It’s always worth spending money on travel and experiences, but not so when you have to dread facing reality when you’re back from the jaunt. How to be smart when it comes to saving for and spending on memories? We asked some frequent travelers how they save and spend for trips, the savvy way:
Saving: "We just take advantage of going somewhere we can afford, and I have a Google alert set up for that. Also, because we book months in advance, our trip is paid off before we leave, because we don’t want to go into debt for travel."
Spending: "We rarely join tours. I mega research a place, from airport transfers to where to go and eat, places of interest. My husband and I watch movies and documentaries before going so we get to know a bit of the backstory before we go. And if there’s a free walking tour, we join! We plan for trips in advance, like months ahead to get a good deal. Typically, our travel destinations are based on where I get a deal. If there’s no deal, I don’t go."
Melissa, Grad Student
Saving: "I only travel when I have the extra cash and usually travel with a group of friends so we can split the costs for food, transport and rooms. If I can’t afford it, I don’t go."
Spending: "I always set a budget on what I spend for holiday expenses, but I usually end up spending less. We tap our network of friends around the world who know the ins and outs of places, local groceries, which transport apps to use, and can recommend activities and events so there’s no need for tour guides. As a working student, my priority right now is my education and to not sacrifice my daily lifestyle. I want to have enough for rent, fresh and healthy food, gym, car, health insurance. It’s better for me to make sure I’m at my healthiest so I don’t end up spending for medical costs. I plan to travel in my 30s when my income is more stable, so right now, I’m fine with the status quo."
Saving: "We set a budget for our trip and start a travel fund. We typically identify where it will be coming from, say bonuses or incentives so we don’t have to dip into our monthly cash inflow."
Spending: "Even the spending money is budgeted. We make sure to save for that in advance. Mas enjoy mag travel knowing walang babalikan na utang! Each year, my husband and I list down places we want to visit, but we want to pay for everything in cash so if we don’t have travel funds yet, we don’t book anything. We also adjust our travel list based on other major expenses for the year."
Saving: "Always save ahead, and make use of credit card points!"
Spending: "In our line of work, anything related to travel is a source of inspiration. That said, our work helps out on travel related expenses for bars and restaurants we plan to check out. Our travels are always a mix of business and pleasure. But we always have to plan for trips at least six months ahead because we can’t just leave work anytime."
Therry Dizon, Pilates Instructor
Saving: "I don’t spend as much on things now so I always have funds for trips. Of course, trips are usually planned way ahead. For major trips, I plan six months to a year ahead. I buy tickets months before, and book hotels after buying the tickets. I usually take advantage of seat sales or deals."
Spending: "When we travel as a family, it is usually a very big group. We buy tickets in advance, and look for good deals on lodging and transportation. We also started using travel WiFi services to save on roaming charges. The quote 'spend on memories not on things' has inspired me. During trips, I don’t shop like crazy. I noticed that when I shop for things I don’t plan for when abroad, I end up not using them back home. So I really just spend on food and going around."
Tanya Maria Aguila, Entrepreneur
Saving: "We do the jars system for our money, so trips would come from either our fun jar for less expensive trips or our long term savings for spending jar for more expensive trips."
Spending: "We try to set a budget per trip, including shopping. I’m quite OC when I travel, with a daily itinerary we make an effort to stick to so that we can really get the most of our days and our travel fund. We really plan ahead on which places to visit and allocate a budget for spur of the moment activities so we also don’t miss out on the fun. We usually plan 6-12 months ahead for big trips. For short trips, it’s usually 1-2 months of planning. We mostly do international trips these days to widen our perspective and also learn from our experiences abroad."
Karyn, Account Manager
Saving: "I plan for a budget and contingency after doing some research on expenses. I also look out for seat sales and get trips months away to save for life and for the trip itself."
Spending: "To meet my budget before the trip, I start cutting back, which means limiting expensive meals, drinks, and coffee. I start a shopping ban and really limit unnecessary expenditures, and hang out more at people's homes because its cheaper and relaxed, too. I have a list of places in mind that I want to go to, and start from there."