How To Travel Well On A Budget Within India
Who doesn’t dream of a real good, carefree holiday?
Given our hectic pace of life and struggle to earn well and succeed (for most people), holidays …..whether short or long, are really well-earned and deserved. But for the middle and lower income group, this holiday can sometimes prove to be stressful and worrisome and eat into the finances, if not thought out well and planned properly.
So, here we help you understand, that it is not necessary for holidays to be an expensive affair and how you can get the most out of little! Listed below are some suggestions on how to plan a vacation on a limited budget while keeping it organised and simple!
Make your vacation your priority
As far as possible schedule or decide at the start of the year, on when you would like to take your holiday during the year and how many times. It would also help if you can freeze on the destination/s you would love to travel to this time and for what period of time. This will only help you understand as to what kind of budget (approx.) you would need to keep ready for the trip/trips. The holiday destination you pick and the duration of the stay decide the cost of your vacation. Isn’t it fun, exciting and challenging to plan out your own holiday ?
One little trick to get the most value for your money is to holiday during the off-sesason when more discounts, deals and promotional offers are made to entice a traveller and to avoid the heavy rush period during the peak season where everything from travel, stay, food, attractions etc. are costlier.
This is really essential if you want to ensure a completely relaxed holiday, without feeling the pinch! Name it whatever you want……..’holiday kitty’or ‘vacation budget’ but this should be treated as importantly as any other category of expense for which we keep aside a regular sum of money from our monthly income. Putting aside a little something regularly into the holiday kitty will only help you enjoy a guilt-free vacation when the time comes. So work out a reasonable amount that can be set aside from your monthly earnings and ensure this is a regular and consistent activity.
Research and early bookings
In this age of technology, all information related to every topic imaginable, is available at the touch of a key on the computer. Jai ho, Google Maharaj ! Hence, closer to the date of intended holiday (reasonably earlier to avail of the best deals), it would only make sense for you, to search for all relevant details of the destination, best travel deals with different modes of travel, stay options and places to sight-see at little or no cost at the destination of your choice.
Early bookings on any mode of travel, whether airline, train or road transport, will only help you save a still further reasonable amount of money due to early booking deals and also give you the liberty/ option of choosing your choice of seat. Research would also help you make up your mind about the best mode of travel, once you have compared costs all across different sites ; for eg. makemytrip.com, goibibo.com, yatra.com, expedia.com etc.
Having said the above, travel by road, is definitely worth experiencing to places at a reasonable distance and if you are not short on time. If the route and destinations are chalked out properly, one can take in many places along the way, enjoying their beauty and charm from close quarters and at the same time, saving quite a bit (as road travel is comparatively cheaper to other modes, if chosen wisely) while travelling in reasonable luxury (option of private luxury buses as well as state transport luxury buses). Take your pick from the wide range of bus services offered within India, by AbhiBus Services India Pvt.Ltd, who operate over 75,000 routes.
You know what’s even better ?
A traveler does not need to rush/ wait for eternity in queues at the bus station, but one can just log on to abhibus.com and book bus tickets online to your chosen destination. Or one can also call their 24×7 helpline and enlist their guidance for booking tickets. Abhibus promises to deliver a high quality experience with better value at the cheapest prices available online!
One of the most common practices adopted by Indians, is to stay with family or friends residing at their holiday destination. This definitely helps cut down a major portion of expense, but one has to be really careful not to outstay your welcome and spoil the relationship! So, if you are lucky enough to find such an arrangement, make sure that you do not stay more than 2-3 days at the most. Also, during this time, be a good guest and ensure you keep your room and bed clean and help your host with some daily chores to lessen the burden.
Alternatively, while searching for a hotel in a popular tourist place, look for options at the lesser popular areas and suburbs. More reasonable options, which will help save a few more bucks, will be thrown up. One can also search for budget hotels on various popular sites as mentioned earlier along with Trivago, Trip Advisor etc. However, please do read the customer reviews before finalizing and making your bookings. Try to find a hotel room with kitchenettes and services like complimentary breakfasts, happy-hour buffet lunches etc., to save on these expenses. Please keep in mind, that your accommodations only need to be clean, neat and functional and not first class, as you are just looking for a place to relax and sleep at night.
Isn’t it funny ….. How travelling somehow makes one more hungry than usual???!! While on a trip, you definitely feel like indulging and enjoying the local cuisine. But eating all your meals at the hotel you are staying in, is not a good idea, unless they are included in the rate you have paid for accommodation, at a wonderful deal.
Also, avoid eating or dining at popular tourist areas and look for more off-beat locations to try out some great and wonderful local cuisine at much lesser rates. You can also google information related to the type of food or local cuisine restaurants that are available in the location. On the other hand, you could make the necessary enquiries with the local people, to get a better idea.
In order to avoid expense on in-between meals and snacking, carry some ready made, non-perishable and longer-staying snacks like dry-fruits, cookies, khaakra, thepla etc. which will help you tide over a few days.
Local transportation and sight-seeing
This is another area of expense that you need to look out for, as if not careful, you could end up spending quite a packet to move around for sight-seeing and eating out. Avoid using local taxis or renting a car as far as possible, when you have a good public transportation system. Ask the hotel staff or local people for guidance about the routes and most convenient and economical way of travelling within the city. Even a local guide book, always available with the hotel, can be handy.
In fact, while planning your sight-seeing trips or attractions, it is important and more sensible to cover most places in a particular area on a particular day, so that you can make the most of your time and save on money by avoiding travelling back and forth. In fact, it would then be easier to move around these spots and enjoy the atmosphere and take in more of the destination, by walking around from one place to another.
However, it would be prudent to first google the attractions listed in a particular area and check for rates, discounts and timings, to avoid any sudden shocks. One of the best ways of going about it, is visiting the city’s official tourism website and reading their recommendations.
Got a headache just thinking about it? Packing is indeed an art! For most people, this process is all about dumping clothes and toiletries into a suitcase, without giving much thought. However, this often leads to overloading and missing out on your essentials.
Instead, you would do really well, if you first make out a list of all the items required for yourself (or family) on this trip. Also check out the weather in that city, so that you are prepared and carry the appropriate clothing and items, and don’t need to uselessly spend on buying the same there.
Besides clothes and toilet articles, make sure you include specific medicines taken by you/ family members and general emergency medicine for any kind of ailment or sickness. This will avoid unnecessary medicine or doctor expenses in a new destination.
As suggested before, don’t forget to include your ready-to-eat snacks and a book or small game to occupy yourself/selves if on a slightly long journey. Small details like this help to avoid unnecessary or last minute expenditure, especially if travelling with kids.
By the way……there’s still another great way to see more at a lesser price, if you do not mind company and are lazy to plan out a holiday for yourself ! You can book a group tour. While a customized package gives you the liberty to travel at your own pace, group tours can sometimes also be cost-effective. They cover more places in less time and take care of all expenses like accommodation, food, transfers and transportation at a reasonable cost. However, you may have to settle for going to only those places that they have listed out in their itenary.
PICTURE CREDITS : 123RF.com ; food – shutterstock; Local transportation – shutterstock