Tag Archive | "budget"

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How do you decide your travel?

Posted on 22 June 2013 by Dreidel Regala

How do you decide where or when to travel? Are you the kind who base it on capability? Or are you more like the “I will just go” kind of guy? If your answer is the second then I really envy you. It may sound careless or unpractical but there is that sense of freedom when I look at it. A freedom that you are not bound on conformity but leave you bearing sense and a little extra to your life.

If you ask me that question though I don’t really know what answer I’ll give but more often it boils down to capability. I think most of us do too. In one way or another money matters, availability matters, our present commitment matters. We cannot leap out of everything and chase the world’s offerings. Or can we?

Some people did. We’ve read about their stepping out and how they braved the worries they once had. But can everyone really follow suit? Maybe. Maybe not. Everybody has got their own circumstance. Each one is on a situation different from the others. And more fitting, everyone’s skill and personality is different. So while the fairytale ending we dream may be the same, thinking it through is still important.

Recently though my way of deciding about travel has changed. Maybe not entirely but it changed somehow. I think I’ve become more of a spontaneous decider in terms of pinning my travels. I book flights thinking of only two things: (1) I want to go to that place and (2) it will fall on at least one non working holiday. I am still bounded by work situation (thus the need to be on a holiday) but the other thing that I usually consider when planning my travel seems to move in the background – budget. Of course it will still matter but I guess I just decided that it will not be my travel stimulus and it felt good. Whatever the need for it I will just deal with it later. I decide on my dreamy destination now then face the budgetting later.

How about you, how do you guys decide your travels? :)

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The Round-the-World Ticket

Posted on 08 March 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Round-the-world (aka RTW) is a term that has been around the travel space. In essence it means going around the world. When I hear about something like this I can’t help but think how expensive it must be. First I spend on accommodation then I need budget for food. And since I’ll want to look around I have to set aside also money for fees and transportation. Good thing though that there are ways to keep these expenses at a low or better zero. But there is that one vital expense that is inevitable. Airline tickets.

Even with the surge of budget airlines, tickets are still sold high especially in long haul flights. Seat sales have been rampant to attract passengers to take that trip and I think it did. But if it’s a round-the-world trip I don’t think it’ll even make a difference considering the fare rules they put in on that.

So if I have a 6-country-4-continent trip does that leave me no choice but take that US$6,000-7,000++ ticket? Before I would say yes or maybe encourage you to scout for trains, buses, or ships whenever possible. But I just read something else.

Round-the-world ticket

Did you know that some airlines (if not all) sell one-way tickets more expensive than round-trip ones? With this we can say that a round-the-world trip will cost us more since we have several differing flight segments. Okay so what’s a round-the-world ticket? I found out that we can purchase a single ticket that we can use on several flight plans spread to a maximum of one year. It’s not a cheap ticket but some say that their total is much cheaper rather than opting for one-way tickets. This single ticket is called a round-the-world ticket. As of the moment I only know airline alliances offer them namely: SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and Oneworld. An airline alliance is like an agreement between several airlines which makes sense they can offer round-the-world tickets.

Your round-the-world ticket doesn’t automatically make it cheaper for you. You have to carefully plan your routes such that you can maximize the use of your ticket. There are downsides and upsides so be sure to research first to know underlying conditions.

Here are some great links to get you started:

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Getting to Boracay

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Dreidel Regala

One of the things I am excited about when I go to Boracay is that super soft white cool sand. I get pictures of pulvoron (wheat cake) or baby powder whenever I imagine it.

Boracay's powdery white sand

Boracay’s powdery white sand

Boracay sunset

Boracay sunset

The island is getting super busy nowadays though as the world discovers its existence. But being on a separate island, getting there is one of the major rants of goers. Transportation prices are high and time consuming. So is there ever a way to get over this dilemma? If you are willing to add a little adventure to your itinerary then answer is YES! By adventure I mean carry around your bags, walk a few more steps and stopping to ask around or read signs.

