Wanderlust can hit you like a truck at the most unexpected moments. One minute, you’re sitting in your cubicle, typing up a report and answering emails, and the next, you’re daydreaming about Japan. And if you’re anything like me, there’s no satisfying that itch until you’ve booked your flight and packed your bags.
Feeding your wanderlust can be costly, but it’s worth it. Travel is enriching. But it doesn’t have to be some far-off, unrealistic daydream that’s only an option for those who can afford it. Like anything that matters, this lifestyle requires a lot of commitment and a few sacrifices, but it’s well within your reach.
Make time and save for traveling, and try not to go and spend for it on a whim. Here’s how you can be pragmatic about your jet setting ways.
(1) Make travel a commitment
Travel can be costly and meticulous, and comes with its own set of challenges. As thrilling as it is to be spontaneous with your adventures, it’s tough to approach it haphazardly or half-heartedly. It’s going to have to be one of your top priorities, where you’ll be spending as much time planning out your next stop as calculating your monthly taxable income. Keep yourself motivated by having a scratch map or a travel journal to document your journeys as well as future escapes. If you simply don’t have the means to make travel your utmost priority, then maybe re-evaluate where you are right now in life, and compromise with traveling occasionally.
(2) Make a bucket list
Write down all the places you’re aching to see, indiscriminately, whether it’s completely beyond your means or within it. And when you’re done, assess — how many countries do you want to visit in a year? Which places should you travel to first, and which can you save for a big splurge later on? Before going for the big leagues, like Paris or Tuscany, start small by exploring Southeast Asian territories first, like the good ol’ Philippines.
(3) Crunch numbers
Next, consider your income. How much of your monthly salary should you spend on travel? The exact amount is really up to how much you’re willing to spend on travel. Some extreme travel junkies saved up to 75% of their income on travel alone. That means they lived off only 25% of their salaries when they weren’t traveling, and undoubtedly, “it was hard.” Try, instead a more pragmatic 50-30-20 rule, or any variation of the ratios that works for you, where 50% is spent on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on future savings. If your sole want is travel, then you’re going to give up other superfluous wants, like cable TV or magazine subscriptions. Hey, no one said it would be easy.
(4) Plan ahead
One rule of thumb when it comes to travel is to plan ahead — way ahead. Flights are cheaper if you’ve booked them at least 8 months in advance. You would be surprised how much you can save with enough foresight. If you give yourself enough time, you’ll also be able to scope out the best deals, and take your time planning your itinerary. That way, you’ll be able to make the most of your adventures, and in the end, come out richer. But don’t think there’s no room for spontaneity. There are certain areas with a lot of wiggle room.
(5) Look for the best deals
Never settle for full price. There are tons of ways to get awesome deals out there, like collecting mileage and earning points through credit cards. You’d be surprised how much this can actually save you in the long run. Plus, BDO has this promo called Travel Now Pay Later where they offer 0% installment on your travels for the first six months. This is pretty fantastic especially for travel vultures who are always on the look out for limited offer discounted rates. So even if you can’t dip into your savings just yet, these deals are still available to you.
This story was first published in Rappler.com, a Manila-based social news network where stories inspire community engagement and digitally fuelled actions for social change.