I have to admit – travelling and saving don’t belong in the same arena. You’re out on a vacation. Why worry about money when you can just figure it out as soon as you get home, right?

Well, that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

When I was still younger, I never really paid attention on the expenses or even how much the hotel room costs per night. I’m with my parents so all I care about is how to enjoy my stay. Now that I have my own family and visiting new places has been part of our yearly tradition, I realized how each cent counts. Of course, food and hotel rooms are non-negotiable and we want our stay to be as comfortable and pleasant as possible. So, my husband and I posed a challenge on ourselves as to how we can still save despite being on vacation.

Here’s what we did:

Photo by Tax Credits, Creative Commons, Flickr

Photo by Tax Credits, Creative Commons, Flickr

1. Set aside. My husband and dad are advocates of this whole set aside – money thing. So before we left for our trip to Baguio, we already allocated our “vacation money” to its corresponding expenses. This means that in our P30,000 pocket money, we already set aside the payment for hotel room (P11,200 for two nights) and toll fees (roughly P1,200). So, we’re left with P17,600.00, which we can spend on food and other expenses.

Still, this doesn’t mean we have to spend the entire amount. What was left must still be spent wisely.

2. The power of “instant food.” Don’t get me wrong. I am not an advocate of anything instant especially on food. Still, there are instances when instant food and drinks are acceptable. Every time we travel, 3-in-1 coffee, cup noodles and snacks are always given a spot in the luggage. At least when one of us gets hungry in the middle of the night and room service is only up to 10PM, we can munch on something.

3. Refrain from using credit card.  I am a firm believer of not spending on something you don’t have – yet. If you have been reading my money tips, you will notice that I don’t advocate the use of credit card. Well, it’s okay to use one as long as you pay the full amount after or you have cash at home – it’s just that you don’t want to bring the entire amount especially when travelling.

What I like about using cash when on vacation is that I can check whether I’m spending too much already. By using cash, I can easily track how much I’ve spent and control myself from spending on something unnecessary.

4. Watch what you spend on. I know, this is easier said than done. But come on mommies. Unless you don’t pay attention to where your money is going, you will end up spending more than what you can afford. That is now how it goes. If it’s possible to collect receipts or even jot down how much you spent on this and that, then better. This way, you’ll know which areas you can budget or stay away from.

5. Choose “pasalubongs” wisely, in case you decide to buy.  That’s the thing with Filipinos. Every time we visit a place, we always make sure to buy small tokens for our friends and relatives back home. When it comes to pasalubong, shirts and key chains will always be a crowd favorite. A lot of our friends who go out of the country give us key chains, so you can imagine how many we have at home. Haha!

When it comes to buying pasalubong, we always make sure that we still give something that is within the budget and can only be found and bought in that place. This way, giving something is more meaningful, plus, you know that what you gave won’t go wasted.

6. Bring your own water. Water is our best friend. And it has been a cardinal rule to always bring (lots) of water every time we travel. Sure, hotels have complimentary water bottles but it will never be enough for us. And if you buy one, most establishments charge you with a higher price. It may not seem a lot but bringing your own water can still help you save few pesos, which is not bad.

My husband would always say, “travelling is a luxury.” That’s true. If you can afford to travel, then that’s great. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on three to four nights of stay away from home. Remember, living in debt is never cool. And even when travelling, learn to spend money wisely.