December is finally here, and so is the glimmering promise of the Christmas bonus! For us struggling with #adulting, it’s undeniable that a little extra cash is super exciting. There’s just so much we can do with it! We can splurge on online shopping, eat out with our friends, buy a special gift for ourselves, or… travel!
BUT… Should we really?
While we’re all for making travel happen, we still acknowledge the value of making smart decisions. So before you bid your Christmas bonus goodbye for the sake of travelling, here are some things you might need to ask yourself.
The big question: How is my financial stability?
1. Do I have debts to pay?
One of the best experiences travel offers is the feeling of freedom. When we’re on the road, we’re free to make bigger decisions for ourselves. We’re free to do what we want without the judgement of familiar people. At the same time, we’re free from all our stresses and worries — assuming we’re financially free as well. If you still have debts to pay, try prioritising paying them off before splurging all your Christmas bonus on travel.
2. Do I have an emergency savings fund?
If something happens to you (*knocks on wood*), do you have enough money to sustain yourself? Ideally, an emergency savings fund is one of the biggest financial priorities in adulthood. It functions as a cushion if ever life gets tough.
Typically, an emergency savings fund is worth three to six months of expenses. If you don’t have one yet, now is the best time to start! Don’t let the amount pressure you, though. As long as you can regularly put aside a portion of your salary, then you’re good.
3. Is my travel fund enough to cover most of my expenses?
Preferably, your travel fund should be able to cover all your travel expenses. This includes your plane tickets, tour fees, hotel reservations, daily allowance, travel insurance, and other necessities. But if your travel fund needs an extra push, then your Christmas bonus is a great additional source!
The big question: Do I have the right motives?
4. Is this a reward for myself?
After a year of hard work, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Perhaps the best gift you can give yourself is a few days of vacation. If travelling will truly make you happy, then definitely go for it!
5. Who am I travelling for?
In the era of Instagrammable vacations, there’s a certain pressure for most of us to travel. This behaviour trend reminds me of a famous quote by Dave Ramsey: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” The only difference is that nowadays, we spend more money on enviable picture-perfect experiences. If you’re only travelling to please others, you’ll most likely find yourself more burnt out than fulfilled.
6. What do I want to get out of the trip?
Are you travelling to heal a broken heart? To destress from your toxic workplace? To learn more about the world? Before you embark on a trip, reflect on your purpose for travelling.
Just like each traveller has a different travel style (i.e. some travellers meticulously plan out itineraries while others are spontaneous as can be), we also have our own reasons for travelling. Setting clear travel goals will pave the way for a purposeful trip!
The big question: How are the circumstances?
7. Is it the best season to travel?
Before impulsively booking a trip, do your research. You don’t want to end up with a cancelled flight, or worse: an accident! There are numerous travel mishaps to look out for. Better minimise the chances of accidents and travel during a safe season.
8. Who will you go with?
Are you travelling solo, or will you be travelling with someone? If you’re travelling with someone, then you’ll have to coordinate with him or her before you spontaneously book a trip. If you’re travelling solo, then you’ll have to take into account the additional expenses you’ll have to shoulder.
9. What is your schedule like?
Receiving a Christmas bonus is one thing; making time for travel is another. As we reach peak adulthood, we face more responsibilities. We have work to show up to and families to attend to. We have friends to meet, pets to take care of, and household chores to complete. Make sure to clear your schedule before you book a trip, so that you prevent further stress along the road.
10. Is this the best deal?
Avoid letting your excitement get the best of you! If you’re not in a hurry to travel, be patient until you land the best travel deal. You can even save your Christmas bonus and add it to your travel fund as you wait for notifications from Flight Deals – Philippines!
In conclusion, we believe that there’s a perfect time for everything — including travelling! So before you spend your Christmas bonus on satisfying your wanderlust, think about these questions first. Wishing you a travel-filled 2020 ahead!