Boracay Island With Antique Side Trip

 

Activities: Parasailing, Island hopping, Helmet diving, Pubcrawl, Kawa bath, and Trekking

My friends and I went to our hometown last Nov 1 for All Soul’s Day to commemorate the faithful departed friends and loved ones. We decided to take a route Boracay Caticlan-Antique instead of the usual Iloilo-Antique via plane. This time we will take a sea trip from Batangas going to Caticlan and Antique. We have booked our ticket earlier to grab the promo rate of 2Go Travel. Our ship ticket cost P1,050 each with free dinner. Since 3 of us will come from Manila and in anticipation of people who will be going to provinces that day, we decided to leave work earlier. In my case, I took a half day leave and traveled by PNR from Sta. Mesa Station to Alabang station, the last station in the south. The train was a little uncomfortable but it was fast, though. Across the station is Alabang Bus Terminal where the buses going to Batangas Port are located. The bus waited few minutes and departed the station around 4.30pm

We left Batangas port Nov. 28 at 9 pm (Friday) and arrived at Caticlan Jetty Port in Malay, Aklan the following day at 7.30am. We paid for a Terminal fee and environmental fee a total of P200.00 and ride a 20-seater boat for around 15mins to Boracay. From Boracay port, we transferred to a tricycle ride to Station 2 of the Island for P20.00 each. we dropped along the street of D’Mall and walked towards the alley going to our hostel. We rented a room overnight amounting to P1,500 which is good for 4 persons. We haggled it from P2,000. We rested for an hour, prepared ourselves for a tour. We also met with a friend who came from Bacolod in the morning.

 

Day 1

We walked at leisure along the beach of Boracay and dropped by Boracay Pubcrawl office to buy tickets (P650) and get our shirts (included in the package) and proceed to Station 1 for lunch. After a morning hunger strike, we finally ate at Jonah’s Fruitshake & Restaurant which cost each of us around P250.

 

Strolled along the shore and had our castle photo taken.

The scorching heat of the sun withered us so we went back to the hostel and sleep. Unfortunately, we overslept and woke up at 4 pm.

At 4.30pm we quickly searched for parasailing package and was able to get P750 offer rate. Again, we haggled.

 

And this happened. One of the best experience ever though it was already dark. We are the last people to ride and para-sail, overlooking the beautiful island of Boracay.

Almost dark and we got back at the island happy and still ecstatic. We took shower and ready for the night.
It’s Pubcrawl night!

Epic. 5 bars in 1 night. Best night ever! Turning strangers into friends.
Met some of these people from Manila who we became friends on Facebook and Instagram.

Came back to the hostel late at 1 am after midnight snack at Mc Donalds.

 

Day 2

Island hopping on a sweet sunny day.

 

Our first activity was snorkeling but I opted to take photos instead.

 

Next was Puka Beach.

 

After lunch, we did Helmet diving. It was something memorable and tensed down there.

End of morning tour.

In the afternoon, we left the island and did a side trip to Antique. We traveled 2 and half hours to reach Tibiao Fish Spa. We stayed overnight and paid P450/person overnight. Not cheap.

 

Day 3 – Side trip

On our bucket list was Tibiao kawa bath. At 8 in the morning, we went to Brgy. Importante where Kayak Inn is located. From Brgy Importante along national highway, a habal-habal motorcycle took us uphill. We paid P100 for 2-way trip.
And finally found this. #Kawabath

Just across Kayak Inn is the Tibiao River. The view of the rustling river was liberating. The river is also great for kayak activities.

 

Fascinating! So I tried a tree pose.

And of course, this one photo which led me there in the first place. Lol

When you like being cooked.
After a 30-minute kawa bath, we trekked up to Bugtong Bato Falls. We only managed up to the 3rd falls of 7. We were exhausted.

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We were back at the inn around 12:30 pm and tided up, ride habal-habal back to Brgy. Importante waited for bus and head to our own hometown. Home sweet home at 3 pm.

End of the side trip.

