Yes, You Can Afford to travel!
Staycation, schmaycation. Whatever trip you’ve been dreaming of, financial guru Alexa von Tobel tells you how to make it a reality.
Plan, Plan, Plan
The longer the break, the better, right? Actually, studies show that it’s the excitement of anticipation that maximises happiness. A quickie getaway delivers those good feelings
on a budget.
Got a dream destination? Keep a tab of airline prices online. Signing up for newsletters on booking websites such as Cleartrip.com is a great idea. You will be regularly updated on sales, discounts and other relevant offers.
You can save money by sharing a rental car, staying in a suite, and requesting group rates for activities. Use Splitwise, a free app that helps you divvy up the bills. You know what they say: the more the merrier!
Should you take a bus, a train or a flight? Or should you let your adventurous spirit drive you to your destination? The Way To Go option on Cleartrip.com allows you to compare the time and cost involved. Using public transit can be a major money saver too. Ask a local (or a friend who’s been where you’re going) about the best and cheapest ways to get from A to B. And hey, if you’re looking to sightsee while in the city, there’s always the Hop-on, Hop-off bus!
Win a Vacay
Some hotels and airlines host giveaways on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. See what a search turns up.
Now Book It
Find the Best Rate
While you’re browsing for hotels to stay at make sure you check Groupon.co.in. Indana Palace in Jodhpur is for Rs.17,999—44 percent less than the tariff rate, which is Rs. 32,250. Sold! If you’re travelling abroad, look for deals on HotelTonight (another free app you must bookmark!) for last-minute getaways within driving distance.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays tend to be the cheapest days to fly. For instance, a Mumbai to Delhi on a Tuesday can cost you as little as Rs.3,200.
Search Like a Pro
Once the airline spots you searching for flights online, the price may go further up. Clear your browsing history to get back to the original price.
Work Your Card
You know about your card’s big travel perks—like free miles and airline-ticket discounts—but you may also be entitled to under-the-radar cost savers such as a free checked bag, room upgrades at hotels, and even discounts on concert tickets.
On The Road
Avoid Foreign Fees Buying
Something in a different currency costs you an average of 3 percent of the purchase price in fees. If you travel overseas often, consider opening a fee-free card. Just make
sure you’re not getting burned with an annual fee.
Standard voice and data plans will rack up hundreds of dollars in fees if you use your smartphone while you’re abroad. Instead, buy a prepaid SIM card at the airport. You’ll enjoy a week’s worth of unlimited talking and web surfing for around Rs.1,200. Another great option is the Matrix card, which can be ordered online or purchased at most Indian airports. Perks include free calls to India from most countries, payment in Indian rupees and a post-paid connection.
If you’re travelling abroad, you might feel obliged to tip a lot more than you usually do. Ask at your hotel about local tipping protocols, and then act accordingly. In many European cities, for example, a service fee is included in restaurant bills.
There are lots of fun ways to soak up the city you’re visiting without splurging on pricey tickets or Michelin-star meals. Wander around a farmer’s market to check out the local produce, then buy some for a picnic lunch. You could sit on a bench in a city square and people-watch, and take advantage of free museum days and concerts in parks and churches. Scan bulletin boards and online city guides for events, and take a chance.
You won’t get what you don’t ask for! Ask your hotel concierge, who wants you to have a great stay, if there are room upgrades available. And don’t hesitate to make friends
with ticket agents, waiters, and other folks you come across, mentioning if you’re travelling for a special occasion. It pays to be nice!