Tag Archives: budget travel

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.

9 Ways to Book the Best Airfare Deals - AirAsia

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.

9 Ways to Book the Best Airfare Deals - Mobile

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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Boracay at Night: The Good and the Bad

Boracay is tagged as the second best beach destination in the world.  This is already not new to anyone especially among beach bums and tourists alike.  But, for someone like me who grow up in Cebu and had been to its finest beaches, Boracay is not really that super great.  I mean come on.  When it comes to beaches, Sumilon Island here in Cebu is at par, and don’t forget Camotes, Malapascua, and Bantayan Island – these are just a few of Cebu’s best beach destinations.  Also, Panglao Island in Bohol is majestic.  The one thing that makes Boracay a wonder on its own is the never-ending-all-year-round activities that makes you want to come back for more.  And, honestly, that’s the very reason why I’m planning to go back may be next year.

Exploring Boracay on a Budget at Night

The Good

I discovered that the most budget-friendly activity you can do in Boracay is to explore the island by doing a photo-walk during the night.

Boracay at Night

Compared to the “very” costly day-time activities, exploring at night is very friendly to your pocket.  You don’t really need to buy anything.  If you’re a first time tourist, taking photos is definitely a very rewarding and enjoyable activity you can do.

Country Crossing Sign - Boracay Island 2013

While exploring, you can splurge a bit and have a dinner buffet.  In our case, I managed to haggle the per head price, from Php285 per head (for 4) down to Php284 per head (for 3+1).  Yes, I got the 4th person free of charge. I’m that good in haggling. LOL!

Buffet Dinner - Boracay Island 2013

For Php213 per head, we already have a very sumptuous dinner that was composed of poultry meat and sea foods.  And take note, the drinks are bottomless. (; Another note: If you are in a “super” tight budget, you can skip the buffet dinner and just head to Andoks, Mang Inasal, Master Siomai, and a lot more cheaper options.

Band Singing - Boracay Island 2013

After we had our dinner, we were so full that we decided to stroll around.  I found out that there are so many dinner buffet deals ahead of us – the very reason the woman who convinced us to dine in their restaurant tried her best to keep us by giving us a lower rate.  Nice strategy!!

Seafoods Stand - Boracay Island 2013

Compared to other famous beach destinations here in the Philippines, I can say that Boracay has the liveliest night life.

Shakeys - Boracay Island 2013

You will never get hungry because the variety of options is endless.  From fresh sea foods, food stalls, fine dining, fast foods, and yes even a grocery store where you can buy canned goods and rice.

Empress Of Drac - Boracay Island 2013

While strolling, we found some fun ways to take photos.  At the beach side there were a few big photo-shoot studio umbrellas where we got our photos taken.

With Mama - Boracay Island 2013

Farther ahead, we spotted a couple of sand castles.  This one in the photo is not the usual fabulous sand castle I usually see but this is already okay.  Note: After you take your photos, some kids will ask you for a donation.  They are the ones who built the sand castles and they want you to compensate their effort.  You have the choice to just ignore them or just give them at least five pesos.  In my case, I gave them twenty.

With the Dancing Chefs - Boracay Island 2013

One of the best highlights of our long photo-walk session was the dancing chefs.  When we arrived at their dinner buffet area, we noticed a lot of Koreans and other foreigners having a good time taking photos with the restaurant’s chefs.  Who doesn’t want to have a picture taken wearing a chef’s cap?

Minotte and Mama - Boracay Island 2013

Although September is an off-peak season in Boracay, the clubbing life is so alive I would have tried going in a disco area if my mother was not with us.

Tourists at Night - Boracay Island 2013

And this is how the traffic looks like at 10PM.  Tourists had just started to pour in.

The Bad

While on our way back to our hotel, I was astounded when a policeman caught up with us and tried to check the photos I took with my camera.  He asked me if I took photos of “him”.

Police Car - Boracay Island 2013

I was like, really? You Mr. Policeman are overreacting.  I told him that I was only taking a photo of the police vehicle as part of my Boracay documentation.  In our way back to our hotel, we noticed some disturbances when a few policemen were apprehending a drunken tourist.  That’s the time that I noticed a police vehicle and snapped a photo.  It never occurred to me that a policeman in a tourist area would reprimand someone taking photos of her surroundings.

He tried to chitchat with us and asked where we come from and told us that he did the inspection for security purposes.  I was like, really?  They are expecting spies and conspiracies in this bloody island?  I wanted to LOL but at a closer look, I did consider his excuse.  Well, who knows? This can be a good aspect of the island – security.  Still, I really find it friggin’ annoying and unnecessary.  If you are a good policeman, you should know how to assess people.

