Traveling solo sounds scary, daunting, and full of uncertainties. But the truth is, it is also exhilarating, fun, and most of all, liberating. 

The one person who can attest to this is Process Engineer-turned-travel blogger Johanes Godoy of Wanderera, who has been traveling solo for many years already. 

At 23, she left her 9 to 5 job to explore the world and learn what life has to offer. Because of her passion for discovering the world’s beauty and desire to help aspiring travelers, her blog Wanderera was born. 

We spoke to her and she shares all about her most unforgettable adventures and misadventures, tips on how to travel solo safely, and more! 

If you want to learn more about solo traveling and be inspired to finally go on a trip alone, read her interview with us.

How did it feel to travel solo for the first time?

johanes godoy of wanderera blog

It felt liberating and exciting at the same time! I mostly travel with my friends and ex-boyfriend (now husband haha) but the first time I gave myself the permission to travel solo was exhilarating! 

I could eat whatever I want, take my time in choosing souvenirs, visit all the destinations I want to see, and just enjoy traveling at my own pace.

Why do you think people should travel solo at least once in their lifetime?

Well, why not? Traveling solo helps you think about life, reflect on things, and see life from a different perspective. It opens up your horizons. You’ll find a lot of things about yourself that will surprise you!

In a nutshell, traveling solo changes something within you and helps you learn a little bit more about yourself.

What was the bravest thing you’ve ever done as a solo traveler?

johanes godoy in apo island
DCIM100GOPROGOPR4424.JPG

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

If I were to pick from my travels, I’d say that time when I didn’t wear a life vest while snorkeling in Apo Island. Growing up in the mountains, I’ve had a hard time learning how to swim and swimming in deep waters. 

I can swim a few meters from the beach without a life vest as long as I have my handy dandy snorkeling mask but snorkeling in Apo Island was the first time I didn’t wear any life vest while swimming in the middle of the sea.

The feeling of floating and getting to places without walking just feels so amazing. It helped me understand a little bit more about why people love swimming. 

But despite all that, I still can’t swim without my snorkeling mask. I’m working on that though. I already have freediving and diving lessons listed in my travel plans for the next year or two.

What was your most unforgettable solo trip experience and why?

johanes godoy

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

My most unforgettable solo trip experience would be my trip to La Veryol’s in Tagaytay.

I was super lucky when I arrived on a weekday and had the whole place all to myself! I camped for the night and soaked in the kawa (large cauldron) for nearly two hours. Since I was the only customer left, the owners let me enjoy the kawa hot bath for as long as I wanted.

I felt invincible the next day and ready to take on any challenge life throws my way. You could say, traveling solo (and camping alone) made me feel like a superwoman.

What’s the good and bad thing about traveling solo?

Good thing? You’re free to do anything you want! 

Want to change your itinerary? Sure! Go ahead! 

Want to wake up later? That’s fine.

Traveling solo allows you to travel the way you want without having to consider everybody else or inconveniencing someone. You can just take your time and if things don’t go according to plan, you wouldn’t have to worry about the people you’re traveling with because you’re all by yourself.

The only thing that sucks with traveling solo is that it can be expensive at times! You have no one to share the expenses with and no one to help you pay for that tricycle trip. And most of all, you don’t have someone to share food with. 

Have you ever experienced unfortunate events while on a solo trip? If so, how did you manage it?

There was one time I rode the wrong train at the Doroteo Jose station in Manila. I was in a hurry since my check out time was in 25 minutes and I didn’t check which train I got on. I was supposed to go to the LRT1 EDSA station but instead rode the train going the opposite direction. I only noticed when I saw SM North EDSA from the window.

I had to ride the train back until I reached the LRT1 EDSA station. I was around 30 minutes late from the check out time. Good thing the hotel I was staying in let me check out without any additional payment.

All the while during the train ride, I had to calm down so I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. 

What are some of your strategies for diverting unwanted attention as a female on the road alone?

I try not to dress to impress. By this, I mean dressing strategically so you don’t stand out too much. Dress however you want to but you have to be mindful of attracting attention in different kinds of situations. If you know that you’ll be traveling on the road alone, avoid flashy clothes and go with neutral attire. This won’t garner as much attention as wearing neon clothes with all the glitter.

What do you know now about traveling that you wish you’d known before?

johanes godoy enjoying the giant swing

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

That traveling isn’t as expensive as people think it is. There are a lot of travel budget hacks you can use. If you really want to, there are ways you can travel without having to spend as much.

