Travel Diaries

How to build your own travel fund.

Now that the last traces of that amazing Hong Kong family weekend trip (read: the pictures have been posted, the story told countless times over; the remnants of the last pasalubong from KeeWah Bakery has been unwrapped and consumed) has finally faded, I go back again to a normal day where the most fun I had is the part where I plug this hideous speakers to my office PC and blast KPOP music to the whole office, much to the chagrin of the people on the cubicle next to mine.

This early, I wanted to book tickets to Taipei or go back to Seoul or finally push for that long dreamed about Japan sojourn.

Houston, we have a problem. My wallet is now empty and so is my bank account.

picture not my property

But travel we must.

I resolved to open a bank account just for traveling only. Something that I don’t have have to access for emergencies (like buying killer heels in the face of an important job interview), but something separate from OUR savings account intended for grown up stuff like bills, hospitalizations, unemployment and the quest for world peace.

Determined to build my travel nest egg, I started searching for net for some tips. While a lot of websites have been very helpful, I pretty much summarized the points here:

1. Identify where you’re going. Do your research The cost of airfare, lodging and general expense differ per country. By having an idea where you want to go, you get a basic idea how much you should save up for it and for how long. For example, I know that choosing KL, Malaysia will set me back around PHP40,000.00 inclusive of airfare and lodging — this is an easy feat if I want to save that amount. Opting to go to Japan is a different story altogether. Aside from expensive plan fares, I also have to think about visa application where a good, solid savings account is included as one of the requirements.

Having a time schedule or a chart showing the progress you’ve made will help too. You will be able to easily track the flow of money and see if you’re making progress against your goal.

2. Learn to give up your wants.And instead focus on your needs. Having a tall cup of frappucino daily is not a need. It’s a want. Imagine this, by giving up your designer coffee (PHP135.00 for tall cup x 30 days in a month), that’s PHP4,000 plus pesos savings in a month! You also don’t need to buy two colors of the same design. The usual “frazzled-stressed-day binge shopping?” — say goodbye to those. If you are annoyed, stay away from the malls or you’ll end buying stuff you’ll regret later. Buy what you need, not what’s cute. (<– I hope I'll be able to stay true to this!) Think of it this way, the money heading to this will go directly to your travel pot.

3. Lessen dining out Just because you’re saving and building your travel nest egg does not mean you’ll forever be consigned to brown bag lunches and Tuppeware’d bento boxes. Learn when to eat it and when to stay at the cubicle. The day after salary or when celebrating a special occasion is fine. Eating out or ordering in everyday is not.

4. If you can, find a way to earn extra. Money you earn from your part-time job, freelance work or consultancy job can always be split into three: travel fund, savings fund and spending money. This way, not only did you earn from part-time gigs but these jobs also contributed to both your savings and travel fund.

5. Learn to say “no” – you don’t have to be the girl who always says “yes” to everything: hanging out in a bar, shopping spree with friends, watching movies you don’t really like. You can choose the social activities where you’ll make an appearance and skip those that will either bore you or drive you comatose. Your friends will not abandon you just because you didn’t RSVP’d on their movie invite.

If you think that these advises are a bit too common, note that these are the things that I plan on doing myself. I already made a mock-up note in excel for the proposed Taipei or South Korean map and plans on starting my save up plan as early as today.

And oh, a word of caution. Please don not borrow money just for the purpose of traveling. Travel only when able, otherwise…there’s always Google Maps to temporary satiate your traveling woes.


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