 

Back to Manila on Nov 2. I had these pictures at Plazuela de Iloilo before going to the airport. 😁

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Total Expenses: P8,135.00

 

Ship Ticket – P1,050.00

CebuPac Ilo-Mnl – P2,500.00 (Big chunk of my budget went here mainly because it was peak season)

Accommodation

Boracay – P1,500/4 / P375.00 each

Tibiao Fish Spa – P450.00

Transportation

Caticlan-Boracay – P200.00

Boracay-Caticlan – P120.00

Tricycle to Station 2 – P40.00 (2-way)

Caticlan-Tibiao – P120

Habal-habal – P100 2-way

Food

Lunch & Dinner Midnight Snacks Day 1 – P630.00

Dinner Day 2 – P30.00

Breakfast Day 3 – P120.00

Parasailing – P750.00

Pubcrawl – P650.00

Island hopping with lunch buffet and helmet diving – P700.00

Kawa Bath – 200

Tour guide at Falls – P150.00/3 / P50.00 each

Tibiao-Home – P50.00

It was a little out of budget but my experiences are all worth it.

Baguio Family Trip

Baguio is one of the favorite destinations of Filipino families for vacation or even just to escape the buzzing city life a bit. Tourists flacks especially during summer season because of its nice cold weather.  Another reason why Baguio is always visited by tourists, both local and foreign is that it is readily accessible from Metro Manila. You do not need to pre-book bus tickets unless it is peak season. You can just go directly to any bus station to buy a ticket and after 6 hours of sleeping in the bus, you will wake up in Baguio City just like that.

It was already June this year that we decided to have a last minute summer vacation. It was not a bad idea afterall since its pre-off season, minimal people travels this time of the year. This was my first time to travel with family in Baguio and also my first time to travel with not much planning.No budget plans and no itineraries except for the house that we rented a week before. We just paid when we got there.

Transportation:

We booked a Friday 12-midnight bus trip to Baguio from Cubao via Victory Liner and reached the City of Pines at 6am. Regular bus schedule to Baguio is every hour. Fare is P455. It would be wise also to get a return ticket at the bus terminal on your first day. This will save you time from lining up for ticket when you go back to Manila.

Accommodation:

Our house rental costed P3,500 for an overnight stay. We were allowed to cook so we have saved some on meals. We only lunched out on our 2nd day.

I will not dwell on details of the tour since Baguio is a common destination to many. I will just share our simple yet fun-filled adventures.

 

Day 1

Our welcome food. Taho vendors are everywhere on Baguio.

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Strawberry Taho

 

Early morning bike in the park was fun and energizing. Good to jumpstart your day.

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Burnham Park

 

 

This is just a normal Saturday in Baguio. Zumba, cyclists and other sports enthusiasts gathered in the park to do their own thing.

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Saturday is Zumba day in Burnham Park.

 

We settled our things in the house, ate lunch, rested for awhile and proceed to our afternoon tour.

 

Mines View Park

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Good thing about traveling in a group is to save expenses. You can save more on group rates compared to invidual or by twos.

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8 adults and 1 kid

 

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My niece Kate riding the famous pink pony at Mines View Park.

 

 

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We also came to Good Sheperd Convent to buy pasalubong. I love their ube jam. The nuns make the best ube jam in the city.

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We went back to Mines View Park  and from there we walked to The Mansion. It took us 20mins to finally get there. Along the way are pines and greeneries.

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You know it’s Baguio when you see pines.

 

At The Mansion.

Nothing really special here. You cannot even go inside it. Maybe what interests people is the history which you can read at the main gate. People normally come here for picture taking.

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The main gate of The Mansion.

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From The Mansion, we went to Wright Park.

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We visited Baguio Botanical Garden last because it is the nearest spot in area where we stayed. It is walking distance to the house that we have rented.

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I have no idea why would one touch the nose of this totem pole. Lol

 

End of Day 1. Our house is a 5-minute walk from the garden. We went to the market nearby to buy groceries for our dinner and breakfast the following day. We got at the house around 6:00pm.

 

Day 2

We travelled to Benguet to see the strawberry farm but it was off season.

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Strawberry Ice cream with real fruit bits.

 

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We were caught by traffic from Benguet going to Slaugther House to have our lunch. There were few eateries within the compound and mostly visited by tourists and locals too. Some dishes are exotic and of course the are normal Filipino food. Food at the Slaughter House is cheap but sumptuous. This place is perfect for budgetarians. Our meal summed to P900 only (rice, bulalo, chopsuey, pork liempo, ensaladang talong and Coke).

After lunch, we went back to the house to get our things bound home. But before heading home we hit Camp John Hay and had a short stop at Choco-late de Batirol. They serve their famous traditional cocoa peanut drink and local delicacies.

