Travel in a Call Center Budget

With officemates in Tagaytay, 2006

It was in 2012 that I started travelling around the Philippines. I owe this life – changing decision to a number of travelers in 2011 that inspired me to go places. January I started Ilocos with a friend then the succeeding trips are all solo backpacking:  Cebu in February; Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin in July; Bacolod, Iloiolo and Guimaras in October then back to Ilocos in November to join the International Conference in Cultural Tourism.

The travel bug really bit me so hard that in 2013 the adventure continues. In February I went to El Nido and Puerto Princesa, Palawan. While working full time in the call center, I also turned my blog into an online shop for local tours so that I can travel more. When the summer ended, I made enough money to fund my first- ever trip abroad. In July I went to Singapore and Malaysia.  

During the months that I “tied my itchy feet”, I spent countless hours in front of my laptop learning about blogging, online marketing and entrepreneurship to pursue my dream of putting up a business online. I was not travelling but this time I was preparing trips of people for a fee by partnering with a dozen of accredited travel agencies around the country.

My friends and coworkers would always wonder how I made everything possible. They know how it is so hard to keep up with other commitments that will involve a substantial amount of time while working in a call center. We go to work even during holidays and I am on a night shift schedule. Our lifestyle is different from the usual corporate job positions but because I want to travel so bad I did everything to work it out.

With that I would like to share my tidbits of knowledge on how to travel in a call center budget.  

1. Always look for airline promo fares
I always look for airline fares every day. I make sure that I am signed up to the newsletter of every known airlines in the country so that I am updated whenever there is a sale going on. I always follow their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts too.  I am also very thankful that the Internet connection is open. Though the popular social media sites are blocked, we can access the different airlines’ websites right from our workstations and Google. We can always book ahead because since we work at night when not much of people are competing for dirt-cheap flight tickets.

2. Read travel blogs that talk about going on a budgeted trip
You cannot travel without money. That’s a fact. When I started backpacking my biggest fear is what if I ran out of cash in a remote place I have no friends or family? How much is all I need for a 3-day trip? Where can I find the cheapest accommodation? All of these are mostly answered if not you get an idea how to figure it out by reading travel blogs. James Betia of journeyingjames.com, Gael Hilotin of thepinaysolobackpacker.com and Ivan Henares of ivanhenares.com are my favorite local travel bloggers.

3. Stay on hostels, homestays, dormitories, and inns instead of hotels
A big chunk of our travel pocket money is spent in accommodation that is why it is very important to seriously allot a time to find one. When I was in Cagayan de Oro and Singapore, I stayed in a shared room. Yes of course there are consequences like what if the roommates can rob some of your belongings and/or hurt you?  I am very much aware of that but in a dozens of my trips that I shared a room with a stranger, I am thankful I never had a bad experience. I make sure that when I leave I bring my important stuffs like gadgets and passport.

Of course adding in the list are those self – explanatory precautions we all know since birth, we should never forget so we just need to be responsible for ourselves.

To travel in a call center budget does not mean a specific amount of money to throw in for a vacation whether it is as long as a weekend or as long as 5 days. It is all about spending that hard-earned cash to a memorable vacation the cheapest way possible without sacrificing the essence of what a travel is all about.

Note: This is an entry to Sykes E-Recruitment Blog Giveaway

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