From Practical Tips

The Best Smartphone Apps for Travel Bloggers

Apps for Travel Bloggers

“What are the essentials you can’t leave the country without?” As a travel blogger, it’s a question that I am regularly asked.

But it’s a question that I always have a ready answer to: a good pair of shoes, a good book, a passport (!) and a good smartphone. A perfect pair of shoes allows comfortable and enjoyable endless walks, the only physical exercise I do these days. A good book inspires and allows me to think and feel; it’s like a mental and emotional workout. A passport – well, that’s self-explanatory!

But the most powerful must-have for me is the one I keep in my pocket – a smartphone. Sure, as travelers, you can argue that we actually can travel without them (although it’s going to be a dull trip). But when blogging is involved, it’s a different story. It becomes an essential, at least for us. Living a nomadic life entails ensuring that we connect with our readers regularly, keep ourselves updated with what’s happening around us and back home, and empower ourselves with the right tools. And tools are aplenty. There are thousands of travel apps that you can use for a safe, rich, and memorable journey. It’s just a matter of picking the right ones for you, depending on your travel style and habits. These are the twelve that we use most often.

Read more

5 Ways to Stay Close to Home During Travel

Homesick Remedy

It’s that time of the year again. The holidays are upon us, and if you’re a traveler living away from home, you know that this season is also when we tend to get a bit more emotional. And who could blame us? It’s when families and friends gather to enjoy the festivities and each other’s company. And we wish we were with them.

The hardest part of travel has nothing to do with the destination or the getting there. It’s leaving the people we love as we begin the journey. Sure, it’s always wonderful to build new friendships along the way, but we must never forget that there are people back home who continue to hold us dear despite the distance. Travel is a fantastic experience, but it can never be at the expense of the relationships we have with those we leave behind.

Read more

Budget Tip: Score Hotel Rooms for Less with Roomer Travel

Roomer Hotels

Editor’s Note: Changes in travel plans are sometimes inevitable. And it comes with a price. We have experienced wasting money on unused hotel reservations that could not be refunded. Apparently, there is a way to still get it back but in another form. This contributed post by Itai Varochik explains how Roomer Travel actually makes the situation beneficial to both the original booker and those looking for a good place to stay. It’s a unique and interesting business model, and we thought we could help spread the word.

I saved up for a year to go see Rome. I’m a history buff, and it had always been a dream of mine. I couldn’t afford the usual expenses, so I made a plan: finding the best bargains by going during the off-season.

Read more

Top 10 Biggest Travel Buzzkills and How to Avoid Them

Travel Buzzkills

Things don’t always go as planned.

It’s something that every seasoned traveler knows very well. It is this mantra that this blog is built upon. On our first trip together, our boatman did not show up, leaving us stranded at a deserted wharf and forcing us to walk through an unfamiliar forest. On our next trip, our boat crashed onto a rock islet and we floated aimlessly for almost an hour. [ More about the origin of this blog here. ]

If there’s one thing that gets us by, it is this distinct ability to always look on the bright side. To us, getting lost is an opportunity to discover something on our own or a chance for an adventure worth sharing in conversations over beer when it’s all over.

Read more

Top 5 Signs Your Friends are Flaking Out on You

Friends Back Out Trip

I usually travel alone.

There are a lot of reasons why I choose to be on my own when I’m hitting the road, but it all boils down to one thing: total freedom. I don’t have to wait for anyone. I don’t need to consider anyone else’s taste or feelings. I don’t get forced to be in group photos, which tend to be sort of mandatory when I’m with friends.

But there are times when traveling with familiar souls is unavoidable. It’s not easy planning trips for a group. It’s difficult to find the best deals on accommodations and airfare. It’s difficult to create an itinerary that would fit everyone’s interests. It’s difficult to bring them all together. Yes, planning a group tour is difficult. And flakers make it a lot worse.

Oh yes, what could be more horrible than last minute cancellations? Whenever I plan trips with friends, there’s always one or more backing out, leaving the rest of the group with more problems than expected.

Here’s what you need to understand with “group traveling.” I wish I could say that you’re too adorable we can’t go without you. Maybe you are. But that’s not the point. Since you already said “yes,” someone in the group might have already paid for airline tickets or accommodations in advance and it will be a shame to leave them unused.

