How To Have The Best DIY Travel in the Philippines
Arranging a trip by yourself can be quite an interesting task, but with the proper preparation, it can be a whole lot of fun. It’s not just the actual journey itself that will make every travel episode enjoyable and gratifying, but it’s also the planning and putting all the pieces together that may generate the adrenaline rush. Now that all types of information are within the tip of your fingers and may be obtained at lightning speed, everything seems to be possible and attainable.
If you are up to some DIY (do-it-yourself) travel, here are some pointers to consider in making the best of your experience including finding the best flight deals and places to stay in the Philippines, where to eat, and what to see or do. Once you have booked the ticket to Manila, start the ball rolling and note a few pertinent things.
1. Pick Your Preferred Accommodation
Whether it’s a homestay or a backpacker’s inn or a hotel, know the type of accommodation where you want to stay for a few days or weeks. Do you want a place that is charming and unique (READ: 10 Quirky, Quaint Hotels in the Philippines), such as the Ponce Suites Gallery Hotel in Davao City? Or somewhere refreshing and adventurous, like Costa Pacifica in Baler? List your non-negotiables and negotiables when it comes to choosing your lodging. For instance, a private bathroom is a must-have, or breakfast in the inn is something you can do without. It’s easier to narrow down your choices and pick the ultimate one once you have all these identified.
2. Identify Your Budget and Save Up
The kind of itinerary you will have will depend on what you want to experience and the amount that you are willing to spend while away. If you want to scrimp while on the road, opt for a low-cost form of traveling and select activities or attractions that are free of charge or inexpensive. If there are things you really want to do or try that are likely off the budget, save up before the trip so you can afford these pursuits.
3. Check References in Creating Your Itinerary
It’s always good to know the details of the places you want to visit, such as opening time or regulations to observe. Visit the official page of the landmark or attraction or browse through the website of the local tourism office. If they are not available, there are other sources that can help you know more about the destination. For example, to know the background of the Bernardino Jalandoni Museum in Silay City, Negros Occidental, read its Wikipedia page or various blog posts about the destination. You can also interact with other DIY travelers in social media for other leads and recommendations.
4. Go Local
Interact with the locals, visit the markets, be where most of the native residents go, and eat their homegrown food and delicacies. While you can start with the usual tourist spots, you can also ask the locals once you arrive at your destination what other great places to see that are not often found in brochures and literature. There was this time when my sister and I went to Siquijor, we hailed a tricycle and told the driver to bring us to a public beach where most tourists don’t go, which was Paliton Beach. Lo and behold, we had a great beach hideaway, save for a few other visitors, all to ourselves. Forget the malls and usual fast food chains. Look for something innate in the place and try its own produce and indigenous products. By doing this, you do not only enhance your experience and widen your cultural knowledge but also help local businesses thrive.
5. Prepare The Right Gear
Once everything is planned out, make sure you pack everything needed for the journey. Remember to bring only the essentials and in small quantities, and not the entire house. Use gears and pieces of clothing that will make your trip easier, not tougher. Match your clothes with the weather and the activities you will do.
A DIY travel doesn’t need to be gruelling. Whether you go solo or with travel buddies, remember not to stress yourself too much while on the road. Choose to enjoy every moment. Do something for the first time. Cherish your journey and absorb anything that can enhance your understanding of our country. Collect great memories, which you can treasure and reminisce every now and then. Best of all, this is the Philippines – a land of friendly and hospitable people – so go out there and make new friends.
What other tips can you share with other DIY travelers? I’d love to hear them. Please share your own tips in the comment section below.