Sunday, September 6, 2015

How To Travel Alone in the Philippines

Mt. Pinatubo trek

There are no shortcuts or instant answer to this question.

You have to experience it first. And your experience will make you a better traveler. But for the meantime, I will give you tips on how to do it.

First of all. PLANNING is the key to your successful travel. You simply have to plan ahead.

      There are plenty of questions to answer before you can start traveling alone. And I have listed herein some of the basic questions and tips in traveling alone.

1. When do you plan to travel? 
       There are three possible choices, summer, rainy season or during Christmas season. 

        You can enjoy hiking, island hopping, diving, snorkeling or beach bumming during summer. While during rainy season, you can indulge in spelunking, river rafting, or waterfalls chasing. And during Christmas season, you can enjoy the cold weather in Sagada, Baguio, Tagaytay or Banaue.

     2. The crucial question is what do you intend to do?

     Do you intend to relax, explore or have an adventure of a lifetime?

    If you are into adventure, there are various activities that you can try like spelunking, trekking/mountaineering, waterfalls chasing, river rafting, beach bumming,diving, snorkeling, nature tripping, nature photography, bird watching, whale watching, surfing, wake boarding, sand boarding, sky diving or cliff jumping, among others.

3. The next question is where are you going to travel?
     
       You can choose from either Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao for your destination. You can surf and read travel blogs for the best destinations. My three best destinations are Sagada, Batanes, and El Nido.

4. Then, how much do you intend to spend?

     You have to work on your budget. You need to save for your travel needs. And you need to start saving right now. Traveling entails a lot of expenses but it is worth every penny of it!

5. What are the places that you intend to do in your itinerary?

      Reading travel blogs will give you an idea on what to do Make the best and detailed itinerary that is flexible and would fit your needs. Try new things in life. Life is short and you have to live it to the fullest!

6. How to book your travel?

        It is better to ask the help or guidance of a learned person in booking. When I started to travel ten years ago, I had no knowledge on how to book my hotel or my ride. But I asked the help of my friend who was well-versed in the internet booking and after that I learned how to book on my own. 

      There are plenty of online hotel bookings such as agoda.com or booking.com, among others. But the best part of traveling alone is being a transient. You have no definite hotel booking simply because you do not have any idea how long you will stay in the area. Though it is a bit risky, you will have flexibility in your chosen destinations. 

7. What to bring?  

        On the night prior to your travel, pack light and bring the travel accessories that you need. Bring an octopus adapter and a power bank.
boat ride to Basilan
  

        8. During the travel, what are you suppose to do?

              a. Be street smart

       Always be on alert. You cannot be complacent. You have to be attentive and observant. Your own safety is your primary consideration.
      
      b. Travel light. Do not over pack

          One bag will do. The bag should contain a weight of 7-10 kilos only.
      
      c. Bring the right apparel

My suggested brands are The Northface, Columbia or Deuter. For your compression needs, I highly recommend Tesla Compression wearTESLA Compression wear is available at ZALORA Philippines.
     
     d. Be careful of what you eat
         Know your allergies and stuff that makes you uncomfortable.
        

    e. Wear sandals

 My suggested brand is Sandugo.
    
     f. Ask three times from different people for directions

        If you get two same answers from two different people, then you are on the right course.

            g. Travel in the morning, check-in late in the afternoon

        It usually rains in the afternoon. It is better to explore early in the morning.


           h. Always bring a jacket
        My suggested brand is The Northface


    i. Put your money on separate pockets

       Unfortunately, you have to be very cautious when you are traveling in  the Philippines.
  
   j. Bring a map

        It pays to know where you are going. There are times that you cannot communicate with the local because you do not speak their dialect. By simply pointing at the map, the language barrier will be lessened a bit.

         k. Know whether there are ATMs or credit card facilities

         There are still areas in the Philippines without ATMs or credit card facilities.

        l. Eat light. Drink light. Mingle more.

         Enjoy in moderation.

          m. Buy your souvenirs at the last destination

         You do not want your bag to be very heavy.
   
   n. Know your limitations or injuries

         Be aware of your asthma, high blood or bone injuries in your chosen adventure.


  o. Bring a plastic for your dirty clothes.

        Segregate the clean clothes from the dirty ones.

 p. Inform your relatives where you are

    But do not post in facebook or other social networking sites your present destination.
  
 q. Change your paper bills
   
    The Philippines has sari-sari (retail) store and riding a local ride needs plenty of lower bills or coins.    
    
 r. No deadly weapons in your travel

    You do not need these weapons in your travel.
  
 s. Know the local customs and practices

      Respect is the word.

  t. Try the local food. Small amounts of everything

      We have a variety of mouthwatering delicacies.

         u. Hire a guide, especially if you will be trekking

      This is part of your own safety and security. You have no intentions of getting lost.
  
 v. Keep a low profile

      Do not wear expensive jewelry and try to blend with the locals.

        w. Sleep at least six hours

      You need the energy. Sleeping is the best way to regain strength in your travel.

         x. Rehydrate
         We have  a very warm weather especially during summer.
  
  y. Expect the unexpected

       This is part of being street smart.

 z. Watch the weather news at night

      Knowing the weather is a must when you travel in a tropical country.

  And FINALLY!


Mt. Makilling trek


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