INDIA TRAVEL - HOW TO SAVE MONEY IN TRAVEL - SOME TIPS

Hello friends! Everybody wants to save money in travel. No one likes to splurge unnecessarily. We all want to minimize the expenses and maximize the pleasure of traveling. But the big question is “how do we do it?”. While we all try to save money by means such as trying to get the cheapest tour package, trying to get best online deals or bargaining hard while shopping on a trip. The fact is that these things do not necessarily minimize your expenses and definitely do not give you the maximum returns in terms of pleasure. For example, cheapest tour package may not be the best.
Then what can we do to save money as well as enjoy our trip to the fullest? Well, to begin with, we need to get out of our comfort zones and be prepared to take some pain, because as the saying goes, there’s no gain without pain.
There is a term very commonly used in businesses. The entrepreneurs among us would understand this. Basically this deals with analyzing the cost we incur on something compared to the benefit it provides. In common term we can call it “value for money”. Let’s first analyze which would be more beneficial – booking a complete travel  package or booking all the items separately and individually like to and fro transport, hotel, local transport etc.


Tariffs for hotels
CHECK THE COST DIFFERENCE
If you ask me, I personally don’t prefer complete travel packages for one major reason. They show us what they want to show not what we want to see. What happens then? The explorer in you would be left dissatisfied.  I have had experience with this during my Kashmir trip wherein I had booked a package deal. But I was shown a very little of the places like Pahalgam while I wanted to explore much more. So we need to check thoroughly before buying a tour package, whether it will show us what we want to see and that would be possible if we have done our complete homework about the place we want to visit.
Secondly, we need to break the entire package, being offered to us into individual items like return fare(if included), hotel, local transport. Then we can do our research and find out the cost we would incur if we booked these facilities individually.


Check price of hotels
CHECK THE COST OF INDIVIDUAL ITEMS
Like, when I was to travel to Narkanda, I spend good two days exploring online about the hotels there. And as happens, I would get different quotes from different sites, each claiming to give the best price. I was looking for a hotel at prime location within my budget. Just as I was about to click a deal on a site, it occurred to me to speak directly with a couple of hotel owners and see what they were offering. I did speak with them. And to my surprise, with a little bargaining, I got a very good room in a centrally located property for a much lower price than what online sites were offering, and that too without paying any advance and an early check in facility. So a little smartness always helps.



On the other hand, when I was trying to decide on the mode of transport I needed to take to reach Narkanda, I found that train would be much cheaper than bus but it would take six to seven hours more to reach Narkanda. I had to decide what did I want to save, time or money. I reckoned that even if I travelled by an AC bus, it would cost me INR 250 more on one side but it would save me good 14 hours on both sides put together. So it was only wise to travel by AC bus and save time. This is what I mean by cost benefit analysis.
Here again, I spent good amount of time to checkout various offers available online for booking bus tickets. And I got a good deal from one of the portals, that too for state transport bus, which saved me 50% of the extra money I was to spend on bus travel. Here, if I had booked directly from the state transport portal, it would have been costlier.


Make smart decision on mode of transport
CHOOSE MODE OF TRANSPORT WISELY
Now coming to local transport. We can checkout the various distances from our point of stay and find out the means of transports available to travel to those places. Whenever I travel alone, I prefer to walk as much as possible. And even in a group, we can walk to the nearby places. It is generally when we are with family that we need mode of transport to ferry us from one place to another. When traveling alone, we can hitch a ride also. I have found that fellow travelers are generally happy to accommodate. So we must be prepared to take a little pain of walking.



Know all the local distances
BE CLEAR ABOUT THE DISTANCES
And if we are in a group or with family and need a cab, it is better to bargain with cabbies directly than going through hotel staff. I asked my hotel staff to get me a cab for a particular place. The taxi owner asked me for INR600 as fare. I declined and went outside to find another cab. There I found that the standard return cab fare for traveling to that place was INR500 and with a little bargaining it could come down to INR400. It is an altogether different matter that eventually I ended up getting a free ride from some fellow travelers. Point is that we need to be aware of the distances and that gives us more bargaining power.
About shopping, do not purchase from the shops where your cabbie or bus staff takes you. We all know they have a commission there and the shopkeeper would surely add their commission to the price of the article. It’s always better to explore the market and find for yourself, the fair price of the item you want to purchase.


Enjoy your travel
ENJOY WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT FINANCE
And last but not the least, try to not leave tips for the hotel staff or the waiters at the eateries you go to. You are very rarely going to visit them again, so there is no point in being grandiose and feeding our egos.
I hope these tips will surely benefit some of us as we embark on one more new journey.

SO, HAPPY, SAFE AND ECONOMICAL TRAVEL TO ALL OF US!!


2 comments:

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    1. Thanks Ankur! Do subscribe to my blog to keep getting information on unseen, unexplored places and travel tips.

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