Join Cebu International Travel Expo on July 23 to 25 (Press Release)

Cebu International Travel Expo 2015 Waterfront Hotel

CEBU INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL EXPO (CITE), the biggest and the most anticipated travel show in Visayas region, will once again open its doors at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, Lahug on July 23-25, to gather thousands of trade visitors and travel enthusiasts in one place, Globa-link MP Events International Inc., (GLMP) is now its 6th year in organizing the annual event together with the Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and Cebu Tours and Travel Association (CTTA).

“We were honestly quite overwhelmed with the results that we got for the show last year,“ shared by Patrick Lawrence Tan, CEO of Global-Link MP, regarding CITE 2014. “Cebu has always been our top choice where a travel expo such as CITE could be held. We aim to offer the same exciting deals they do in the big travel show in Manila and make it accessible to the Cebu market. By holding CITE coinciding with Manufacturing Technology Cebu and Print Pack Plas Cebu 2015, greater opportunities for the city’s travel and tourism sector are opened.”

By the end of 2014, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 7 Central Visayas surpassed the expected visitor arrivals they initially set, from 3.8 million to 4.8 million, and they are hoping to do this again with 2015 dubbed as the “Visit Philippines Year.” This growth in tourist arrivals is set to create the inflow of investments and maximize business potential for many in the industry. The organizers also emphasized the importance of exploring for continuous development.

“Together with the DOT and our private sectors, initiatives like CITE will help us meet our targets for arrivals and revenue,” Marget Villarica, CITE Exhibit Chairman. “By partnering with GLMP, we are working towards the business approach of tourism through setting an ideal avenue which allows successful businessmen such as in the manufacturing and exports sectors to venture in the tourism industry.”

The newly elected CTTA President, Angelita Dy, shared that for the travel industry to reach its full potential, a lot of work still needs to be done. “We cannot stop despite of our achievements. We must continuously seek for growth, and our members are dedicated to enhance the overall competitiveness and efficiency for the industry stakeholders at CITE 2015,” she added further.

“Over the years, the show results for the regional International Travel Expo (ITE) series have been impressive, including the latest leg that we opened last year, the Manila ITE, which will once again be held as a special feature in the biggest hospitality souring event, the Hotel Suppliers Show 2015, happening on the last week of

September.” Tan noted.

CITE 2015 aims to continuously serve as the avenue for businesses to offer the best deals to consumers. This year features HUMA Island Resorts and Spa, one of Southeast Asia’s last frontiers, in the exotic and exciting tropical paradise of Palawan. Other participating companies include Alveo, Avis Philippines, Las Casas Filipinas, Boracay Regency, Casino Filipino, Cebu Tours and Travel Association, Cebu Association of Tour Operators, Citi, Constellation Travel Inc., Crown Regency Hotels & Resorts, Dakak, Destination Specialist, Grolier International Inc, Hotel Benilde, Philippine Retirement Authority, Rakso Travel, The Lake Hotel Tagaytay, Waterfront Hotels, and many more! Big discounts and big savings plus lot of exciting news await the visitors of the travel expo. Whether it’s for leisure or for business, this is surely one trade event that you wouldn’t want to miss!

The exhibit will be open from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm on July 23 – 24 and from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm on July 25. For information, contact Global-Link MP Events International, Inc. at tel. no. (02) 893-7973 | fax no. (O2) 550- 1148. Free entrance! Pre-register now at http://www.globallinkmp.com/2015-cebu-international-travel-expo/ until July 21.

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The Travel Routines of the Most Successful Humans

Putting up a new venture and running a business demand tremendous amounts of discipline and efficiency. After all, there is a lot at stake when you are doing business: the capital invested, the jobs of your employees, your dreams, and so on. Add to this pressure the constant demand for entrepreneurs and businessmen to travel.

According to the Global Business Traveler Association, business travelers go on an average of 268 miles per business trip. If the trip requires flights, this figure can skyrocket up to 954 miles. The association also revealed that business travelers spend an average of two overnight stay each month. Despite this, business travelers emerge as successful in their endeavors. If you have been wondering about the travel routines of successful people, look no further. Read on and learn from the travel habits of business travelers.

 

They Plan Their Itinerary According to Their Goals for the Trip

Photo Courtesy of Alberto P. Veiga via Flickr

Yes, traveling is fun, but one must admit that it consumes time, money, and energy. Business travelers very well know this fact so they strive to make the trip count. Days — or even weeks or months — before the trip, they schedule the meetings that they need to attend and the tasks on their to-do list. More importantly, they do the best that they can to stick to it.