The Other Side of Boracay Island

And here, I save the best err the worst for last – in my long and previous online researches about Boracay, I never really seen photos like this one that I took.  The results of my online researches all contain beautiful photos of the island – not a hint of the situation that’s being presented in the photo above.

When I passed by this young mother with her children, I can’t helped but realized that in the Philippines, the local/native people are the poorest of the poor.  And it becomes very ironic especially in an island as rich as Boracay – a tourist destination that asks for massive terminal fee, and environmental fees at every entrance gate.  Spell OVERPRICING and SCAMMERS – will write a detailed article about this in my next blog post.

Have you been to Boracay?  Share your experiences, may it be good or bad.  Goodnight. (:

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My Top 3 Remaining Travel Schedules for 2013

Pitogo Island 2

Sunset Shot with Dude at Pitogo Island

At the end of October, Dude and I, along with Minette, will be moving to Pitogo Island.  We will be basing there temporarily or for good (there’s no final plan yet).  We’ve been planning for this move since early this year.  Dude will be quitting from his office job this October for various reasons but one of them is to have a flexible schedule to travel with me.  One of the reasons of our limited travel trips is his work schedule.  Also, we feel that Toledo City is a hostile place to live in.  It would be a relief to get away from this city. (Will try my best to write a separate post detailing about our misadventures here.)

Pitogo Island

Pitogo Island in front of me

In all honesty, I’m actually hesitant about the prospect of living there (though I fell in love with its scenery and the beauty of the surrounding islets), but this move also has to do with our financial stability.  We feel that we can have more savings living in an island compared to living in a sub-urban area.  Also, we have the peace of mind going to trips and travels knowing that our valuables are in a safe place.

My Travel Schedule for the last quarter of 2013

I write about our moving plan to give a detailed picture on how hectic our schedule would be a few months from now.  Thus between our preparations to move and settle down in an island (this time), we’ll also be inserting in our schedule the remaining travel plans we have for the rest of 2013.

September 6 to 9 – Boracay

Boracay from Boracy Camera Live Screenshot

Screenshot photo from Boracay Live Cam – August 15, 2013 – That’s White Beach!

 Definitely my first time going there!!! I’m sooo bloody excited that I booked our flight and hotel last June.  We’ll go there during those dates to celebrate my mother’s birthday.  Mama will be turning 48 this September and it’s really my long-time plan to bring her to a relaxing vacation because she’s so overworked “nannying” her grand kids plus all the “bone-breaking” work at home.  I really can’t imagine my mother’s hard-work all these years.  I intend to bring papa as well but he refused because there’s no one around to check on my younger sister and her kids (her husband is currently away due to work).

Frugal Tips in Booking a Flight to Boracay I booked two one-way flights. Booking a round-trip flight would cost you more especially if your flight destination is to Bora.  Luckily, I managed to grab four seats that were on sale.  The base fare is Php399 (per head). (:  In our flight back to Cebu, I booked the Kalibo to Cebu flight to avoid the very costly Caticlan to Cebu fare.  Take note that the Kalibo to Cebu fare is not on sale but it only costs Php588 (excluding all kinds of taxes and fees that would make your head spin).

October 18 to 20 – Bacolod

Masskara Festival Bacolod City

Photo Credit

We’ve been planning to go to Bacolod because it’s just a ferry away from Toledo City.  Fortunately, a friend will also go there during the Masskara Festival.  That friend told me that she knows a very affordable inn there with high speed Wi-Fi.  Soulmate, a close friend of mine, will also come along with us.  Pretty much excited for this. (:

Frugal Tips in Going to Bacolod – If you are base near Toledo City, the best frugal way to go there is via  ferry.  The fare is only Php200 plus.  If you are  from Cebu City, you have the option to travel by ocean jet or via airplane.  Go for airplane if there’s a seat sale but the ocean jets are advisable if you’re on budget.

December 2 to 6 – Singapore

Singapore City

Photo Credit

This is a big year-ender for our 2013 travels.  I just got my passport earlier this month (after almost a year of processing!!).  I’ve chosen those dates because December 5 will be dude’s (my partner) birthday.  We’ve been planning for years to travel abroad together and 2013 is our lucky year.  I feel so lucky (again) because I managed to book a one-way  flight (Cebu – SG) when Cebu Pacific had a promo.  The base fare is Php1, 499.  Usually the base fare (if there’s no promo) is around Php4,000 plus.  I booked a separate flight for SG – Cebu and got a promo fare but it’s quite expensive compared to the latter since it’s priced in Singaporean dollars.  The total cost of the flight including all the taxes and add-on fees (back and forth) is Php7, 700 plus per head.  That’s Php4,000 plus cheaper compared to regular airfare and a round-trip flight.

Frugal Trips in Booking a Flight to Singapore – Never book a round-trip flight unless the airline company announced that they have a round-trip promo which very rarely happens.  Book two separate one-way flights to avoid paying more.

