How to holiday on a budget?

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Holidays can be fun and inexpensive too – all you need to know is your budget and how you can work around it.

If there is one question that can get anyone’s attention it has to be “do you want a holiday?” Well we all need a holiday but we are probably putting it off as it can cause a dent in our budget. Most people put off a holiday because of the fact that travelling is certainly not an inexpensive proposition. However if you plan well and in advance you can actually travel as well as you want even on a budget. The only factor that you will need to keep in mind is that planning is the key. In fact you will be surprised to know that travelling does not require a lot of money. Many people are able to travel across the world at a cost that will surprise you. With changing lifestyles and more disposable income, travel has become an integral part of urban lifestyles. With the season of festivals, long weekends, and holidays upon us, it is that time of the year again when travel plans are made and at times discarded as travelling involves a cost that can be quite high. Hard core travelers however work a smart strategy and save up diligently for these good times. So if you have a tight budget, you can still travel right. Holidaying on a budget is not a big deal; it just requires some thought. Read on to know how to make some great holiday memories without burning a hole in your pocket!

Book in Advance: The first and foremost tip for traveling on a budget is to plan your trip in advance. “Keep checking the flight fares ahead of your travel dates and book when they are cheapest. Ideally, you should book your flights 3 months in advance. It considerably saves your cost of travel and saves a lot of money which can be spent wisely during the trip,” says Kapil Goswamy, CMD, Big Breaks. Jay Katawala, Founder of WIYO Travel adds, “if you can plan your travel in advance, you can get benefit of promotional airfares / hotel rates.”

Timing of booking: In case you are taking care of all your travel and stay bookings, do them at odd hours such as 11:30 pm or 2 am. In most cases, during these hours, flight tickets would be cheap and portals will be offering better combo options to choose from. “This is one way of leveraging on the dynamic pricing strategy deployed by most airline and hotel operators. The chances of too many other people looking for holidaying on the place at such hours will be low and hence the prices will not be at a premium. It literally is worth burning that midnight oil,” says Anil Rego, Founder and CEO Right Horizons.

Travel Season: Choose your destination and find out the lean period for the destination so you can travel during the lean period and save money on the travel. Aditi Balbir, founder and CEO of V Resorts explains, “off season travel is a sure shot way to limit your travel costs. More often than not, both airlines and resort owners offer better deals when it’s not peak season. Research is also key here. You will be pleasantly surprised at the various choices at your disposal. Also take a walk down the unbeaten path. For instance, instead of crowded Panchgani why not try something in the vicinity like Wai?”

Encash Credit Card Points: Credit cards give you a buffer before the payments are due. So, once you have your budget in place, you can see which of your credit cards can fetch you good deals. “You can also check if the accumulated points can be encashed for paying for the tickets as air miles or for getting any discount on your staying options. Sometimes these cards can also help you upgrade to a higher accommodation choice or offer a breakfast option at the network hotels. Spend some time knowing about all the alliance networks that your credit card company has and all the benefits that they offer. You will be able to save a cool 25% on your estimated budget by simply doing this,” says Rego.

Accommodation Choices: Another tip for traveling on a budget is spending the minimum amount of money over accommodation. It makes sense, as a traveler spends most of his or her day exploring the place, so there is no need to stay in a fancy hotel. “Hostels are cheaper versions of hotels, offering similar facilities. They provide clean bedding and bathrooms at dirt cheap rates. You might have to share your room with fellow travelers, but what is the harm in getting to know the travel experiences of others,” asks Kapil. Also opt for complimentary breakfast and free Wi Fi with your hotel.

Commute Right: Avoid hiring private cabs for travelling from one city to another. You can share the rides with travelers going in the same direction or ride in a public vehicle like a bus or a local train. Government buses are quite cheap and reliable. Sharing cabs also charge very less for a single seat and are a good option to commute to nearby locations. If you can walk, just do it. Backpackers largely explore the city on foot and you can save money and also keep fit.

This story first appeared in Sakal Times dated 23 Jan, 2019 here:

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