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Celebrated Independence Day at Choco-late de Batirol.

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You will see this upon entering.

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A cup of hot chocolate for a rainy day. Traditional Blend at P80.00
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Bibingka at P105.00
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 Turon de Langka (3pcs at P85.00)
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Suman Sa Lihia P64.00

We ordered Batirol merienda set Group of 6 for P740.00 which comprised of 6 Traditional Blend, 1 Bibingka, 1 Suman, 1 Turon(3pcs). We just added 2 Traditional Blend for P80.00 each. Total cost is P900.00 for 8 persons. We saved a little bit by ordering a merienda set.

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This is located in the garden area.

Choco-late de Batirol is located at Gate 2, Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio City. Monday-Thursday: 9am to 8pm, Friday: 9am to 9pm, Saturday to Sunday:9am to 10pm. Don’t miss to visit and have merienda at Choco-late de Batirol. It is worth it.

It was nice ending our trip at Choco-late de Batirol. The place was cozy, clean and zen. It was something worth remembering. We enjoyed  a lot so we stayed a little more.

We went home happy not until our assigned bus departed ahead of time. In short, we were late at the bus station and so we waited for another bus but with added fees. The bus departed at 5.45pm and arrived in Manila on Sunday before midnight.

 

Total Expenses: P14,580 for 8 pax / P1,822.50 each

Transportation

Bus – P7,280/ P910.00 each

Taxi/Jeep – P1,100 / P137.50

Accommodation – P3,500 / P437.50 each

Food/ groceries – P700 / P87.50 each

Dine-out – P1,800 / 225.00 each

Bus extra fees – P200/ 25.00 each

 

El Nido on a Weekend

 

Is it possible to tour El Nido, Palawan on a weekend? Yes, but you need to skip inland tour and do only the following worthwhile activities.

  • Tour A
  • Afternoon stroll along Bacuit Bay
  • Canopy walk via Ferrata
  • Swimming at Maramegmeg

El Nido is a place where you can just relax and enjoy exploring the wonders of waters. It is composed of islands which some of them are not yet open for touring. Basically, you cannot finish exploring all lagoons, beaches, islands and bays in El Nido in just 2 days, not even a week. So we did only the most popular and worthwhile activities during this weekend tour.

This trip is one of my favorite in two years of traveling. Maybe because its my post birthday celebration and I haven’t been to the place. I got my ticket on sale from Cebu Pacific early this year for P1,183 all-in two-way trip. Amazing, right? 😄 And as for the accommodation,  I decided to get an El Nido all-in arrangement tour package – tour A with tour assistance, room accommodation, daily breakfast and van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido and vice-versa. This is my first time to book for a package tour out of fear that  I might not catch any vans or buses to El Nido due to our evening flight. I was weary since I am traveling with my brother this time and I don’t want to stress out myself looking for vans when I get there. Our transportation was easy like that. Good thing because I was also not feeling very well that time.

Our ETA in Puerto Princesa International Airport was 6:25pm (Friday) and the plane landed just right on time. We were escorted by Vanic Travel and Tours employee to the van that will bring us to El Nido. The van waited for other passengers and left 7:30pm. It took us 4hrs to get to the El Nido town proper with 1 stop over for 30mins.

We arrived at the hostel at 12 midnight. The hostel is located at the heart of the town. Unfortunately, I had fever and felt ill when we arrived. I easily fall into slumber after taking medicines. I think it was due to the cold weather and stress from work. I toured through anyway. :mrgreen:

 

ALL-IN PACKAGE TOUR
✔ Room Accomodations (At The Moment Hostel)
✔ Daily Breakfast
✔ Transfers
✔ Tour with assistance

TOUR A – Lagoons and Beaches 

Tour Inclusive

Tourism Fee, Motorized boat, Tour Guide, Life Vest, Snorkel gears, Buffet Lunch, Water and Towel

Itinerary

Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon & Seven Commandos Beach

 

Day 1 (Saturday)

I still felt dizzy when I woke up and did not even manage to touch my breakfast. They served us coffee, ham and egg with rice and watermelon for dessert. We went out around 9am to start Tour A.

First stop was 7 Commandos Beach

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This island is a coco island.

 

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Second stop was Small Lagoon where we did kayaking. You should definitely do this to go inside the lagoon and be mesmerized with its beauty.

