Its December and we all have plans to fly somewhere exotic, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But despite endless planning to control our travel budget we end up spending way more than we had accounted for.
Here are are some tips to keep in mind before you go wander-lusting:
#1 Timing is everything
Travelling at odd hours means cheaper tickets. Example: A late night flight will be much cheaper than a morning one. Book them at least 10-12 weeks before leaving if you are sure of the destination. And before searching for flights, go on incognito mode because chances are that each time you look for airfares online on a regular browser it records your cookies and server details, thus increasing the prices. Another fun fact is to book tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because according to many international studies these are the cheapest days to fly. Lastly, compare prices on skyscanner, MakeMyTrip, GoIbibo, ClearTrip etc., check any coupons and discounts available and then go ahead with the cheapest option.
#2 Back up plans
Many times the room or hotel you wish to book keeps on notifying you with increased fares after you’ve browsed it once. So always keep backups in case the desired accommodation crosses your budget.
#3 Local tipping customs
It is very important to know about the tipping traditions of a country you are visiting because they might not be the same everywhere. For instance, in Mexico, you might be expected to pay 10%-15% to the servers whereas in Fiji they don’t promote tipping at all. If you know these amounts beforehand you can account for them while making your travel budget.
#4 All about lists and plans
List down your rough budget before you travel. Make lists of restaurants to go to, places to visit and attractions to see. Pre-book places that can be booked to avoid paying extra. Even transport between places can be pre-booked. And since everything is available on the internet a simple google search before your trip can help you save a lot.
#5 Money apps to swear by
Download smartphone apps that help you organize your trip expenses by storing all the receipts so that you can tally your spends after the trip. Few of these apps are – Splitwise, Spent, Trail Wallet, Travel Money etc. From these, I’ve personally used Splitwise on all my trips with friends because it correctly estimates who owes how much to whom.
#7 Go plastic with your money
It is safer, economical, user-friendly, inexpensive and convenient for all users to use forex travel prepaid card instead of carrying a large amount of hard cash. Now a lot of banks such as Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank etc. along with non-bankers like UAE Exchange, BookMyForex, Thomas Cook offer these cards.
#8 Visit unconventional locations
While the popular vacation spots are so tempting to visit, find a place located just outside these popular vacation spots that offer the same climate and culture without the inflated costs. Also visiting those locations that recently may have seen a hit in their tourism are cheaper compared to the rest. For instance, after the Greece financial crisis, tourism in Greece had dropped down. In order to encourage more tourists to visit their country, they were offering great deals on airlines and hotels. Or after Brexit, visiting the UK was the perfect time because of low pound rates.
Keep these hacks in mind the next time you travel and if it makes a difference, share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by The Bearded