“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Traveling can be a fun filled adventure, and a memory to cherish. However, vacations can be cost intensive, and can eat away at your budget. If you have been worrying about money while daydreaming about a vacation, then you needn’t worry. Vacations are not just for the rich!
You can easily save money and travel to your favorite vacation spot to fulfill that wanderlust. At the end of the day, vacations are about saving a bit of money before you proceed with your bookings, efficient planning, and strategizing your travel effectively.
Now that we have challenged the myth for you about travel, let us look at some top ways and methods to save up, plan and go on a fun filled vacation!
Budgeting and Saving
If you haven’t prepared a budget yet, then today’s the right time for your budgeting exercise. You can create a small spreadsheet with all the potential expenses that you may incur during your travel, starting from your visa and tickets, and going up to your arrival back home. Once you’ve done that, you can start saving or consider earning on the side to collect funds for your vacations.
Start saving every month to gather funds by the end of the period, so that you can invest them in your travel. Traveling on a budget does not mean that you be stringy with your salary and not spend at all. But it does mean planning a little ahead of time to enjoy your time off.
If your salary does not support a vacation, and if you feel that saving up from your salary could make a dent on your critical expenditure, then consider some moonlighting gigs. There are tons of options to choose from, from tuitions to content writing, and from coaching students regarding their career, to teaching at a coaching center. Put that money aside and start planning for your vacation today.
Set a ceiling and limit your budget for your travel. Your budget should have a good 10 to 20% margin for going overbudget because inevitably budgets get overrun during traveling. This can be for various reasons like missing your ferry, or ending up eating from a restaurant that costs you more than you anticipated. But avoid overspending to stop yourself from overrunning on your budget. More so, avoid credit cards and charging your card during your travel, particularly internationally.
If you are charging in the local currency of the country you’re in, it gets converted into dollars first, and then into PKR. This currency conversion becomes costly and your bill gets inflated. At the end of the day, it also means coming back to a big loan to pay back!
We understand that on a tight budget, lavish and high-class hotels aren’t affordable. Curb your choices and select economical, cheap hotels. If you are travelling to the northern parts of Pakistan, then discuss your itinerary with friends and family who have traveled to these places. They can give you good budget options that they may have used previously. If you intend to spend your vacations internationally, reserve good budget hotels, check out Booking.com or other similar websites to compare rates and book reasonable rates. Alternatively, there is Airbnb and Couch Surfing which may be cheaper for you in any case. If you are traveling in a group, then instead of budget hotels, look for hotel apartments that can help you reduce costs, where laundry and small kitchens are also available.
Explore areas by walking across the cities and countries that you visit. That helps in finding hard to locate special places for food, helps give you a good idea of the location, and saves you money as well. Choose transport that is reasonably priced. In foreign countries, you can avail taxies, metros, ferries and what not. Choose the ones that cost less but can help you see the city.
Travelling off-season lowers the budgets of air-fares and hotel accommodation costs. For international travel; book your travel few months before your trip to avail reasonable price. If you are travelling locally, check for the options of inexpensive transportation available to you. Travelling by road cut your costs. That is a good option to choose locally for a family vacation. Off-season travelling helps you to avoid crowded hotels and tourist points.
Group travelling is fun. It automatically splits the budget among the group members. You can have great travel companions as well. It can be a great way to stay in budget, travel with more people, and enjoy a longer vacation with your friends.
Travel insurance policies provide protection to you and your family against any unexpected medical emergencies, compensate your losses in case of lost, damaged or stolen belongings, and helps to provide uninterrupted service such as in the case of cancelation of flights. So, if you fall sick during a vacation, you won’t have to worry as you would be covered through this insurance.
Sales and Discounts
Airlines and hotels generally have sales during the off season and provide exceptional rates for budget travelers. For example, Emirates normally reduces prices for some of its flight paths during off season. Similarly, hotels and restaurants also have discounts during off-peak season to cater to travelers during these times, and to boost their sales. You can always research for discount coupons and websites that have promotional sales and discount options such as buy one, get one free, percentage discounts, etc. For example, if you are traveling to Dubai, you can check out Time Out Dubai for exceptional deals and options.
Shopping is a major budget killer. Have a specific objective in mind when you go on vacations. If your intention is site seeing, then avoid shopping malls and arenas altogether. If the primary purpose to visit a new country or city was to shop, then by all means build that into your budget.