— travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams —

travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams

In Travel Fund 101, we talked about distinguishing between needs, wants, and want-mores as the key to making your fledgling travel fund grow.

I hear you: it’s not easy giving up life’s little pleasures. The first time you give up coffee for your “Barcelona Fund” will probably go okay; the second time, not so much; the third time, you’ll probably start asking yourself, “Is it really worth it?” By the tenth time — if you even reach the tenth time — you will probably hate Barcelona. Instant gratification is always so, well, gratifying, that it will take iron will to save up for a travel dream. I know people who can discipline themselves that way, but most of us (me included) can’t.



You know what?

Don’t save up.

Don’t save up in the usual sense anyway. Don’t keep a piggy bank and drop the coins you save, little by little, day by day, from not having coffee or not going to the latest movie.

Instead, pretend you never had that money in the first place.


This formula is sometimes referred to as the “golden rule” of saving. It means, basically, that you should set aside a certain amount for savings first and use what’s left for your expenses — tailoring, therefore, your expenses to the amount of money left after saving — instead of spending and spending and allocating what’s left, if any, to your savings.

To beef up your travel fund, just tweak that formula a bit:


Set aside an amount for savings and for your travel fund first, then divvy up the rest for your expenses. This way it will hurt only once, and not every time you say no to that overpriced cup of coffee. If your bank has an automatic save-up feature (BPI, for example) you can use that — the bank will automatically divert an amount of your choice to a separate account, you won’t have to regularly exert willpower to do it yourself, and you’ll have the added benefit of watching your travel fund grow online. (It’s its own caffeine-high, trust me.) You will feel the brunt of having less spending money in the first month or so, but you’ll get used to it fast.


This is actually what I did to save up for my trip. One day I thought, “what the heck, let’s do it,” and set aside a full one-third of my monthly salary. (One-third is high, I know, but when I thought about it, I realized I really only had a few actual needs, as opposed to nice-to-haves.) I can’t count the number of times I fretted over having “no money” — tingbitay comes early when you do forced savings — but my travel fund grew, slowly but surely, such that when KLM tickets to Amsterdam went on sale, I was able to snap up a couple.

And, yes, it was worth it. Absolutely.

Travel Fund 102: The Golden Rule” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.

30 Responses

    1. No problem at all. 🙂 We bought our KLM tickets for USD 888, which I thought was a pretty good deal since their tickets are usually upwards of USD 1100. It turns out that China Eastern (or was it Southern…?) offers those sale prices as regular fares, but I only found this out now hehe. And no regrets flying with KLM as the flight in general was pretty good. I hope that helps. 🙂

  1. Hi! Many thanks to your advises 🙂 But I’m just wondering, are you a Cebuana? Cause I read the word ”’tingbitay” which we usually use with my friends since whenever have no more money. Hahaha. It just makes me reminds me of them.

      1. wow good! hahaha. nindota naay kaila ngari oyy, bisag not really kaila basta ky makasinbaot ra, di ko maglisud ug english2 🙂 Asa pud dapit inyu girl ba? Hehe Pa FC kayoo ko ba, sensya. na amaze lang ko nga naa pud diay cebuana akong makaila dre 🙂

      2. Lage2 lingaw jud haha. Pero first time pman ni nako jud gd. Di mn sya ingon nga first time jud peru puro ra try2 gud para makat’on ning akong blog2 gud haha. Sige tryan nia nako peru basig di pa karon 🙂

  2. We almost have the same formula there. Ours is income – bills – savings – travel fund = disposable expenses.
    We are also trying to get extra gigs/other extra work to go directly to our travel fund. It takes time getting used to it, but we are getting there. With a partner like mine who is so kuripot with our expenses (yes, that’s sweetie Gian), he devotes a big chunk of his income to our travel fund.

