Monday, November 21, 2011

How To Budget For a Europe Trip

Back in 2009, I was already doing pretty well with my finances – I think. I had an emergency fund set up, I'm investing my savings and I had no debts except for the current balance of my credit card. I was just occasionally splurging on a pair of shoes and what-nots. I didn’t have a sideline. Everything will come from my salary (getting a sideline didn't appeal to me). Time to have a concrete plan how Europe 2011 will happen. It will be quite expensive.

We can all use one of these excuses not to pursue an expensive plan:

“I don’t earn THAT much.”
“I can’t take a vacation that long.”
“My boyfriend/mother/father/boss won’t allow me. “
“I’d rather spend that money in a used car.”
“My family needs that money.”
“I can use those funds for my future wedding.”
“I can use that money to start my own business.”
“I can use that money to get a graduate degree to multiply my market potential.”
“Spending that much on myself? That’s really selfish. “

Kung gusto mo, maraming paraan. Kung ayaw mo, maraming dahilan.

Just because it will be difficult doesn’t mean we have to stop dreaming about it. This is my dream. I’m choosing to spend my money that I saved for over a year and flushing it to a trip that will take three weeks long. Walang basagan ng trip!

I dreamed. I planned. I saved. It happened. :)

Funding Plan

The excel is very simple actually:


USD Target




Php Target:




No. Of “pays/bonuses” left





13th month pay














January 15, 2010 Payday



January 30, 2010 Payday



Christmas Bonus


You can tweak it any way you want.

Some pointers in creating your budget:
  • It is up to you to set the USD amount. It was my choice to use USD 5,000. I read the tales of other travellers from forums and blogs that you can actually get this down to USD 3,500. Of course, that is still dependent on how you travel and your itinerary. Don’t rely on my computation. Do your own research.
  • Be realistic. You may have a humungous amount of net pay and you can probably save this amount in a matter of months. But are you willing to live like a pauper? Can you impose a travel/movie/gimmick ban upon yourself? I cannot. I chose to live realistically and just save bit by bit over a longer period.
  • You can “ease” up on your saving during your birthday month and the Christmas season. To be conservative, exclude income during these months in your funding plan. ‘Lest you are okay being a kuripot birthday celebrant or a kuripot ninong/ninang.
  • Budget the splurging. An oxymoron? Not really. For example, I spend xxx amount every month on shoes and clothes. I just stick with that amount for the entire period I am saving for a Europe trip. I won’t go beyond that.
  • Set aside an allocation for local travel every payday.
  • By all means, if you can get a sideline, then get one!
  • Adjust if you must.

Got dizzy after all those zeroes there. After plotting everything out, I came up with the following action plans:
  • No more happy-go-lucky spending of bonuses. Allocate 80% of the bonus to the travel fund. Donate 10% and Spend the 10%. . I used to save some and then really spend the rest on fun things.
  • Stop online shopping. Decrease amount of online pre-orders. I do not need a new pair of shoes every month. *repeat ‘til fade*
  • Manage online bookings. Back then, you can book a round-trip ticket for a local destination for just Php 200. I don’t get to use all of them anyway. No more bookings galore.
  • Save everything by April 2011 or forget everything.

Gee, I sound like I’m giving advice how to settle credit card debt. Hahaha. Most of them are applicable in saving for a big trip like this anyway. With all of this saving, I was able to properly manage my income.

Why April 2011? Well, I didn’t plan to go to the trip earlier than that because... I am an accountant! Nyahahaha! Income tax filing is on April 15 so I have to let that go by before scheduling a super grand vacation.

I did not post the number to brag how much it costs or that I was able to afford such a trip. I am sharing this to give you a realistic idea. When I came back, some people actually thought it would be soooo darn expensive and I was soooo darn rich to have done such an expensive trip at my age. Some actually asked if I had someone sponsor me. Well, no. It was all my hard-earned and duly saved money.


  1. Does your estimate include the visas you have to get? Where did you travel in Europe. I am seriously interested in your trip! I hope you get to write a detailed account of it :)

  2. Hello Sasha! :) Wrote about the actual itinerary and cost breakdown here:

    Still have a lot of backlog posts. Will post them soon.

  3. Hi, I hope you don't mind me asking, how much did your bank statement show when you applied for the visa? I am starting to save up for a trip to Europe this 2013. I'm scared of getting rejected. I am in 4th yr college; an accounting student. I can say I have no problem with budgeting so I'm confident that we (dad & I) can travel like backpacking-style. I know that it's difficult for Filipinos to get a visa because of the TNTs. So my primary problem is obtaining a visa. :(

  4. ^I had the budget for the trip and my emergency fund in the bank account. It is not just about the amount of money in the bank; you also have to prove that you have the means to get that money, and you have ties in the Philippines. Good luck to you and your dad! :D


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