Turning your travel expense into an investment

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IT has been more than a year since the Covid-19 pandemic has hit us hard. Almost everyone was caught flat footed and underwent difficulty with adapting. One of the industries heavily affected by the ongoing pandemic is the travel and tourism industry. Both local and international tourism has been severely restricted in order to control the spread of the virus. For instance, foreigners could no longer visit our well-known islands to enjoy our pristine shores.

Thus, with less foot traffic coming from lack of foreign and local visitors, other businesses that rely on that same foot traffic are also negatively affected: the establishments where tourists sleep in; the small but quaint restaurants where they dine in and celebrate life; the pasalubong center for their loved ones back at home; and the tour guides as well as diving instructors who help them unlock new skills and achievements.

Reflecting back prior to these difficult times, I can say with certainty that we all miss the sense of thrill and adventure brought about by travelling. This activity has been one of the expenses we save up for on a regular basis. For most, it would be our reward after a long period of work. For some, travel is a necessity because we visit our relatives in the province or in other countries. For all of us, travel is time (and money) well spent with loved ones.

As a matter of cash flow, travel is considered an expense. Money goes out instead of coming in. While traveling is indeed an enjoyable activity, there are many things you can do to maximize your fuel or airfare ticket fare, or even recoup them almost entirely. Here are some tips which can help improve your cash flow from traveling, either directly or indirectly:

PasaBuy. Do people you know in Metro Manila miss the original buko pie from Tagaytay? And coincidentally you live in Tagaytay and have plans to go to Metro Manila for essential work? For a small convenience fee, you can gather up pre-orders from your local buko pie store and deliver them to your customers in the Metro. Not only do you help local businesses dependent on tourism survive, you also get to satisfy the cravings of people who cannot go outside their homes. As fair compensation for your service, income comes in your direction.

Food Tour Groups. In the days before the pandemic, people travel not just to enjoy the scenery. They also enjoy that country’s food and culture. If you like sharing your experiences with other people, you could organize a tour group. To compensate you for your efforts and travel experience, the income you get from organizing might be enough to reduce the cost you spent on airfare and lodging. Not only that, you also get to build new networks and friendships.

Scouting for Business Leads. If you plan to have a business in the future and are looking for unique concepts, then traveling outside the country (under normal circumstances) would be a great idea to look for possible franchisors or product ideas. Without #travelgoals, we would not be enjoying the following food right now: ramen, samgyupsal, pizza, kimchi, French macarons and so much more.

Pleasure after Business. Are your customers getting bored with your existing product line of tires or toilets? Going abroad to international expositions helps you connect with the latest suppliers from all over the world. Just be sure to bring a lot of calling cards and spend time getting to know each and every supplier that interests you. Who knows, that new product you import might become your bestseller in the years to come. After your business trip concludes, spend a few more days enjoying the area before heading back home.

Expanding your Knowledge. Whenever you go to a new place, enjoy not just the food, scenery and culture. Try to look at things from an entrepreneur’s point of view. What are the buying behaviors of the people there? What products or services do the residents patronize and why? Are the products or services something that can be replicated or adapted in your own area? That small idea in your mind right now could one day be one of the biggest franchises in the country.

These are just some of the ideas to look forward to once we all overcome this pandemic together. To sum it up, to save on traveling costs, you should think not just of yourself but how to be of service to others, who do not have the luxury to travel. For now, to explore the world and keep safe at the same time, we could always watch travel documentaries online in the safety of our homes and with the people that matter the most, our families.

Raymond Anthony Quisumbing is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. Follow him at twitter at @OhMyFinancePH. To learn more about personal-financial planning, attend the 89th RFP program this May 2021. To inquire, e-mail [email protected] or text at 0917-6248110.