Follow My Nomadic Trails

My Travel Philosophy

“What is your travel philosophy?” is a common question that has been asked to me as a cheapskate traveler many times by my peers, so I have decided to come up with my own list. These are my own personal mantras that I try, as much as possible, to apply in every backpacking adventure that I embark on. They also demonstrate my viewpoints on traveling on a budget in unfamiliar territories and the ethics that come along with the process. 

Planning is everything.
Whatever your destination is, planning is a must if you are traveling on a budget. You must determine what your budget is, where you want to go, and how long you want to travel. It doesn’t have to be very detailed, just make an outline of the essentials. Be realistic and smart about it.

Travel light and pack your backpack strategically. 
This is pretty basic but will make your nomadic life so much easier. Learn to prioritize the basics over the frills. Don’t bring unnecessary stuff. There is also a simple Science to follow in packing your things. Separate your items according to their weight. What I usually do is place the light items in the bottom, the heavy ones in the middle, and the medium-items on top, in order to distribute the weight more efficiently. Easy, eh?

Integrate yourself with the locals. 
The best way to have an “authentic” experience of a place is by meeting and hanging out with local people. It is the locals who know what the “best of the best” of their country has to offer. By spending time with them, you don’t only immerse in, but, more importantly, gain a better understanding of the local culture and customs. 

Stepping out of your comfort zone is the name of the game. 
Be adventurous and try things that you have never tried before. It can be an exotic food, a form of meditation, a unique mode of transportation, or a cultural dance. Whatever it is, there is no harm in trying. Of course, please do practice some forms of precaution. And common sense!

Volunteer if you can. 
This is something that I truly recommend to everyone. Promise, it will make you look at life from a totally different perspective. There are many ways to volunteer but never ever pay for it. You can either contact a nonprofit organization or a school, or even look for a local family where you can devote a little bit of your time and skills that will benefit their life. 

Be flexible. 
Traveling is not about having a fixed itinerary. Remember, not everything will go according to your initial plan, so be prepared to be have your plans B, C, and D in place. Also, having no plans isn’t bad either, especially if you’re a person like me whose travel flexibility is through the roof.

You are the guest so be culturally sensitive. 
This is an essential mantra that a lot of foreign travelers often forget to do. Do your research. Ignorance to a foreign culture can result to offensive and disrespectful behaviors that may put you into trouble. For instance, always ask for permission before taking pictures of people. Be respectful. When someone refuses to your taking a photograph, then don’t insist. Bear in mind, you are the guest, so you need to adjust, and not the other way around.

Do-it-yourself is the way to go to save money. 
Forget about booking tours or following itineraries from commercial travel books. Create your own nomadic trails. Take the public transportation. Eat in hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Try Couchsurfing or staying with a local family through homestay accommodation. And take note, Google Maps is the best buddy ever when it comes to any DIY trip.

Traveling on your own is always liberating. 
You don’t have to do this all the time as exploring a foreign place by yourself can at times be lonely, costly, and challenging, but you can never go wrong with it. Traveling solo means taking your own time. No need rush, no other person to think about, no one to argue with. You are basically free to do whatever you want to do, at your own pace, and you can grow from the experience. 

Being cheapskate doesn’t mean taking full advantage of a person’s generosity and hospitality. 
Don't take it too literal. Yes, you want to save money, but not at the expense of other people's welfare and resources. When a stranger offers you a bed to sleep on, don’t expect to get fed. You should also chip in. Hospitality does not work that way. It has to be a “give and take” type of transaction. Never ever demand for anything.

What about you? What is your travel philosophy? Feel free to comment below and share to us your own personal travel mantras. 

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