Plus, no matter how detailed you plan your itinerary to be, things won’t always go according to plan so be flexible and adjust accordingly or you’ll risk ruining your trip.

As a female traveler, what’s the greatest lesson that traveling has taught you?

That there’s so much more to the world than what the movies show. Traveling will open up your horizon and will fill you up with stories. You’ll meet tons of people and learn life lessons that aren’t even in textbooks!

What would you say to any girl who is out there who would like to travel the world, but is afraid to do it because she’s been told she’s just a “girl”? What tips can you give them especially to those who are first-timers?

johanes godoy enjoying the sunset

Photo credits to Johanes Godoy

Just go. Start traveling around your municipality first. Camp on that nearby mountain. Travel to that beach in the neighboring province. If you’re afraid, you can start by visiting nearby destinations and go from there. Soon, you’ll find yourself wanting more, wanting to explore more and that’s when you know nothing can stop you from traveling where you want to go—not even your gender.

How will this current pandemic affect the way you travel?

I’ve always been a fan of slow travel. This current pandemic got me thinking more about traveling slowly and not jumping from one destination to another. My husband and I are currently planning several travels for next year and will most likely stay in one place for several weeks, exploring the local culture, eating local dishes, and truly experiencing what it’s like to live like a local before traveling to our next destination.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Johanes, it’s to take risks and go where your heart is. Sure, there are things that scare us but the only way to get out of the dark is to walk through it. 

Being scared is totally normal but knowing that you are smart and strong, we’re sure that you will survive and you will most definitely have fun traveling solo! Just go for it 🙂

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Have you ever told yourself “I wish I could travel more but I can’t afford it”? Many people think that traveling is something they could never afford to do because: 1.) lack of free time and 2.) it’s expensive. Sure, exploring the world can be costly but trust us, even the brokes can travel because of the budget travel hacks they live by!

Traveling on a shoestring may be a challenge but it will let you save money. Here are the 5 budget travel hacks that every tourist should follow!

asian girl eating street food

1. Live like a local

Do as the locals do and the new place you’re visiting will instantly make you feel like you’re home. It will strike up a sense of familiarity and it’s the best experience you can have. Instead of going to posh and touristy restaurants, opt for smaller, less mainstream establishments owned and frequented by locals (example: eatery, street food). Not only will it make your stay in the place feel more authentic, but you’ll also contribute to the locals’ livelihood! Now that’s traveling with a purpose.

2. Be a smart traveler

You wouldn’t want your trip to be interrupted or worse, ruined by minute problems that can easily be prevented such as wrong trip schedules, missed flights, or overbooked accommodations. Do your research on where you’re going, plan your trips ahead of time, and join group tours. Traveling may not always be smooth-sailing, but being a smart and practical traveler will save you from tons of inconvenience (and a lot of money)!  

girl looking on her map

3. As much as possible, just walk

Now, this may sound a little crazy especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place, but hear us out. When you find yourself exploring the city or a little town in the province, instead of spending on taxis or other modes of transportation, have your Waze and/or Google Maps with you, learn how to navigate like a pro, and walk. It’s one of the budget travel hacks that backpackers live by.

If your mobile devices cannot find any signal in the area, go old school and have a copy of the locality’s map. It might just take you to new discoveries and will make you appreciate the views even more (plus it can count as your daily dose of cardio).

4. Haggle

More often than not, travelers struggle with dealing with other people marking up their prices knowing that they can pay more. This is the most important part of budget travel hacks. When you find yourself in a busy town putting expensive fees on food, tours, or other services, put up a strong front and fight when you’re right. A trick commonly used by many, and which works most of the time, is by telling them that you’ll scout for others that are cheaper. They’ll eventually mark down their fees and you’ll get the price you deserve. However, keep in mind that these people are trying to make a living, so always make sure to meet with them halfway! Haggle reasonably.

5. Spend more on experiences. Buy less.

Travel is all about exploration and every experience that comes with it, but it sure doesn’t have to be pricey. What better way to save up on your budget than paying less on transport and accommodation? Find quality but affordable seats and hotel rooms by always checking airline and hotel promos online! ZEN Rooms offer budget hotel rooms at the lowest rates, and bookings can be made via ZEN Rooms’ official website. Guaranteed, you’ll have more to explore and you’re up for a travel experience of a lifetime!

