It has always been Kat de Leon a.k.a Thrifty Monkey’s dream to explore all the provinces of the Philippines. She believes there are so many majestic sites that her country has to offer, tall mountains to climb and stories from different cultures that need to be shared. This is where her passion for traveling was awakened.
Traveling has brought her to places that she has only seen on TV and magazines. She discovered that traveling isn’t just for the wealthy. An ordinary person can travel even with a limited budget. Mind you, she is just a mere employee who has an 8-5 job, but she is still able to pursue her passion for traveling. Yes, she does not earn much, and she cannot afford unpaid leaves, but she manages to travel to at least ten provinces in a year. These are some ways on planning and saving that she applies in her life that earned her the title the Thrifty Monkey:
1. Live Below Your Means
Just because you can afford to buy that elegant and pricey dress or you can dine a tenderloin steak in a fancy restaurant doesn’t mean you should. Even if you get promoted or get a raise from your job, you should keep your standard way of living the same. Instead of spending the extra money you earned, why not channel it to your savings and investments. In this way, you will be able to pursue what you really wanted to do like traveling.
2. Create a Travel Fund
The Thrifty Monkey has a separate bank account that is exclusive for her travel fund. Every month a fixed amount (Php1,000.00 to be exact) is automatically debited from her salary and transferred to her travel fund. This is an excellent way to save because you won’t need to tap your personal savings to use for your travels. Also, you can build your fund even when you are not on a trip.
3. Travel with Friends
The more, the merrier, the cheaper. It will surely be one heck of an adventure if you travel with your buddies. Not only is it more fun but it is also way less expensive. You will have someone to share the expenses and split the bills with. It is also a good idea if months before the trip, you and your friends are already saving. You can pool your funds together so that when there’s good hotel deal or if one of you was able to haggle a cheap tour package, the funds are readily available.
4. Book Flights on Sale
Flying is now made easier with the proliferation of budget airlines such as Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and Pal Express that offer low-cost flights. They often hold seat sales, commonly known as “Piso Fare,” where in you can book a flight for only Php1.00. Though there are still taxes and other fees that will be added, the total cost will still be much cheaper compared to regular fares.
Tip: It is better if you are flexible with your travel dates. The Thrifty Monkey suggests you book your flight months or even a year before your trip to be able to avail seat sales. Also, most of the time, they open their seat sale period a day or two before a holiday. So, if there’s an upcoming holiday (Labor Day, Independence Day Bonifacio Day etc., you), be ready because surely a seat sale is on the way!
5. Ditch the Expensive Hotels and Fancy Restaurants
You are just going to shower and sleep there! Instead of splurging on expensive hotel rooms why not stay in inns, backpackers hostels or local homestays and use the extra bucks you saved in the exploring the place.
Same with dining, of course, when traveling you would want to try various local cuisines. However, you can’t only find these in fancy restaurants. The best place to shop and find delicious foods is in the market. Aside from being able to haggle, you’ll get to dine with the locals and get tips about the famous attractions, food, drinks, and the way of living in their place.
6. Make an Awesome-Budget-Friendly Itinerary
The Thrifty Monkey loves making itineraries. She is so obsessive-compulsive about it that even though her trip is still a year away, she has already prepared an itinerary for it. She prefers doing DIY trips rather than getting tour packages as they are cheaper. Like her, you can also make a budget-friendly itinerary where in you don’t have to spend much to enjoy a wide array of exciting experiences.
The internet is a powerful tool where you can get a vast amount of information on the places you want to see. There are many travel blogs that provide DIY guides that you can copy and tweak. They offer various advice on where to eat, what hotel to book, where to go etc. These blogs will also give you an idea how much you will need for the trip.
Traveling need not be very expensive. Everyone can be a Thrifty Monkey. You just have to be resourceful and be smart with your money to enjoy and acquire excellent adventures.
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