Never before has the Indian population been this besotted with travelling—practically every youngster or working professional these days opts to spend weekends and sabbaticals exploring new places instead of making the same old movie or get-together plans for the weekend.
However, unless you have unlimited reserves of money and can afford regular trips and escapades every month, travelling frequently can burn a serious hole in your pocket, unless you plan wisely.
This is where the concept of budget travel comes to the fore, especially for those bitten by the travel bug, who often have to bid all their plans goodbye after getting done with their monthly quota of bills and payments.
Before you say that budget travelling does not give one a ‘real’ travelling experience, and low-cost alternatives will never make up for quality or satisfaction, there’s something we would want you to consider—to disassociate ‘budget’ with words like cheap, shabby or unsafe.
This is a common misconception, but travelling on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be resting or taking night halts in shady places. Unlike luxury trips or staying at a resort, you already know that the objectives of budget travel are treasuring memories and of course, exploring places.
So when it comes to resting for the night, even a simple, clean room is more than enough, as long as it guarantees safety. Even then, you need travel light and leave your valuables behind.
Budget travel can be a fascinating experience through which you can not only see more places but also save a lot of money.
But what it requires is complete commitment on your part to find time for research and by that we mean, proper and extensive analysis about where you are headed, how to reach there, places to explore, local commute, living options, basic accessibility, and of course, how much of all these will fit into your estimated budget.
While booking for tickets and accommodation in advance is a good start, you also need to spend some time planning a budget, before everything.
To help all the travel freaks and wanderlust chasers out there, we have shortlisted ten hacks and tips. Onward ho!
1. Plan the trip during the off-season
Travelling to a place when it is not populated by vacationers, i.e. the off-season time, is always a good idea. Not only are the tickets cheaper, but you will also find everything from accommodation to food options to be considerably lower than what it is during the peak season.
2. Choose trains for a scenic experience
Trains are affordable, and in India, they are connected to the most remote areas as well. Be prepared to come across an abundance of scenic panoramas as you travel through the rail tracks even before you reach your chosen destination. Also, the IRCTC facility of circular booking might be of great help in saving time and money, through which you can secure round-the-way tickets at cheaper costs compared to individual bookings.
3. Book using a private browsing window
Looking for cheap air tickets? This is a hack that most people would not tell you about! Most travel websites have a pesky way of keeping tabs on your previous activities regarding the prices you were quoted in the past, which gives them the leverage to quote higher prices the next time you look for flights.
A way to triumph over this is to clear your web history and use the incognito mode while searching for flights. You can thank us later!
4. Stick to public transport while travelling locally
Buses are the key to cut short your commuting charges to a significant extent. Most cities and even rural towns in India are well connected by frequent, regular bus lines that you can make optimal use of and steer clear from the exorbitantly-priced taxis.
5. Travel light
One thing you need to swear by even before considering budget travel is that you need to pack only what you would need instead of stuffing your bags with unnecessary items.
If you were taking a flight, this would be useful to reduce the baggage charge. This way, carrying your backpack wherever you go wouldn’t seem tiresome either!
6. Carry food with you
A very conscious hack that will go on to save you from sudden pangs of hunger is to carry snacks with you, like fruits, nuts or even health bars. These will not just pump up your energy but also avoid unnecessary binging along the way.
7. Get to know the locals
Nothing is better than hitting it off with local people, who can prove to be a great blessing when it comes to navigating a place. Sometimes, they might who suggest hidden gems in the locale that even your research might have skipped, and you never know; you may end up forging a friendship for a lifetime!
8. Travel on Tuesdays
If you haven’t noticed by now, most flight tickets are at their cheapest on Tuesdays as people rarely choose this odd weekday for travel.
If you don’t believe us, try comparing air tickets on different days of the week and see for yourself!
9. Explore local and street food
While you are at it, an economical way to fill your stomach and not spend an exorbitant amount eating meals at pricey hotels is to head to the streets.
Local eateries and street food vendors will give you a taste of the cuisine of the place, and it will be a gastronomic experience of a new kind! But if you have a delicate stomach, make sure you carry medicines.
10. Treasure experiences over material things
Souvenirs are definitely worth collecting but to think about it, do you need to splurge on overpriced curios that probably would adorn your living spaces or fridges and serve no other purpose?
Instead, you could spend that time making memories and experiences that would remain for a lifetime, while keeping your travel light and ease the pressure on your wallet!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)