It’s already December officially, which means it’s almost Christmas here in the Philippines. When it comes to the holidays, most (if not all) employees look forward to two things: vacation and, of course, our 13th-month bonus. Now, you’ve probably heard the great news that Boracay is now open for tourists after six months of rehabilitation. With the Christmas break and bonus coming up, now’s the time to reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve done the whole year. Now’s the perfect time to plan a well-deserved Boracay getaway.

Now, of course, scratching your wanderlust itch will cost a bit of moolah, but don’t you think it’s about time you get that vacay you’ve been dreaming of all year? Besides, there are plenty of Boracay travel hacks you can definitely take advantage of so you wouldn’t have to burn through your Christmas bonus. So if you’re seriously thinking of spending your holiday vacation in Bora, here are some budget travel tips you should know about before booking a flight to the paradise island.

Afford Boracay by Planning Ahead

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Plan ahead. Sure traveling spontaneously has its charms. However, when you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have the luxury of time and money to do whatever, however, whenever as you please. We’re not saying that you should be a cheapskate and strictly stick to your itinerary and budget—that would be lame, to tell you honestly. What we’re saying is that at least you should have a general idea of what you’ll be doing and spending on to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Afford Boracay by Watching Out for Promo Fares

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Watch out for promo fares. Most airlines going to different parts of the country offer “piso-fares” and other promos. The thing about this is, it’s pretty hard to actually avail these budget plane seats. That’s because the number of piso-fare seats being offered by these airlines is limited, which means the person who’ll get the cheap seat is either online 24/7 or he or she is just lucky. But who knows, maybe you’ll get to be the lucky guy or gal if you try hard enough.

Afford Boracay by Choosing How to Go There

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Going there. There are actually three ways to travel to Boracay. You can go road-tripping via bus/Ro-Ro ferry, which takes about 15 to 16 hours but can be considerably cheaper—unless of course, you managed to get a promo plane fare. But since this will take you almost a whole day, you’d be better off taking a plane if you’re tight on schedule. If you go by plane, you can either take the Kalibo or the Caticlan route. What’s the difference between the two? Kalibo is a lot cheaper compared to the Caticlan flight. However, Kalibo is about 1.5 to 2 hours away from Boracay via UV Express van. While Caticlan is just a tricycle and a boat ride away from the beaches of Boracay, or about 15 to 20 minutes of travel time. If you’re really on a tight budget, we suggest you take the Kalibo route because as mentioned, it’s a lot cheaper and you get to see some of the sceneries of the main island of Panay.

Afford Boracay by Knowing Where to Stay

Photo from Alta Vista de Boracay website

Where to stay. When it comes to the accommodations, most will surely tell you to just book a room in the cheapest hotel or resort you can find in Boracay. However, that wouldn’t be so relaxing, right? You go to a paradise like Boracay to loosen up and rest your tired body and soul. How can you relax in a decrepit hotel room, right? If you really want to enjoy a restful vacay in Boracay, you should stay in a place that not only offers reasonable room prices but also provides all the amenities you would want in a dream vacation. To save some money, you should book your room accommodation directly from the hotel and not online booking websites to avoid extra charges. Check out Alta Vista de Boracay and see for yourself what we meant by “dream vacation” on a budget.

Afford Boracay by Inviting Friends

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No man is an island. Traveling alone has its perks but, come on, how can you truly enjoy your vacation without anyone to share your experiences with? And oh, traveling with companion/s can actually be a lot cheaper, you know. How? Well, you can slash most of the expenses right down the middle such as the hotel accommodation, the food and drinks, the fees for all the activities you’re planning to do. So yeah, going with your BFF (or maybe an SO?) is the way to go!

Afford Boracay by Be Budget-concious

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Be budget-conscious. Carry just enough money every time you go out. If, for example, you’re thinking of buying some pasalubongs at D’Mall, you should bring just enough to pay for all the pasalubongs you’re planning to buy. Or you can actually bring some extra bucks for emergencies but make sure that you’re not carrying so much cash so you won’t be tempted to buy anything out of your budget.

Afford Boracay by Knowing Where to Eat

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Where to eat. Almost every corner of the island paradise of Boracay is filled with places to eat—from carts and food stalls to the most expensive restaurants. So yeah, you definitely wouldn’t have problems looking for something to eat even when you’re on a tight budget. And with yummy but cheap treats like chori burgers and the ever-famous fruit shakes from Jonah’s, you wouldn’t even think that you’re depriving yourself.

What to do. You’re going to be in one of the top beaches in the world—we’re pretty sure there are tons of activities there that wouldn’t cost you a single centavo. How about taking a dip at Alta Vista de Boracay’s pool or just go swimming in the crystal clear waters of Boracay? After swimming, you can either walk from Station 1 to Station 3 and enjoy watching various events and seeing the beautiful sceneries of the island or you can just do some window-shopping at D’Mall. If you’re not into large crowds, maybe you can relax at Puka Beach or watch the kite surfers and windsurfers do their thing in Bulabog Beach. As they say: the best things in life are free, and that holds true in Boracay.

Afford Boracay by Knowing What to Bring Home

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What to Bring Home. If you’re thinking of buying pasalubongs for your family, friends, and/or officemates, your best bet is either D’Mall or Talipapa. Both have a wide range of pasalubong shops that offer cheap choices such as t-shirts, keychains, ref magnets, and other Boracay knick-knacks. Just make sure that you stick to your budget.

See? Traveling to Boracay and having the time of your life doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. With some simple planning and some budget traveling tips, you can definitely enjoy a relaxing vacation this Christmas season. Stop depriving yourself and enjoy that well-deserved vacation in Boracay.