Is there a best way to travel. Yes and no. Answer changes from person to person but if there is something everyone is looking for, it is to make their travels cheap. I am yet to hear from someone that they spent too less.
Travel bug gets cured really fast (at least goes into submission) if you see a rapidly depleting bank account. Apart from those who simply don’t have money there are others who want to save and are not comfortable to spend it all on travel.
I’ll let you in on two secrets
1. Travel can be very cheap.
We visited 24 world heritage sites last year for 30000 total and it includes everything. Need another example? Both of us totaled INR 25000 which is 210$ per person all inclusive for a 8 day Srilanka trip. There are many more examples and we will discuss the details of how we managed a trip next week.
2. Travel can help you earn money.
There are quite a few ways to have you travel fund themselves. If you have a skill that can be leveraged and is augmented by travels (writing, photography, teaching etc.) you will find yourself in a good situation as long as you manage to stick to the point above.
Both of these are not really secrets anymore people everywhere from America to India are doing it constantly. Unless you hit off with a business or start earning good from your skills mentioned above you might want to practice the first one better. As we work more and make more we have not stopped keeping an eye on the bottom line.
Having fun does not have to be really expensive. You would remember how we were worried about not really doing anything in SriLanka. Actually we did a few of those and ended up having far more fun than we had anticipated. The reason- we looked for things that fit our budget. We learnt that some free things are much more rewarding than those you dish out money for. All you have to do is a bit of research, like these Travel Free eGuidebooks I reviewed. Heck you can find free food in New York what more do you need.
Many would say-‘this is too tiring. I do not want to make travel a hassle so I’d book with someone online.’ You can see how much a 4 day trip for one costs on one of these portals. Trick to traveling cheap is taking reins of your travels in your hands as much as you can.
To actually make the best of latter you need to master the first unless you tap on a huge resource or get a rare opportunity. Most of the bloggers never even make it to earning money from their site.
So how do you make travels Cheap? Here’s how:
We usually plan our trips 2-3 months in advance as we have to book our train tickets.
Planning especially planning early helps you to get the best deals and allows you to apply for leaves early. This means less chances of the trip getting cancelled. Why? Because you and everybody else knows you are traveling at a certain date and time. Unless something big happens you are well prepared to travel. Cancellations can add to your travel expense without even traveling and that is not what we want.
We usually plan our trips 2-3 months in advance as we have to book our train tickets. If we feel we might have to fly it is at least 4 months ago. We get better prices and the cost goes down.
We usually have a few more leaves than money so it’s the train we take.
Flights are costlier than trains but take less time. If you are tight on your leaves and have to visit a far away destination, flight is the answer. If its money that matters and you can spend a few days catch a train. It can be the most expensive decision you make.
Can you travel without AC or do you feel uncomfortable sitting up for six hours straight? Air conditioning always costs more and so does exclusivity. Trains let you sleep as against buses which can rarely guarantee any sleep. When you travel more it is better to get the more comfortable option.It is important to test your comfort levels. It is always worth trying a lower level just to know if you can really not stand it.
As already established flying is the fastest way to reach a destination. Do you have time to take a train? How much difference in time will the flight make?
You might want to travel first class and don’t have much time on your hands. Not unless you have enough moolah to buy that coveted ticket. This does not mean you don’t travel. This means you travel reachable locations more and go to further places when you have saved enough.
If you can, try booking one-way journey in flight and take alternate modes for the other side
We almost never book flights and are quite content to be travelling 20 hours in sleeper class. We get good food, interesting people and our bank feels better. For a reference flight from Delhi to Mumbai costs 4000+ when booked two months in advance. The journey is about two hours. A sleeper class train ticket costs you 510 but with a 19 hour journey. We usually have a few more leaves than money so it’s the train we take.
Book a room which meets your basic requirements
This has to be the biggest expense that people make and it definitely should not be. There are few questions you need to ask before you book accommodation.
It is a basic rule never cross your budget for a hotel room. Instead aim for half of what you can pay. You should aim to lower your budget every outing you take.
If you are going for a luxurious stay or an adventure packed trip will have a major impact on your answer to the next question.
If you are you going to be in the room whole day then take a room which meets your comfort requirements. If you plan on a lot of sightseeing you will probably be dead tired by the time you come back. Book a room which meets your basic requirements.
If you are going to live for a week or so going cheaper will be logical and save you some serious money.
Do you really need those extras?
Are you going to swim or will you have time to swim? If not, that pool will not really do anything for you.
We prefer to take private rooms or apartments instead of dorms as for two it will almost be the same cost anyways. If you are single dorms can be real money savers.
Our cheapest double room with attached toilet and TV was for 360/- (6$). It was walking distance from the railway station, bus stand and market. Toilet was far cleaner than what I have seen in rooms costing twice per person.
No money involved you can explore world at your own pace literally.
This can be really expensive if you hire a cab to take you around the city not to mention quite boring too. Use public transport but be prepared there are places where local transport simply does not exist or isn’t safe. When this is the case try to rent a bicycle or motorbike for the duration of your trip.
Bicycles are usually cheaper and don’t need additional fuel investment. If you don’t feel like riding up those hills rent a motorcycle.
My favorite is walking. It’s a great exercise and helps when you have time on your hand. No money involved you can explore world at your own pace literally.
Until our trip to Goa where we hired an auto-rickshaw and the safaris we never took any private transport last year. We were either walking or taking a private bus. It definitely saved us quite a few bucks.
Food and drinks
We eat local at least the breakfast and dinner, if we feel like eating a bit expensive food that’s usually lunch.
Eat local but take care of what your body can take. I have practically groomed my gastronomic desires on street food of India and have almost never had any side effect accept overeating.
It might be tempting to grab a sub or a burger on your way but it’s not going to add to your travel experiences. This does not mean you have to abstain from fast food. Sometimes they are the cheapest and easily available options. Also a known taste helps maintain your sanity.
Water usually is a big concern for many. Packaged water is available almost everywhere. Keep an empty bottle with you so that you can fill it up from a trustworthy source.
Few drinks while on a trip is always fun. We have done it every way but still feel the best way is to get a few to your room and have a party. That’s way cheaper and far safer than getting drunk in an unknown place. Or don’t drink unless the aim of your trip was to party.
We eat local at least the breakfast and dinner, if we feel like eating a bit expensive food that’s usually lunch. We have fill up our bottles everywhere we feel it is safe to drink from, that’s usually at terminals, monuments and hotels. You might want to buy a purification system which will help you save money and also help you travel with a smaller footprint.
If you start using even one of the above tips you will definitely see a lot of savings while you travel. These will help you travel more for less. If you are interested in more such tips sign up below.