You may have often heard that travelling is something on which you spend less and earn more! But is it really how it is? What about the mind numbing airfares and those hotel prices! Thanking god for airbnbs and couch-surfing options. Has travelling really been that pocket-friendly? Not always and not often!
But it doesn't mean that we wallow in self pity over exorbitant costs of outstation stays and trips around our favourite destinations. Because, travelling, indeed, does leave you with memories and experiences worthy of a lifetime and so, when compared to how much you have spent, you do end up gaining more! What we must do is be thrifty where we can and spend where it is a necessity.
So let's get down to it and help you distinguish between the travel situations which will save you money and those that will not. Things and tips you can follow to budget your holiday and not worry about finances when you come back from one!
The keyword here is: Planning
1) Airfares – Check and book tickets much in advance! Everybody knows this but how many of us follow this simple rule? Checking and booking tickets is also an art!
a) First up, list down the most budget friendly airlines that fly to your destination and then see if they fly to more than one location near to where you want to go. If yes, then pick your arrival destination as the one to which the tickets are the cheapest.
b) Don't book Friday or weekend flights, instead go for mid-week flights which are usually offered lower prices
c) Fly in and out of the same airport. Flying out of a different airport may be costlier and not even that convenient.
d) Be open to connecting flights. Of course, nobody likes changing planes but if you can divide your journey and opt for connecting flights, it may just save you some money
e) Plan off-season travels – You'll be surprised at the price difference of the same ticket during and off season.
2) Accommodations – The expenses that rip the biggest holes in a traveller's pocket! Staying at hotels is not feasible for longer durations as they literally leave you bankrupt! So search for airbnbs, register on couchsurfing.com or look for homestays that can offer you boarding at much lower prices than hotel rooms. Also, you can look for accommodations in a nearby town or on the outskirts of the city you're travelling too.
3) Food – Of course you gotta eat! No! Don't even think of cutting down on money on this aspect of your travel. But you can still outsmart the expenses that food and drinks will entail. You have to plan out a strategy that lets you enjoy the native culinary experience of the place but still not bankrupt you! Here are a few tips and tricks to beat the food expenses and still tickle your taste buds in the best possible ways!
a) Avoid Restaurants – Although they offer you the most variety in terms of food choices but their prices can be exorbitant. And even if prices are affordable, they most definitely cannot be your 3-times-a-day grub! Having said that, we still think you must enjoy the famous restaurants and that ultimate 5 star experience but don't be too attached to the idea because these places feed on your pocket!
b) Alternatives – The most affordable would be to cook for yourself! But this is possible only if you are either in an airbnb or in a homestay with a fully equipped kitchen at your disposal. Scenario A – you do have a kitchen at your disposal. Voila! No need to spend money on food, cook yourself! This will be the most cost-effective way to combat food expenses and enjoy great meals. In case, a working kitchen is not available, then you can fix simpler meals, such as cold sandwiches, go for those healthful smoothies and shakes when eating at cafes, buy groceries and fruits to keep your food and nutrition supply intact.
3) Transportation – After necessities, commuting and travelling around and about your vacation spot, is what will contribute to major expenses. Solution? Use public transport – rails, metro, buses and walk when you can. When using public transport, make sure you buy day passes instead of buying a ticket station to station.
4) Visiting Tourist Spots – Of course, you'll visit the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, the Opera house, the Taj Mahal and the likes when visiting different countries but please keep in mind that these tourist hot spots can be real pocket drainers. Tourists not only have to pay a huge sum to enter these places of interests but also pay extra for photographing. How to outsmart this tourist itch? Plan in a way that you visit popular spots during off-season. Not only will this allow you to enjoy the awe-inspiring grandeur of such places better but it will also be lighter on your pocket. Another recommendation – DO NOT VISIT ALL OF THEM! Breakaway from cliches and try exploring the culture of the place by pursuing alternative routes such as through roadside quaint cafes, unexplored avenues or visiting connecting towns and villages. You never know you may just stumble upon some history or landmark of importance absolutely free of cost!
a) What else/ more can you do – Instead of museum-hopping, invest in cultural experiences such as going to a wine-making workshop, a bakery class, a walk down a deserted street, a ballet production, a theatrical play, to a street performance. Usually, such offhand experiences cost much less than the clichéd ones, so be open to them!
5) Shopping – Do NOT shop at souvenirs shops! These shops will always be overpriced. Even after bargaining and making you feel guilty about your few saved dollars, you will still be spending way too much at these shops! Try and locate places from where the locals buy from. Branded items will usually be consistently priced across the globe but you could be paying duty on them at some places. So may be for that last minute gift shopping opt for airport duty free shops!
There are many more ways which allow you to save money while having the best time of your life, but we'll keep those for a later post. Until then, take a note of these and before the holiday season kicks in, make sure, you budget proof your travel plans!
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