Getting to Boracay

Caticlan is the nearest airport to the island. It’s small and can only accommodate small domestic flights. From here there are options to just walk (1km or less) or take a tricycle (40 pesos*) going to Caticlan port. Visitors will then pay the environmental fee (75 pesos*) and terminal fee (25 pesos*) and then board a ferry (25 pesos*) going to Cagban port (or Tambisaan port during Habagat season). Upon arriving in the island visitors can share a tricycle (20 pesos* or more if further down) to your hotel landmark. If you are on beachfront hotel you will have to walk towards the beach as tricycle won’t go in anymore. In total that’s 210 pesos*!

If your aircraft is bigger though it will land on Kalibo airport which is around 1.5-3hrs away. From here you will board a van (175 pesos) going to the Caticlan port.

You don’t need to pre-book tickets as they are available upfront. And if you don’t know where to buy them just ask around since locals usually know visitors are going to Boracay.

On other news, if you prefer convenience there are two companies who run transfer services from both airports: (1) Southwest Tours; (2) Island Star Express. Only that it’s more expensive and sometimes they use buses which needs to fill up before disembarking.

*Price as of July 27 2012

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Am I gonna be broke when I get back home?

Posted on 21 November 2011 by Dreidel Regala

For a while now I’ve been saving up for a week long vacation. While mostly it isn’t dramatic, this will be the trip wherein I’ll set foot, for the first time, in a really expensive place. “How much is this? How much is that? Ughh I need to be extra ready financially, after all I DON’T want to crawl my way back to my beloved country.” So I think I got it all figured out, yeyyy! My projected months of saving seems all good. I’ve tallied “everything” and they got in, thank goodness! I can enjoy the beaches of Krabi under the good ‘ol sun sipping tropical shakes ahhhh, run to the cold mountains of Genting and zip through the park woohooo, stroll down the luxuries of Singapore like a (wannabe) rockstar.

Then I dunno, someone at the back of my head suddenly pointed – “Look at the numbers” Huwaaht! (Who’s there??) Haha silly the numbers tells me exactly what I wanted to hear. Or so I think.. “Am I gonna be broke when I get back home?” Hmmm that’s a thought. Am I really?! If I have this and this minus that to that then whoa! – that is a whoa (I have to admit bank’s aren’t flattering at all).

Well I don’t know yet what’s the ending to this EXCITING drama but it’s dawning on me soon…

[UPDATED] Sorry this conclusion came too late for reasons outside of the trip BUT the bottom line is – No, I didn’t end being broke and in fact I was far from it. The thing is Thailand is such an affordable destination, Malaysia maybe a bit higher but I only stayed there for one day, the tricky part is the final stop – Singapore, it’s a generally expensive place but I was able to manage my expenses by eating at hawker places only and taking the commute. I think I was able to get by with 15-20 thousand pesos (PH) only on my pocket with some shopping already but of course my room & tours in Krabi was already paid (watch out for my post about Krabi). And most of all, my bank isn’t dry =)

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Is Taiwan a Go?

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Dreidel Regala

As I impulsively booked a round trip ticket for my early 2012 destination, I was quickly drawn to Taiwan. I remember a friend recently mentioned about it being mostly an affordable destination so the name is so fresh in my head that I quickly hit the book button without any further plans in mind. I know of Taipei 101 but that was it. And since I’m doing it alone, I have to make it extra interesting (or try). Check out the tourist spots, take the local commute, meet some locals, figure how to communicate and get lost. So is Taiwan really worth a stopover? Let’s find out.

Formerly known as Formosa, the island is found on the east of Asia somewhere between Shanghai, China – Batanes, Philippines – Hong Kong. Upon searching for budget flights I found a couple: AirAsia from Kota Kinabalu & Kuala Lumpur, Cebu Pacific & Philippine Airlines from Manila, Zest Airways from Kalibo(PHL), Dragonair from Hong Kong, Jetstar from Osaka & Singapore, and Tiger from Singapore. Great! Finding a budget line is a good plus already. Now let’s see visas. As per TECO’s website, entry to Taiwan as a tourist requires a visa but you must be aware that some countries are exempted (30 or 90 days) like most European countries, Canada, S. Korea, Malaysia, US and many more. Better check this website for further details so you can start getting your visa requirements too.

