Save for a trip to Europe in 1 year

if we wait until we're ready we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives

I went on my first trip to Europe with a Nokia 1110 in my pocket.

It’s a story I’m fond of repeating, especially when people tell me they wish they can afford to travel. To be honest, most of the people who say that to me actually can afford to travel. Most of you reading this can afford it — some of you not right away perhaps, but within the next few months or years — if you want it badly enough that you’re willing to make saving for it a priority.

Nokia1110In the case of my first European trip, I worked out a ridiculously intense savings system that left me practically penniless the day after pay day. No more eating out, no more coffee dates, no more new shoes…and definitely no fancy phones. It was tough forgoing those little things that were my reward to myself for working hard, but eventually that’s how, on the very week the fifth generation iPhone was released, I was in Paris with a humble 4-year-old Nokia 1110 in my pocket. (I held on to it for 2 more years too.)

This year, I’m going into extreme savings mode again. I’m hoping to be able to save enough to take my entire family on a nice trip next year. It will mean drastically cutting back on travel and other non-essentials this year, but I think it will be worth it.

Care to join me on my savings journey?

Below is the blueprint I’m using to save PHP 100,000 in one year. It’s a weekly savings plan — the amount to be saved each week is in the middle column, while the right-hand column will tell you how much savings you’ll have accumulated per week. There are 5 “cheat weeks” which you can move around where you like. The amounts to be saved descend in value each week. That means the first month will be bloody — in fact, I’m using two of my cheat weeks this January alone! — but come December the savings amounts will be much, much more manageable.

And since, as the photo that opened this post says, if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives…

We start today.

2016 savings blueprint

Click here for a printable PDF version.

If the amounts here are just downright impossible for you at the moment, you can opt to cut the savings amounts in half to save PHP50,000 in 1 year, or even move the amounts back one decimal place to save PHP10,000 by the end of December. Make a realistic assessment of your finances, but prepare to push yourself and make some sacrifices. As they say, if your dreams don’t scare you — if they don’t make you ask yourself WTF you think you’re doing — they probably aren’t big enough. Dream big. I know I will.

Good luck to us! 🙂


© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. 


More info:

featured posts

How much would a European trip cost?

How to get a Schengen visa at the French embassy

How to get a UK visa in Cebu

How to get a Schengen visa at the Netherlands embassy

How to get a Schengen visa at the Norway Visa Application Center in Cebu

Batanes FAQs

How much would a trip to Batanes cost?




If you like Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains or found any of the articles here helpful, please consider helping us out — at absolutely no extra cost to you — by booking accommodations for your future trips at (← use this link) or through the Search box below:



small-town girl travel_you can do it too

Enter your email address to subscribe to Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains.

29 thoughts on “Save for a trip to Europe in 1 year”

  • Hmm…… I have two thoughts that come to mind here. I. You must make a lot of money to be able to save 5000 dollars a week. 2. Do you really need 100,000 to take a “nice” vacation? I am with you on not waiting FOREVER to take a vacation. I have travelled for twenty years, had a great time, went to wonderful places, and never had to save so much to do it! You must have a big family! Tell them to start saving as well! I will stay posted as this fascinates me! Good Luck!

    • Lol. No, I’m sorry to say I don’t earn enough to save 5000 dollars a week. I did mention in the text that I’m trying to save PHP 100,000 for the whole year — PHP is Philippine pesos, and PHP 100,000 is just a little over 2000 USD — but I know stuff in the text can be easily overlooked.

  • WTG SGMT! I know you can do it. Life is all about priorities. Most people could do it if they wanted it badly enough.
    Happy New Year – may it bring all you could wish for.

    • Thank you. It’s just…you never know what’s going to happen. Like, I tried to get my dad to come with me to Japan and he declined because he figured I’d be doing a lot of walking and he didn’t think his knees would be up to it. I want to take my parents somewhere nice while they can still enjoy it.

      • Goodluck! But i cant help but wish you’ve tried harder to persuade your dad to go to Japan with you. I took my 76-year-old dad to Japan last year and he loves it. I’m sure your dad will love it too. We just have to make a few adjustments to the itinerary.

      • Thanks Jas! I’d love to take them all to Japan too, I think my dad would be easier to persuade if my mum and the rest of the fam were coming as well.

