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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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?