 

Praying and hoping for good weather during these scheduled trips.  I’m so happy that I’m slowly realizing my dreams to travel this year.  I’m looking forward for more trips next year.

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My Top 5 Apps for Budget Traveling #TopListSaturday

Top 5 Apps for Budget Traveling

In my recent travels, I found a few mobile apps that are very useful when I look for special deals and promos (to lessen my expenses).  Using these apps doesn’t guarantee that you can immediately get cheaper deals, but if you know how to use them (and if you are a wise user), you can definitely get a great bargain.  The following are my top 5 apps ideal for budget traveling.

1. Kayak

KayakKayak is a travel search engine that lets you search for flights (across all available airlines), hotels, cars, and a lot more.  In my case, I use it to look for the cheapest airline promos and deals.  Unlike other travel search engines, Kayak lets the users filter search results from the cheapest to the most expensive deals.  To get cheaper deals, make sure to book on weekdays and book a month or a few months before your travel date.

2. Agoda

AgodaDefinitely the most useful app I’ve been using for quite some time now.  Agoda allows its users to search for hotels all over the globe.  Just like Kayak, it has a filter functionality that allows users to view the results of their searches from the cheapest to the most expensive hotel deals.  If you are a registered user, you can get some special deals and they also offer reward points in every hotel that you’ve checked in.  Those points are convertible to cash which you can use to pay for your next check-in.

3. Tripit

Trip ItThis app automatically grabs every booking details in your email and organizes them in chronological order.  Tripit is very useful for people who have no time to plot their travel schedules.  It helps you save time and puts your mind at ease knowing that you can check all your travel details in one place, well-organized and updated.

4. Google Earth

Google EarthInstead of a map, I prefer to use this app in checking for places and locations I wanted to go to.  Aside from the very detailed satellite and aerial views, it also helps me in getting street details that are very important when I’m commuting (especially when I’m riding in a taxi).  Most taxi drivers would intentionally change your route so that they can charge higher fare.   This is very useful if you are traveling to a specific place for the very first time.

5. AirBnB

AirBnBThis is the only app in this list that I haven’t used yet.  Though I’ve already did some mock bookings, I haven’t decided yet if I’m gonna use this in the future.  I feature this here because it has been reviewed in a few famous budget travel sites (and the feedback is mostly positive).  AirBnB absolutely has the cheapest accommodation listings ever.  Unlike Agoda, its listings are not focused on hotels but accommodations from AirBnB hosts.  These hosts are ordinary people or fellow travelers who are accepting guests in their empty houses, apartments, rooms, or even bed spaces.  The accommodation set-up is done between the guest and the host.  Though it is very tempting, my cautious self is a bit hesitant due to the fact that a stay in a place with a complete stranger is very risky.  But, I’m not closing my door on this.

Have you used any of the apps featured in this post?  Do you use mobile apps to lessen the hassles and expenses while you travel?  Share your experiences and tips below. (:

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Top 5 Reasons Location Independent Lifestyle Is Ideal For Budget Travelers

Location independent lifestyles have received a great deal of press in recent years, and it’s easy to see why they’re such an attractive prospect for many. Instead of tying yourself down to a mortgage and a traditional job, you too could roam the world, settling only where you like, for as long as you like.

If you’re on a budget and want to see the world, it’s a brilliant option. Here’s why.

Top 5 Reasons Location Independent Lifestyle Is Ideal For Budget Travelers

Longer-term accommodation is often cheaper

When you’re booking accommodation as a holidaymaker, you often end up spending a lot more than what is really necessary. When you’re free to stay in your destination for a little longer though, you could pick up some fabulous deals. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to book some accommodation for a week or so when you first arrive, then get out in the local area to work out where exactly you want to stay and what’s available.

Immersing yourself in a culture is more rewarding than just taking a holiday

A getaway to Hongkong or Bali, for example, can be very exciting and rewarding, but can you imagine how much more you would learn if you were able to live like a local for a few months or more? When you embark on a location independent lifestyle, this is very possible. With nothing to hold you down and no long-term financial ties, you can choose to stay for as long as you like.

Technology is making the world a smaller place

Being away from home doesn’t have to mean losing touch with your nearest and dearest. Wireless internet access is now readily available across the globe, and will often be free or very inexpensive. You could Skype your loved ones every day without ever having to spend a penny!

You can work on the road

With advances in the internet, running your own business on the road is becoming more and more achievable. Whether you’re a freelance writer, graphic designer, web developer, affiliate marketer, or just about anything else, there could be a way to make it work from anywhere in the world. This means that you’re no longer tied to traditional traveling jobs, such as bar work or fruit picking.

