2018 Plans: What’s In Store For The Readers

2018 is here. Another year has begun. It’s the perfect time to start again & to make new plans for the future.

In 2017, I had the intention to regularly share contents & thoughts on this platform. The first half of the year went well. I posted 3 to 5 blogs per month. Site traffic was consistent & reader interactions were at peak. Everything slowed down towards the second half. Work, personal trips & engagements took majority of my time. I was left with little to no time in updating this blog.

Now that it’s already 2018, I plan to post 3 to 4 blogs per month until the end of the year. Yes, until the end of the year. Here are some of the things you will see on this site for the rest of the year

Promo Fare Alerts

My ultimate goal is for everyone to fly as cheaply as possible. The first step in achieving this goal is to book or secure cheap airfare tickets. Airlines regularly offer promotional fares to domestic & international destinations. I’ve updated you guys with current & upcoming seat sales in the past year. This year, I plan to increase the promo fare alerts in my Facebook page. I hope to cover as many airline promotions as possible. Make sure to like The Wknd Travel Facebook Page to stay updated.

Trip Summaries & Itineraries

I’ve shared summaries & itineraries of my past trips to Japan, Bali, Coron, Port Barton & a whole lot more. Fear not, I still have a backlog of contents to share from my recent trips to Komodo, Indonesia, Kawaguciko & Takayama in Japan. I also have upcoming trips to Sapporo, Japan (next month), Hong Kong (in March), Palawan (again in June – undecided where to go) & some new places (which I can’t disclose as of yet) in August & November. I’m going to places which I haven’t been to in the past. That also means new experiences to share to everyone.

More Travel Tips ~ More Fun

Backpackers & travelers rely on each other’s tips. I’ve given you my secrets on preparing for trips like how to score super cheap airline tickets (with part 2), how to apply for a Japan tourist visa & how to book your trip accommodations. I’ve also helped some of you answer some of their pre-trip questions.

For someone who has been taking short (& sometimes long) trips for 5 years now, I’ve experienced a lot & I’ve noticed some patterns when it comes to planning my trips. Expect for more tips in the coming weeks & months.

Throwback Thursday Treats Continue

I’ve been doing trips for years before I started this blog. I don’t want to put my previous trips to waste that’s why I thought of having the Throwback Thursday Treat feature. For the past months, I brought you to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Taipei, Taiwan, Bangkok, Thailand & a few more. I still have a long list of past trips to share (I hope I can still remember all the details) so make sure to watch out for those.

Travel News & Random Travel Thoughts

In 2017, we’ve read some good news for all Filipino travelers. Philippine passport validity has been extended to 10 years, Taiwan started a visa-free trial scheme last November (until July 31, 2018 only) & December 8 has recently been declared as a special non-working holiday. I plan to continue sharing good news to everyone this year. Let us hope for more.

Sometimes, It comes to a point where you think of random things about travelling. I’ve shared some of these insights in the past year – how do I manage to travel a lot while working full time & the ups & downs of staying in hostels. I hope to encounter these random thoughts in the coming weeks. I will try my best to share them here.

Thank you everyone for the support & website visits last year. Again, happy new year! Let us all hope for a content-filled 2018. 🎆

Do you have any suggestions on what to feature in this website or do you have anything to ask? Feel free to comment below. You can also send an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. Drop me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Friday Thoughts: The Ups & Downs of Staying in Hostels (Plus Tips For Your Next Stay!)

For the past few years, I’ve stayed in different hostels all over the Philippines, Southeast & East Asia. Staying in this kind of accommodation helped me change from being an introvert to the most social person I am now. It also helped me go out of my comfort zone & overcome my anxieties while travelling on my own.

Before anything else, let us see how a hostel is defined in a dictionary. Merriam Webster defines a hostel as an inexpensive lodging facility for usually young travellers that typically has dormitory-style sleeping arrangements & sometimes offers meals & planned activities. Oxford Dictionaries define it as an establishment which provides inexpensive food & lodging for a specific group of people, such as students, workers, or travellers.

