Raise your hand if you really want to travel more this year, but don’t really have the money to make it happen.
Well, my hands are up in the air. 😊🙌
Being a travel enthusiast, I love when I get great travel deals. Wouldn’t you?
I always keep my travel backpack ready and hit the roads whenever I can.
I started back in 2016 and so far, I have been to Shimla, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Bhatinda, Amritsar, Mohali, Haridwar, Jaipur, Bharatpur, McLord Ganj, Garh Ganga, Varanasi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Neemrana, Mathura & Vrindavan, Agra, Gwalior, Bhopal, Jhansi, Jabalpur, Mumbai, Chennai, and Lonavala.
Mount Abu or Shrinagar in the plan for upcoming trips.
No wonder, you might have a question, how I manage time with my corporate job and most importantly, how I manage my expenses?
Undoubtedly, traveling can be a pricey hobby.
But, I have learned a lot by being a wanderer and if anything these trips have taught me, then it would be how to make trips most economical in terms of time and money yet full of fun and joy.
I will be sharing my secrets on “How I save money while traveling “ in a minute, but before that, a suggestion, that I follow religiously.
Take control of trips and stay flexible.
Flexibility in my travels plans is what I prefer most — Don’t all of us have got enough deadline pressure in our lives! Then why to be forced into a snap decision, especially when it is meant for relaxation and obviously there would be no refund of either of things, time and money. I prefer to keep my plans flexible till the date I set off.
Well, let’s get to the secret tips of money saving while traveling.
Here I am sharing my 12 ever-green tips on ‘How to save money for and on travels’. I think they could save you quite a bit of money when planning your next adventure.
1. Don’t stay in a hotel:
Say no to hotels, for all your trips lasting more than three nights and less than 2 nights.
For the trips lasting less than 2 nights, hunt for govt. guest houses, local charitable guesthouses or homestays.
Talk to locals and you can easily find out more cost effective deals.
On trips longer than 3 nights stay, you can easily save 40 to 60 percent of your lodging expense by booking an empty apartment or a service apartment or a condo with a kitchen, instead of a hotel room.
There are several online services that help you in finding local homestays.
It saved me not only on lodging expenses but on meals too.
2. Using specialized search engines to save on flights:
Though I prefer road trips or trains, but when it comes to shopping for airfare, I check with Flight Search feature on Bing, Google, and Kayak.
What I love about Kayak is, insisted on selling tickets, it culls data from plenty of travel sites and pops a discounter, to actually get the best available deal.
On the other hand, Bing advises, whether to wait for fares to drop based on historical pricing. That has saved me hundreds of dollars.
3. Cross Checking fares at the airline’s site, too:
They’re frequently, but not always, cheaper than what you’ll find with the search engines and discount-fare sites. (Read here on How to Get Cheapest Air Tickets.)
4. Checking Trip Advisor and Tripoto:
I religiously check these two sites every time when I need to book a hotel. These sites always give the true picture of hotel and minimum price possible.
TripAdvisor shares hotel and restaurant reviews are written by people who’ve been to those places already.
No doubt, some people just like to gripe, but if you notice a pattern of comments making you leery, you should probably look elsewhere.
5. Calling Hotel Directly, rather than booking on a consolidator’s site or via travel agent:
When I do need to stay at a hotel, I always get the best possible deals from renowned as well local travel agents. I also check online to find the best price.
Then I visit the hotel website itself and call the number provided in Contact Us tab to see if I can get that price or a better one.
Also, I find it easy to make special requests, like a room on an upper floor with a great view and negotiating the price, which is not possible online or with a consolidator.
6. Get on mailing or email lists of hotels or homestays:
Generally, I prefer not to share my e-mail id with hotels or home stays, but if I find a place worth loving and feel that I could stay here on my next visit, I put my details on the list. Hotels often dangle their sweetest offerings to returning customers.
And, that has actually saved me money and with great service in next visit.
7. Travel in low season:
I prefer traveling to some particular places in off seasons. Traveling off season helps me in securing some better bargains. Hotel or homestay costs tend to be low in off seasons, the flight tickets get cheaper and most important, I find my destination a lot less crowded.
8. Flying indirect:
Though to me, time is more important. Also, I enjoy my journeys more than the destinations. But, if you feel that for travel, money is more important than time, then consider a flight with a stop-over. Search for indirect routes (as well as direct) which are often a far cheaper option.
9. Bring your own food on board:
Traveling by train, bus or bike, its best to carry your meals, snacks, fruits, salads and sandwiches. This is what I do.
I will not say that I don’t try local food, or try food at random roadside hotels and dhabas. I am a foodie, and local food is one of the incentives why I travel. Though I save where food is similar. This helps in saving a lot on outside food and highway food.
About flights, I am yet exploring India, so no flights have been longer than 3 hours for me. You planning your first international trip can for sure ask: Can I bring food when I fly?
Yes, you can, So long as the foods aren’t liquid (soup, hummus, yogurt), it’s fine to bring snacks and sandwiches. This will also save you a small fortune compared to the in-flight menu and airport menu.
10. Weigh your luggage before you leave home:
Some of us get to the airport to find we’re over our baggage limit and end up paying puffed up charges. In the case of train or road trips too, it becomes a pain to carry heavy bags.
Avoid this by weighing your bag before you leave home and take out any unnecessary items if you find you’re over the limit.
11. Be ‘techie’ – be ‘appy’:
In the era of technology and gadgets, use your smart phone as your handy money-saving travel buddy.
I use my smartphone to market for everything including travel guides, maps, local eateries, and even torches! Download the required apps and you’ll save not only a wad of cash on paper travel guides and maps but also a lot of space in your case meaning less chance of excess baggage charges.
12. Eat like a local:
I am a foodie by heart and love to try our new cuisines as part of my travel. Let me share a secret, eating local cuisines not only is far better and is a lot of fun but also helps me in saving money too.
It’s simple maths, what would be cheaper, the food locals are growing in their backyard or the food they need to ship from other places.
Another top tip is stocking up from the hotel buffet breakfast and shopping in local supermarkets for lunch and happy hours.
So, you are a traveler too, what are your money saving secrets.. share in comments.
– Alok Upadhayay