When we started this blog over six years ago, we didn’t know what we were doing. Back then, we were full-time employees who couldn’t even afford to travel on our own. The first few posts on this blog were actually chronicles of company outings and business trips. But I knew travel was what I wanted to do for a long time.
My first personal do-it-yourself trip was in Iloilo and Guimaras. I was so dumb and unprepared, I ended up seeing almost nothing. Good thing the Ilonggos are such friendly and helpful people, it was still a memorable trip. But because of this, I had my next trips arranged by budget travel agencies. I joined group tours, which was nice but I was disappointed that I had no control of my time. I switched back to arranging my personal trips myself, and slowly but surely, I was able to find my beat.
As a travel blogger, there are two things that are essential in my journeys: a smartphone and a camera. Currently, I am using an old but still functional DSLR and two big-ass lenses. It’s a kit that has been with me for years. Despite its broken flash and tight zoom, it still gets the job done brilliantly. The only problem I have with it is that it’s bulky and heavy, something that doesn’t really help when you’re also carrying a 30-kilo backpack as you explore an unfamiliar city.
When I was seven years old, there was this toy boat that my mom would not buy me because we were short on cash. It wasn’t that expensive, to be honest. But for a family who had almost nothing, even a cheap toy was regarded as a luxury. I remember not getting upset about it. I was raised in an environment where it was clear as day that we don’t always get what we want. But I really wanted that toy boat.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Traveling to a foreign country gives you a lot of exciting and amazing experiences but it can also cause you to spend more than what you planned. If you are visiting India, here are some important tips on how to save while exploring. Read more