It has come to my attention that my vast travel experiences, have raised eye brows as to the source of my funds. Some people have even had the courage to question me on their assumptions, some of which completely shocked me. Let me first set the record straight on how I actually Fund My travels, in no specific order and deal with the assumptions later on in the article.
- Win an award
The Ministry of Youth in Taiwan used to run a Travel competition dubbed, “Taiwan Youth Trekkers.” The main entry requirement was for one to, “Develop an interesting itinerary inclusive of costs, of what they would engage/experience, if they won a trip to Taiwan.” They were seeking authentic, passionate travellers to partner with and thus Ones application is what the judges used to award winners and not subjective, non-standardized methods like most retweets or most followers. I thus researched about anything and everything Taiwan, drafted a Travel Itinerary I thought was the best, sent in my application and was crushed when I did Not win. The following year, I redid my application, I adjusted my itinerary to be intense, multi faceted, adventurous, fun, practical and others. Guess what, I WON, becoming the First African to win the award and ending up exploring Taiwan for a whole month, on their tab. You can check up my experiences in Taiwan on links below.
I have been blessed with an amazing, loving, supportive family, that I am always grateful to God for. They have supported me from the onset to now, even when they could not comprehend why I was doing the travels and more so, solo travel in not the norm destinations. They have funded some of my trips, chipped in on others and prayed for me on all my travels. They check up on me religiously, they research my chosen destinations more than me, they have packed and sent my bags to meet me enroute, they have connected me with their friends, they have offered/gifted me their gadgets-the list of their expression of love and support is endless. THANK YOU MY DEAR FAMILY and MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY. I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH.
3)Save, save, save
As a child, my parents taught my siblings and I, the discipline of saving, via home banks. At that time, coins were the main currency of the savings.This childhood lesson is one I attended and scored an A. and a lesson I apply to date. The same was not lost as I matured, gained employed, ventured into entrepreneurship as I am a proud “save a holic.” Nowadays, there are more saving platforms from banks, saccos, group savings known as “chamas ” , to mobile platforms so, adapt as many as you can. One however needs to be very disciplined in this matter and have a special kitty just for travel and another/others for other life needs like medical, investment, family etc.
My saving culture has enabled me to travel to so many destinations, including multiple destinations on one trip. I once Backpacked from Kenya to Namibia thus covering and exploring the route Kenya-Tanzania-Zambia-Zimbabwe-Botswana-Namibia-Malawi-Tanzania- Kenya via public transport of trains and buses and stayed at Budget accommodations. The experiences I got from this trip and others are priceless and may not have been, if I hadn’t saved up my money way in advance. For a look at some of my experiences in these destinations:
5) Maximize usage of your money
As I mentioned above, I am quite a “save a holic”, thus, even while travelling, I will try save from my intended budget and the balance can be used for another trip. I once really wanted to explore part of the Northern Kenya region, yet had no adequate time to start saving for it. I however still had some cash left in my kitty, from a previous trip that I had not exhausted. I thus opted to backpack the route Nairobi-Suguta Marmar-Maralal-Baragoi-Loiyagalani solo, via PSV with this money. I ended up incorporating hitch-hiking when I discovered PSV service ended in Baragoi and turning back was not an option for me. I endured over 8 hours, atop a lorry/truck and not protected in any way from the scorching sun. The experience however was life-changing, mind boggling, and amazing , starting my now long term relationship with the North and her people. Check out these links for a glimpse into that experience:
Suguta Marmar and Maralal http://wangechigitahitravels.com/exploring-suguta-marmar-and-maralal/
5) In-kind support from friends and friends of friends
Honestly, this is a lesson that took quite a long time to sink in or be incorporated. My personal travel experiences are normally a secret, my little secret that in most cases, only my family would know about pre-onset. I usually share my travel experiences after my return. However, I later discovered some of my friends had networks in the regions visited and thus would have really assisted in planning and execution. Some offer free accommodation, others offer transport and guide services, others offer tips-the list is endless. This therefore provides “funding” for the travel, in kind or in non-monetary form though providing unique travel experiences. I would however still put a caution on on who knows all the details of your trip, in advance.
6: Look out for freebies, sales, discounts
There are travel experiences that may cost you nothing to near nothing. I highly advise you to keep an eye out for “Free” experiences like entries to places, discounts and sales. Recently, park fees were exempt to locals visiting the Maasai Mara in Kenya, by the county government of Narok. Have you ever heard of the Maasai Mara? It is home to many wildlife and is home to the famous wildebeest migration. Read here for more:
During low seasons, hotels and other tourist/travel properties, airlines, shops offer discounts and offers that you should capitalize on. Some destinations like Singapore which categorized by many as an expensive destination, unknowingly offered itself to fund my travel, due to the numerous freebies, offers, discounts they offer tourists or Me, in this case. For more check out:
6: ) Sponsorships and partnerships
Wangechi Gitahi Travels as a brand, has grown to leaps and bounds beyond our imagination. A personal blog, albeit almost like a diary, has grown into an internationally recognized travel information resource centre, has won awards, has been nominated for awards and has become a “Leaders Voice” in the Travel and tourism sector locally and globally. It has matured even further, into a Travel Website that has now birthed a Travel Company offering You unique opportunities to travel under our skilled guidance as well as other services like Travel Blogging/Writing and Travel & Marketing Consultancy. We have been privileged to partner and/or gain sponsorships from various people, brands, entities and companies locally and beyond. Some of these may include complimentary stays at the property in exchange for an article or mention in the website. Therefore, if you are an individual, corporate entity, brand, property, destination, philanthropist, magazine, the above and more, and are open to partnering with us or sponsoring us, contact us here http://wangechigitahitravels.com/our-services/ it would be an honour. If you also know any of the above who would be interested in engaging us, send them to us. Kindly note, even signing up to travel with us is a partnership/sponsorship we feel honoured to be a part of.
The opportunities to fund trips are limitless, but the above are those I have mainly used. So to answer some of your queries: No, I do not have a “sponsor” otherwise known in Kenyan slang/sheng/lingo as a “sponyo”, which would refer to an old, wealthy man, aiding and footing my bills. I do not even have a young one offering “sponyo” services. I have been brought up on the principle that a lady can and should work hard, earn her money , earn her keep and even have extra to splurge on luxuries like travel. The same applies to all genders. This is a principle I practice .
Next, I would love to be a Billionaire as some seem to believe but unfortunately, as of today 4/6/19, my bank and Mpesa statements would confirm, I am yet to attain that status. I am just street smart on my travels, maximizing my shilling, grabbing opportunities and keeping costs low, yet having priceless travel experiences. So No, I cannot be Your “sponyo.😀
Let us know if these tips help you restrategise your “Funding for your Travels” and feel free to share any not mentioned that you recommend for our adaptation. . Cheers.