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Kayaking through the Small Lagoon.

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Tranquil turquoise-green waters.

 

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The lagoon is sorrounded by limestone walls.

 

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Be awed by the rock formations.

 

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We ate our lunch in the boat. We were served seafoods, pork, chicken and fruits. The buffet was worth it though I was not really in the mood to eat.

 

Next stop was Shimizu Island. We do not have a lot of activities in the island aside from snorkeling. I forgot to take pictures too because I slept in the boat.lol 😂

 

Our fourth destination was Big Lagoon.

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Felt a little better here.

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The Secret Lagoon was supposed to be our last stop but unluckily, we were not allowed to go because of the windy weather.

 

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Thanks to Dominic who arranged our tour. He was so accommodating to us.

The tour ended around 4pm and we reached back the hostel at 5pm. After we have freshened, we went to Bacuit Bay few meters away from our hostel. We walked along shores to wait for the sunset but the sun did not cooperate.lol😂

Restaurants are also located in this area where you can choose from depending on your budget. I will say that food in El Nido is a little pricey.

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Bacuit Bay at night.

We ate dinner, visited shops and went home to rest at 8pm.

 

Day 2 ( Sunday)

We ate breakfast and got ready for the morning activities. We were planning to hike Taraw Cliff. Taraw Cliff attracted most of the tourists in El Nido but it was already closed by the DENR due to a recent hiking accident. The Tourism Office does not allow anyone to hike Taraw unless you will have your own tour guide and if anything bad happened, the office will not have any liability. We were told this when we visited them asking the way to Taraw.

Canopy walking via Ferrata is an alternative to hiking Taraw Cliff. You can still see the same view of the town but Taraw is higher than Ferrata and so has a nicer view I guess. It costed us P400 per person. This was not cheap for me but I commend their tour guides and their investment in safety gears. Before walking the canopy, the tour guide will give safety instructions and will make sure your gears are properly worn.

We started the canopy walk at 9:30am and descended at 10:00am. The view above is still amazing.

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Pre-canopy walk photo.

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The view from Ferrata.

 

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Overlooking Bacuit Bay.
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El Nido town proper.

 

After our canopy walk, we rushed at Miramegmeg Beach for a short swim. We paid a two-way tricycle ride for P100. Travel time is 15 mins. The best thing about this beach is that it is free and not crowded. We could only see few people in the beach.

 

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I fell in love with El Nido.

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We went back to the hostel around 11:15am to get ready for the van to pick us up.

 

After a tiring morning doing canopy walk and swimming, we dropped by Skyline Grill and Bar to ate lunch and savoured Nido soup before leaving El Nido.

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Nido soup.

We left El Nido at 1pm and reached Puerto Princesa before 5pm to catch our 6:55pm flight back to Manila.

End of tour.

 

Total Expenses: P5,998 per person

Plane Ticket – P1,183

Package Tour – P3800 /person

Kayak Rental – P 150/ person

Canopy Walk – P400 /person

Tricycle to Maramegmeg – P50 / head

Dinner  – P240 /person

Lunch – P175 /person

 

We could save P500-P700 only if we did not avail the package tour and if we lessened our food cost.

Celebrating Pahiyas Festival in Lucban

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Pahiyas Festival, May 2016

A 4-hour bus ride from the metro, Lucban, Quezon is home for the famous Pahiyas Festival being celebrated every May of the year. Not only for the festival where you can find houses blooming of flowers and plants but Lucban, Quezon is also known for Pancit Lucban in which it has originated and derived its name.

I was invited by a friend to go with him together with another friend last May and without any hesitation I said yes because I also want to experience the festival. We actually did a day tour at Lucban and went home really exhausted due to long walking. Lucban is just a small town and can be toured in half day. During the festival, jeepneys and other large vehicles are prohibited from entering town so people and tourists do not really have a choice but to walk. So better wear shoes when you go there.

I will try to remember every detail of the trip to share our festive experiences with you which I think may be helpful if you are planning to celebrate Pahiyas Festival on May 2017. :mrgreen:

 

So here we go.

