10 Things To Consider When Planning Your Itinerary

A guide to planning a travel itinerary 

So you are done drafting the most detailed and ambitious itinerary you hope to accomplish but is it doable? Before hitting the print button try to check if the list below has been considered.

1. Time to spend in each place. 

Some tourists load up their schedules as if their only goal is to take one good photo behind a famous landmark and move on. Seriously, why even bother?

And then there's the first time travelers who wants to accomplish a lot thinking they can pull it off. It's not Amazing Race, there's no need to rush. So before adding another place or attraction to your itinerary consider first how many hours you are going to spend in the previous places. Some attractions are meant to be explored for one full day. Disneyland, Universal Studios, Ocean Park, Safari  and basically any Amusement Park that involves rides, slides, animals, shows, kids and long lines are definitely a whole day affair.

disneyland anaheim

2. Transportation

Do you know how to get there? Take note of the modes of transportation available before finalizing your itinerary. If you don't know how to get to your location your scheduled plan will be for naught. Your time will be wasted scratching your head and asking for directions.

phaya thai station bangkok

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 33

Merry California Christmas

Back home in the Philippines we have started a Christmas tradition with the whole family on my mother's side. It includes my grandparents, my mom and her siblings and all their children. We all go to this hidden Tagaytay vacation home that we always book for Christmas eve until the 26th. We play games and sing karaoke all night. When the clock strikes 12 we hug and greet each and everyone Merry Christmas. We end the night by exchanging and opening our presents.

The next morning we take our family photos, attend mass and eat at a hillside restaurant. That has been our Christmas tradition for four years already since 2008. Last year marked my first ever Christmas away from home and family since I was... born.

tagaytay christmas
My family celebrating Christmas at Tagaytay

I was blessed to have a very kind Godfather whose welcoming family took me in for six months. During the duration of my stay they have introduced me to American holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. Christmas would be a fitting end to my California getaway. It was a celebration of Christ's birth, new friendships formed and a happy farewell for me because I was flying back home on the 28th.

San Francisco
My US family, my brother Borj, Ninong Jun and Tita Madel at San Francisco

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 32

Safari World Bangkok: Safari Park

Safari World

Part 2: Safari Park

Safari Park is the other half of the Safari World estate. If the Marine Park is where intelligent animals perform tricks to the delight of the humans, the Safari Park is where they chill and act naturally not giving a rat's ass over the visitors admiring their raw musk and ungroomed furs.

The Safari Park is a miniature African Savanna that stretches 8 kilometers and lasting a 45 minute slow drive. It is the closest encounter you can experience with the animals of the wild in their natural habitat. If you like to see the animals up close, you will not be disappointed. The herd of animals are literally right off the car's pathway. You can easily capture good photos without having to get out of the car or zoom your camera to blurriness.

Here's what I was able to capture from the right window of our van in chronological order. I wasn't able to capture any photo from the left side so God know's what exotic animal I missed.

The uncooperative ostrich. It won't bring its head up until the car was far enough for a close shot.
safari park bangkok
Zebras chomping down dry grass.
safari park bangkok

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 31

Safari World Bangkok: Marine Park

Safari World

Part 1: The Marine Park

On the way over we were kinda hesitant going to a zoo being a group of 8 adults but as it turned out Safari World is not just a zoo for the children. It doesn't just have animals for display to take pictures with. It is a leisure park for the whole family to enjoy. My cousins and I were in our early twenties and together with their mom and one uncle we enjoyed exploring the zoo tremendously like giddy little children.

Safari World Marine Park
My aunt, uncle and cousins at Adventure Island

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 30

Travel Must-haves: The North Face Hot Shot Backpack

Product Review: The North Face Hot Shot Backpack

If you have decided that traveling will constantly be on your life plans you need to start investing on quality travel gears and accessories. Obviously the first thing every traveler need to personally own is a backpack, hence the term backpacker. You can borrow a luggage or suitcase and even a camera but it is best to have your very own backpack.

