Some people are wondering how our small family can travel locally when we do not even have money? I usually tell them that you need not be rich to travel. As homeschoolers, we want to expose the kids to different cultures, but since we cannot afford world schooling yet, we are exposing them to different local cultures — the Philippines has a lot, don’t we?
Here are some tips on how you could travel as a family without breaking your wallet:
- Reduce costs by buying your tickets in advance. When the kids were younger and when Cebu Pacific was still true to their “Travel for Every Juan” slogan, we’d usually get tickets worth P54 each, Manila – Tacloban. How crazy is that? There are still good deals out there from time to time, just watch out for them. These airline companies hold ticket sales during Philippine holidays. Make sure to check online booking sites like Traveloka to be one of the first to know when there are deals to be had. They run out so fast so make sure that your internet is fast before you start clicking!
- Choose to Room Share if you can. Most bed and breakfasts or hostels nowadays offers dormitory type rooms you can share with other travelers. This is perfect if you’re travelling with kids or with friends. In a resort in Zambales, we paid 2900 for a room good for 10, and in Makati, we paid around 1950 for a huge room, good for 8-10 people. How to get rooms this cheap? Booking companies are all over! All you need to do is google “rooms/house for rent in _______” and voila, you’d get thousands of options.
- Commute as much as you can . You can save much if you use the train, bus, or jeep, instead of taxis. It’s scary at first but getting lost is part of the fun! Ask for directions if you must. I went to Cebu with very little money so I googled instructions on how to commute from A to B and I received answers! wooot! Surely, there are bloggers out there who painstakingly write detailed posts about a certain place. Let us be thankful for their love for writing and their readers. In travelling from island to island, opt for sea or land travel instead of planes. It’s dirt cheap and you’d be able to rest.
- Eat local food at local “turo turo”. Like getting lost in an unfamiliar place, eating local food at a local turo turo is part of the fun! In Cebu, we’ve found real gems during our long stay there, say for example the BBQ joint in Eskina Mactan, the authentic Italian restaurant beside Gaisano Grand Mall, the ginabot (a local delicacy) stalls in PNB in Pusok, the cheap saang in the market which sells saang Shells for 3 for P20 — but they cost 5 for P250 in restos! The list is endless! My point is, you can enjoy the food for so much less, all you need to do is explore the place.
- Pack light and go home light. Unless you are going to a place for a fashion show, restrain yourself from bringing 3 pairs of shoes or 20 sets of clothes. Limit yourself to 1 bag for each family member. Also, travelling light means cheaper plane tickets, and if you must bring home something, book your baggage allocation in advance to get cheaper rates. Ditch the urge to buy bulky souvenirs. A fridge magnet and your photos will do! And forget the “pasalubong”.
- Be with locals. Get to know the place and people more by being with locals. It’s fun, I tell you. Ask questions and they would be eager to talk to visitors! The Filipino hospitality is still there, something that we should be proud of!
- Bring comfort food from home. This is important especially if you are travelling with little kids with specific needs. While supermarkets are sprouting everywhere in the Philippines, you do not get the assurance that they carry the food your kids need or they could be very expensive. To be safe, bring their favorite food from home.
- Don’t forget the must-haves. Medicines (burp bag included), money, credit card, and essential gadgets. Never go somewhere without them.
Lastly, enjoy the time you spend with your family. With the right preparation and an open mindset that not everything in your itinerary will happen, you are bound for a fun and educational trip!