 

They Do Their Research

With countless hotels and flights to book, it can be very easy to get lost in travel planning. After mapping out their objectives for the trip, business travelers make sure to do their homework. They scour offers and deals from top-notch accommodation at convenient locations to restaurants that give them the most value for their money.

 

They Leave Room for Rest and Relaxation

Photo Courtesy of Denise P.S. via Flickr

 

While business travelers have well-planned schedules, they also include time for leisure and spontaneous fun. For instance, if their business meeting takes place somewhere near a beach, they indulge themselves, especially when they are done with their tasks. Aside from enjoying their stay, they get to reap the health benefits of going to the beach, which can do wonders for their physical and mental wellbeing.

 

They Create — and Stick to — Their Budget

Again, it is easy to lose focus, especially when it comes to handling finances. However, hardworking business travelers know how painstaking it can be to earn money. With this, even if they can afford everything that they want, they weigh their options and go for smart, practical choices.

 

They Prepare Things that They Will Need

Photo Courtesy of Lasse Rintakumpu via Flickr

Business travelers need to stay on top of everything that they do so they never leave without making sure they are prepared for the trip. Aside from their smartphones, laptops, clothes, and toiletries, they always bring with them their powerbank, hard drive for their files, hotspot for internet connectivity, and headphones for media files. They also pack according to their unique circumstances like if they take certain medications.

 

They Tote Around a Notebook or a Note-taking Device

Business travelers learn and generate a ton of ideas from their trips. Instead of letting these fade away, they take notes of it on their preferred tool. They have also developed an organized way of note taking so they can quickly jot down important points from a discussion. More importantly, they review their notes, analyze or reflect on it, and try if they could put the brilliant ideas into action.

They Harness the Power of Apps

Technology, when used properly, can significantly make people go about their routines in the most efficient manner. With this in mind, business travelers use their smartphones and tablets to their advantage. This tech-savvy pack knows the best business travel apps to get the work done — TripIt to organize their bookings, PassBook to board using their smartphones, CudaSign or HelloSign to digitally sign documents, and so much more.

 

They Travel Responsibly

Photo Courtesy of Nick Harris via Flickr

Business people, being representatives of their brand, need to protect their public image, especially when they go outside their office. Aside from this, business travelers who firmly believe in their corporate social responsibility know all too well that their activities have an impact. With this, they strive to hold themselves in conscientious conduct by following rules and procedures, respecting different customs, valuing the host community’s environment, and so on.

 

They Take Care of Themselves

Conferences to attend, clients to meet, paperwork to review, a composed and confident image to project — doing all of this and more after long hours of travel can be really exhausting. In order to perform at their very best, business travelers look after their health. Doing this includes eating right, avoiding alcohol especially before a big presentation, and seeking medical help if they feel something wrong.

 

They Maintain Their Focus

With a thousand items in their jam-packed schedule, these successful people simply cannot afford to lose focus as one wrong move could result in a disaster for their business. While the long stretches of travel can cloud one’s capability to make sound decisions, business travelers have their tried-and-tested methods to clear up their mind. They also do not simply throw caution to the winds and should they have confusing encounters, they step back to think things more thoroughly.

 

They Track Their Progress at the End of the Day

Photo Courtesy of Next TwentyEight via Flickr

 

Completing the cycle that started from planning their itinerary according to their goals, business travelers see to it that they review what they have done during the day. Aside from crossing off accomplished items on their list, they reflect on how things could be improved. Moreover, they start planning their to-do list for the following day.

 

It is often said that traveling is the only thing that you buy that can make you richer. Couple that with keeping these tips in mind so you can emerge as a more efficient individual. Take it from business travelers with lots of things to do on top of having to endure long hours on end. Incorporate these habits of successful people when traveling into your own routine and get started on a more proficient and happier you.

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Travel Nightmare: The Fear of Not Attaining One’s Bucket List

Nowadays almost everyone has their own bucket list, a phrase derived from the expression “kick the bucket,” which is a term for death. A bucket list represents a breakdown of the things a person wants to do before he dies. Travel is one of the high priorities in most people’s list and they do everything they can to reach the destination of their dreams. For some, failure to complete a bucket list is considered a nightmare, something that they really dread happening. Perhaps because for a lot of people, achieving one’s bucket list ideas has become a pursuit to beat not only oneself but also others.

Photo from Claudio Vaccaro via Flickr

Making and completing the list has become a competition of sorts, with individuals posting travel photos in their social media accounts as proof that they’ve really done it. Attaining a bucket list has somehow become a measure of self-esteem, a yardstick of achievement. There’s also the fear of not being able to enjoy life to the fullest before dying. According to psychologist Linda Blair, the whole business of creating and achieving bucket lists is “a way of denying the idea of death, not coping with it at all. People usually do this to ensure that there are things to look forward to, which means there are things that are still going to happen. My experience warns me that it’s probably done in order to prevent thinking about death.”