Travel while you can. Don’t worry about the money because for sure, it will come again. You will be surprised that traveling can be much cheaper than you think it is.

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

With its proximity to Metro Manila, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro is easy to get to, making it the perfect spontaneous getaway destination. From beautiful beach coves, waterfalls, abundant marine life, limestone cliffs, rock formations, coral gardens, dive sites, and mountains—the town is ready to welcome its visitors. And the best thing about traveling here is that your Puerto Galera budget doesn’t have to be a lot!

You can explore the whole town in under P3,000! How did we do it? Look at our Puerto Galera Budget itinerary below!

bulalacao island in puerto galera

Puerto Galera Budget Trip for 2 Days and 1 Night

ACTIVITIES EXPENSES
Bus from Manila to Batangas Port P200
Ferry ticket from Batangas Port to Puerto Galera P300
Terminal Fee P30
Environmental Fee P50
Tricycle to resort P50
Boat for Island Hopping (Good for 8 persons) P1,500-P1,800 (P188-P225/person)
Accommodation P700/night
Food P500
Ferry ticket from Puerto Galera to Batangas Port P300
Bus from Batangas Port to Manila  P200
Total P2,555

Water sports activities to try in Puerto Galera

If you have extra budget and time to spend, then you might want to consider these other fun activities with your travel buddies.

Unicorn: P2,500 good for 10 persons

King Cobra: P2,500 good for 10 persons

Flying Saucer: P2,000 good for 6 persons

Fly Fish: P1,500 good for 3 persons

Jetski: P2,000 per 15 minutes


Puerto Galera Tourist Spots

1. White Beach

white beach in puerto galera

The most famous beach in the area is the White Beach Puerto Galera, resembling that of Boracay. If you’re up for a whole day of partying, this is the perfect place to be. Just like in Boracay, White Beach Puerto Galera is a long stretch of white sandy shores with all kinds of bars and resorts. White Beach’s unending supply of all things hip and fun will definitely keep you entertained for days. 

2. Talipanan Beach

talipanan beach in puerto galera

Talipanan Beach is great if you’re looking to spend an evening out with friends, eating great food, and having a few beers. Sabang also offers a great nightlife (maybe even more vibrant), with a great shipwreck diving location as well, for during the day.

3. Mangyan Village

mangyan village in puerto galera

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Every Puerto Galera visitor should visit the charming village to witness Mangyans’ (Mindoro’s indegenous people) way of life, beautiful weaves, and the culture that has persisted through time. You can also witness and participate in their weaving tradition. You can even have a chance to take home souvenirs such as baskets that are crafted by local artisans. By visiting this village, you will be supporting this indigenous group’s cultural preservation and economic sustainability.

Seemingly hidden away from the rest of the world, Mangyan Village is an extraordinary look at a culture so different from the modern city. It’s like walking in history. Having been built to protect the Iraya-Mangyan tribe and their customs, the people here live life like they’re in a different era. The best part is there’s no entrance fee! You can purchase handicrafts and trinkets from the village people, if you wish. They are made to show off traditional Mangyan culture, by some of the last Mangyan craftsmen and women in the world.

4. Veranda Restaurant

Whether you’re looking for that authentic Filipino taste, or something a little more similar to what you would eat back home, Puerto Galera has some pretty good dining options.

That Authentic Filipino taste can be found at the Veranda Restaurant. Located in the Out of the Blue Resort, customers consistently say they would return again and again. The service is brilliant, and the food is cooked to perfection. Expect a lot of seafood. You’ll also find vegan friendly options here, if you need them.

Alternatively, if you’re in the Talipanan Beach area and looking for some delicious pizzas, then Lukas Bar is probably the best place for you. It’s cheap, tasty, and has a view of the beach.


Manila to Puerto Galera

The cheapest and usual way to reach Puerto Galera from Manila is via Batangas. From Batangas Pier, you will need to ride a ferry to either of the two ports in Puerto Galera. Balatero Port is closer to White Beach and Aninuan Beach, while Muelle Port is closer to Sabang. Manila to Puerto Galera takes about 3 to 4 hours. 

Don’t worry about your planned Puerto Galera budget because the bus and ferry tickets are not that expensive unlike going to other provinces.

If you’re looking for Puerto Galera hotels, there’s a variety to choose from, from high-ends to budget. ZEN Rooms offers Puerto Galera hotels starting from P700/night perfect for backpackers, budget and solo travelers!

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.