Travel goals had been every millennial’s target. Jet-setters, travel junkies, name it, they’d love to have that title either they admit it or not. They say travelling is quite expensive and tedious. That’s why there are a lot of travel agencies that were established everywhere. Tour packages and discounted prices glimmers like a diamond to every curious cat who dreamt of flying above the sky. But is it that troublesome to have a getaway you feel you deserve? It depends on every situation. Last year, I had my very first overseas vacation, and it made me realize a lot of things. In which, I shall be writing about for the next few more weeks. For now, let me give a few tips that can help you plan your dream getaway. Note that the following details below are the suggested for budget packers and those who would not go for a tour package from Travel agencies.
- Settle your documents before booking your flight
In preparing your documents such as your passport or visa, make sure that you already have it ready before booking your flight tickets. For domestic flights, you do not need your passport number for booking your flights. However, for international flights, you would surely need one. So if you plan to go overseas, ensure that you have your passport is ready. The good thing now is the Department of Foreign Affairs is quite accessible now, and the process was way better in comparison more than ten years ago. Just set your processing appointment through their website. Make sure to have all the requirements for your scheduled date. This is to avoid having any delays in getting your passport.
Concerning Visa, most of the time visa’s the most challenging document to have. If you already have a target date, make sure to apply for your visa 2-3 months before the said date. This is to make sure that you will also be able to book your flights ahead of time. Most flights are lower if scheduled more than three months before the date of the trip. Once you have your necessary documents settled, it’s time to book your flights.
- Know where you will go
If you have so many places in mind and not sure that where to go, the first thing you need to do is compare expenses. Check online how much it cost to go on at least 2-3 of your choices. See which one would be right for your budget. If it’s your first time to go and you prefer to fly solo, I suggest going to a place that you have people you know. This is taking precautionary measures. The first flight always gives you the best lessons. So in case you go to the next destination, you already know what to do. Remember, that you are in a foreign country and it is always necessary to be safe than sorry.
Choose the most practical location. By saying “practical”, I mean is that place that is perfect for your budget. This includes the cost of the flights, hotels and pocket money. Know the value of the currency against Philippine Peso, so you’d know how much you can allot. Remember how much is the daily cost of food and commodities in the country you wish to go to so you’d know how much you need to save up.
- Book your flights in a holiday
Most airlines give seat sales before or after holidays. Check the costs online and have a comparison of each carrier. I suggest you also subscribe to their newsletters to know about these online offers. If you book your flights, I recommend that you do not book as a guest. Create an account on the site and book through your account. Every airline has a unique miles program in which you can accumulate a specific number of points every time you book a flight. The benefit of saving up these mile points is once you have gathered enough, you can get freebies. To a certain extent that you can actually get free flight trips. It would indeed save you a lot especially if you plan to do a regular flight plan. And hey, who wouldn’t freebies, right?
- Research about the weather and climate
The Philippines is a tropical place. So the environment here can either be humid or wet. In some countries, it can be extreme. So before you book your flight date, know the weather during that time. One example is if you plan to visit Japan when the Sakura blooms, you should visit it during springtime. This will also help you plan for what type of clothes you would be bringing for the trip. Your luggage allowance is very important in this matter. It would be advisable to purchase an extra luggage cost even if you think you wouldn’t be exceeding your hand carry or check-in luggage. You can never tell what can happen during your trip. Also if you say you do not plan to shop, sometimes you end up doing it otherwise.
- Know about the basic dos and don’ts
From the airport to the mainland itself, it is always recommended to know the culture on each country. Some acceptable habits here in the Philippines are not as acceptable to some places. If you need to also understand the fundamental laws there such as crossing the pedestrian or throwing trash on the necessary trash bins is quite strict in other countries. This can even cause tourists to get penalised or worse, deported just because of pure ignorance. Always remember that ignorance is never an excuse. It’s still safe to know what you need to know. Even in the clothes you wear, some countries are quite conservative. If you’re the type who wears shorts and tank tops on a regular stroll around the mall, some locals will not appreciate it. Some of these don’ts would actually surprise you on how simple they are, it would leave you with tons of question marks on your head.
- Know the transportation facilities
If you are the adventurous type who wishes to experience all the means of travelling to a specific location, research first about the cost and how safe they are. Remember that you are considered as a foreigner in that country and there can be some rides that are not as comfortable as they seem. Also, remember that no matter how friendly majority of people are in a specific country, there will still be some who would try to con you just because you’re a tourist. If you can assure yourself to have a fixed rate on these rides such as taking a metered taxi or book you a Grab or Uber, the better. Trying out the railways if there’s any is also alright since they always have a fix fare rate. This would not just save you money, this would also save you time and avoid you from getting stressed out.
- Join the community
What I mean by “community” is forums or groups online which can help your research about the places you would go. You can ask around if you can’t the initial answers in Google. 99.9% of these community members such as Trip Advisor are quite helpful and knowledgeable. Most of the members provide their experiences and are willing to give a helping hand. However, be careful if they start offering you. Try not to avoid such things as much as possible. You wouldn’t know if they just wish to scam you.
- Book your flights and hotels directly
It can save you more if you contact or book your tickets directly to their site and not through agencies. You can also book through booking sites such as Agoda or Traveloka. However, make sure that these are legit types of booking sites. Try to research first if these booking sites are pleasant to use. I used Agoda for my hotel booking, and I directly booked my flight tickets through their official websites.
Overall you can save more than 50% of the overall cost if you just find time to research everything. That’s why it’s highly recommended to book flights 4-6 months before the date of departure. I can’t say it’s cheap to travel, but if you plan it well and targeted sale prices, you can surely fly with a low-cost budget getaway and still have a lot of fun with it.
Again, the items mentioned above is for those who wish not to go through travel agencies and take tour packages. If you want to just go through less trouble of managing your trip, it is recommended to take tour packages in groups. This would lessen your overall cost, and most of the agencies give better offers if you go within a cluster of travellers. Below are links to a couple of travel agencies that you can try.