      • I get that & it’s just lovely you’re trying to work something out you can all do together and enjoy. It’s hard to watch parents get older that way. Several years ago my Mom and I went to Boston & Salem together and she was pretty slow and couldn’t walk to much (bc of arthritis and other chronic pain/illness unfortunately) but we found ways around it mostly by riding the hop on hop off bus in Boston and taking the trolley around Salem and taking breaks. I feel so bad. If I won the lottery I’d take her to China and tell her to go as slowly as she pleases.
        Did you decide where you’d like to take your family? Does your Dad know about your amazing plan?

      • I hope you win the lottery! Has your mom always wanted to go to China? It would be really great if you do go, one of these days, I would be super super happy for you.

        We don’t have an itinerary or anything yet, but I would love to take my parents to Rome, I think they would like seeing the Pope and all that. When Pope Francis was in Manila, they were kind of…well, they didn’t say it out loud, but I could tell if we lived in Manila, they’d have been out in the streets to catch a glimpse of him too. And my mom is always saying “oh, don’t bother” whenever my sister and I bring up the idea of taking a trip together, but just a week ago, when we mentioned Rome, she seemed interested.

      • My Mom has always been interested in China. She’s read and collected Chinese novels, history, art ect since I was little. She use to take us to see Chinese antique and artifact exhibits at museums and I remember once she flew us to Cleveland for the night for a special exhibit on tour. We went to the tour the Yin Yu Tang house in Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum on that Salem/Boston trip and it was seriously such a thrill and highlight for her. I’m probably overdoing it now explaining how much she’s interested in Chinese culture but she really really is! I don’t think we’ll ever go together for various reasons and I wish I could’ve planned something several years ago but oh-well.

        Rome would be so amazing for a family trip especially since your Mom seemed interested in the idea and your parents would like to see the Pope! I totally understand because my parents went to see Pope John Paull II a million years ago and they’d definitely go see Pope Francis if they had a chance.
        Luckily in my mother’s younger years she traveled extensively through Europe but I wish I could figure out a way to send her comfortable to China or at the very least get us to one of the traveling Terracotta warrior exhibits at a museum here or in Canada.
        Anyway, thanks for letting talk sooo long about this!!

      • It’s so cool that your mom is interested in stuff like that! And I’m glad she got the chance to travel a lot when she was younger. I don’t remember if she’s the one that has Irish family or your dad? Anyway, whether it’s an actual trip to China or a traveling Chinese exhibit, I hope something wonderful is in store for her in the near future!

      • My mom’s parents were from county Mayo in the west of Ireland and my father’s father was from either Armagh or Tyrone in Northern Ireland. I don’t know very much about my father’s mom but she’s possibly from somewhere in the south there. My mom and her sister did a lot of traveling during college and graduate school.When I was younger I was interested in Egyptology and I still try to go to any special exhibits near here or Toronto. I love mummies!!! How about you….were you always fascinated by a particular place, culture or history? Would that be Scotland maybe?

      • You know…I can’t say there was any one place or culture I was REALLY interested in when I was younger. It mostly depended on whatever I was reading at the moment. Like I read a lot of Nancy Drew when I was in grade school, and she was always going to these places, like France and Spain and Japan, and she could speak at least a little of the language of wherever she went (even Quechua!) so that was really interesting, but I never really thought I would be able to go to these places, I always thought traveling to Europe or America was something only rich people would be able to do.

  • i love to.. id like like to know if 100k for how many days? including airfare,meals and accomodation? ill start saving 🙂

  • You’re my inspiration gyud ate. I will print this out for daily reminder. Save save save! 🙂 Good luck to us.

  • I’m doing a variation of this (the 52-week challenge) which ideally yields 68,900 by the last week of December. I will be depositing my company bonus and my 13th month in whole to hopefully make it to 100,000.

    • Nice!! Where do you plan to go?

      I love the look of your blog, by the way! I love how it looks so clean. And I read what you wrote about 2015 having been a good year for you — I hope the coming years will be wonderful for you as well. 🙂

      • Thanks for visiting my blog! I want to spend a month in Scandinavia by next year. My company is based in Sweden so I work with a handful of them. Might be nice to meet some of them in person.

        2015 was really great, pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone. I wish a great year to you as well!

  • I’ve always dreamt of going to Paris, but shrugged it off my list as I thought, I’d never afford to do so. I was actually searching for DIY tours for Batanes which led me to reading your blog about your Batanes tour. I’m thankful something got me lurking in your blog posts and led me here. Now, more than ever, I’m more determined to pursue that Paris trip.

    Thank you. 🙂

    • Yay, I’m so happy to hear that! I always thought it was impossible too. Good luck with both Batanes and Paris and all your other dreams. 🙂

Share your thoughts!