One of my resolutions last year was to embark on more travels for this present year. I got my taste of solo travel during my brief unemployment period and I plan to continue that. However, my pocket isn’t cooperating very well! So with thorough research, I was lucky to have found a number of means to finance and save costs for more trips to come. Sharing with you here the awesome ways I found.
1. TRAVEL FUND
Having a separate bank account solely for travel expenses is the first thing that came to my mind. I usually put at least PHP 2,000 here every payday. I know it isn’t much, but it’s a good start. This way, I know how much money I have, if I have any. I can plan my trips with confidence and know exactly the duration, accommodation, food, tours, and activities that my money would allow.
Couchsurfing is a social networking and hospitality exchange website where locals host travelers for FREE. Hosts can offer a spare room, an entire house, or even just a couch; thus the name of the platform. Travelers of course, should just make do with whatever is offered, no room for high-maintenance people here. Book a hotel if you wish. Sometimes, people look for travel buddies here. A lot has been written about this site; my favorite travel bloggers make use of this site all the time. It is a venue to save costs on accommodation, food, and tours. Ultimately, it is where people find new friends all over the world!
I know safety is an issue here, but you wouldn’t know for sure unless you try, right? Next month, I have a trip to Davao and it will be my first time to try this platform! Pray for me!
Fast forward to one month, read about how my first Couchsurfing experience went here.
I was fortunate to have been invited to check out ShopBack Philippines, a cashback website well-known in Singapore and Malaysia, and is now in the Philippines! It is an online site that features various merchants and allows users to have extra savings in every purchase. It makes use of a cashback rewards program wherein a part of the amount you bought will be credited back to your ShopBack account when you purchase using the website. Again, you have to buy through the website to be eligible for the cashback program.
They have hundreds of merchants in store. The categories they have are Fashion, Food and Beverage, Electronics, Lifestyle, and of course, Travel. One irresistible deal they have right now is a PHP 500 cashback on Agoda for accommodation and 8.0% cashback on Expedia for transportation costs. Amazing, isn’t it?
4. EXCHANGE PROGRAMS
Like couchsurfing, platforms like World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and World Packers provide free accommodation for travelers. These are exchange programs though, you would have to swap your skills for a place to stay. Skills could be anything; washing clothes, teaching a language, cleaning the house, things like that. With WWOOF, it would be more on farm work so if you are someone who enjoys nature, this could be for you. After doing your tasks, you can then roam around and get a feel of the community you are in.Again, accommodation is the only thing that is free here, and sometimes food, depending on the host. You would have to shoulder the flight expenses. The wonderful thing about these programs is that you get to be live in the place like a local, not a tourist. It goes beyond the overrated attractions and Instagram-worthy shots.
I’ve also found out that there are volunteer programs wherein you can tie up with nonprofit organizations to go to different places and do some heroic activities there. However, these volunteer and exchange programs are not for everybody. Most people who sign up for them are in long-term travels. I am not yet at that stage that I want to be away for a long time from my family and my source of living so let’s keep it in a non-complex state, shall we?
Except for option number 4, I find all these tactics mentioned above as very useful and timely. With these brilliant strategies, there’s no stopping a travel-filled future ahead of me.