How Can I Afford to Travel Several Times a Year
I often get asked, “How can you afford traveling so much?” and even get comments such as “Wow, you must be so rich!“. How I wish I am. But I am not rich. I was 20 when I started traveling and I was only earning around 20,000 Php ($394 USD) during my first few months as a newly employed person but I was able to afford 2-3 international trips per year and I was able to circle around Southeast Asia.
So how did I make that happen?
Well, it is definitely not because I am rich and no my parents don’t sponsor my trips either. All of these are from the hard-earned money I managed to have from working and hustling.
Accounting & Allocating Finances
I started keeping track of all my finances, everything I spend on whether it is necessities or other unnecessary things. There are a ton of free money apps out there like Wallet.
I also did mine on a simple Excel spreadsheet. Then I began to see which things are taking so much of my money.
20% of my salary goes to bills and payments.
Another 20% for basic needs such as food and transportation.
The remaining 60% of it, I do as I please. Since 60% is a huge percentage, I have come up with the decision to split it up.
I put 30% of my salary to my travel funds.
The remaining 20% is my savings and investments. The remaining 10% is for luxury.
I started calling it the 40 30 20 10 rule. I took inspiration from the famous 50 30 20 budgeting rule but with my own personal twist. Haha.
People also say “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”. It didn’t really occur to me until there was one time I intended to pay using GCASH when I was doing a mini-grocery. However, my eyes almost popped out when the app said it is TEMPORARY UNAVAILABLE. If not for my other bank accounts, I would have been so screwed.
So I swear to myself to always have alternatives. I ended up having several bank accounts. Each of them serves their purpose. One is for life savings, another one for travel funds, online shopping, another account is for my recurring bills (like insurance, prepaid plans, etc.).
Of course, the accounting would be totally useless if you are not committed to following your budgeting rule. You have to set your heart to it.
So if it means no shopping, no eating out and no Starbucks for the month, you have to strictly follow it. Just remember Eyes on the Prize and No Pain, No Gain.
If you are earning 20,000 Php per month. Imagine with your 20% which is 4,000 Php, in 2 months you can have as much as 8,000 Php, just enough to afford a round-trip ticket from Manila to other Southeast Asian countries.
Getting Side Hustles
All you need is offering any marketable services such as graphic design, web development, content writing, social media management, online tutor, etc. There are plenty of options out there depending on your skills.
Research and Find Good Deals
Last and not least is knowing how to plan for your dream vacation. If you are working a 9-5 job like me, then getting Vacation Leaves and having them approved is an extremely huge deal!
Most of the time, I plan my travels on weekends so I can save at least 2 days of my vacation leave. Luckily, the Philippines is the 2nd country with the most number of holidays. The longest, consecutive holidays we have so far is the Holy Week (April 18-20) and Christmas Season. (December 24 – January 1).
However, these dates are mostly peak season, and costs are much higher.
Make sure to do your research. Which country you are visiting, if it needs a visa, finding the best accommodations, activities, and must-see places.
One of my hobbies is checking for cheap flights. I use Skyscanner to find the cheapest promos. I found roundtrips as low as 7000 Php from Manila to Seoul and even Manila to Tokyo. Sometimes, I even find flights for only 1500 Php from Manila to Taipei.
You just have to be really patient and lucky to find deals as good as this. I also highly recommend that you book at least 3 months before your desired schedule. They are usually much cheaper that way, the earlier, the better.
For activities, travel deals, transportations and so on, I would say go to Klook and Kkday. I also go to websites such as Tripadvisors and follow some of the most trusted and reliable travel blogs like The Pinay Solo Backpacker or The Poor Traveler.