By Elisha Judy Tabaque
Profile photos: Contributed
FOR the outgoing and adventurous, traveling is always food for the soul, whether it’s trekking, swimming, canyoneering, or camping, you name it. All of that sounds fun, but what about the budget for these trips and activities? It’s okay if you feel apprehensive about going on that long-overdue trip because traveling might be costly. But if you want to be smart about it, all good travel begins with deciding where to go and setting a reasonable budget. So we asked travel bloggers and enthusiasts “How do you save for your travels?” and these are their insights when planning for their adventures.
Marjorie Ma-Ano, 23
Teacher/Blogger of Dakilanglaagan
“I always have this concept of traveling as something only the rich can afford. Going to places, of course, entails purchasing plane tickets, booking hotel accommodations, and availing tour packages. It was something that can’t be enjoyed by everybody. But this was all in the past. After traveling around my own province, I have realized that I don’t actually need to do all the aforementioned things. I can just simply ride a bus down south, camp on one of the mountains around the local, and trek on rivers to discover mystical waterfalls. And sometimes, it is only through traveling in our own place that we will find out that there is so much more to know about our own geography, culture, people, and beliefs – the core of our existence. How do I save? I don’t. But I do research, budget, and haggle for the lowest price possible. I work with the money I have and allow myself to be surprised on where such amount can bring me – say, P20 brought me to Sirao Peak, a hundred brought me to Igotan Cave and Falls, P4,000 to Zamboanga, Tawi-tawi, and Sulu, and P1,000 to Boracay. Take for example this photo of Malubog Lake in Toledo City, Cebu. I have always dreamed of visiting Lake Holon in South Cotabato; however, because of some inevitable circumstances, I can’t… yet. But who would have thought that something as splendid can be found in the realms of my own province? And probably this is one of the most amazing things that the outdoors will tell us – traveling does necessary mean moving far and spending so much, rather it’s about seeing the environment in a clearer perspective.”
Kat Lu, 20
Associate Software Engineer
“How do I save money for my future travels? Easy. Just be smart with your money, save your money always, don’t buy anything that you will not be using always. For example, if you buy things — divide the cost with how often you use the item and reflect if it is reasonable. It’s important to save you money for a worry-free budget. Search about the place before going there, look up reviews, read blogs and watch related videos on YouTube. Then I do a DIY budget and itinerary in advance. Always travel in groups — you can save a lot by having your barkadas. And lastly, search for the neighboring attractions as well to maximize your trip. Be dedicated with your travel goals. Life is too short to stay in your world. Go out and explore. There’s a lot you have yet to discover. YOLO!”
Marjo Degoro, 30
Blogger of Sikwate.Org
“Money has always been both the boon and bane to almost everything including traveling. Reconciling that lust for gallivanting with that perpetually dwindling savings account is not a game for the faint-hearted. To resolve this, I usually go back to why I travel in the first place. Traveling is, and should be, a rewarding experience. At the end of the day, the goal has always been to become a better person than who I was yesterday. With this in mind, I have three things with me which may be of help to you, too:
1. Set your priorities right.
There is nothing phonier than someone who spends more than he or she earns. Let us go back to our premise above: traveling should be a rewarding experience. There is nothing rewarding about going broke. First things first – Stephen Covey said it well. Tailor your travel according to your budget. If you cannot afford it, postpone it. You cannot do the right thing at the wrong time; or, the wrong thing at the right time. It is always about doing the right thing at the right time.
2. Improve your cash flow.
There is nothing shameful about having side jobs. Supplement your income. One of the great things about being born in this age – aside from Game of Thrones – is digital connectivity. We are essentially making the world smaller. We can do things instantly and remotely. Let’s take advantage of that. Millennials are not a legion of dunces. We are resourceful. We are creative. Let’s prove them wrong.
3. Play it smart.
Grab that hotel coupon and use it. Book your flights early. Travel light. Join traveling groups that could give you a great bargain. Traveling doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. There are several communities out there which can help you out. Reach out and build your network. Traveling is more fun that way. Enjoy the experience. There is more to traveling than Facebook likes and shameless selfies. See you around.”
James Arthue Adalim, 25
Blogger at ASANASADsiJAMES
“There’s a popular myth floating around that traveling is expensive. No! Big, NO! Traveling doesn’t need to be expensive. The reality is that, if you meticulously plan your travel ahead of time, you can really travel for three days two nights for less than P2,000. Self-discipline on spending your money is the key, and as much as possible, be willing to give up some amenities to have a budget that works for you. Before traveling, track your expenses where you can cut back or even eliminate the unnecessary spending. A cup of expensive coffee can cover your three-hour bus ride. One movie ticket can course your entire meal of the day if you spare one. Don’t get confused and suffice the wants of your ego. At the beginning, this may be difficult but soon you’ll gonna thank yourself for not buying a cup of expensive coffee. While on travel, the best way to save money is to travel like a local. Ditch that five-star hotel. Find a cheap hostel or any home stay. You can go camping and have a billion stars as your roof. It does not only save money but also, you can also interact with other travelers like you. Immerse yourself in the cultures and traditions of the locals. The stories and touches of laughter are more memorable than a souvenir you’ll buy in a shop. In traveling, things rarely go exactly as planned. Expect many course corrections. Life is messy and the best-laid plans you muster for weeks have a habit of fraying at the edges or falling apart completely. Just ride the waves of mishaps. It isn’t important. The whole experience is more important and everything you need. So, let’s pack up and hit the roads.”
Aldrich Ybañez Infantado, 34
Blogger/Owner of bisayatraveler.com
“There are so many ways to save money for a future trip, even for those who aren’t quite experienced when it comes to traveling. Once, I did the 52-week money challenge, and it ultimately paved way to a series of mind-blowing adventures and epic out-of-town escapades. Furthermore, I don’t drink, smoke or even indulge on extravagant coffee breaks at fancy cafes, so I can save a load of cash for my getaways. On average, a cup of coffee or tea on a chic café costs around P180. Trust me, I can go as far as Bohol, with that amount of money. As far as food, I usually avoid eating outside, and I only do it once a week with my wife, Rabbie, and family. I do a lot of walking and hiking as well, to save money on my commute and transportation. Not only is it free, but it also helps strengthen my lower body, which is essential in my hikes. And besides, walking is a fairly dependable solution, with today’s exhausting and seemingly endless traffic jams in Metro Cebu.”