One of the more popular memes while scrolling through our social media feeds is the one that proclaims, “If traveling was free, you’d never see me again!”
Unfortunately, as we all know, not only is traveling anything but free, the expenses that go into even a quiet little weekend getaway at the other end of the state are significant enough these days that many of us need to set aside a travel kitty just to ensure that our little sojourn doesn’t eat into our core expenditures.
This is particularly true for those who are still in the process of paying their dues for funding education as well as those who’ve freshly stepped into the working life, and any spare change that goes towards luxuries such as pleasure trips has to be managed meticulously.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions for optimizing your travel budget to ensure you extract the best experience for your buck.
While the miracle of modern flight has made covering vast distances quickly a cinch, they also come with a pinch – to your wallet, that is. When every rupee counts, you’re better off sticking to a travel plan that you can pull off via rail or a road trip rather than by splurging on an air ticket. The money you save can help offset the costs you will incur once at your destination, such as the hotel stay, food, mementos, and whatnot.
However, there may be other considerations at play such as a limited number of leaves from work, for example, and as such, not everyone might have the time for slower land-based travel modes. So, if you must fly, make sure you do your homework before purchasing your flight tickets.
One of the first things to do is try and plan your trip well in advance. This will allow you to book your tickets months in advance when they are at their cheapest. That is even more true now than ever, as the travel and tourism industry is in the process of bouncing back from the devastating after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic and many companies are offering unprecedented discounts and offers to encourage travelers.
Once at your destination, avoid the temptation to book an Uber or hail a taxi or auto to get around and stick to buses, local train or metro rail network instead. All available bus and rail routes you need to use to reach your destination are just a click away on your smartphone.
Using public transport will also give you a better feel for your surroundings than being ensconced in a private air-conditioned cab that shuts out most of the aspects of a road trip like sights, sounds, and smells.
Unless you have a friend or relative living in your chosen destination where you can shack up during your stay, hotel stays take up a significant chunk of change while traveling.
However, if your destination is located in the great outdoors enveloped with a pleasant climate to boot, you might be better off opting to set up camp under the stars instead. It’s a growing trend with many youngsters in particular, who prefer to ditch hotels and opt to get up close and personal with the fauna instead.
However, do ensure you’re adequately stocked up on essential supplies like a tent (obviously!), sleeping bag, medical supplies, food, clean water, basic cooking equipment, flashlight, and power banks, to name a few.
Also, a trip like this is best and most safely experienced as a group, with at least one member having prior camping experience.
Most tourist destinations have a peak season and an offseason, whether it be due to favorable climatic conditions during a few months of the year or an event such as a festival or carnival taking place, and as such, it’s generally not preferable to visit outside that favorable travel window.
However, when you’re on a slender budget, it’s better to go off-season than not go at all. Sure, Goa during the monsoon season is hardly as much fun as when the sun’s out and the crisp ocean breeze is flowing through your Aloha shirt, but you can still enjoy a worthwhile and memorable time nonetheless. Perhaps you can spend the spare change on some of the choicest local Vindaloo instead!
You can always stroll down to your local upmarket restaurant near your home when your finances are flush after a payday, but when you’re traveling, pass on the pricey places and take in the local street food instead. If you want to take in the soul of a place through its food, a swanky restaurant is no match for the fare on offer at a bustling street-food joint, imbued with the zing and spice of the local culture. And, it’s immensely cheaper!
Better yet, if you’re even a bit gastronomically-inclined and are staying at a dormitory equipped with a kitchen instead of a hotel, you can buy fresh local produce and whip up a quick meal yourself and completely opt-out of having to spend money at eateries.
After close to a year of being cooped up within the four walls of your home, you are probably more inclined to head out and travel than ever before. Fortunately, with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions easing up across the nation and a nip in the air, many Indians are beginning to resume pleasure travels. However, if you are reconsidering it lest it dents your finances, don’t pocket a handout from a close friend or loved one but mPokket a travel loan instead!
Simply download the mPokket app on your Android smartphone and fill out your basic information. That’s all you need to do to apply for a quick travel loan. Whether it be ₹500 or ₹20,000, mPokket will approve and disburse your travel loan straight to your bank (or even your PayTM account) within a span of just 48 hours.
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