So this post is for people who are planning trips or other activities with their friends. Hope this helps. Here are the top 5 signs that your friends are flaking on you according to fans.

Read more

10 Tips for Full-Time Employees: How to Travel Cheaper and Wiser

Travel Tips for Full-Time Employees

Throughout my career as a travel blogger, the question I am asked most often is: “How do you get to travel so often?”

There were a good number of years when I would simply respond with, “Travel blogging is my job.” But I have been many types of traveler and many types of worker over the past half-decade. There was a period when I was traveling full time: the world was my office; I was my own boss. There were years when I was a location-independent consultant, serving clients from wherever the eff I wanted. But the past twelve months saw my usual answer evolve into something more complicated. Last year, my love for marketing brought me back to the world of meetings and overtimes, a world where I need to ask permission to travel longer than three days.

And that’s where it gets tricky. Travel has become the exception, not the rule. It has turned into a reward, something I look forward to at the end of the week.

“How do you get to travel so often?” doesn’t have a simple answer anymore. Many travel bloggers are full-time employees, too. It takes skill to master the art of vacation leaves and long weekends. Thankfully, my many years spent as a solo backpacker helped me continue to experience the many wonderful things this planet has to offer despite my full-time disadvantage. It is possible to maintain a healthy balance of the two. Here are a few tips.

Read more

6 Tips to Enjoy a Leisurely Walk in Manila


Walking is that one thing I have never given up. Whenever I travel, I always make it a point to take the long, scenic route on foot, especially that walking is the only form of exercise I get these days. Even when I’m not traveling, walking has been my therapy. Manila may not be the most walkable city on the planet, but there are a lot of things to see, find, and discover.

If you’re Manila-bound, here are tips for an enjoyable bounce around the city!

Read more

Getting Around Manila: Tips on Traveling by MRT, Bus, Taxi, or Jeepney

Manila Commute

Travel like a local, they say. But if you’re going to do that in Manila, brace yourself. You’re in for quite a ride.

Taking public transportation within Metro Manila is unpredictable, to say the least. For first-timers, commuting around Manila requires a great deal of planning.  You have ample of options — MRT, LRT, cab, bus, jeepney, tricycle — but none of them guarantee a hassle-free journey. Manila has so much to offer to tourists, but the problem is getting from one destination to another. The simple truth is, like many third world cities, Manila is congested, polluted, and highly disorganized. Except for outbound buses, none of these options work around a fixed, reliable schedule. Traffic has been the biggest problem. And the rain can make matters much worse.

Take a deep breath, hold your valuables tight, and prepare your soul to be squeezed out of your body! This is commuting, Manila-style.

Read more

How I Quit My Job and Became a Full-time Travel Blogger

Quit Job Travel

It didn’t happen overnight. That’s for sure.

It’s not like I woke up one morning and just called it quits. Well, actually, it was kind of like that. I woke up one dreary morning, and as I was forcing myself to get up, I caught something painted on the ceiling — my future. Of course it wasn’t real. Of course I imagined it. But as I lay in my bed looking at the big white canvass above me, I began to realize that this was not the life I wanted to paint. I just could no longer beat my alarm clock and wait for it to ring just because I dreaded to wrap myself in another business attire and do the whole 8-5 routine.

It’s not that I hated my job. I loved it. It’s just that I didn’t want it to be the only thing I did. I loved traveling a little bit more. And since I couldn’t do both at the same time, I had to choose. That morning I decided to quit my job.

But not so fast. If I was going to do it, I would have to do it right.

I never planned to be a travel blogger. If my college self would see me now, he’d be like, “What the hell are you doing with your life? There’s an effin’ career ladder in front of you, effin’ climb it!

My whole love affair with plane tickets and seat sales started in 2007. My grandfather passed away, and I had to fly to Puerto Princesa to attend his funeral. In the middle of mourning, I could not help but be blown away by the sheer natural beauty of the place. On my flight back to Manila, I promised myself that I would return, and this time enjoy it. A couple of years later, I was able to do just that.

Read more