1:00 am – Meet-up at Cubao (went to a bus station in Kamuning)

1.30am – Bus departed (I forgot the bus name. I am not sure if it was Jam)

5:45 am – Arrived at Quezon along national road

6:45 am – Arrived at Lucban via jeepney from the national road and walked for 10mins toward town proper

7:00 am – Started our morning walking tour, visiting colorful houses

7:45 am – Breakfast at Cafe San Luis

8:45 am – Attended Mass (we tried but it was too crowded), toured the town and visited shops instead

9:00 am – Coffee time at Ryu Cafe

1:00 pm – Kamay Ni Hesus

 

We were welcomed by this. Such a nice view. :mrgreen:

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We walked from here toward the town proper for about 10mins.

 

The houses in town bloomed that day. They put colorful flower ornaments in their houses, both real and paper flowers. There were also vegetables hanging.

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You might want to dine here. I have read a lot of good reviews about Mustiola’s. Like us, we lined up but there were a lot of people that day so we ate at the nearby cafe.

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We had breakfast at Cafe San Luis at the very center of the town. A bunch of diners waited outside including us. We also saw “Badjao Girl” strolling town before she became an internet sensation and seen on TV after that week. Cool.

 

After breakfast, we went to church to attend the mass but it was full and too crowded so we decided to tour and visit shops in the town instead.

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San Isidro Church

 

After we visited shops and bought some souvenirs, we dropped at Ryu  toCafe not just for the coffee but also to use the bathroom and to relax our tired feet. The cafe is small but cozy. I think the only cafe of its kind in town. A must try for all coffee lovers out there.

The cafe opens at 9 am (we waited for the cafe to open, we came there early but customers were lining up already). We stayed for about an hour.

 

On our way out of town, we stopped by a stall and ate the famous Pancit Lucban or locally called Habhab. We also met Kuya Habhab (a cute guy selling Habhab). Lol.

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Before ending our day tour, we decided to go to Kamay Ni Hesus as we went out of town. We climbed thousand steps to reach the top of the hill. No kidding. If you will do this, please do not forget to bring extra clothes because you will sweat like a pig. And that’s for sure.😁

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Kamay Ni Hesus

 

End of our day tour.

We left Lucban around 4 pm and reached the national road at 5.30pm because of traffic. We arrived in Manila at 10:00pm.

 

Total Expenses: P600

Transportation – Bus-P280 two-way,   Jeepney -P50 two way

Food – P120 breakfast, P100 coffee, Habhab merienda P50

Pasalubong – P200 (optional)

Candles at Kamay Ni Hesus – P50 (optional)

 

Create a Travel Budget That Works

Travelling is expensive, only when you do not plan it. By considering the costs for your basic necessities and leisure activities, you will have a travel budget that works ready for that amazing trip.

  1. Create an effective budget plan –Do not cram days before departure time creating your budget matrix. You should not just plan but you have to create a plan that will surely work. Plan ahead of your trip to save time and spend them thinking other creative options which of course will give you peace of mind.
  2. Determine your budget – Know what you can afford and play within those numbers. Determine your budget in everything starting from the basics (food, hotel, transportation, and insurance/fund) and extras (tours/sight-seeing, entertainment and gifts/souvenirs). Keep in mind that you have other bills to pay or things to do when you return from your travel. Setting priorities is important.
  3. Do your homework – Consider locations you want to visits during your travel, sight-seeing costs, hotels you can afford, consider prices of food you will eat, mode of transportation and things you want to buy. Do not stress yourself looking for places when you are already there in a foreign land. And remember, it will have to be within your budget.
  4. Look for deals and discounts – Search for the best deals online whether it’s for the basics or extras. The best part of planning ahead of your trip is to avail airfare deals which you could really save big time.
  5. Ask for advice – Ask advice from your friends and families or anyone you know has visited your destination. As much as reading online blogs and web reviews could be helpful, asking friends and families could be more trustworthy. They won’t lie to you for sure.
  6. Secure travel insurance – Be insured for unforeseen costs such as medical care when you’re travelling, lost luggage, falling victim to theft, or a transportation accident. We do not want these things but it is always better to prepared.
  7. Prepare incidental fund – This is for the “what ifs”. You do not want to return home with nothing left in your pocket. There should be a little money left over for the rainy days.
  8. Track your budget – This is the most important part of budgeting. Track your expenses from time to time during travel but do not go crazy over computation that you forget to enjoy the rest of the trip. You can do the math when you go back to the hotel. Besides, it would be unsafe counting money while you are outside touring.

I hope this will work for you all Budgetarians!

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