You can live a minimalist lifestyle

Having lots of ‘stuff’ doesn’t make people happy. In many cases, it just holds you back and gives you more things to worry about. When you’re living a location independent lifestyle, you’re forced into traveling light and only packing the things that you really need. Not only can this be very liberating, but it’s much cheaper! Spending your cash on experiences rather than material objects is regarded as being one of the happiest ways to live.

As you can see, you don’t need a huge budget to live a location independent lifestyle. With some careful planning and preparation, it’s a way of living that’s available to all.

Have you ever thought about trading your usual routine for a life on the road? What’s holding you back?

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A Few More Months to A Location Independent Lifestyle

It’s been almost a year now that I am readying myself to embark into a radical life-long journey that would change my life forever. If not because of my partner’s 8-5 job, we may have already been whisked to our dream destinations – a distant reality in the past with no possibility to attain. At least that reality is not that far now. (:

Moto Pitogo Bohol

When I thought of traveling before, I often scolded myself not to think about it because it’s way too expensive and my 8-5 job salary is not enough to support frequent travel expenses. However, these days I allowed myself to dream and I’m determined to make it make it happen.

Poor People CAN also Travel

White Island Camiguin

Despite the common knowledge that frequent traveling is only for the rich and wealthy, I’m gonna prove to myself that it’s not entirely true. The internet era and the increase of competition in the airline industry has given people from all walks of life an equal access to vast opportunities that can only be attained by a limited few before. Budget travel became a niche and more people now are exploring the beauty of the world with a mere budget. Sounds impossible to happen but quite attainable if you have the passion, guts, and of course a steady income that would support your excursion expenses. The question here is, how can you travel without sacrificing your source of income?

Location Independence – the Key to Budget Travel

Be Resort Lapu-lapu Mactan Cebu

The darkest part of my working life happened more than 2 years ago. It was the time when I decided to quit my full-time office job to preserve my PRIDE. Fast forward now, I can’t help but thank that person (who made a fool out of herself) for pushing me out from that rat hole of a place unto a world full of limitless opportunities and possibilities. My gratefulness is really immeasurable! Thank you so much! Your are my f*cking Angel. LOL!

For more than a year now I discovered a world so different and more rewarding compared to the 8-5 office cubicle job most of my peers are aiming at. For the very first time in more than 6 years, I can sincerely tell myself that I’m happy and contented with what I am doing. I can’t thank enough the Lord above for the blessings that he showered me and also for surrounding me with people who are very supportive and who have loved me unconditionally. (Note: I was still a believer (but not religious) when I wrote this blog post.)

Enough of my personal drama and now’s for the main part, Location Independence. If this is the very first time that you’ve heard of this phrase, then check here for a more elaborate meaning. As the term suggested, it is a working lifestyle that doesn’t depend on your location. As long as you are connected to the internet then you can work anywhere you want and whenever you feel like working. That’s my work’s set-up for over a year now and I’m enjoying it immensely. I can’t believe the luck I got and how blessed I am to have this kind of job. And though, I didn’t become rich because of this, I’m proud that I’m earning more than I’ve earned before.

At the present, even though my work is not location dependent, I still have to pause my travel plans to wait for Dude (my partner). Dude still needs to resign from his job so that we can travel together. I’m also waiting for the end of the lock-in contract from our internet service provider. It will end 3 months from now and I can’t wait any longer. I’m so bloody excited!

Here are my top 5 reasons why Location Independence allows you to travel for cheap.

Alona Beach Panglao Bohol

1. You can stay longer – Most travel vacations are bloody expensive because it would normally take a week or 3 days, the shortest. You need to go back home because you need to work, thus the fun is short-lived but it cost you dearly. Traveling while working, on the other hand, lessens the cost as you can stay in that particular location longer, thus you don’t need to go home right away. Instead of staying at expensive hotels you can stay in budget apartelles or pension house.

2. More flexible travel schedule – Because you can work anywhere, it is easier for you to change your travel sched depending on the airline promos or sales. You can also create your own itinerary by choosing routes that offer cheaper air or travel fare. This way you won’t be burdened with expensive airfare especially if you are traveling abroad.

3. No need to return home for the sake of your job – Have you experienced that heavy feeling every time a travel vacation ends and you have no other choice but to return home? It actually spoils the experience and it would cost you another long weeks or months of hard work before you can escape that boredom again. Time is a luxury and that’s the very jewel our 8 to 5 jobs are stealing away from us. That’s bloody expensive!

In conclusion, my short introduction about location independence may sound really easy to most of you but I tell you, it’s not that easy. It’s actually very hard and the challenging part is, it comes with big risks. But where’s the fun if it’s just a piece of cake?

How about you? Do you dream of traveling for good? Any tips on how to travel for cheap? Your comments are greatly appreciated. (:

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