2011 is about to end and I promised myself that come this January, I will start saving for my biggest and most ambitious trip yet: the one month China and Laos adventure. Why biggest and most ambitious?
First, it’s not easy to enter China nowadays. You need:
a. Return tickets
b. Hotel bookings
c. Bank account showing at least $1,377.73 in savings
A and B means you have to have a concrete plan. You can’t purchase a one way ticket, go vagabonding, and expect China to give you a 30-day visa. But the hardest part is having at least $1,377.73 in my bank account.
I earn about $500 / month only. I still have to pay my rent, pay my utilities, buy food, and pay for transportation going to work. It would be good to cross out the last one but the place where I’m at right now is the cheapest I can find. If I transfer somewhere near my workplace, the cost would be the same ( even if you deduct the transportation cost) or higher. Nothing is cheap here in Manila. The government is still trying to clean our country and remove corruption, but it will take years for our country to be up there and one with the likes of Singapore or even Hongkong.
It will be a struggle for me as I no longer depend on my parents. Every peso that I spend comes from hardwork. If you look at my monthly earnings, it may be impossible for me to go to China as I still have to have an emergency fund because after China, I may want to travel again, or I may want to save up again because I have to maintain my place which I rent monthly. Bottomline: I have to have something to come back to because I’m already independent.
This is my plan:
a. Save $688.86 from January to May – this money “should” pay for my airfare, dorm beds, train and bus transportation, and entrance fees (including the Great Wall of China and other historical/tourist spots). If there’s an extra, and I hope there will be, the amount should go to my daily expenses. I’m still hoping for a good airfare discount, but the two-way airfair should cost me more or less, $250, including travel tax.
b. June to 1st week of September – Since I’m paying by credit card, I’m slashing around $350 (airfare plus booking fees) from $688.86. That leaves me with $338.86. But I still have to show China that I have enough funds for the trip.
That means I have to save a thousand more from June to the 1st week of September. If I save about $480, add it to the extra $338.86, then add my current savings, I may be able to show just the exact amount for me to get a 30-day China visa!
How am I going to save this huge amount?
1. Cut down on my expenses
2. Budget everything every payday
For now, I’m thankful that I’m still alive and healthy to make this plan and that I still have a job to give me the funds that I need for this trip.
Will I make it? I hope! But I’m going to take this one day at a time and not miss out on life at the same time. Follow me on my journey which I shall call:
“THE ROAD TO CHINA and LAOS: The Struggle of the 3rd World Traveler”.