“Juander over Yonder”Boracay Island, Philippines

I had my 7-day solo backpacking adventure visiting the northwest portion of Panay Island (Antique, Aklan & Boracay), Philippines. If you’re gonna ask me if I’m still afraid of a solo trip, I will say YES! I usually travel with my friends and family. And the idea alone of solo traveling is a bit intimidating, you will go to a place where no one knows you, a place far from the people that you used to be with. But in the end, I’ve realized that this is something extremely rewarding and nothing makes me feel more capable and confident than conquering the world on my own.

I will tell you my thoughts towards solo traveling, my experience, how will you benefit from it and everything I’ve discovered from simple tips along with the advantages and disadvantages. Whether you’re brokenhearted? Have doubts which career path you want to take? Or maybe you just want to escape your daily routines and get free from the doldrums of the corporate world? Or want to try something different or new that’s out of your comfort zone? If yes, then read along.

TIPS

I. Do the research

It’s better to do a research in advance about the place, people, food, accommodation, transportation and customs/tradition of the place that you’ll go to visit. This is something really helpful in planning your solo trip. What are the famous tourist attractions? Dialects and languages? A place to eat? Where to stay? etc. In terms of transportation, it’s very important to check the prices beforehand (read blogs, join a travel group, ask your friends or workmates) so that you will know if you are being overcharged or not because most of us solo travelers tend to get taken for granted (LOL), I mean “taken for a ride”.

II. Book your flights, accommodations, and activities in advance

If you are on a tight budget these are the things that I can highly suggest to do in advance. I booked my flight three months before the departure date and I got a Round-trip ticket from Manila to Caticlan for only 562.80 pesos (11 USD) which normally range from 1,500 PHP – 6,000 PHP (31 USD – 125 USD) per way, if you can get a lesser price than that, much better. The booking process is the same, just the usual thing. All you need to do is to wait for Airline promos and turn your Fastest Fingers First mode ON, because there are also people out there who are desperately waiting like you just to get a cheaper flight (Bawal slow hands).

Flight Itinerary: Manila – Caticlan – Manila

Accommodations: As your travel dates come closer the prices increase, generally those prices do not climb as high as the current rate 3 to 6 weeks in advance. But this rule doesn’t always apply to every location and occasion.

Activity: I got my pub crawl ticket for only 790 PHP (16 USD) which is 20% Off the original price, instead of paying 990 PHP (20 USD), the difference might not that big, but it’s a BIG HELP especially when you’re traveling alone and every penny counts.

Boracay Pub Crawl Ticket

III. Stay Safe

Safety is the most concern for all travelers. In general, There are people that might take advantage of you as a tourist. You are more prone to scammers who con people to make a buck. While this might be a fact in some areas, a few preventive measures can help to reduce possible risks.

IV. Be friendly, blend in and Smile

The most effective advice that I can give you based on my experience is to be friendly; don’t be afraid to talk, initiate a conversation. It might be hard in the beginning, especially when you are an introvert like me, but I can assure, you will go far. Learn how to blend in; don’t wear any flashy/expensive jewelry that can catch the attention of robbers. Keep it low profile. Lastly, learn to SMILE. I’m not the guy who smiles a lot but when I travel I smile. 🙂 Don’t forget to smile especially when talking to the locals, this shows that you are warm, friendly and fun to be around.

Boracay Pub Crawl

V. Low-key Alternatives

I’ll share with you some alternatives that are perfect and useful for budget travelers.

Learn How to Cook: If you already know how that’s better. If there’s nothing special about the local food, just cook on your own. I remember when I was in Boracay, instead of eating outside that will cost me around 100 PHP – 500 PHP (2 USD – 10 USD) for a single-serve food. I went up straight to the public market and bought the ingredients in making a Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (String beans and Squash in coconut milk). It only cost me 84 PHP (1.75 USD) good for my brunch and dinner plus I’ve also shared some with my housemates. If you really don’t know how to cook, I’ll share some of the affordable restaurants and eateries where you can eat on my upcoming articles, so keep in touch.

Photo courtesy: Google Images

Homestay / Online Hospitality-exchange Networks: These two are a lot cheaper than staying in hostels or hotels. During my island trip in Antique I just stayed to one of the local houses there for 150 PHP – 250 PHP (3 USD – 5 USD) per night. While I used this online hospitality-exchange network site for my stay in Boracay that cost me 400 PHP (8 USD) per night.

Homestay in Culasi, Antique

There’s also another hospitality-exchange network online that I’ve used during this trip which provides a platform for members to stay as the guest to host’s home, join an event or host travelers. It’s helpful and it’s actually my first time to use this app/website for my Kalibo, Aklan trip. Luckily, I’ve found a host and stayed there for 2 nights, for free.

In making a request to your prospect hosts, do it weeks in advance as it may take time for them to reply. I’m not pushing you to use this app just to save money. Again, Safety is still the priority here. If you’re not feeling secure and safe better book a room in hotels, inns or hostels. But on the brighter side, if you want to experience the life of locals this is something that is worth trying for. There are instances as well wherein your host will tour you around the place, like what my host did.

