How I Travel More By Spending Less

A lot of people think that traveling is an expensive hobby but the truth is, once you know the tricks of traveling smart, it becomes very affordable and sometimes, free.

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San Pablo, Laguna, Philippines

Many have asked, how do I get to travel a lot? Easy. I look for budget-friendly destinations and just go. Don’t get intimidated by the costs of a short road trip. I can name you 3 things that you do in the city that’s probably more expensive than the road trips i’ve done — nights out with friends, dinner and movie dates, and shopping. What do I usually spend most on? Toll and gas. Split that with your travel buddies, the whole ride will cost you just as much as that glass of champagne you’re holding—and you’re just on your 1st glass.

Yes, Travel with friends. Aside from the obvious fact that the more the merrier, everything else is also cheaper— your accommodations, your food, your activities, and transportation.

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White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Travel to lesser known areas. Tourist spots tend to jack up their rates because where the arrows point, the feet go, and the money flows. Nature becomes a business and for these destinations, money do grow from trees.

If you live in a country blessed with so much nature such as the Philippines, finding a better alternative to the popular tourist spots is easy breezy. You have more than enough choices and these spots are significantly cheaper and most of the time, more beautiful. I’m talking about unspoilt and uncrowded beaches, waterfalls, and everything else momma nature has to offer!

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Minalungao National Park, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
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Bolinao Falls, Pangasinan, Philippines

Set your own itinerary. No need to avail of the  “ultimate packaged experience” which would include all your transportation fees, tour guide fees, etc. It is convenient, yes, but we are trying to travel smarter. Plus, these tour packages often give you very limited time to enjoy each destination to fit a jam-packed itinerary in a tight schedule — not all of us go to places just for pictures, amiright??

I have been, time and again, surprised by the grandeur of virgin beaches and waterfalls I have “discovered” just by being curious about what else is out there. Whether it be a two-layered waterfall near Taal, a river with gorgeous rock formations in the middle of nowhere of Nueva Ecija, or a virgin beach in Guimaras that needed Ninja Warrior skills to reach, you’d be surprised where your adventurous feet will take you if you just let it.

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Guisi Beach, Guimaras, Philippines
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Minalungao National Park, Nueva Ecija, Philippines

Mother nature still has so many attractions up her sleeve that are free for everyone to enjoy — or sometimes, maintained through environmental fees that only cost Php 10 or 20.

How to find these places? Well, my friends, it’s simpler than you think.

Just ask the locals.

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Take advantage of what most tourists don’t know, the ones that only a local’s finger will direct you. Ask them about what other places can be visited that are popular to them — these are the places that won’t cost much because locals will not spend thousands of pesos to enjoy nature and neither would we, ideally and as much as possible.

Just go. Keep an open mind and an open itinerary. I’m not one who plans a lot or in detail and it works just fine with me that way so all I really need is a rough list of places I can visit and adjust it as I go especially if I “discover” better (or cheaper) alternatives. Planning takes so much time and most of the time, in my experience, the trip does not turn out as planned anyway. Don’t get me wrong – It’s smart to have a plan but just keep your eyes open for more or better experiences along the way.

This is not an article about budgeting your trip but it’s really about how you can see more of what a place has to offer without the need to splurge. It is not a question of how many towns you have set foot on but rather, how much of the town have you actually seen and experienced? To see more, you have to be more curious, open-minded, and adventurous; hence, more and more travels for you!

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