Whatever the reason is for your fear of not attaining your bucket list, there’s something you can do to stop it. There are things you can initiate in order to stop fear from paralyzing you and preventing you from ticking items off your list. Here are the steps you need to do in order to achieve your travel goals.

Transform excuses into tasks

 

Photo from Roderick Eime via Flickr, Creative Commons

It’s human nature to flake out and make excuses for the things that we fail to do. These excuses can be convenient at first but as time goes by, these excuses can have an effect on our overall motivation to achieve things. Slacking off can become a lifelong habit.

You can deal with this by pointing out the excuses you’re making and then turning them into tasks. For instance, if having kids is your primary reason for not traveling, then you can research about the stories of other travelers who have managed to take vacations with their brood. If lack of money is your primary reason, then you should create an estimate of the amount of cash you need to go to your dream destination and figure out ways how you can make that kind of money. If you fear solo traveling, then you can search for inspiring stories about solo travelers to rest your fears about traveling solo.

Change your mindset about traveling

 

Photo from Geraint Rowland via Flickr, Creative Commons

A lot of people are blinded by beliefs that prohibit them from their travel dreams. These people hold on to the idea that traveling, especially solo journey, is terribly expensive and a selfish, self-indulgent activity. They always think of traveling as an overly complicated hobby. These lines of thinking should be adjusted to accommodate ideas that will encourage them to travel. True, traveling can be expensive but there are ways to travel on the cheap. You can stay at budget accommodations and eat at inexpensive restaurants. No, it’s not true that traveling is a selfish act; there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see the most beautiful beach resorts and experience other cultures. It’s a great way to enrich one’s soul and you owe it to yourself to do so. Yes, traveling can be complicated but patience and practice can make things easier in the long run.

Set specific goals

 

Photo from Kate Ter Haar via Flickr, Creative Commons

Items on your bucket list look more realistic if you can make specific goals to achieve it. You need to establish a set of criteria in working towards reaching your destination. You can choose a place closest to your current location. You can opt for a place with the least expenses. You can center on that destination that you think you can’t bear to miss out before you die and concentrate all your efforts on it. You can choose a place where you have friends or relatives.

Obsess over the idea

 

Photo from Colton Witt via Flickr, Creative Commons

There’s bad obsession and there’s the good kind, which can be very helpful in achieving your travel goal. It’s all about finding out what moves you as a traveler. If it’s your ultimate dream to go to Morocco, find people who’ve been there already and ask them stories about the experience. Search travel videos of Morocco and promise yourself that you will see those spots with your own eyes in the near future. Hoard travel books and read them until you memorize everything there is to know about Morocco. Search for the nicest picture of the place and use it as your mobile and computer screensaver. Watch movies that used Morocco as a setting. Doing these things will fuel your passion for the place and will encourage you to give everything you got to reach that destination.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

 

Photo from Wazari Wazir  via Flickr, Creative Commons

People who are not that enthusiastic with traveling can dampen your spirits and make you hesitate in achieving your travel goals. This is why you should socialize and make friends with travelers or at least people who are really dead set in packing their bags and flying off to somewhere mysterious and exotic. It doesn’t matter if you plan to become a solo traveler or if you prefer to travel with a group. Travelers can give you realistic tips on how to find safe and affordable accommodations, food, and transportation. You can also sign up for forums and clubs that share your level of wanderlust.

Used wisely, bucket lists can help immensely in making you attain your travel goals. Do not see it as means to compete with others in terms of self-esteem and achievement. Travel because you want to see the world and gain experience that will make you happy. There’s no need to compare your bucket list to others; the only competition you need is yourself. Manage your fears and allow yourself to see a brand new world that only brave souls like yourself will be able to enjoy.

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How To Be A Responsible Nomad

Thanks to Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms that litter our newsfeeds with so many travel photos, more and more people are encouraged to save up and see the world. According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of international tourist arrivals in 2012 surpassed, for the first time, 1 billion, and is forecasted to reach 1.8 billion in 2030. With the dramatic rise in the number of travelers, concerns over the practice of eco-friendly travel have increased as well.

 

Photo By Joshua Earle

Make your travels more meaningful. Photo by Joshua Earle via Unsplash

Travel professionals and consumers have both pushed for awareness for sustainable travel in order to minimize the negative impact of travel on host countries and to preserve the natural and cultural resources for generations to come. It looks like those efforts are gaining fruit – a 2010 survey by online travel publisher TravelZoo revealed that more than 90% of U.S. travelers said that they would choose a ‘green,’ environmentally conscious hotel if the price and amenities were comparable to those at a non-sustainable, non-green hotel.