  3. My ultimate dream is to fly to London! Will 100k be enough? I don’t think I’ll be able to save 5k in a week.. so I’m going for the two year goal of saving a 100k for my London trip. But this is really a good one! 🙂 Annnd I don’t think I can be as kuripot as that, I’m still learning the art of saving. :p

  4. I’m not sure if my comment made it to your dash. But anyway, I love your idea of saving 100k, but I found it too big for me in a weekly basis. I really love to go to London so I have a two-year saving plan for it. Is 100K enough to go there? Like to cover everything? And I don’t think I can be this “kuripot”. I’m still learning the art of saving too. 🙂

    1. Hi Kim! Sorry for the late reply, just turned on my computer. 🙂 I haven’t been to London yet (though I’m really really hoping to go soon) and I hear it’s an expensive city but I think 100k is a reasonable budget naman. Airfare will be the biggest expense so be on the lookout for sales; hotels tend to be expensive din, but there are dorm-type accommodations that won’t break the bank. The nice thing about London is there are a lot of free attractions like museums and parks. I’m planning to research on a London budget soon — will share it on the blog when it’s done. 🙂 I love your blog by the way.

      1. You can try airbnb too. I’ve checked out some place there and starts at 1200php, not bad given London is an expensive place. I’ll wait for your London budget post. I just love everything London-ish sooo I’ll definitely check that out! 😀

  5. Hi Gaya, I love your blog:) I’m a regular employee earning less than 20k a month, but was able to travel in almost 20 countries in Asia. But last year my visa was denied by Australian Embassy and prior to that by NZ embassy. There reason?… I wasnt earning that much that it is possible for me not to return here and seek emplyment in their country. ( both these embassy, outsourced their visa processing and our visa application was reviewed by Filipinos on what they call visa decision maker. ) they still refused my application even that it is evident on my passport that I regularly travel outside the country, that I have enough money for 7 days in Sydney (more than P100k in bank cert). Because of this I already doubted my capacity to travel and to put my passport on the pit of my closet. But because of your travel blog it seems that the travel bug bit me again. Thank you and more power! #keepinspiring

    1. Hi Ghee-ay, thank you very much for your message! I’m glad I was able to inspire you, even just a little bit, to keep traveling. For what it’s worth, I got denied during my very first visa interview — with the US embassy — and I felt such a sense of failure then! I wrote about that here:

      My next visa interview experience was with the French embassy and I can’t even begin to describe how nervous I was. I think it was a plus point for me that I was traveling with my sister, who (unlike me then) had been to countries outside of Asia. Even now I still get scared during visa interviews because so much is on the line, and also because I hate being judged so superficially.

      Ang haba na ng reply ko!! Haha. Basta, don’t let those setbacks with Australia and NZ keep you from traveling. Here’s hoping all your future visa applications will be successful! Happy travels! 🙂

  6. Thanks Gaya, nakakainis lang kasi kapwa Pinoy yung magdeny ng application ko 🙁 that why Im thinking what if Aussie or Kiwi ung nagreview ng application ko would the result be the same?. My visa application to Japan and Korea (visit these countries more than 5x) was reviewed for sure by their national. Always approved naman. I was thinking nga na kung magti TNT ako Id rather choose these 2 countries eh. Bilang mahilig naman ako sa Anime at KNovelas :)… And at par din naman un sweldo sa countries na to sa sweldo ng mga OZ at kiwis… Well… Life goes on 🙂 looking forward to my Turkey and Russia tour this November…kahit Manila-Dubai-Manila palang ticket ko…

    1. Alam mo, yun din ang napansin ko, mas nag-ja-judge pa yung mga Pinoy sa kapwa Pinoy. Mostly cool lang naman yung mga puti, at least from my experience. Yung Immigration din dito sa ‘tin, sometimes over ang scrutiny. One time papunta ako ng Macau, grabe ang questions ng IO. I was thinking: sa lahat ba naman ng pwedeng pag-TNT-han, Macau ba talaga pipiliin ko?? 😀

      Anyway…wow! Turkey and Russia sounds awesome. May blog ka ba? If wala pa, start ka na! I’d love to read about your adventures ‘dun. 🙂

  7. Hahaha… I just finished to read your US Visa blog and I was surprised na pinoy din ang nagdeny sa’yo 🙂 you have to think twice pag nag apply ka ng OZ at NZ visa for sure pinoy ang magri review ng visa mo :p lol So far wala pa naman akong nai encounter na masungit na IO.

    Wala akong blog. I tried to make one pero nung sinusulat ko yung first entry ko. Wala akong maisulat… Hahaha.

  8. I loveyour blogs about travels! Its my first time to join such… Di man ko hilig magsuwat suwat gud … But i enjoyed reading it , and hopefully will be able to share my travel experiences as well!!

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