Jun 24, 2017

HerTravelogue's Travel Financial Plan (Part 1)

Being someone who isn't rich, traveling is a huge luxury for me. A lot of people ask me how I manage to go so many places, my answer is always "plan it". I know it is easier to say that you need a proper planning, especially on the finance topic. I never really show anyone how I plan it and how it really works. So here it is.

Some people take the effort to save up RM10,000 for a trip. That is totally fine if you have lots of disposable income to put aside for a trip. As for me, putting that RM10k away is pretty hard because there's always emergency happen in between that I needed sort out first. So I keep the idea of sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit to plan out my trip.

In this post, I'm going to show you my ultimate travel financial plan. In summary, it is a holiday plan that:

  • Takes 9 months to realize.
  • A travel plan that comes with zero debt although some credit cards reservation is involved.
  • Takes a lot of discipline. 
  • You need a consistent income to follow this plan because you have to put your money aside every month.

Let's dive in!

This is the overview of the plan. It looks pretty easy, and the truth is... IT IS EASY! The hardest part of it is the determination to put your money aside. I would leave that to you on how to keep yourself motivated. I spread out the plan to a 9-month period. 9 months is the right length to keep your excitement and interest alive while you are saving money for the trip.

Read also: 7 Travel Tips That You Probably Never Heard Before

Here, I'm going to put my Tokyo plan in action and at the same time show you guys how it works. Notice the "Part 1" on the title? More to come as we move into the new month. So stay tuned. Now scroll down to see how we initiate the plan.

  1. First, you have to evaluate what are the necessities when it comes to travel. This is where you need to put your money on first. I figure out that plane tickets aren't cheap and it won't get any cheaper by day. If you're going to drag your time getting that plane ticket, you might never go on your trip because the price will just go up and up. By deleting your cookies and rebook again won't work like how so many travel tips have claimed. It might work in between the few hours of your research. However, if you space it out for a few days the price of tickets will go up drastically, no matter how many times you delete your cookies. For the Tokyo trip, I am digging out RM3000 for my tickets. I am hoping to score JAL, MAS, Emirates or Qatar. This is also the reason why I manage to book premium airlines - book way ahead!
  2. For the next three months, I will plan on the accommodation. What I will do is to book as much hotels as I can via Bookings.com, Agoda, Trivago or Traveloka. At the end of the third month, I will pick the one closest to all the places I'm planning to go or the one with the lowest price. You will need to take note of the date your credit card is going to be charged on. Also, only book those with zero booking charge and free cancellation. Getting penalized will cost you a lot of money which you can use for shopping. I will show that to you in the month of Sep/Oct/Nov. The RM500 per month saving is going to be the payment for the hotel. Once my credit card is billed, I will pay it. Don't leave your payment at the end of your trip because it will burden you financially with late charges and interest.
  3. For the next 5 months, I will put aside RM1000 into my saving account (untouched) for the trip. RM5000 for a one-week trip in Tokyo would be enough for me. For the Europe trip, I put aside RM1500 because I was there for a longer period and also the currency is heftier. 

Also, check out how to build your own itinerary on my old post: Step-by-step How to Create Your Travel Itinerary. 

Some of my financial planning involves during the trip itself. For example, I focus on free visiting sites to fill up my day. If the ticket is too expensive, I will find promo price or I ditch it instead. I will keep my shopping and souvenirs on the last day of the trip, so that I have plenty of cash to go about town. Besides that, I do a lot of walking on foot to save on transportation. You can check out how I build my travel itinerary to increase my walking.

For a nearer or cheaper trip, I will reduce the time to 6 months or 3 months, it depends. 9 months works out really good for me because I get to save up my annual leave at the same time. For those of you who are tied to a full-time job, this plan rocks. If you have more money to splurge on traveling, you can also use this plan for a shorter time frame.

I never believe in owing money for travel. It's ok to owe money to help others in need or to treat your own health. But not for traveling. That is why I make the plan spread out nicely for the 9-months to get me sort out everything. 

What do you think of the plan? Will you follow it? Or do you think it is too hassle to follow? Let me know in the comment.

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