Secrets of Frequent Travelers

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Why do they love to travel? How can they travel so frequently? Why can’t I enjoy traveling the way they do? Well, aside from the fact that they’re experts in all things travel, they also have some tricks under their sleeves. Want to be a savvy traveler who can get used to flying and going from place to place? Here are the secrets of frequent travelers.

  • Earn miles. This starts with getting a credit card that will let you collect miles whenever you book flights. Know which credit card gives the best points when booking with your airline of choice.
  • Watch out for seat sale alerts. You can check out Skyscanner for a comparison of the flights available for your preferred dates. You should also subscribe to email alerts that airlines send out whenever they have a seat sale. Most of my trips are care of Cebu Pacific seat sale alerts I received right on my mobile phone. There are cheap flights to Singapore as much as there are cheap flights to Manila. All it takes is awareness of the seat sales, and a decision to just book and think about the expenses later.
  • Pack light. This cannot be overemphasized. A huge bag will limit your enjoyment of a place, even if you bring your yaya along or even if you choose to rent a car. Learn how to plan your outfits and squeeze them all in a single, easy-to-bring yet roomy luggage, and bring a carry-on bag that can contain everything you need in the plane and on a stroll.
  • Be flexible. When you travel, expect your schedule to be ruined. When that happens, chill and skip all the whining. A frequent traveler knows that anything can happen during a trip, and he knows how to make the most out of it. Aside from changing schedules, you might also have to change hotels, skip some sights, or even sleep at the airport. These should all be part of the fun.
  • Bring a book. Your flight might get canceled or delayed. Instead of fuming at the airport personnel, thank the heavens for the time when you can finally finish reading the Twilight series. Never mind that you didn’t want to read it in public. When you’ve got nothing to do but wait, better to be kept company by Edward and Bella. Besides, you can always rely on the digital copy of the books, in Kindle or n your iPad. When someone asks you what you’re reading, simply say CS Lewis or Tolkien.
  • Don’t pack your schedule too tightly. A delayed flight can have a domino effect on a super packed schedule. Your itinerary should have ample gap times for when you need to attend to something, such as your kid getting sick or you wanting to spend more time in a favorite spot. This also gives you room for adjustments when your flight gets delayed or when a tour company screws up.

Five Best Places for Solo Travelling

If you want to go on a soul search alone, you need to choose your destination well. Don’t go some place where people gather to celebrate with friends, such as the Oktoberfest in Germany during the last weeks of September leading up to the first days of October.

Pick a place where you can find yourself, where there’s less noise, friendly people, and little to no crime rate. Seriously, travelling alone can be scary if you don’t choose the destination well.

So we listed our favorite destinations for the solo wanderlust you. Here goes, and good luck!

New Zealand

Picturesque New Zealand

Aside from a generous supply of milk (har har), New Zealand also has the best views worthy of your shutter click and your undivided attention. Plus the locals are uber friendly – a big deal for anyone who will travel alone. The transportation system is very tourist-friendly, and the accommodations are superb. Plus you might have relatives who currently reside there! There are a lot of Filipinos in the country; one of my friends just flew to NZ last week!

Costa Rica

Frolicking the beach in Costa Rica

Unlike New Zealand, Costa Rica is more dynamic and noisy. Don’t get me wrong though, Costa Rica is very tourist-friendly. You won’t run out of things to do. Head to the beach for a morning stroll, go zip-lining, hike a trail, or scuba dive! Do them all! The best thing about Costa Rica is that it isn’t a honeymoon destination, which means you won’t awkwardly run into couple after couple while you try your best to concentrate on your solo travel to get over the love of your life who left you for somebody else. So the drama, but a broken heart is one of the most legit reasons to go on a solo travel.

Ireland

The way to the pub 😉

Ireland is the kind of place that will demand your attention. Traveling solo to this beautiful country will be better than being with you family and friends. Why? There’s a lot of local culture to learn about! Everywhere you go locals will willingly talk with you and tell you more about the best pub in town or the perfect inn to spend the night in.

Australia

Australians are so used to travelers, so being there won’t make you look like a sore thumb sticking out for attention. It is safe in the country, and because it is modern, you won’t have a hard time using pubic transportation. There’s a lot you can do – dive in the Great Barrier Reef, take a tour in the Outback, visit locals’ favorite restaurants. It is best to stay in a hostel, where rooms are shared, so you can meet other travelers and exchange notes.

