Real People: Daisy Vargas

This featured traveler is a girl after my own heart! Daisy and I were in elementary school together and I don’t think I’ve seen her since graduation day, but we’ve turned out to have a lot in common, especially when it comes to traveling. She even has her own travel blog, which you should definitely check out. Read this latest installment of the Real People series for travel tips and inspiration from a girl who’s always up for adventure.

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NAME
Daisy Vargas
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OCCUPATION
Ex-banker, now a work-from-home convert
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HOW DO YOU FUND YOUR TRAVELS?
Since I started working, I’ve aimed for visiting one new country per year. Then I do my research and save up and work on my budget based on that. But I also like going on impromptu local trips so I just manage to scrimp and save a bit to work those in. I always look for more reasonably priced alternatives so I usually plan for low-peak travels, and like most I watch out for seat sales and early bird discounts for accommodations and tickets to attractions.
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WHERE WAS YOUR MOST RECENT TRAVEL?
Europe: specifically Berlin, Prague, and Amsterdam. Best time to go there would probably be around spring, before summer, because it’s low season and not too many tourists.
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WHERE ARE YOU GOING NEXT?
I’m planning to go to Surigao next month for the Enchanted River and hopefully to Australia next year.
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WHAT ARE THE PLACES AT THE TOP OF YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST?
I have a lot! Haha. But one is seeing the aurora borealis, so I’m hoping to go to Canada or Sweden or Norway to see it. Locally, I have yet to go to Batanes, see the Banaue Rice Terraces, go to Palawan, and if possible, Babuyan Island.

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FAVORITES
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DESTINATION
My ultimate favorite was New York because it has always been my dream to go there. I just loved the experience of walking around the city and navigating the subway on my own. Tip: If you’re into Broadway, you can line up at Tkts (just under the red stairs in the middle of Times Square) to get discounted tickets for some of the shows.
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STAY
I haven’t stayed in many hostels yet, but I loved Arpacay Hostel in Prague. We got a 6-bed shared room, but it was kind of broken into 2 rooms so it still gave us a bit of privacy. Contrary to first thoughts about hostels, the entire place was kept very clean, the bed and sheets were very comfortable and breakfast was good. We’re also frequent tenants at Casa Fiesta in Boracay. The place is well-kept and very affordable despite being part of Station 1.
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FOOD
I loved Nam Giao in HCM, Vietnam. Definitely authentic and I loved Vietnamese food because of it. It’s one of those very casual inexpensive places with very delicious food. The Ilocos empanada sold at the Laoag Bus Station was one of the best things I ate, and it only cost me P30!

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TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY
I always go for budget DIY trips, so I’m kind of an OC travel planner. I do my due diligence when researching about the things to see/do, how to get around, costs involved, etc. I’d have Excel sheets and would pin the places I’d visit in the area in Google Maps, just so I could plan my days and maximize time (helps me with budgeting, too). Sounds hardcore but the OC-ness stops at planning, I don’t necessarily stick to a very rigid schedule. Once I’m there, I enjoy by walking around at a relaxed pace and spending a lot of time to wandering and taking pictures.

My friends also know me for being a very light packer. After many trips, I already know what my travel essentials are and I’ve figured out how to make substitutions for lighter, more compact stuff.
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INSPIRATION FOR ASPIRING TRAVELERS
Travel as much as you can, while you still can. Money can always be earned but the experience you gain and the lessons you learn about people and yourself are definitely priceless. Learn the discipline of saving and budgeting, but don’t let it hinder you from having fun and enjoying the trip.

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Real People: Daisy Vargas” was created by DV and LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.



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