If you’re still new at the rules of environment-friendly travel, check out the following tips for becoming a responsible nomad.

 

 

Travel Light

Do you know that the heavier the plane is, the more carbon emissions it will produce during flight? Do your part in reducing this weight by packing light and bringing only what’s necessary. Not only will this help reduce carbon emissions, you will also feel better without the extra baggage weight.

Pack light and be free. Photo by Nick Harris via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Treat Your Hotel Like It’s Your Home

A lot of travelers enjoy the excesses that a hotel accommodation provide. We tend to leave the TV and lights on even if we’re not using them. We tend to ask for fresh towels even if we don’t really need them. We tend to take really long baths and showers because water usage comes with the room payment. Being considerate of the hotel’s resources, especially in water and electricity, will go a long way in saving energy.

Conserve water and energy. Photo by London Hotels Insight via Flickr, Creative Commons

If you’re up for something really adventurous, why not try couchsurfing? Thanks to services like AirBnB, homeowners have opened up their dwellings to budget travellers and give them a safe place to sleep in. Imagine the cash you’ll save by not staying in a hotel room.

 

Avoid Using Plastic

Everytime you ask for extra plastic bags at the store, remember that a bag can take up to 500 years to biodegrade. Same goes for plastic bottles – just imagine those bottles stocked up in garbage landfills. Learn to get used to carrying around reusable shopping bags and reusable water bottles.

Imagine the amount of plastic you don’t have to use. Photo by joebart via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Take Public Transport

Taking public transport is cheaper and gives you the chance to interact with the locals. Imagine the amount of carbon emissions you can save from not renting your own car or any type of private transport. This also gives you the chance to see the place up close and you can ask the locals for details. If you’re staying in a city, take the trains as much as possible to save up on costly cab rides.

 

Try Not Taking The Plane

This applies more to local travel. If your travel destination can be covered by bus rides, try taking that option instead of hopping on a plane. You’ll get to see more of the countryside if you travel by bus.

Photo By Shlomit Wolf

Riding the bus lets you see the sights up close. Photo by Shlomit Wolf via Unsplash

 

Maximize Group Tours

If you’re still new to the place, why not save yourself the hassle of getting lost by joining a group tour? This ensures that you stay within your itinerary and you can learn interesting stuff from tour guides. Do your research online and scout for group tours that advocate responsible travel.

 

Eat Local Produce

What’s the point of traveling to a new place if you make a beeline for the nearest McDonalds the first chance you get? Part of the traveling experience is sampling the local cuisine. This also goes for liquor, too. Instead of asking for the same old brew that you drink back home, why not try the local brew? Reward your taste buds and be carbon-friendly at the same time.

Support local. Photo by Maxime Guilbot via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Follow The Main Trail

Trails are created for valid reasons. Not only are they designed to keep travelers safe, they also keep travelers away from areas that are considered endangered and therefore should be off limits to people. Veering away from the main trail can bring damage to protected areas, put you in danger, and make other travelers follow your footsteps.

 

Use Biodegradable Toiletry Products

Organic soaps, shampoos, and other beauty and grooming products are more readily available now so you should have no trouble finding them at your destination, if you don’t have some in your bag already. Aside from being gentle on your skin, it’s also good for the local water system. Encourage your fellow travelers to use them, too, while you’re at it.

 

Bring And Use Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries are one of the must-haves in a traveler’s list. Since you’re bound to use several during your trip, why not buy the rechargeable ones? Garbage heaps around the world are already littered with disposable batteries so don’t add more to it. Mother Nature will thank you immensely for bringing charger and reusable batteries. Make sure to load them up while you’re staying in your hotel room so you will never run out of charge when you’re out and about.

You can do even better than this by using solar-powered gadgets and chargers. Look for backpacks that act as chargers for your batteries and devices.

Recharge responsibly. Photo by Caden Crawford via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Buy Local And Handmade Souvenirs

Instead of buying mass-produced souvenirs, you should go for handmade products made by local artisans. Not only is this environment-friendly, you will also contribute to the livelihood of the locals who painstakingly do these pieces by hand.

Making the most out of your dream destination is understandable for a traveler like you but remember that as an inhabitant of this planet, you also have a responsibility to make your travels as environment-friendly as possible. Being conscious of your carbon footprint will make your travels more fulfilling.

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#Vagrant in the streets of #Baguio city. #throwback #street

#Vagrant in the streets of #Baguio city. #throwback #street http://ift.tt/1e4U9oT

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In the #wilderness…NOT. #throwback #photoblogging

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Would love to have a hang out place like this. #throwback #gigantes #oldtree #treehouse

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Popped bubble. #throwback #lighthouse

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