Spin Designer Hostel‘s dormitory beds (El Nido, Palawan) 🛌

Both definitions mentioned inexpensive accommodation where young people / travellers stay while travelling. Yes, hostels cater mostly to young travellers, to people like us. Majority of the hostels offer dormitory or shared accommodation but there are also some who have private rooms at a little higher (but still cheap) rate.

In this post, I will elaborate more on the ups & downs of staying in hostels. I will also give tips when looking for a hostel or when you are already in a hostel. Hopefully after reading this post, you will consider staying in a hostel for your next trip.

Disclaimer: All points & tips below are based on personal experiences.


Affordable price

Hostel rates are way cheaper than that of hotels & serviced apartments. You only pay around 25% -30% of a hotel’s nightly rate. Imagine paying only ₱400 – ₱600 for a night stay in Coron compared to paying ₱3,500 per night in a fancy hotel both located in the same area.

My dormitory room in Glocal Nagoya Backpackers Hostel | A night’s stay costs ¥3,200 (weekend peak rate) – still cheaper compared to ¥12,000+ per night hotel room rate 🛌

For an affordable price, you get the same basic amenities which hotels provide you – a bed with pillow & sheets, luggage storage, free Wi-Fi, reading light & the list goes on.

You meet new people

Meeting a lot of people is probably my favorite advantage of staying in hostels. You meet these people in your dormitory rooms or in a hostel’s social / common areas. Most of the time, it just starts with a simple, “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, where are you from?” & ends up having good new friends & awesome memories.

A simple card game turned ‘drinking’ card game with these people from all over the world | Location: NapPark Hostel @ Khao San, Bangkok (September 2016) *Credits to Danielle for the photo*

Most hostels have spacious communal lounges where people can sit down, talk to other people & exchange experiences & recommendations. A significant portion of the travelling population is composed of solo travellers; most of them are up for meeting new people & having good times with these new people.

Fun & cheaper activities

Met these people in a waterfall tour organized by The Siem Reap Hostel

Hostel owners are aware that they cater to people who travel on a budget thus offering cheaper & more fun activities. Day & island tours are sometimes cheaper when you book them through your hostels compared to booking them outside or in a travel agency. If your hostel doesn’t offer these activities, they usually recommend agencies where you can get these tours / activities for a cheaper rate.

You save money on food

Osaka Hana Hostel‘s communal kitchen, dining & lounge area

Some hostels (especially in Japan & Korea) have communal kitchens where you can prepare your food during your stay. It helps save money rather than going out & buy food in the restaurants / cafe. Some hostels also offer free, simple breakfast like coffee or tea plus toast, omelette & cereals. It may not be as fancy as the hotel’s breakfast buffet it sure helps you start your day right.

Local’s recommendations

Hostels employ locals which help the guests from check-in up to checkout. These local employees also help you have the most authentic experiences in a place by providing good food & activity recommendations. Sometimes, they even join you eat in these restaurants & try these activities.


Hostels are centrally located in most cities & places. They are usually located a few minutes walk from train stations, bus stops & bus terminals. You don’t have to worry how to go to the airport to catch your next flight or to the bus terminal to make it to your overnight bus ride.


Just like hotels, hostels have security systems installed throughout the property. This makes security surveillance a lot easier for the owner & staff. One big difference between these 2 accommodations is hostels do not allow outsiders to go inside the dormitory rooms. Visitors (non-guests) are only allowed up to the reception / waiting area.


No / lesser privacy

Staying in a dormitory room with up to 16 or 20 people means lesser or even no privacy. You basically share everything with your roommates. Each room provides lockers for your stuff. If you are a person who loves to leave everything outside of the bag, then hostels aren’t for you. Bathrooms & toilet are also shared with the other guests. There is also a high risk of theft where your belongings a can be stolen by anyone in the hostel.

