How to create a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Travel Itinerary

One of the things I love and enjoy doing is making Do-It-Yourself (DIY) travel itineraries for my upcoming trips. I am a self-proclaimed group travel organizer of my family, friends and officemates. Every time we plan a trip, both local and abroad, I always end up being the one who do all the planning from ticket purchasing, accommodation reservation, itinerary, and booking of activities and transfers.

I personally prefer doing my own travel itinerary as opposed to booking my trips through travel agencies to spend less and to have total control and freedom regarding the places I want to visit and activities I want to do.

This is my guide on how I usually plan my travel and the preparations I do before arriving at our destination and coming up with a travel itinerary complete with budget and website links.

First step: Have a Travel Bucket List

List down the places you want to visit and the potential dates when you want to visit them.

I have a personal bucket list of things I want to do before I die and most of the things listed in it are places I want to visit all over the world. At the start of the year, I will look at my bucket list and write down at least 4 places (2 local and 2 foreign trips) I have not been to or I want to go back to. Then I also write down the potential travel dates when I could do my travel putting into consideration the long weekends and the remaining vacation leave I have.

For 2019, my travel goals are Cebu, Bangkok, Japan, and Batanes or Siargao. Some of the 2019 long weekends are Feb. 2-5 (Chinese New Year with one day leave on 4th of Feb), Feb. 23-25 (EDSA People Power), Apr 6-9 (Day of Valor with one day leave on 8th of April), and Aug 17-26 (Ninoy Aquino day and National Heroes Day with four-day leave).

Second step: Book a flight.

Now that you have potential travel destinations and dates, you must book a ticket for your flight. (Side note: Make sure you have an approved visa before booking a flight for countries requiring visas)

I usually wait for promo fares of budget airlines and use apps like Traveloka and Skyscanner to find cheap or affordable flights.

Make sure you register and have an account of your favorite airlines and save the complete name (as appearing in passport) and birthdates of your travel companions, and travel rewards program account number when you are booking your flights.

For 2019, I have flights booked going to Cebu (in February with friends and in March with officemates), Japan and Singapore with family and Thailand with cousins and siblings. In August, I am also planning to do a local backpacking trip with friends.

Third step: Do a lot of research.

After you booked a flight wherein you have actual destination and travel dates, it is time to do a thorough research about your accommodation, places you want to visit, eat at or activities you want to do, transportations you need, and contacts of tour providers. It takes me around four hours of browsing and researching and I bookmark all the websites I will use in making my travel itinerary.

Factors you need to consider in doing your research are budget, duration of travel, the number of people traveling with you, and the activities and places you want to do and visit.

Usually, I would just visit Google and use keywords of the place I will visit, the number of days and itinerary (e.g. Malapascua 2-day itinerary). I also look at the date of the blog post, which should at most be a year old. Then from there, I just click away until I find all the information I need and satisfied that I got everything covered.

For accommodation, I use Airbnb, Agoda and Booking apps or websites. I likewise visit the webpage of the hotels or resorts to read about the facilities and services offered by them. The things I consider in choosing an accommodation, aside from the price, are location accessibility (to stores, restaurants and public transportations), must have a Wi-Fi and a clean bathroom. I also look at ratings and reviews to make sure that the establishments provide good service to their customers.

Final Step: Make a travel itinerary.

I use Excel in doing my travel itinerary (because it is easier for me to do the budget computations). Once everything is finalized, I convert it to a PDF file.

Below is a sample of the itinerary I made for my upcoming Malapascua & Kalanggaman trip with friends.

The title includes the place of destination and the travel dates.

The details I write down in the itinerary are as follows (starting from our flight departure until arrival of our return trip): dates, time, activities, items and costs involved, the amount per person and remarks or website links. At the bottom is the total individual budget each person will incur for the entire trip excluding pocket money.

Your final travel itinerary will be very helpful in booking your accommodation, transportation and activities. It will also provide you with an overview of your trip and guide you with your travel schedule. Lastly, you will have more fun and less stress during your actual trip since you were the one who planned everything.

