Ways to save up for your dream holiday

Traveling is sadly, an expensive hobby. Unless you’re filthy rich, if you want to pursue this, you need to save up a lot of money to sustain this lifestyle. Though airfare has gone down dramatically over the years, and more budget-friendly transport and accommodation has sprung up, traveling can still take a chunk of your savings. Weekend trips can be as low as Php 2,000, but do it every weekend for a month, that adds up to Php 8,000 per month! The figure goes up dramatically if you plan on traveling overseas, and even more so if you plan to travel for a long time.

But as I, along with thousands of Filipinos who’s been bitten by the travel bug, it is possible, even on a third-world salary. Here’s some tips that I personally practiced to keep me traveling:

1. Get a job.

Having a steady source of income really helps a lot. The five nights of the week that I work until the wee hours of the morning might be tedious, but I still love it because it means that I’m getting a paycheck at the end of the month. Half of the money I make each month goes towards my bills, with the other half for my personal expenses throughout the whole month. Whatever extra goes toward my travel fund. Of course, the better practice is to set aside an amount for your travel budget and control your personal expenses.

You can also aim for a job that gives you opportunities to travel. That way, you get the company to pay for your ticket and accommodation. Of course, you’ll be working most of the time, but see if you can file a leave and change your return date so you can spend at least a day exploring the city.

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2. Go on a working holiday

Traveling in first world countries is really expensive. That’s why in most countries, they encourage hiring travelers who wants to earn additional money to fund their travel. Unfortunately, you might be required to have a working holiday visa, and most of the time, this visa class isn’t open for Filipinos. But if you’re holding a passport of qualified countries, this is one thing you can look into.

Here’s what I did that let me stay three months in Australia: my sister, who is raising two toddlers asked me to visit them in Australia. She paid for my visa application, my round-trip ticket, and since I was staying at their house, I get free accommodation and food. I even got a weekly allowance (since I was unemployed the whole three months that I was there). In return, I babysit the kids, do the laundry, do the grocery shopping and cook the meals. In between the chores, I had plenty of time to wander around Melbourne.

Most Filipinos have family and relatives overseas, so this is an option you can take. Though of course, they may not be open to shouldering all your travel expenses. But hey, if you can get free lodging and meals, that’s a big help already.

3. Sell your possessions on e-Bay

Well, not really. For extra moolah (or even just extra room in your bulging closet), sell some of the things you’re not using anymore. Have a garage sale. You can do it in your own garage, or do it online. As they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

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When Pinky Street dolls became an obsession of mine three years ago, I went crazy and hoarded as much of these cute dolls as I can. Since I have plenty of extras and a number of localcollectors don’t have a credit card or a Paypal account, I sell my extras to them, receiving payments via bank deposit. I was also able to sell some to collectors from all over the world, through the marketplace over the Pinky Street forums, e-bay and my own Pinky St online store.

4. Start blogging

As I mentioned before, I started Just Wandering with plans on monetizing it to augment my travel funds. I’m not making millions off this travel blog, but I get enough to let me buy dolls and doll clothes that I really should stop buying, and pocket money for my trips. Contrary to what people might tell you, earning from blogging is not as easy as signing up for a free blog and putting in Google Ads and waiting for the money to come rolling in. It does entail a lot of work and lots of learning along the way. After three years of travel blogging, I’m just getting the hang of it, though I’m still lightyears away from making my first million.

Here’s a couple more ideas you can do with a travel blog. You can do what (then) newlywed couple, Gabby and Mench. Instead of accepting gifts for their Moroccan-themed wedding, they set up an online Wedding registry where their friends and family can pledge for a certain portion of their honeymoon in Morocco. By the looks of it, I think the pledges were able to cover around 70% of the Morocco travel budget.

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On a more traditional approach, Dave of GoBackpacking.com started a travel blog to chronicle his preparation for an around the world trip, and the actual trip itself. Monetizing the blog comes later on, and to further get additional funds for his trip, he got his readers to dare him to a challenge at any point during his RTW trip. If he manage to complete the dare, the reader who dared him would have to fork over the amount he pledged for Dave to do the dare.

Last note on blogging: always remember that content is king πŸ˜‰

These four are the ways I save and earn money to travel. Saving up for a trip often means sacrificing something (a friend of mine gave up Starbucks and movies for a year to help him save for his trip to Europe), but in the end, it’s all worth it.

I’d love to hear from you! What are your ways of saving up for your trip?

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 20 Comments
  1. frannywanny says:

    love this post ninA! Timely that we’re here at hkia waiting for our flight and we’re also planning our next trip — our honeymoon πŸ™‚

  2. kaoko says:

    buy dolls and doll clothes that I really should stop buying, Come on, you know you want to! πŸ˜›

  3. nina says:

    Fran: It’s fate! πŸ˜€ Have a safe trip home.. I can’t wait to see your photos and read your stories!

    Kaoko: Actually! XD I just bought uh… *whispers* three new sets of clothes.

