1. Book cheap or free flights.
With the exception of teenagers and unemployed adults, there's something annoying about people who claim, "I can't afford to fly." Yes, traveling requires money, but with enough diligent research, booking a flight doesn't have to hurt that bad. If you're disciplined and resourceful enough, you'll be able to find deals and discounts that can help you travel even when you're not raking in serious cash yet. And any seasoned traveler knows that, in this case, credit cards can be your best friend—don't be scared and collect miles!
2. Use your own resources.
My cousins and I wanted to explore the outskirts of Manila, but no one wanted to drive; we ended up joining a tour group instead. It was one of those tours that offered whole-day itineraries, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but we didn't enjoy all of the stops. In retrospect, we should have just coordinated with each other better and brought our own car so we could customize our tour. It probably would have been cheaper, too.
3. Walk (don't be lazy).
For some reason, Filipinos don't like to walk. Yeah, it takes up a lot of energy; exercise always does. And yes, it's hot outside, but the sun won't kill you (as long as you apply sunscreen!). If you don't want to burn through your travel money, suck it up. In Puerto Princesa, tricycle drivers charge P100 for one ride, which doesn't sound like a lot of money, but again, it can add up.
4. Make a list of all the free things you can do in one place.
This one's fairly obvious, but you'd be surprised by how much people value convenience that they just book packages to all the basic tourist destinations without even considering exploring new spaces on their own first.
5. Try dorm-style accommodations.
Unless you're enjoying a nice hotel staycation, you probably spend most of your day touring outside. If you think about it, tulugan lang naman talaga 'yung kailangan mo. And most of the time, you're so beat, you pass out almost instantly anyway. What we're trying to say is, you do not need to sleep on something fancy while you're traveling. Dorm-style hostels are perfect for those who want to tighten the purse strings and spend more on meaningful experiences.
6. Train yourself to not be a picky eater.
EAT. STREET. FOOD. You can't imagine how much money you save by filling your stomach with local street food. Do you know how many empanadas I've eaten in Vigan?! I also bought two more for the drive home. But if you really want to dine like a queen, my trick is to just splurge on one meal. Look up the one restaurant that's worth splurging on and eat your heart out.
7. Visit off-season.
Have you ever tried visiting Baguio in December? Or Sagada? Or Tagaytay? Everybody's trying to feel the winter spirit, but the congestion is almost unbearable. Plus, businesses always jack up the prices because they can. If you don't want to overpay for travel, book a flight when it isn't peak season and spare yourself the headache.
8. Plan before you leave the house.
Spontaneity is great, but not when you have no idea where you're going so you end up driving in circles for an hour and a half in Philippine traffic. Look at a map—ANY map—and check out all the spots you want to see to get a feel for the area before you attempt to ~*explore.*~ Not only will you avoid wasting a lot of time, but you'll also save a lot of money (on gas).
Follow Ysa on Instagram.