Additional travel tips:

Create a group chat (with your travel buddies) where you could discuss and share details and document files about your trip.

Save all your travel documents or files like hotel reservation confirmation, flight bookings, ticket purchases, and itinerary in your mobile phone. For easy and fast access, I use the Dropbox app and save them offline in one folder.

I hope this blog help you make future travel plans and, if you have questions or suggestions, make sure to leave a comment below.

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Road trip to the Province of Sorsogon

It all started with a Piso Fare and a longing for a beach getaway… Everything seemed hopeless because all potential flights I searched were sold out.

One of my travel buddies, Doreen, suggested a backpacking trip to Subic Island, Sorsogon during the 2012 Chinese New Year holiday with a cheap budget. Since I’m a ‘dakilang kaladkarin’ and itched to have a travel escape, I immediately said yes! ūüôā

We invited some of our friends in Law school whom we know are available (since all of us are just waiting for the Bar result): Kendi, Chris, Trina, Karen, and Adolf accepted our invitation. I also asked my cousin and 2 of my nephews to tag along.

Luckily, Chris’ dad is the PENRO of Sorsogon who managed to arrange our boat ride and food all for free! ūüôā Also, my parents allowed me to use our car for our roadtrip. So, we managed to spend around P220 each for the entire trip (exclusive of our fare from Naga to Legaspi and back) for the gasoline (P1k), driver’s fee (P300) and entrance fee (P35 per person) at the hot spring resort.

OUR ITINERARY:

7: 30 am       Travel from Legazpi to Matnog, Sorsogon
10:30 am      Boat ride to Subic (Liit) Island, Sorsogon

11:00 am   A sumptuous lunch of Ginataang Langka, Crabs, Grilled Fish and Grilled Liempo plus unlimited rice & coconut milk. Then lots of swimming!

1:00 pm     Travel to Juag Fish Sanctuary

 

3:00 pm      Back to Matnog, Sorsogon
4:00 pm      Roadtrip to San Benon Hot Spring Resort at San Mateo Sorsogon
5:00 pm      Swimming in the Hot Pool
6:00 pm      Travel back to Sorsogon City
7:00 pm      Travel back to Legaspi/Naga

It was indeed a FUN trip! An unforgettable spur-of-the-moment travel getaway that I’ll forever cherish.

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My Must-have Travel Essentials

These are the things I cannot afford not to bring while travelling:

  • Notebook¬†& pen

I always have a notebook and pen inside my bag to write down stuff that pops up inside my head.

  • iPhone or android phone

Your phone, with multitude of mobile apps, is the ultimate go-to gadget to pass time while on a long bus ride, waiting for flights & when in long queues.

  • Long¬†scarf

My ultimate travel accessory with versatile functions such as an alternative jacket, a head gear (for sun protection), blanket, shawl or even as a towel.

  • Kikay¬†kit (powder, lip gloss, alcohol, mirror, comb, tissue)

If you’re a girl, you’ll understand why.

  • Sweets¬†(gum & candies)

An instant solution when you feel hungry.

  • Camera/DSLR

To document the places you’ve been & share your stories with others.

  • Wallet¬†(with money, cards & IDs)

Need I say more?

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My Travel Checklist

I‚Äôm¬†the type of gal who does not want to forget items I need while travelling. I¬†live by the Girl‚Äôs Scout’s motto, ‚ÄúLaging handa.‚ÄĚ (Always prepared) and writing ‚ÄėTo-do-list‚Äô¬†is one of my fetishes.

As a result, I came up with a list of travel essentials (for women) I have noted and identified since I started travelling. I wrote down all of them in a Mini Memo pad, which I keep inside my wallet.

 

So¬†now, every time I have travel plans (be it overnight or a week and even for¬†months), I always refer to my ‚ÄúTravel Checklist‚ÄĚ (found below) for the things I¬†need to bring for my trip.