My criteria for a good backpack are the three F's. Fit, Function and Features. I would like to say that I have scoured every travel store in the metro in search of the perfect bag. I did not. I went to one store and got out with The North Face Hot Shot backpack. Yep that simple, I came, I saw, I try and then I paid. When I tried out this baby I didn't hesitate one bit and just immediately bought it because it met all of my criteria. That and I was running out of time.

The North Face Hot Shot
front and back of The North Face Hot Shot

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 28

Bandung 1 Day City Tour (Part 3: Tea, Beer and Satay)

As if I haven't been to enough shops yet, I went for a walk outside my hotel to check out Jalan Cihampelas a.k.a Jeans Street before meeting up with Eddie. Cihampelas is a popular tourist attraction in Bandung because of its unique shopping experience. It is not the typical shops like the one in Dago. Here, the price is cheap and the clothes are not brand names. The main attraction of this place is its superhero and cartoon setting that appeals largely to the younger crowd.

Just like Malioboro in Yogyakarta, Cihampelas is a busy and crowded street lined with stores on both sides. But if batik is to Malioboro, jeans of all kinds is the prime commodity in Cihampelas.
Cihampelas Jeans Street
Cihampelas Jeans Street
They may not be brand names but having customized jeans from Batman, Mr. Bean, Superman and Spiderman is definitely way cooler.
Cihampelas Jeans Street
Superhero and Cartoon themed shops

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 27

Bandung 1 Day City Tour (Part 2: Factory Outlets)

Jalan Dago Factory Outlets

Bandung, much like Jakarta is a shopper's paradise. You cannot go one mile without passing by a shopping mall. I am not a shopaholic nor a mall rat. When I go to a mall I tend to spend waste my money on junk foods, crappy movies and overprice coffee rather than any piece of fashionable clothing. Clearly, this is not my favorite part of the day but shopping is one of Bandung's main attraction so when in Rome, right?

First stop, Jalan Dago. This street is where you will find a row of factory outlets that sells imported clothes and accessories from the US.

Bandung Factory Outlets
Jet Set Factory Outlet

At Jetset you can score this Havaianas flipflops for just 145,000 IDR or 15 USD.
Bandung Factory Outlets

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 26

Bandung 1 Day City Tour (Part 1: Tangkuban Perahu)

Tangkuban Perahu

Although a favorite getaway by the Jakartans, most tourists consider Bandung as a stopover city. Travelers don't stay there for days and weeks like Yogyakarta and Bali. It is however a good city to spend a couple of days to kickstart or cap off your Java Island itinerary.

If you have 450,000 IDR or 50 USD to spare why not spend it for a full day in Bandung. That cost includes the car, fuel and driver for 12 hours anywhere you want to go in Bandung. Here's how I did it.

I booked the tour the day before from Cihampelas Hotel where I also stayed. I liked that the car and the driver are in-house and not from a car rental agency. I felt safer going alone knowing that the hotel will be held accountable if anything goes wrong.

Cihampelas Hotel
Cihampelas Hotel tour receipt
The following day, after eating breakfast from the hotel I went to the lobby to meet Eddie. He is one of the hotel's highly recommended drivers. Eddie is warm and friendly from the get go. He might not be easy to communicate with because of his very limited knowledge of the English language but he more than makes up for it by taking great photos.

The entrance fee for Tangkuban Perahu when I went there is as follows:
Local Visitors- 13,000 IDR per person and 10,000 per vehicle
Foreign Visitors- 50,000 IDR per person and 15,000 per vehicle

I paid 36,000 IDR overall for Eddie, myself and the car. Yes, I passed as a local. No, I didn't have to pretend. I just have to shut my mouth and let Eddie do the talking. This had been one of the few things going for me in Indonesia and I don't even have to try. Almost all of the tourist attractions in Java have different entrance fees for locals and foreigners and the difference is 300% at the very least. I know its wrong to pay the local fee but but but... Yes, its wrong no excuses. Do I feel guilty? Sure. Do I regret it? No. Please don't judge me.

