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Are you, your family, or your friends planning to go out-of-town? Did they leave you in charge of coordinating everything while they wait and do nothing? Don't worry, I'm not here to sell you anything. I'm only here to help! Now, where to start?
On this post, I will go through 3 methods of planning trips. The first two doesn't really involve any effort, at least not on your part. I'll focus on the third one and show you how I plan for my own trips.
First Method: Find a Local
This is by far the best method on trip planning. You get someone who's from the area and ask him questions until he gives up and plans the entire thing! Easy peasy!! Hahaha! No, but seriously, either look for a friend that's from where you're going or find one that's still living there. Mind you, this doesn't always work. Not everyone is into traveling and most people will not have any suggestions for you. BUT for the reward, it's well worth the effort to inquire.
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Second Method: Hire a Travel Agency
This is my least favorite option. Granted if you avoid the really cheap ones, you get agencies that provide good deals. But let me warn you about trying to skimp, you will get what you pay for!
The way to go about this is to check 10 or more promotions. Get the one in the middle in terms of cost. You should be fine doing that.
My problem isn't really related to the cost. It's more of I like doing things my way. I want to be able to go to all attractions but at my own time. It usually ends up being more expensive than joining groups (There are times that I end up saving money, though, by not going to tourist traps.).
The way I look at it, if you have self-discipline, then going DIY is the way to go. But if you need someone to help you stick to a schedule, agencies are optimal. Or else you'll end up drunk and asleep for the whole morning. Not the most fun way to spend your vacation. Trust me, I know!
Third Method: DIY / Plan it yourself
We're finally at the good part. Let's start with dubbing this "The Manlalakbay Method". No? Okay 🙁
The first step is to choose where you're going. Is it to the beach, up a mountain, or around an awesome town? How popular is it? Has anyone been there?
The second step is to go to Google and search for bloggers who have previously covered that area. (shameless plug: why don't you go ahead and see if I have a post on it.) For example, if I'm going to Coron, I'll type: Coron Palawan + blog. Next step is to filter out the non-blogs like trip advisor and other magazine sites. Why? Because they mostly cover to whoever paid them the most (or looking to be paid in the case of Trip Advisor). That's not really to your advantage. Back to searching, so in my example, I got this:
That's just 5 of awesome blog posts covering Coron. Go through 10 or more posts and list down all the information you will need. This includes:
- Budget and Fees
- Transportation Options
- Going to and from the area
- Going around the area
- Food situation
- Sites, attractions, and things to do.
- And, tips and insights from the author
When you have all the data, it's time to start planning your trip. Make a rough draft of your itinerary and budget. Show it to everyone in your group. And continuously improve it until every is satisfied.
There you have it. A complete guide to The Manlalakbay method a DIY approach to trip planning. Now, go out there and make your friends proud!
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Again, Thank you. You are awesome! 🙂