Friday, April 26, 2013

How to Create Your Do-It-Yourself Trip

I remember back in high school, our class adviser asked us to write an essay entitled "Who Will I Be 10 Years from Now?" With a happy heart, I composed my essay saying that in 10 Years, I'm already in Law School, pursuing my dream to be a pro bono lawyer for my beloved countrymen. (I ended up taking Accountancy instead and worked in the BPO and Hospitality Industry)  One by one, we all read what we've written in front of the class. It sounded like the usual chant of being professionals and being successful. It's understandable. Coming from a bunch of 13 year old minds, everybody have high hopes and soaring dreams. Then suddenly, one of my classmates stood in front of the class. With a confident voice, he professed that in 10 years, he had already traveled the whole world. It really took my attention. At first, I thought it was silly, not to mention impossible but for some reason, I couldn't take that out of my mind. It was an idea that had lingered up until now. Maybe because secretly, in what was then my young mind and up until today - I secretly wish to travel the world too. I hope that someday, I might just would. Who knows? For now, I am happy and contented in discovering the wonders of my homeland and it's neighboring countries through my do-it-yourself travels. DIY travel gives me a chance to go to different places without breaking the bank and it allows me to truly immerse myself with local culture of a certain place for I have the luxury of time and capability to decide where i want to spend it.

So how do I go about creating my Budget DIY travels?

First, I plan ahead
I avoid traveling on a whim. With this, I am able to take advantage of seat sales and discounted rates from various airlines and hotels. The philosophy here is simple, the rates are cheaper if you book in advance. 

The second key is Research
This is crucial. This is the part where you will base most of your decisions for the trip. Once you've decided where to go, start making the web your best friend. We're lucky that in this generation, we are likely to find everything we want to know through the net.

Researching on Flights: 
As mentioned earlier, planning ahead is better. There are times though that we have to leave right away and I learned that most of the time, it is cheaper to book with flight search engines. I had worked in the hospitality industry for a while and the concept is these companies buy in bulk that they're able to get big discounts. Naturally, their prices are cheaper too, that is how they pass the big savings to their customers. So if you must travel indefinitely, it wouldn't hurt to check out  flight search services like Flight Network for considerably lower rates.

Researching on Accommodation:
I first check on hotels with the lowest rates then from there, I do my research. I also consider hostels, inns or homestays. I prefer budget accommodations - cheap but at the least, decent and safe. Unless a trusted family member or a friend have assured me that their stay in that place is seamless, I make sure to check all the reviews I can find about a specific hotel/resort online. Reviews are subjective so be sensible too and trust your instinct when choosing where to stay.

Researching on Places to Visit: 
Let's face it. Traveling isn't the only thing we do in life. Usually, we are only presented a very limited time to travel so why not spend it wisely? That's when blogs of fellow travel bloggers come in handy. Their insights about a specific place give me an idea whether an attraction is worthwhile. It helps me decide whether to still go or just skip a destination. I take note of everything that seems interesting then list them in order. That way, I'll not miss to see what interests me the most.  Then, to further avoid losing that precious travel time, I try my best not to get lost (although it proved to be so much fun when it happened to me once). Some blogs even share directions on how to hop from one attraction to another. That is mostly useful. Just be patient in searching for these guides.

Third, I Set a Reasonable Budget.
Having made your research, you will now have an idea of how much money you would need to set aside for the trip. Mostly, expenses would be comprised of transportation,accommodation, food and entrance fees. Depending on where you're going, there are sometimes other fees like environmental fee, guide fee, the occasional tips and taxes for custom duties. You don't have to sweat searching or guessing for an exact amount, a ballpark figure would do but don't forget to bring extra for contingencies.

Lastly, I think positively and stay flexible.
I have to admit it. There were several times that what actually happened during my travel is different from what I originally planned. Typhoons, getting lost and other circumstances substantially changed if not totally expunged my original itinerary. Don't have a heavy heart when this happens. Having an itinerary is ideal but sometimes,  it's even more fulfilling when you have to roll with the changes. These circumstances along with what you witness around you are the experiences that will truly open your eyes and enrich you as a traveler. 

More than ten years had passed since my classmate and I started noticing our dreams of traveling the world. Neither of us fulfilled it - yet. Despite that, I'm really happy right now that in this hard times when earning isn't easy,  I'm still able to travel and doesn't have to spend much of that hard earned money. I'm thankful that I learned the concept of Do-It-Yourself travels. If not, my purse might have already hit the rock bottom purchasing expensive package tours since I can never give up traveling. Worse, I might have ended up not traveling at all. 

I hope to continue doing budget DIY travels in the future and have more beautiful travel memories to share in this blog. I hope you all do too. :)

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