Either you have lots of savings or you're simply rich. That's, more or less, what my friends tell me every time they learn that I'm going some place or have been somewhere. Fact of the matter is, neither is true. I have little to no savings (not proud to say that) and I'm born rat poor (not ashamed to declare), true story, not an exaggeration. So given the fact that I'm not financially gifted so to speak, you might be wondering how I am able to fund my wanderlust. The answer doesn't come as easy as reciting the ABC. Lots of factor come into play, a few sacrifices have to be made and determination is the key.
So what's the secret? You must have seen that cute movie featuring a funny panda named Po who loves to eat. Kung Fu Panda's the title, rings a bell I'm sure. No, that's not the secret but remember the word of wisdom that his hardworking goose father told him - there is no secret ingredient. Po was tricked into believing that there's some sort of secret that he had to unravel for him to become a hero. Turned out, he just needed to train and work hard so he could beat their greatest nemesis.
|Dumaguete - January 2012|
You're getting verbose, quit beating around the bush and get to the point. Well, that, I think, is a good analogy for my point. And my point is, you need to have a strong resolve and work hard for you to be able to travel. By 'work hard', I don't just mean working your ass off 7 days a week in your day job, doing OTs as necessary, I also mean finding other means to fund your travels. Let's face it, unless you're a big shot earner or boss of your own company, sustaining quite an expensive hobby as traveling can be completely challenging as far as money is concerned.
But you can be a frugal traveler. Ever heard of that crazy dude who traveled around the country on a ridiculously small budget? I have, as a matter of fact and it's very inspiring (high praises for the guy) but let's admit it, not a lot of people will do such an exciting stunt. For an average Joe who needs to get rid of that stubborn itch in his soles, to be frugal is one thing and to be extremely adventurous is a different story. If you're aiming to be the world's greatest budget traveler, you can be an extreme cheapskate as you want. But we all know, despite the sound claims of hardcore budget conscious globetrotters, traveling is not cheap and can be a lucrative hobby.
How do you do it then? I maintain a squirrel fund. It's some sort of a savings fund that I set aside for my travel. Every cut-off, a specific amount from my salary automatically goes directly to that account. It's not much but a penny every 15 days makes the savings okay. Not sure if all banks have this feature. It's available in BPI - Save-up option that lets you set aside a portion of your income.
I don't think that's enough. Any other options? Hell, yeah. Lots of viable and working options if you ask me and if you ask advice from more seasoned travelers out there. Let me list down a few ways to augment your travel fund so next time you plan on your trip, money problem will be a bump no more.
|Palawan - June 2012|
A. Do online and freelance jobs. Odesk, Essays.ph and Elance are some of credible online companies that let you earn. Odesk and Elance have plethora of jobs available for anyone who wants to make a few bucks by doing projects such as writing articles, doing graphics or transcribing audios. Essays.ph is a local hub for writers who like to earn through essay writing. Just be cautious in accepting job offers since some people have been ripped off by a few employers.
B. Blog. You can earn by blogging. That's a fact. It's not just an online platform to express ideas, it can now be a source of income. Earning by blogging isn't that easy though. You can't make money overnight. You need to spend some time creating original contents. If you want to make your blog successful, you have to write, write and write. There's no other way around it.
Once you have established a good number of followers, you can start inserting ads on your site. That's where money will start. You can also accept paid reviews. SocialSpark for instance is a good venue for blog monetization. You just need to have a blog/site that's 90 days old, more than 20 posts written in English. If your blog qualifies, you can go to this page and apply. Each opportunity can let you earn from 10-50 dollars depending on your page rank.
|Cagayan de Oro - August 2011|
C. Be a mystery shopper. How cool is it to evaluate a product or a shop then getting paid after submitting your feedback? Awesome cool. What is mystery shopping anyway? Mystery shopping, as defined by Wikipedia, is a tool used externally by market research companies or watchdog organizations or internally by companies themselves to measure quality of service or compliance to regulation, or to gather specific information about products and services. Assignments of a mystery shopper involve reviewing a product or service. If you want to be a mystery shopper, you need to have a good memory, be a keen observer and have excellent acting skills. Some mystery shopping sites that I know: GAP and BARE International. Who knows, some of these mystery shops can score you a free round-trip to a local destination.
D. Sell some stuff you don't need like books, clothes, toys, etc, on eBay or Sulit. It's extra income and you get to chuck away your 'garbage.' Selling on eBay is easy. You just need to create an account then list your items. Your buyers can pay through bank transfer, wire transfer or COD (Cash on delivery). Go to eBay's Selling basics page to understand the how-to's and do's.
Anything else? If none of the above suggestions work for you, then you can perhaps try some budget tips below to stretch your funds. Most of these entail sacrifice and a good deal of determination. I told you in the beginning that determination is the key.
A. Avoid dining out, bring packed lunch. You'll barely save if you eat at fast food chains like McDonald's and Jollibee every day. Some meals may look cheap (Chicken Fillet at McDonald's is only Php50.00) but you don't really eat the same menu every day for 5 consecutive days, right? Buy your own groceries instead and save. It will do wonders in your savings, guaranteed.
|Camotes Island with friends - September 2011|
B. Book plane tickets in advance, watch out for seat sales. You're nuts if you're shaking your head in disagreement. I wouldn't have been able to go to the places I've gone to without these seat sales. They're definitely a blessing. Although it's now painfully difficult to get a dirt cheap airfare, you can still grab an affordable one every once in a while. Subscribe to airline companies' newsletter for promo updates.
C. Save. I cannot emphasize the value and importance of saving without repeating it. That's your best bet.
This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival for June 2012 with the theme "How to Fund Your Wanderlust" hosted by James Betia of Journeying James.
For previous PTB Blog Carnival topics, click here.