  4. bchai says:

    I have to say everything you’ve mentioned is true—especially the “selling” part. I had to part with a few Sanrio items to keep some extra cash on me. I’m already thinking about selling the Pinkies, but I keep rethinking it. *SIGH*

    Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m probably thinking about buying a domain for Sprite 24.7, but we’ll see. Again, the “rethinking” part kicks in. πŸ˜‰

    Hmm…you mentioned the working visa holiday isn’t open for Filipinos—why not? Red tape kinda stuff? Pffft. I swear, they need to make it easier for people to travel out of the country…

  5. nina says:

    Bchai: It depends on the country if they will allow you to work. For most parts, Philippine passport holders are not allowed because of the large number of illegal immigrants who are Pinoys. :-/

  6. Anna D. says:

    I keep track of my daily expenses through this app I d/led for the iPod. Whenever I spend, I update. I set a ceiling budget, with the option of being as detailed as possible – all cash outflows, no matter how big or petty they are, and the bar turns red when I’m near my limit. My monthly budget is less than half (45%) of what I earn, net (holy (*&@$*(@^# hell torture). I eat out for lunch once a week. I hitch a ride to work at least once a week, too. On a yearly approach, I’ve created a pro forma personal income statement, and I have to, have to, have to make my target for the end of the year. I’ve got grand, but shaky plans. XD Discipline, discipline, discipline.

    As for finding other means of income – make money out of your hobbies (not to the point that it becomes obligatory, yuck). πŸ˜‰ And if you’ve got overtime pay, try and attempt to be more “productive.” hehehe

    I work to live, yo!!!!!

  7. nina says:

    Anna, you geek! XD I used to do that, list all my expenses down. But I got lazy, so now I just do that when I travel. This grand plan of yours sound interesting…

  8. ditto on the doll acquisition XD add to that the sins of manga and vidoe games — it’s a wonder i even get to travel at all T^T

  9. cayce says:

    One of the reasons why I enjoy this website is that it provides a perspective from an Asian backpacker. I was in Beijing years ago, with an American traveller friend. We had a little debate on a small souvenier to which the seller said, “cheap! Only USD5!” She turned to me, and said, “what is USD5? Nothing! Go for it!” I had to tell her that with USD5, I could get a very decent meal back home!

    Can be quite frustrating travelling in other southeast asian countries where locals only want to deal with USD from travellers. We lose so much from the exchange.

    As well, for Indonesians, it’s harder for them to travel out of the country, unless they have a registered tax no. because otherwise, everytime they have to step out of the country, they have to pay a departure tax of Rp1,000,000 (about 4,476 pesos)!

  10. entrepgirl says:

    hey nina! just visiting! missing your food posts in kainpinoy already. boy, how i wish i could travel as much too. well, having no fixed schedule for work and having a kid makes it not easy to just go and travel whenever i feel like it. plus the budget thing is kind of an obstacle as well. but i’m still wishing, hehehe! πŸ™‚

  11. nina says:

    Magnetic_rose: It’s because you have awesum skillz! And a hamster.

    Cayce: Whoa, that’s a huge amount! And here we are complaining about the Php 1,620 travel tax we pay. Re: Asian perspective — I get what you mean. I like the wealth of advice I can get from the BnA forums, but I also like getting advises from other Filipinos, because for me, they just seem more to my expectations. Whereabouts in the world are you at right now? I’m headed for Peninsular Malaysia this June πŸ˜€

    Entrepgirl: Ehehe, I’ve been really swamped with work, haven’t had the chance to work on articles for kainpinoy.com ^_^; Enjoy your time with your kid muna, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to travel together in the future πŸ˜‰

  12. dyanie says:

    i try to book early for my plane tickets and hotel stay. The longer the date, the cheaper right? πŸ™‚

    like u, i pay the bills first then whatever the extra goes to travel. but sometimes when i get my pay, i try to deduct the “this is for my travel fund” and then i set my mind that the remaining is the only salary i got haha πŸ˜‰

    i also try to dine in restos every other week nalang. magastos pag every week hayayay. πŸ˜›

  13. Pete says:

    Just found your blog and I’m enjoying the read. It’s going to take me a while to get through three years of travels. I’m usually more of a browser than a commenter, but this post got me dreaming again about ’round the world travel.

    It was actually Dave’s blog from gobackpacking.com that put the bug in my ear a year ago. Due to the housing market I’m stuck…but at least I can keep dreaming, and saving πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work.

  14. cayce says:

    hiya! sometimes i forget to read replies to my comments.. you’re going to peninsular malaysia in june! how cool! and DARNNN… if i was still living in Bangsar, KL, you know that you could always sleep on my couch. πŸ˜‰ Currently based in Central Kalimantan for orangutan work, and you’re always welcome to my house!

  15. dahon says:

    Agree on the above tips nina! To add, while planning to save up, it’s good also plan also for a really cheap travel — fun things happen if you’re splurging more on activities more than hotels/lodging :).

  16. […] am not rich. I get a lot of questions about what I do for a living to be traveling so much. I actually do have a regular job. I work nights, that’s why I’m able to travel during the weekends. I am lucky to have a […]

  17. Ed says:

    hi Nina, had to link this up in my blog post. I agree that money doesn’t come easy when we simply start our own blogs. it takes a lot of work too, and oh, online self-promotion. hehe πŸ˜€

  18. […] Flip of FlipNomad.com – Smart Planning for Long Term Travelling: Saving Money Chichi of WeAreSoleSisters.com – Sole Sister’s Guide to Saving Up for Your Escape Fund Lois of WeAreSoleSisters.com – Sole Sister’s Guide to Saving Up for Your Escape Fund (Part2) Nina of JustWandering.org – Earning Money For Travel […]

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