Backpackers Hostel K’s House Kyoto‘s Common Bathroom

No control over your roommates

Sharing a room with different people means you do not have control over them. Generally, people staying in hostels are respectful to their roommates. There are just a few uncontrollable instances where unsolicited noise is created (for example: talking to another guest or fixing stuff / luggage) thus interrupting your sleep. There will also be people who snore loud or who move a lot while sleeping.

You also do not have control of how the room might smell due to a mixture of scents & body smells. Also, even if you don’t talk a lot, there will always be this one person or two who will engage you in a conversation.

Limited amenities / perks

Mad Monkey Hostel Boracay : one of the few hostels I’ve been to that has a swimming pool 🏊

Staying in affordable hostels equates to limited amenities. While most hostels offer free Wi-Fi access, breakfast choices can be really limited – mostly omelette, toasts & jam + coffee or tea. They do not have fancy swimming pools (some hostels have pools though) & fitness areas / gymnasiums which hotels have. They also do not have toiletries included in the rate & towel rental comes with a fee (in most hostels).


Read online reviews

Before booking your stay, make sure to read online reviews of the hostels. Websites, such as Tripadvisor, Agoda, Booking.com & Hostelworld show reviews of people who stayed in these hostels. These reviews help a lot, especially in conditioning your mind on what to expect during your stay.

Book beds with privacy curtains

This is a personal preference, but I would still share it with everyone. Booking beds with curtains gives you the privacy you need. Hostels offer dormitory rooms for 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 & sometimes up to 22 people. Book a bed in a dormitory room with a bedroom configuration you are comfortable with.

Nappark Hostel‘s 22-bed dormitory room | Each bed has a pull-down blinds 

Bring padlocks, blindfolds, ear plugs, towels & toiletries

Hostels normally provide lockers without padlocks. Make sure to bring a padlock to safeguard all your stuff inside your locker. This will reduce the risk of having something stolen from you. Also, since you do not have control over your roommates (plus the noise they make), it helps to have ear plugs & blindfolds with you. Some hostels are generous enough to provide ear plugs for free, ask them upon check-in.

Given these hostels provide limited amenities, it helps to bring your own towels & toiletries. It also saves up the cost of renting a towel from reception & buying toiletries outside.

Respect your roommates

You expect your roommates to be quiet while you’re sleeping; make sure to be one when they are the ones asleep. Walk quietly when getting into the room late at night; fix your things quietly & make sure to be considerate enough with the other guests.


Spin Designer Hostel‘s common lounge (El Nido, Palawan) 🛋️

Be friendly. It only takes a simple ‘hi’ to gain a new friend in a hostel. Make the most out of your stay by exchanging experiences & stories with fellow travellers. It’s the perfect time to know about other places, cultures & traditions. It’s also a good way to ask for recommendations on where to go next & what else to do. Make sure to share yours too! Who knows, you might just have unforgettable fun times with your new mates from your hostel.

Staying in hostels is fun. If you’re scared to stay in a hostel, I suggest that you go out of your comfort zone & give it a shot. You might just have the best memories while travelling. Forget about the fancy hotel beds & expensive rates, you’re definitely up for good times when you stay in hostels.

Good times in Nappark Hostel, Bangkok | Played beer pong with newfound friends before flying back to Manila 🍺

Have you thought of an additional point you can share to our readers? Have you tried staying in a hostel? How was your experience? Feel free to share some bits about your stay in the comments below. Anything you want to know about staying in hostels? You may send me an send me an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. You can also send me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Thank you for reading & enjoy the weekend. 😃

Friday Thoughts: How To Travel While Working Full-time

One of the many questions people ask me now is “How do you manage to travel a lot given by Monday-Friday work schedule?” I won’t have a clear answer if you asked me the same question 5 years ago. As the months & years of travel went by, I realized there is a pattern in almost every trip I take.

Looking back at the past years, 2013 was by far the busiest. I’ve been to Davao, Zambales, Boracay (twice), Kuala Lumpur, Cebu, Bohol, Singapore, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro, Hongkong & Macau in a span of 10 months. 2015 & 2016 came next where I’ve been to Siem Reap, Bali, Taipei, Krabi, South Korea, Yangon, Boracay & El Nido. I’ve also been to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur (again!), Singapore & Japan twice in the past 2 years. Quite a long list, eh?