The UK

Seeing the queens and kings of the past

The region has everything you want and more. Perfect for artists and passion seekers, the UK has an abundant supply of inspiration, from museums to structures to historical sites that will help you appreciate art more. You want some shopping? There are a lot of stores to check out! You want some partying? You won’t run out of bars to choose from. You can experience the big city life in London and then easily transfer to the small area of Aberdeen, for some peace and downtown vibe. I’m just not sure if you can book a promo fare to the UK. But still, being able to experience its beauty and culture should be worth all the money that you burn.

How to Create a Practical Itinerary

Maximize your travel enjoyment with careful planning

Maximized travel: this is the main reason why you should create a practical itinerary. Of course the word practical is subjective; what’s practical for you might be too grand or too killjoy for me. But I’m treading the safe and sweet spot among most travellers, and this is the type of travel that packs the most number of activities with the lowest cash out without compromising comfort and convenience.

Such a kind of trip is unachievable without the right itinerary planned way ahead and in a significant amount of time. Here are some tips:

  • Start by booking a cheap flight. This is practical! Cheap flights are usually for off-peak dates, which means that you will most likely be staying in a hotel with off-peak rates, and you will be travelling in a place without much tourists. Stay tuned by monitoring travel search sites so you can grab the lowest Manila to Hong Kong flight for the year.
  • Pack light. You don’t want to lug heavy bags with clothes and contents that you won’t use during your trip. Decide on your outfits and group them accordingly, so that come travel time, you won’t take a long time in dressing up; you’d just grab one set from your backpack.
  • Know where to go. If you are travelling with a group, ask them about what they want to see and where they want to go. This eliminates the need to edit and revise your itinerary as you tour your destination.
  • Go from one place to another strategically. Consider factors such as the distances between destinations, as well as the activities you plan to do. Maximize your travel time by calculating the distances between the different spots you want to check out. You may also group all swimming-related activities in a day.
  • Be realistic. Though it may be easy to group all historical tours in one go, you might get saturated with all the information that you will get. That’s boring, and can take the number one spot in your list of worst trips ever.
  • Consider local events. If you want to take a trip to Boracay on the day of the Ati-atihan Festival, expect tons of people in the airport, and some traffic on your way to Caticlan if you’re coming from Kalibo. Other travelers would appreciate the wonderful coincidence and would celebrate the festival with the locals, but some just would not have any of the crowd and the influx of tourists. Best to be prepared.
  • Bring copies of your itinerary, complete with details, maps and directions. Don’t trust that Internet will always be available for your queries and needs. Have a copy of your itinerary in your phone, pad or laptop (or in all of the above), with details such as addresses, phone numbers and directions on how to get to each and every destination of your choice. It doesn’t get any more practical than that.

Cooking: Backpacker Style

Cooking during your trip, anyone?

If you were the type who wants to go hardcore in everything he does, then you most certainly would not mind cooking your own food during trips. Before you foodies protest and throw tomatoes our way, hear this first: We know of ways on how you can cook your own food yet not miss out on the local cuisine of your destination. In fact, true foodies should already have had a light bulb moment. Here are some tips!

  • Book an accommodation that has provisions for cooking. In the first place, you would not be able to cook your own food without a stove, a faucet and other cooking utensils. There are a lot of local accommodations that have common kitchen areas that can be used by all their guests. If you’re staying in the city, look for condominium units that are rented out on a per-night basis.
  • Locate the market. You won’t find your ingredients in 7-Eleven! Ask around about where the local market is as soon as you check in your hotel or inn. Check out the products available and create your menu based on the ingredients that you find there. Aside from buying ingredients, you will also be able to learn a lot by just conversing with market vendors and observing people in their daily walks.
  • Taste the local food and try to replicate it. Don’t wait for you to get home before you try cooking that local dish that you tried! Get a local who can teach you how to cook the dish to perfection, using ingredients that make for an authentic and delicious dish.
  • Cook your favorite meal from home. For travelers who stay for a long time in a foreign land, mom’s spaghetti provides the warmth and comfort that they miss back home. It helps in adjusting to a new culture, and is a healthy homey habit for those whose feet are always walking around the world.
  • When all else fails, go instant. Being open to the idea of cooking your own meals during a travel will help you cope with different situations, such as late night cravings (which is a very valid reason to cook, by the way). You’ll never know when you’re going to need cup noodles and boiled water! If you are the type of traveler who books budget airlines such as Zest Air and Cebu Pacific, then you will most probably like the idea of saving on a few meals so you can splurge on the best meal you can ever have in your area of destination.