A cure for wanderlust

24 travel tips for the traveler on a budget

By Rachel Arandilla

A PERSON consumed by wanderlust has a passion — if not an almost animalistic desire — for travel. That need to ditch our desks and hit the beach is all too familiar.

But while we all love taking trips, most of us don’t get to travel as much as we hope to. And with summer now at our doorstep, we’re all starting to feel that travel itch again.

Photo by Noel S. Villaflor
Photo by Noel S. Villaflor

So what do you do if you feel you don’t have that much to cure a bad case of wanderlust? You don’t need to forgo that dream vacay — the key is to travel more, spend less, and find ways to stretch your money’s worth.

Gone are the days when travel was a luxury. Budget airlines, promo airfares and Internet bookings now provide a wider window for travel opportunities. A limited budget is no longer a hindrance to travel. In fact, it can even be a challenge: to see “how low you can go.”

Part of the adventure is going out there and having some sort of money limit. Spending less lowers the barrier between you as a tourist and the culture you traveled for miles to experience.

Here are 24 tips from backpackers and seasoned travelers in Cebu to help satiate that wanderlust of yours:

Getting-Around-ShoesOn booking tickets and planning an itinerary

“Travel off-season to find better deals, budget rooms and cheaper airfare. Explore like a local—ditch the usual tourist spots and explore the city’s hidden gems.” – Hannah Bacalla

“Keep your eyes peeled for cheap flights. Subscribe to airlines’ newsletters, visit their websites religiously. As soon as you see that seat sale, book it! Your dream vacay starts by booking that flight.” – Carla Adlawan

“Go in groups of two or more so you can save a ton, especially in accommodations and commute fares.” – Jethro Estimo

“Staying in hostels is a great way to save money and meet other travelers. Check websites like airbnb—the places are cheap and these places often have the added benefits of doing your laundry and kitchens where you can cook your meals for free.” – Jon Cabiles

“The obvious is to book your flights in advance. Their promo rates are available around three months ahead if you book it online.” – Atty. Janjan Perez

“Sometimes if you go back to an airline website multiple times, the price gets higher. It’s a technical thing… they remember your computer so it offers higher rates each time you come back.” – Honeylette To Chip

“Read airline policies beforehand, especially with budget airlines. Know their restrictions when it comes to baggage allowance, check-in instructions, printing boarding passes, etc. in order to avoid unnecessary penalty costs.” – Chacha Mercado-Lee

“These days there are heaps of good travel advice everywhere. From websites to personal blogs—good and bad reviews alike assist you in every step of travel planning.” – Hannah Kate Lim

Food and shopping

“Avoid the tourist-y restaurants and cafes because the prices are sure to be jacked up. Look for eateries frequented by the locals—that’s where the good food and good value is found.” – Atty. Janjan Perez

“Hit the groceries, find a park in the city and have a delicious picnic with a gorgeous view. Saves you a whole lot of dough’ – Celeste Rodriguez

“Don’t hoard on pasalubong or souvenirs. You will just have a hard time packing them, and might even end up paying for additional baggage fees.” – Homer Medici

“Check out food areas near universities. They have tasty food on a student budget. Plus get to know the students for possible true love.” – Victor Villanueva

“Make sure to start early and eat breakfast before you leave the hotel. Never go out hungry or else you’ll end up spending more in restaurants.” – Hanz Libato

“When challenged with the language barrier, I just use the mighty pointing finger and point at whatever that guy’s got. You will have a sample of local flavor and an extra bang for your buck.” – Paolo Mañalac

“Pack some instant noodles. They make great emergency food. Some airports, like in China, provide free hot water. You can also ask from stores.” – Radel Paredes

Getting around

“Museums usually have high entrance fees; but do a little research beforehand—there are usually entrance-free days. To save you some buck, schedule your visit on those free days.” – Danielle Aballe

“Your itinerary serves as a guide. You don’t need to follow it to the dot but it’s usually more expensive to be spontaneous (albeit certainly more fun).” – Bait Nicart

“Foursquare is a really useful app with various tips especially for a newcomer in a certain place.” – Johnn Mendoza

“As much as possible, take an overnight train/bus/boat to your next destination—it saves you money on accommodations.” – Karlo Pacheco

“Wear your most comfortable shoes! Saves you transpo allowance. Let’s you take your workout on the road too.” – Patricia Zosa

“Save yourself some time by knowing the local name of the places. Keep them to your phone or write them on a piece of paper. This is especially helpful in places with their own alphabet. When I was in Thailand 90 percent of the cab drivers didn’t speak English well and we couldn’t pronounce names of the destinations properly. That wasted a lot of time. It surely helped when we looked up the names online and in the Thai alphabet.” – Sam Despi

A few more things…

“Learning a few local street words help a lot, especially in Asian countries. Usually protects you from getting ripped off by locals or charging a crazy amount of money.” – Von Jovi Jover

“Never have your currencies changed at the airport” – Audi Villa

“Research on prepaid plans for the Internet and phone if you want to be constantly connected. Your phone will serve as your navigation device too and you’ll never get lost.” – DJ Tudtud


Travel fotos by Noel S. Villaflor 

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