The Advantages

I. Clears your mind

– At some point, all of us have already experienced being rejected, depressed, stressed and exhausted making our goals a bit blurry. Traveling alone might help you clears your mind, you can at least have time for yourself without thinking of any about your future. It disconnects you from reality in a certain period but this one really helps a lot and will fill your soul with the experience you had.

Kawa Hot Bath in Kayak Inn, Tibiao, Antique

II. At your own pace

-You are the master of your itinerary. Control every activity you have in your mind and do it at your most convenient time. You have nothing to worry what time are you going to wake up? do it spontaneously. NO RUSH.  

III. You become more independent

-As the word implies “SOLO” travel, you have no one to depend on, no one will take care of you when you got sick during the trip, nobody you can lean on; Nobody, nobody but YOU! (LOL!) You will cook on your own, plan the whole trip on your own, get on the road on your own, carry your luggage/bags on your own, build your own tent, and find the directions by yourself. You heard it all right. Yeah, JUST YOU! Handle everything alone. But later on, you will realize that this is something worth treasuring and something you can be proud of.

Sunrise in Mararison Island, Culasi, Antique

IV. It empowers you

– This adventure is truly an empowering experience, giving me inspirations and motivation to even try other things or field in life that seemed to be unclear. After all, you will feel that you can cope with many things that you could have ever imagined. Start believing first in yourself and everything will fall into place.

The Disadvantage

I. Budget

-In my opinion, this is the most concern of all solo travelers, the MONEY. If you are a first-timer, there will be a question running through your mind “Is my budget enough for this trip?” Traveling alone is really more expensive than traveling with a group or a partner. With the group, you can have someone to share the cost of your food, activities, transportation and, accommodation. But still, it’s a matter of proper budgeting and having the courage for hitch-hiking. 🙂

Station 2, Boracay IslandPhilippines

Last Thoughts… 

“I travel not to find myself, but to remember who I’ve been all along.”

One of my goals is to visit the 81 provinces in the Philippines and this is just the beginning. This journey taught me a lot of things in life; from being dependent to self-sufficient, from being timid to bold, from antisocial to friendly and I can proudly say that this is SOMETHING that I will definitely do again. Traveling alone might be risky and always have drawbacks but for me, the pros far outweigh the cons. I know traveling isn’t for everyone and that’s fine, but I hope this article might influence you or maybe your alter ego to at least give solo traveling a try.

SO START PACKING YOUR BAGS, HIT THE ROAD AND LET’S GO TRAVEL FOR GREAT ADVENTURES!!!


P.S.: This 7-day journey only cost me 5,300 pesos (110 USD) all-inclusive of Airfare, Accommodations, Food, some activities, and pasalubong (treats).

>>> For more travel stories visit my Facebook fan page, Twitter and Instagram account.

57 comments

  1. Katrina gehman

    Reply

    i did camping when i was younger. nothing like this though. looks like it was an amazing adventure.

  2. Tiara Wilson

    Reply

    This adventure seems like so much fun. I would love to go back-packing in different countries.

  3. Elizabeth O

    Reply

    As a young adult. I did my share of solo travel and loved it. I made lots of friends and ventured far. Nowadays, I prefer more comfy, prearranged travel. The world is changing and so are we. Love your photos.

  4. Reply

    This is a brilliant post! If I were 30 years younger I might rethink my aversion to backpacking! But seriously, this is a great resource!

  5. Chiara Lisbeth de Lisi

    Reply

    Seems you enjoyed your trip a lot! I would love to try travelling few days alone, so relaxing and will help me to focus more on myself for sure!

  6. Reply

    Love this! Good for you that you got out there and explored on your own! So many people are afraid to do that I haven’t traveled by myself in years LOL. Sometimes I miss those days ❤️

  7. Natalie Z

    Reply

    It looks like you had an amazing adventure! When my husband is on a business trip I tag along and go off on my own. I have had some of the most amazing solo adventures while he is working. My last was red rock in las vegas.

  8. Reply

    I am looking forward to doing more solo traveling. Pub crawl ticket? Goodness that sounds great right about now, didn’t know there was such a thing.

  9. Reply

    What a great article! We left our home in UK to travel two years ago and are now permanantly and happily settled in Bulgaria. I definately agree with your travel tips about booking in advance and setting a budget! I’ve been looking at taking a month to travel this year and if booked in advance have found I can visit 3 or 4 countries round trip for less than 200 dollars for the whole family! Great blog, I shall continue to follow and all the best in your future adventures!

  10. Amanda H

    Reply

    This looks like an amazing trip. These are great tips, and something everyone should do to save time, money, and to help enjoy your trip to its fullest.

  11. Reply

    How wonderful. I would love to think I’m brave enough to do this. I think it would be really good for me

  12. blair villanueva

    Reply

    seems you enjoy much the Kawa hot spa! I like to try it sometime 🙂 do they have accommodations for non-backpackers?