View from the shores of Padang Padang Beach in Bali – the place where the Eat Pray Love beach scene was taken

Imagine the number of days I had to take leave from work, the amount of money I spent for every plane ticket, accommodation, food, drinks, activities, etc. However, I don’t regret spending a lot on travels for the past years. Every trip was just worth it. The exposure I had & experiences I gained in the different places & cultures were far more valuable than the amount of money I spent.

Now let’s get back to business. Let me give you some thoughts on how you can travel a lot given your full-time job. Please note that all these pointers are based on personal experiences; one or two may or may not be true for you.

Plan where & when to go

You need to decide where you want to go. The world has so much to offer – relaxing beaches & islands, antique or modern temples & churches, busy city streets, laid-back cultural villages, stunning landscapes, etc. You may want to visit the beautiful islands of Coron & El Nido, the world famous sunset of Boracay, the untouched beauty of Batanes or the majestic cone-shaped Mayon Volcano of Albay. You may also want to consider the delicious street food & fun street parties of Bangkok, the amazing Petronas Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur, the famous Merlion statue of Singapore or the busy Shibuya intersection in Tokyo. It all depends on you on what you want to see or experience.

Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers

You also need to consider when you are planning to go. Note that prices tend to double during peak summer months & during holiday breaks. You also need to consider the weather or season of the place you’re going to. Generally, it’s expensive to go everywhere during summer & Christmas / New Year.

Manage work leave credits

After deciding on where & when to go, the next question is what dates should you take. For the past years, I mostly had trips during long weekends (+1 or 2 regular days) here in the Philippines. It saved me quite a few vacation leaves, plus I get to extend for another day or two in my destination. The Philippine government releases the list of  regular & special non-working holidays pretty early so you have a lot of time to plan on which long weekends to take.

Been a year since I went to Yangon, Myanmar; it was during the Chinese New Year long weekend here in the Philippines; photo taken inside Shwedagon Pagoda

Make sure to always include Saturdays & Sundays in your trips. Your leave credits will perish fast if you always leave on a Monday & go back on a Thursday. Take advantage of the other leave privileges offered by your company. In my case, I always use my anniversary & birthday leaves for travel; additional 2 paid day offs won’t hurt.

Book tickets as early as possible

Now that you know where & when to go & you already planned your vacation leaves, you should book tickets as early as possible. I don’t consider a trip ‘official’ if I haven’t booked plane tickets.

₱1-fare ticket I booked to Bangkok last year (photo from my previous post)

You might ask me why you should book as early as you can? Simple, you get cheaper round-trip fares. 2 weeks ago, Cebu Pacific Air had a surprise ₱1.00 sale for both domestic & international routes. Domestic round-trip tickets were at less than ₱600 while international round-trip tickets were as low as ₱1,400. Super affordable, right? Booking plane tickets early will save you some money which you can already add to your trip budget.

If you need some help in booking low-fare tickets, I got you covered. I blogged about it last month; click here to know more.

Set up a travel fund

Aside from conflicting work schedules & leaves, money is probably the other reason why most people don’t travel. They think travelling is too expensive. Yes, it may be for some; but it’s affordable for most young people.

So the travel dates, leaves & tickets are all set. The question is, where will you get the money you’ll spend for the trip? My only tip for you is to open another bank account for your travel fund. This account will be different from your payroll & savings accounts. Allot a certain amount of your monthly salary to your travel fund. You must also promise yourself that you will not withdraw any money from that account up until before your trip.

Tip: To avoid withdrawing money from your travel fund account, make sure to open a passbook savings account instead of an ATM savings account. You will feel lazy lining up in the bank just to get some cash.

Some of my previous travels (L-R: El Nido, Japan, Myanmar & Taiwan)

This tips worked for me; probably the reason why I was able to travel a lot while working full time for the last 5 years. I hope this entry will inspire you to travel more! ✈️

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. You can also send me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.