  • CLOTHINGS
    • Underwear (always bring extra)
    • T-shirts
    • Blouses
    • Shorts
    • Pants & skirts
    • Pajama
    • Dress (if needed)
    • Jacket (with hood/waterproof, if possible)
    • Socks
    • Handkerchief/tubao/scarf
  • FOOTWEAR
    • Slippers
    • Shoes (preferably flat)
    • Sandals
    • Sneakers
  • ACCESSORIES
    • Eyeglasses or contact lenses (with cleaning¬†solutions)
    • Watch
    • Sunglasses or Shades
    • Ponytail/clamp/clips
    • Belt
    • Cap/bonnet/headwear
    • Earrings, anklet, bracelet
  • SLEEPING APPARELS
    • Malong/sarong
    • Small pillow
    • Insect repellent spray or lotion (for outdoors)
    • Eye mask & ear plugs
  • OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF
    • Travel bag, daypack/handbag & bag organizers¬†(mesh bags)
    • Book
    • Notebook & pen
    • Lighter (inside check-in luggage)
    • Pen light/flash light & batteries
    • Wallet, money, coin purse, credit card, IDs
    • Ziploc bags or Plastic bags
    • Umbrella
    • Medicine & first aid kit
    • Important documents (passport, visa, tickets, itinerary,¬†booking confirmation/online purchase printouts)
    • Games/Playing cards
    • Swiss army knife (must be inside your check-in¬†bags, otherwise do not bring one)
  • ¬†ELECTRONICS
    • DSLR & charger (w/ battery & SD card)
    • Point & shoot camera & charger
    • Cellular phone (preferably iPhone/Android) and charger
    • E-book reader
    • Laptop & charger
  • SWIMMING APPAREL
    • Swimsuit/bikini
    • Hair cap
    • Goggles
    • Sunblock
  • TOILETRIES
    • Soap
    • Shampoo & Conditioner
    • Facial wash, Moisturizer, & Toner
    • Loofah
    • Face towel & Big towel
    • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
    • Dental floss & Mouthwash
    • Panty liner & sanitary napkin
    • Feminine wash
    • Tweezers, Shave/razors
    • Nail cutter
    • Cotton buds
    • Deodorant
  • HYGIENE & COSMETICS
    • Lotion
    • Loose powder/pressed powder
    • Facial cleanser & Cotton balls
    • Perfume/cologne
    • Eyeliner, Eye curler, mascara
    • Concealer
    • Blush on & brush
    • Eye shadow
    • Lip balm or lip gloss & Lipstick
    • Hair polish or anti-frizzy hair serum
    • Comb
    • Mirror
    • Hand sanitizer & alcohol
    • Oil film strip
    • Wet tissue & Tissue paper
  • FOODS
    • Bottled water or water tumbler
    • Sweets like candies and chocolates
    • Chips & energy bars
    • Basically foods that are light to carry &¬†can make your stomach feel full in an instant

I hope the list would be useful and helpful when you are packing your bags for your future journeys.

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It’s MORE FUN in the Philippines!

Happy Feet

Boracay / Coron, Palawan / Pagudpud / Baguio
Oriental Mindoro / Cagayan de Oro
Camiguin / Davao City / Bohol

 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan
Historic City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur
Church of San Agustin in Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Read more: http://trifter.com/asia-pacific/philippines/top-10-unesco-world-heritage-sites-in-the-philippines/#ixzz1j9aTGc74

Food Trips

Alavar’s Crab at Zamboanga City / Bigby’s Ice Cream at Cagayan de Oro City
Satti at Zamboanga City / Vigan empanada at Laoag City

Adventures

White Water Rafting @ Cagayan de Oro – Zipline @ Davao City
Zorb @ Boracay – Go Kart @ Legazpi City, Albay

Underwater

Davao City – Oriental Mindoro
Davao City – Donsol, Sorsogon

Jump shots

Caramoan – Miarayon, Bukidnon
Caramoan – Camiguin – Pagudpud

 Beach bumming

Camiguin – Caramoan
Boracay – Camiguin – Anawangin, Zambales
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THIS SITE: http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/
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