    • JK

      Reply

      Hi blaire. Yes I did. Plus there’s also a nearby waterfalls that you can enjoy. 😂 for accommodation they also offer rooms for non-backpakers,you can try kayak inn or Kawa Inn. They’re accommodating, just feel free. 🙂

  13. Reply

    It looks like you had an amazing trip! Great tips for solo travelers! I would highly recommend pre-booking everything and letting friends or family back home know your itinerary!

  14. Reply

    Solo traveling seems to be the “it” thing right now….or maybe it always has been and it is just coming to light! I can’t imagine traveling for an extended period alone. These are very useful tips though, thanks!

    • JK

      Reply

      Thank you Sally. Yes you can! It’s just mind over matter. Lol. All you need to have, is the courage to meet new people, initiate a conversation and courage to be in new places. 🙂

  15. Jay Simms

    Reply

    Oh wow!! That looks like such an awesome place to visit. I would love to go there one day!

    • JK

      Reply

      Thank you. It is! If ever you’ll be in PHILIPPINES just let me know, I can tour you around if I’m free. And once I get back to PH as well. 🙂

  16. Reply

    I never travelled alone but your post let me think about it would be a beautiful experience!
    I live very fast and I’m always busy, so some days alone should be very relaxing, even if I already know I will miss a lot my loved ones.

    • JK

      Reply

      I assure you, IT WILL BE. I also get used to a busy environment but sometimes it’s good to go to a place that no one knows you. Strange, but worth it. 🙂 so start building courage and hit the road. 🙂

  17. Reply

    Great blog and fantastic tips. I had great fun reading through it. I never traveled alone as I always need someone to be there, just in case of emergencies. You never know what could happen to you. I totally agree with you on the money point. I can imagine that it could get costly when you are traveling alone. We also have a blog, we just recently started writing about our trips through the Philippines. You may check it out when you have the time. Thanks for sharing your great tips. Keep on traveling!!!

    • JK

      Reply

      I already read some of your articles. Would definitely give a try to go to Oslob when I get back to PH. Thank you Mike and Issa. Let’s do some collaboration, maybe someday? 🙂

    • JK

      Reply

      It’s fine. Take your time. The world is just waiting for you. You can do it anytime you want. No pressure. 🙂

    • JK

      Reply

      Thank you Kristy! It’s more fun in the Philippines. 🙂 I’ll post more about this travel and will try to make an itinerary for the provinces that I’ve visited. 🙂

    • JK

      Reply

      Thank you eazynazy!Yes you can travel alone! Start believing in yourself and everything will fall into place. 🙂

  18. Reply

    What a great list! I’ve only traveled once, but that was for study abroad adn all the travel plans were made already by our professor.

    • JK

      Reply

      Thank you Tayler! Wow, it seems studying abroad is an awesome opportunity. I would love to do that as well in the future. On the other hand, I assure you, once you’ve tried the solo backpacking, you will find yourself saying “I love to travel the world on my own.” Cheers! 🍻 🙂

  19. Reply

    This is very adventurous. But, I think everyone should buddy travel. Would if something happens, you need a countryman (your countryman to help you out).

    • JK

      Reply

      Give it a try. You will definitely meet someone along the road, that will help you all throughout your journey. Sometimes, you will meet people from your country so don’t be afraid. You will be fine. 🙂

  20. Reply

    I would be so scared to go backpacking by myself. Like, I have to have someone there that is telling me that everything is going well or is going to be fine. But I guess if you did the research it would be fun, because you’d know where you were going and that would be less terrifying.

    • JK

      Reply

      Yeah researching in advance would definitely help you kicking off your first solo trip. I promise it would be a worth-remembering experience and something that you can be proud of. 🙂

  21. robin Rue

    Reply

    It is always a smart idea to do your research ahead of time. I am a MAJOR planner.

  22. Trixie

    Reply

    such a good tips on how to travel alone. indeed an additional encouragement for me to do it though!! 😊👍👏

  23. Monica

    Reply

    First solo travel is always skeptical. I am yet to come across someone who traveled solo and came back unhappy 😊. Everyone must try this once in their life. Your post is encouraging.

  24. Reply

    I love this post! My most recent blog post is tips/tricks for travel as well, mostly to help get myself traveling! One of the things that holds me back is not being able to take the same time off from work as friends/family, so I always have to put off trips. Flying solo has always been in the back of my head, but I could never get the courage to do it! Thanks for these great tips, though! I’ll be sure to use them and tell you how my next solo adventure goes (wish me luck!)

    – Taylor (thesprinkle.tayloramead.com)

    • JK

      Reply

      Thank you Taylor! I would definitely read your blog about tips and tricks for travel. All the best and looking forward for your next solo trip. 🙂

  25. Mj

    Reply

    Brad!!!! grabe im so proud of you!! keep it up, sana magawa ko to pag uwi ko ng pinas. Tara sa Visayas nxt year??🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *