Many people in the Philippines love to travel—not a strange thing, considering the beauty of this country and its people’s adventurous spirit.
However, traveling can be sometimes difficult, especially when you consider that, for many, the income remaining after taxes, bills and other expenses is minimal. I myself used to be in that situation: a large portion of my income went into paying rent and bills, and what’s left after that was spent on food, transportation and socials.
How, then, was I able to visit more than 15 places in my nearly two years of staying in the Philippines? I must admit, it was tough, but not impossible. There are many factors you need to consider before planning a trip: Is it going to be a short-term one? Will you travel alone? Will you travel to somewhere near? What other expenses are included in the trip?
Based on these, I have compiled a list of tips and tricks you can use to fund your travels with an average-paying job:
1. Pick travel dates wisely. Know the peak season of the places you’re interested to visit. Do you really need to go to Boracay for New Year’s Eve? Is Bohol a “must visit” province only during summer? Consider all these and how they can affect your whole trip. Not only would you have to spend your adventure in a packed place, you could also expect prices to surge.
2. Know the promotions. Subscribe to blogs like “Piso fare” or follow travel-oriented Facebook groups that are easy to find. Keep track of important dates (airline annual promos and anniversaries). If your budget does not allow flying to your destination, then consider exploring areas by land.
3. Learn to negotiate. This is a tough one, and sometimes that can mean the difference between an affordable trip and an expensive one. If you have issues with this, ask people in your network to teach you or join you on your trip, and listen attentively if they do. Alternatively, you can always go and practice at the local barangay wet market.
4. Travel with a group. Not only is traveling with a group easier on your pocket, but it is also much more enjoyable. You also have to consider accommodation; sharing a place can be much less expensive. Same goes for tour guides, many of whom have a fixed rate.
Also, if you have a well-organized group, you can also book a van, which can save you time and money. Do not worry if your friends have been to the place you want to visit, or if you do not know anyone who is free to go. There are plenty of Facebook groups designed for this purpose, and it is a great way to make new friends.
5. Manage your budget. Hands down, this is the most important advice, not just for traveling, but for anything that requires saving with a limited budget. Having a budget and sticking to it would not only help you get the money you need for traveling, but will also make you a more responsible adult. You need to learn to save everyday—bring food from home, avoid unnecessary spending, tone down the socials (maybe you can skip that movie?). When you do go out, try to keep expenses to a minimum.
These tips can help you satisfy your wanderlust if you have some patience and discipline when it comes to financial literacy. For those still reading this, here is an extra tip: pick places off the well-beaten path. There are many places that tourists are yet to visit or that travel agencies are yet to map. Having someone from the area you want to visit is the best way to explore that place. I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed.
Anton Bonev is a marketing consultant for MoneyMax.ph, the Philippines’ leading comparison website for insurance, credit cards, and loans. We want to help you save money through free and fair financial information. Please tweet us: @MoneyMaxPH; “like” us on Facebook: MoneyMax.ph; and e-mail your comments to email@example.com. For more information, visit www.MoneyMax.ph.