What about weather? Well I found that Taiwan’s got 4 seasons – spring happens March to May, summer on June to August, autumn from September to November and winter during December to February with typhoons coming between summer and autumn. This should be perfect since I’m set for late February so it will be nice to experience winter a little for someone coming from a tropical country.

Taipei streets during winter

For sights these are the ones I particularly grew interest in then included some that might interest others, check them out. The National Palace Museum, dubbed as the holder of some fine Chinese art though some say it’s particularly focused on China rather than Taiwan. And for a free tour (10am & 3pm) I’ll definitely take my chance to see some cool caligraphies or jades. The Maokong Gondola, a good way to get a good view of Taipei from aboard a gondola (cable car) then make a stop to grab a cup of tea. Better plan this on a weekend though as I heard queues are quite long and could get horridly hot especially inside the gondola. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, if you heard of the name then this is a great place to know more about the man and the history of China and Taiwan. Yangmingshan National Park, this is a must for some relaxing down time and picture taking with nature. It is a bit of a travel though but commute seems to be easy from what I heard. And oh yeah, end of february is supposedly the start of cherry blossoms!

Cherry blossom in Yangmingshan park

Long Shan Temple, Taiwan has got a lot of temple but this is one of the favorites because of the interiors and craftmanships of the place. And of course Taipei 101, hi-speed elevators can take you up the observation deck for a good panoramic view of Taipei but I heard that it could get expensive, you can check the mall in the building though.

Well judging by the list of sights above (and many more I am undecided of), Taiwan does look worthy of checking out. Add the culture and authentic food, this could very well be an interesting destination. But can I afford it? How much do I need for the essentials?

First of, let’s check the currency. Taiwan uses New Taiwanese (NT) dollar nationwide which means we have to exchange any other we have on our pockets to be able to use them. As of this writing (8/29/11) the fx rates are NT$1 = US$0.034, and for me it’s NT$1 = Php1.45. For a place to stay, I checked hostelworld.com and found that there are several good & cheap hostels in Taipei. Judging from online reviews these are some of the favorites: Flip Flop, Star, Homey and Eight Elephants with prices averaging to NT$400-550/night. Not bad I say but let’s see when we actually get to stay there.  As for food based on LonelyPlanet’s estimates food costs should be around NT$200-300/day. And lastly transportation, taking the public transport (ie. bus, mrt) should be the most convenient & cheapest way according to someone from Taipei that I met before. Fares look relatively cheap so my estimate if just going around Taipei would probably be around NT$50-100/day. Other miscellaneous costs to keep in mind are entrance fees, shopping expense and maybe a mobile service provider.

That’s it. All in all I believe Taiwan is doable based on my budget and there are plenty of interesting places to visit. My verdict – yeah it’s worth a stop so I’m going for it in february! Now I just need to figure out how to brave the language gap as Taiwan generally doesn’t speak English. Thinking of taking some Mandarin classes or maybe not haha.

Taiwan here we come!

[Updated: I took on the trip and this is what happened – Taking Formosa]

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Budget Airlines Anyone?

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Dreidel Regala

If you are a budget traveler and your next escapade depends a lot on the airfare, my best bet is that you travel most of your time with budget airlines out there. I don’t blame you.. regular airfares are a sore to look at and probably the reason we grew up to the idea of ‘traveling is expensive’. So if you’re looking for available budget airlines for your next destination, http://www.budgetflightfinder.com will be so much helpful. I was so happy when I read about this, after all not everyone talks about budget airlines.

Let me say that again…


Oh glorious…

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Pack Light

Posted on 02 May 2011 by Dreidel Regala

Packing light is a talent. You have to know what you want and need to bring at such a small space. It’s a compromise for some things but personally I’d compromise those just to have the convenience of carrying light baggage or having cheaper fares. TIP: you’ll be carrying less on your flight out than in. Most travellers will be buying souvenirs and goodies on their way home which means additional weight to carry on. So it’s efficient to be packing light. For longer travels consider laundry services in your hotels or wearing your newly bought shirt for yourself. Just a note on laundry services, avoid those clothing that bleeds color to whites, etc. or else you’ll be left with aweful tints on your shirt on your way up the Petronas tower.

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