Tangkuban Perahu
entrance to Tangkuban Perahu

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 25

People Watching At Suan Santi Chaiprakarn Park

Suan Santi Chaiprakarn Park is located along the bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is directly beside the Phra Arthit Pier and a 10 minute leisurely walk from Khao San Road. People who are tired of the gritty and rowdy scene of Khao San get together in this park to chill and relax. This park offers a different kind of fun: wholesome, refreshing and you won't spend a dime.

You can go fishing at the Chao Phraya River like this guy.

Admire the wall carvings like this little guy and his cool dad.

Take a photo overlooking the Rama VIII Bridge.

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 24

Getting There: Khao San Road, Bangkok

How to reach Khao San Road from any point in Bangkok

Despite of Khao San's popularity and being a backpacker's haven there is no train station within easy reach to this favorite hotspot. It is disappointing since Bangkok trains are very efficient and the most practical way to get around the city. Apparently nobody minds, its the train's lost anyway because the influx of tourists visiting Khao San continues to surge.

There are 3 ways to reach Khao San from any point in Bangkok

1. Taxi or Tuktuk
Khao San Road
Don't be fooled, those little Tuktuks may be cute and exotic but it is also more expensive than riding a cab. But if you are in a rush and want to experience how the Tuktuk drivers weave through the crazy Bangkok traffic then you are definitely gonna be in for a fun ride. Tuktuks don't use a meter so be sure to haggle and agree to a price before riding. Bangkok taxis on the other hand are metered and has a flag down rate of THB 35 or a little less than 1 USD. 

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 23

Hotel Review: Rambuttri Village Hotel (Bangkok)

Rambuttri Village Hotel

95 Soi Ram Buttri, Chakkra Phong Road, Phra Nakorn, Bangkok, 10200 Thailand.
Tel: (66)02-282-9162, (66)02-282-9163
 Fax: (66)02-629-5211
If you use the phone in Thailand, dial 02-282-9162, 02-282-9163
E-mail : info@khaosan-hotels.com
Booking and rates: click here


                          Staff Performance

                   Hotel Condition/ Cleanliness

                       Food and Amenities

                         Value for money

Rambuttri Village Inn is at the heart of Banglampoo where the popular Khao San Road is located. It is near the Chao Phraya River and the most visited temples of Bangkok. The location is perfect for backpackers and budget travellers because of the numerous travel agencies that offer cheap tours and overland transport anywhere in Thailand and its nearby countries.

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 22

The Traveler's Ten Commandments

1. Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hast them home, 

for verily, thou hast left home to find things different.

2. Thou shalt not take anything to seriously, 
for a carefree mind is essential for a carefree holiday.

3. Thou shalt not let other tourist get upon thy nerves, 
for thou  are paying  out good money to enjoy thy self.

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 20

Bangkok Area Guide

Bangkok Area Guide

General locations of the main attractions in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Map

  • Khao San Road
  • Grand Palace
  • Wat Arun
  • Wat Pho
  • Wat Pra Kaew
  • Democracy Monument

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 19

How Not To Get Scammed At The Jakarta Airport Like Me.

A story about the Blue Bird taxi scam at the Jakarta Airport

Soekarno Hatta International Airport
Terminal 3 Arrival Area

It’s my second time at the Soekarno-Hatta International airport and I could not fathom my stupidity this time around. You think being in the same place knowing the same story makes one wiser right? Not me! If you have read my post about my first experience at the very same airport you’d know that I was able to handle those infamous touts pretty well.

It was barely 3 months since my last trip to Jakarta. I slept at the airport so I know the terminal and the drill. Avoid the touts and wait for the bus. But somehow all those information dissolved in the cigarette smoke filled air of Jakarta. I found myself inside a van heading to Terminal 3 with 200,000 rupiahs gone out of my pocket. It was one of those surreal moments where you are in deep shit trouble at the back of a moving car. Alone. At midnight.

Here’s how and why the stupidity happened.