TRAVELING is one of man’s greatest privileges. It's a chance to be exposed to the ways of the world and to marvel at its beauty with your own eyes. It’s been said that traveling is the only expense in the world that makes you richer. But let's face it: it isn't exactly cheap either.
When traveling, especially to other countries, the list of expenses can grow quite long: airfare, lodging, food, travel insurance, entrance fees to attractions, and so on. So you usually ask yourself, "Can I afford to travel?" when wanting to go on a trip. But even with this nagging question, I’ll convince you anyway with these helpful ways to make you say, "Yes, I can!"
1. Traveling is not a competition.
You probably have friends on Facebook who travel to new places every month. It's natural to feel envious, but always remember that traveling is not a competition. There is no ongoing race to reach the most number of destinations. Travelling is all about seeing the world, experiencing another culture, and learning in the process, and not about getting likes on social media.
2. Set your goals and stick to it.
If you want to travel but are currently “livin la vida broka,” you should set goals first. Ask yourself these questions: which places do I want to visit and why? How much should my budget be?
I’m sure that you have a long list of places that you want to visit, but asking yourself why you need to see them will help you narrow down your choices. When setting a budget, include as well the steps you need to follow to produce it. And always remember the most important thing when setting goals: Sticking to them.
3. Plan your trip according to your budget.
When going on a trip, always aim to maximize your time and budget. Do some heavy research about the place you’re visiting, map out your itineraries (Google Maps is efficient) and see if you can group certain attractions according to location. Determine as well if you can just walk to some areas instead of taking public transport. You save money and you get to exercise, too!
Most of the time, your destination already has information on public transportation fare and entrance fees available on the Internet. Use them so you can plan your budget properly. When it comes to food, set a certain amount per meal. Or you can just choose small snacks on the first few days of the trip and then treat yourself to a huge buffet towards the end.
4. Save up.
Once you’ve set the budget, the next crucial step (and the toughest) is to save up for it. To do so, give yourself a timeframe. Set the date for your travel and your deadline for coming up with the budget.
Have you heard of the 70-30 rule when it comes to your income? They say that you should spend 70 percent of your salary on daily expenses and save or invest the other 30 percent. Since you're preparing for a trip, maybe you can do 70-20-10 instead, where the 10 percent goes to your "travel fund."
You can also take freelance gigs on the side. Check out websites where tons of employers across the globe are looking for people who can work part-time. Or if you have some items at home that you don’t use anymore like old clothes, gadgets, and books, they could fetch good prices online.
When saving, the temptations like mall sales, the latest clothing trends, and your favorite but pricey Frappuccino will be pretty hard to resist. It's going to be tough, but it will surely be worth it in the end. Remember that what makes every plan succeed is the conviction to make it a success –the same thought applies when saving up for that dream vacation.
5. Enjoy your trip as if it's the last.
You'll never know when you’ll be able to travel again, so let go of your inhibitions and enjoy every minute of it. Don’t rush once you get there. Take your time when exploring and just soak up the surroundings. Do fun things that won’t require you to spend money like taking photos of the landmarks and talking to the locals about the place. Traveling may be costly, but with proper planning, goal-setting, and budgeting, the rewards are bound to be priceless.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on November 22, 2016.
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