Friday, September 15, 2017

Philippines Friday: Sample Itinerary & Helpful Apps

The I just looove planning trips! Some people might find it to be an organizational nightmare, but I savor everything from the research phase to making lists to packing in as many fun activities into the time allotted as possible. I think I have just the right blend of planning prowess and flexibility to adjust when things don't go exactly as planned to pull off amazing trips. My husband, bless his heart, is so laid back that he is willing to go along with whatever I come up with and we always have a wonderful time.

This is by far the longest and most logistically complicated trip I've planned and I can't tell you how helpful I have found several different online resources.
I used Pinterest a lot to research different travel blogs and what people who had been there recommended to do, see, eat pack and budget. Feel free to look at my "To Go And Be" Pinterest board for great travel ideas, and you can search "Philippines" for links to the info I read about specifically for this trip.

Of course Google is also super helpful for things such as looking up airport and airline websites so you know important info such as what you can bring in your carry on, baggage limits, and the security process. 

Other than those, I wanted to share a few helpful apps with you that I have found invaluable to the trip planning process.

My number one favorite app for planning destination itineraries is called Sygic Travel. It is free in the Apple App Store and very user friendly. I first used it to plan trips to Las Vegas and San Francisco and I don't think I would have had such amazing trips without it. It allows you to keep all important details in one place that you may otherwise forget. Rather than planning a specific itinerary for the Philippines I just put together a list of things I would like to see, but the majority of the plans will be up to the lovely couple that invited us on this trip, with a few suggestions from us here and there. I will show you all the sights I would love to see if I was fully in charge of the planning and I will be excited to tell you all about what we actually get to do in an epic Philippines wrap up post after I return.

The Sygic Travel app gives you info about the most popular destinations in the area you are visiting and you can add the sights, hotels and airports that you will be going to into a down to the minute, in order by location and day itinerary! Nothing could be more helpful for knowing where you're going, what time you need to be there, and what's next on the agenda. You can keep notes containing the locations addresses, phone numbers, addresses and prices as well. It's fabulous.

Our first few days after arriving will be spent in the Manila area, finalizing wedding details and exploring the city. Here are the sights I would love to see.

After the wedding we will be spending some time on a gorgeous tropical island called Cebu. Popular attraction we hope to do include watching and swimming with whale sharks, seeing and hiking to stunning waterfalls and natural hot springs, and lounging on incredible white sand beaches.

Some personal fantasy destinations of mine include being a mermaid, witnessing the phenomenon of a pink sand beach, and dining at this super cool waterfall restaurant! Of course we cannot forget the naturally occurring wonders and the unique wildlife, especially the adorable tarsiers!

Once we arrive in the Philippines, I imagine there will be a few practical apps that will be very important.

We will be purchasing an international data plan through our phone provider before we leave in an attempt to avoid a high phone bill on our return. Another alternative or supplement to this is a free app that allows you to send texts and make video or phone calls for free over wifi. Since many hotels, restaurants and public spaces do have wifi, I imagine this will be helpful for staying in touch. Make sure you have your family and friends with smartphones tablets download this app too before you leave so you can stay in touch. I downloaded Viber as it was highly recommend by many travel bloggers.

Another important tool for understanding the prices of goods at a glance while shopping in a foreign country is a currency converter. XE Currency doesn't use any data and has many positive reviews for being easy to use.

One of my worst travel nightmares is needing to pee and not knowing where a restroom is. Your problem is solved with Toilocator, an app that uses your GPS location to map out all the public restrooms near you!

When you are out of range or wifi or cell phone service you can still find your way around with Maps.Me, a great app where you can download city and county maps in advance and use them to navigate without internet connection!

GlobeTipping: easily calculate a tip specifically taylored to the country you're in, as well as the specific situation and bill total. Avoid cultural tipping faux pas with this free app!

Next week will be my final Phillipines Friday post before we depart on our epic adventure! Check back for my sample packing list and much more!

How do you like to plan trips? Any favorite resources or must have travel apps? Have you ever been to the Philippines before? Please leave your travel tips in the comments below!

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