Many of us know the phrase “put it on my tab” from our pub crawls and nights in the bar. But this new kind of tab helps you save money, not spend it! If you’re planning to travel, try using MyTab to raise the cash.
If you read our story about Abbie Morneault, then you know that it is possible to raise enough money for that trip you always dreamed of taking, if it’s for study abroad, volunteering abroad or just going on vacation.
The team at International Student Voice knows when it comes to fundraising for a trip it’s important to keep money just for that purpose separate from all other finances. Instead of opening another bank account, there is now an option of opening your own MyTab account. MyTab has already been mentioned in reputable sources such as USA Today, International Studies Abroad and MSNBC.
One important note before you continue reading:www.mytab.co can only be used for U.S. originating trips for right now. In other words, your starting point must be in the U.S. You must also have a valid U.S. billing address.
If you are still interested, let’s get down to the details!
What Makes MyTab So Special?
“[Students]can save more travel cash and book directly on MyTab,” Heddi Cundle, the founder of MyTab explained to me over the phone. “If someone gives you cash for something, it goes somewhere else. It’s never used for the intended purpose. Or people don’t know what to buy you. [MyTab] is easier. Then that inspires you to go somewhere with this money.”
I thought about it and it does make sense. How many times did someone give you cash or a check for books, food or gas and you end up using that money on clothes, music or anything else not really necessary? Or if someone gave you a check, how long did it sit on your desk before you cashed it or somehow it got buried at the bottom of your purse, never to be found again?
If you have someone put money on your MyTab, then that money will stay there until you need it for your trip.
To help me explain, meet Emma and Mark the two clever and witty spokespersons for MyTab. In the video Emma thought her dream of traveling to Paris was crushed until Mark explained how MyTab can help her raise money for her flight.
“Once [someone] signs up for free and simply shouts ‘Put it on MyTab’ [on Facebook or Twitter] family and friends gift them cash toward their trip,” Cundle said. “Once booked, they thank all their family and friends for helping their travel dream come true. Since MyTab is integrated with Facebook, the shout outs and thank yous are posted to either the user’s wall or their friends’ wall, generating traction and potentially more donations.”
It seems simple enough, so I tried it out myself. You can create an account using your Facebook or create one without using Facebook. I chose the Facebook option and creating the account really just took one click of my mouse. When the account was created it automatically posted a message on my Facebook profile.
You then have to go into your account and add your origin location, that way it can be saved once you start creating trips. From there you can add your first trip. Speaking with Heddi inspired me to travel to London, England so I created a trip. You can add a picture for your trip, but I found the best size for this picture is small, such as 63×69 pixels. I used a photo of an envelope, as you can see below. You name your trip, how long you plan to stay, if you would also like to add a hotel with your trip and also have the option to tweet about your trip.
After you put in all your information you can click ‘Calculate Cost’ at the bottom of the page. It will then give you an estimate of how much your trip will cost. My one week round trip flight to London would cost between $767 USD to $774 USD. My hotel would cost between $86 USD/night to $160USD/night.
Once you have all the details set for your trip you click ‘Brillant!’ to make it official. Then it automatically posts another message on your Facebook profile for your friends and family to see. If you selected to use Twitter it would also send a tweet as well. From there people can donate money to be used toward your trip.Don’t worry, if someone you know doesn’t have Facebook he/she can still donate money by using PayPal. You can post on Facebook and Twitter as many times as you want by using the ‘Gift Me’ button at the top of your MyTab page and update your family and friends on your fundraising progress.
Redeeming Your Money
Once you raised enough money for your trip, redeeming your money is simple. At the top of the page you will find the ‘Book Travel’ button. Once you click it you will be able to search for flights or flights and hotel options.
“One additional feature is since we know the student’s destination, travel dates and saved and gifted funds, we can match this to travel deals so students receive a deal from us without needing to scramble for days trying to search for the best price elsewhere,” Cundle explained. “We call this ‘Match MyCash!”
That is convenient. No need to click through hundreds of results on Kayak or Expedia anymore.
Hot Off the Press: A New Feature!
Just released in January 2012 there is now the integrated map.
“It’s inspiring,” Cundle said. “You can see where your friends are and where they’re going.” Perhaps you raised too much money? Since now you can see where your family and friends are going by using the integrated map, you could return the favor by gifting them money.Your money will stay on your MyTab until it’s used.
Reaching a Bigger Goal
Of course helping students collect enough money for their trip is an important goal of MyTab, but Cundle explained it’s also about reaching a larger goal.
“It’s just not organizing the trips for them, but inspiring stories and having conversations with students about objectives and what you would like to achieve on this [trip],” Cundle explained. “I met my greatest and most inpiritng friends while studying abroad. It took us to a whole other level we wouldn’t have been able to reach while at home. Study abroad opens your eyes. We want studends to go out and travel.”
Students using MyTab can connect with other students raising money for trips through the MyTab blog located at https://mytab.co/blog. Once you create an account you also receive a pretty nifty newsletter explaining new features and important updates. Of course you can follow MyTab on Facebook and Twitter.
To help me wrap up this article, Emma and Mark can tell you about all the great accomplishments MyTab had during 2011.
Written by Carrie Circosta, chief editor of International Student Voice.