People often ask me why after all these years of traveling, I haven’t embraced the world of free travels through blogging, media, PR, travel show, etc. THIS statement by Conde Nast pretty much sums it all up:
WHAT DOES TRUTH IN TRAVEL (their tagline) MEAN?
Travel Publications often accept free or heavily subsidized travel and accommodations. Conde Nast Traveler DOES NOT. We always pay our way – which ensures our independence from the industry we cover. Our reporters also travel anonymously whenever possible. By doing so, they experience the world the way you do – good and bad – and their reports and recommendations are fair, impartial, and authoritative. That’s truth in travel.
Truth in anything and integrity matter to me more than freebies. Also, I don’t want to see traveling as ‘work’ where someone is waiting for my article/ episode/ (insert work done here). I’d like to keep seeing it as leisure. My stand continues, pay for what you can, save up for what you want. Nothing beats the feeling of having paid for the things you have/ did yourself.
Sure if a resort/ activity gives something to me for free and I like it, that’s a bonus, but just like Conde Nast, I wouldn’t mind paying so my views will not be compromised. I’d rather have a separate job and use that money to travel, than make traveling my job and depend my travel on where the money is. I want to be able to go to destinations because my own will says so, not because I was demanded by a company to visit that place.
Many people assume I get a lot of free travels hence the constant traveling, but truth is, I’ve paid for 80-90% of my trips. Some were paid by my family, or my husband’s family; a few paid by the company I previously worked for (2 local destinations to be exact), a few paid for by my friends or my husband (they would buy me a plane ticket or pay for my bus ride or take care of the accommodation), and 1 paid for by the local government when they learned I was about to go there anyway.
So, how do I do it? It’s simple, really. I stick to my principle of paying what I can, and saving up for where I want to go. If I don’t have enough money to fly to the USA, I go somewhere closer and cheaper. If I can’t even afford a trip outside of Luzon, I explore nearby provinces like Laguna, Zambales, Bataan and Bulacan. Or I explore Manila! There were many times when I would see an affordable airfare to Europe and I would be tempted to buy it, but even if I’m a budget traveler (I don’t spend so much on accommodations but I spend on activities I like even if they’re expensive), I wouldn’t want to go that far and not be able to do things I want to do because I don’t have enough pocket money. That would not make my trip efficient at all. So instead, I’ve been saving up and we’ll finally be able to go next year!
I love traveling above anything, so that makes it easy for me to give up a lot of things to be able to use the same money to travel. I don’t go to coffee shops everyday and save a lot on that one cup of latte; I don’t really go to the malls so I save a lot on shopping. Since I got married, we’ve been saving a lot on home-cooked food instead of take-out (plus we’re vegetarians, so our grocery bill is really low!). I like reusing and recycling, which makes my list of things to buy shorter, and I’m not really fond of texting so my phone bill is not high (I don’t even subscribe to unlimited internet). When I was living alone in a condo, my electric AND water bill combined was only PHP 500 because I invested in energy-saver lights and refrigerator, I stopped using aircon more than 5 years ago (with the exception of the super hot days of summer the last 2 years!) and I would patiently take out all my unused chargers from the plug every single day. When my husband (then my boyfriend) was away for weeks and we couldn’t carpool to work, I started biking to work instead of taking a cab since it was just near where I was living that time.
The point is, if you have a job, or you get baon, or you have a small business, YOU can travel – and pay for it all on your own. Traveling doesn’t need to be expensive, BUT some people like it that way and there’s nothing wrong with that. You just need to prioritize what you want over other things. If you decide traveling to be one of the most important things in your life, trust me, letting other things go becomes a breeze.