The most intriguing part of your travel activity is your Travel Budget, and no matter what you do, your budget seems to fall short most of the time. Here are some tips and hints which can help you in planning your budgets on your next trip.
Stick to the Essentials:
It’s like going to a shopping mall, or a retail store. You may have your own list of buys, but the moment you enter the store, you just can’t resist the temptation. The flip side is, it is meant to be that way. The things are kept in front of you in such a way that it gets difficult for you to decide the essentials of your travel. So when in doubt, ‘Stick to the Essentials’. For Example: When I have to choose a hotel at my travel destination, the essential part of the package is:
(a) Airport Pickup & Drop
(b) A meal of the day included
(c) Foreign Exchange
(d) Secure Locker and other security facilities
The non-essentials (for me, of course! Difference of opinion is respected by all means) will be:
(a) A swimming pool
(c) Internet Connection and Wi-Fi
I have no offenses with these facilities and each one is free to use it at their wisdom, but you may consider this fact before you make your decisions hereafter: You are here to travel and visit places, which means, you will check in, dump your luggage, take a shower and a bite, and probably wait for the conveyance to your site-seeing. For majority of the time, you stay outdoors, which means you are not able to utilize some of those facilities even if you try to. So, why pay for them. Shop yourselves a souvenir instead.
Also these days, some countries provide Wi-Fi access in all public places including public transport. Please use them. They are meant for you, to save money of course.
Time your clock for a better Forex rate:
Every country has a bank controlling authority, for example ‘Reserve Bank’ in India. These institutions define the transactions for the banks and the financial institutions in their countries. For example, all banks in India have to close their transactions for the day by 12 noon. Any transaction thereafter gets reflected the next day. Obviously, 12 noon will be a rush hour here and all banks witness high transactions. Guessing what’s there for you?? Right??
Here’s the key. Every country has a transaction/ market opening and closing time during which there is tremendous movement of currency rates. While that applies to the Forex traders, you can utilize this too. Check the transaction timings for the country you are traveling well before hand. A week’s time is sufficed to show you the trend. You will get the idea of the transaction patterns. Look for the off-peak timings when the fluctuation is lesser. It’s more or less similar every day. A careful observation should tell you exactly when you should go for the exchange in the destination you are in. You can use a good forex app on your mobile phone for updates. And exchange your currencies during those timings only throughout your visit. Even better, if you see a decent downtrend, exchange as much as you can. You will make some extra bucks for that coffee you were whining about to miss out due to your budget constraints.
Still better, you can open an account with e-wallets such as ‘SolidtrustPay’ which helps you to get better exchange rates and online payment methods.
Check your travel map for shortest routes:
While customized packages reduce your burden by allowing the travel agents to decide for you, it also renders you at the mercy of their design, while you end up paying for something you often do not desire. When you plan your travel, be clear about the following things:
(a) Your travel theme (Adventure/Wildlife/Family/Heritage/Photography Tour): Once you are sure of the theme, look for all the possible routes to the location. You will be surprised what you will save upon for your travel.
(b) Your Transit budget: Your maximum time will be spent upon shuttling from one location to another in your destination. Defining your destinations beforehand will help you to reduce the transit time and of course, your taxi rates per km or per hour.
(c) Choice of Hotel/Accommodation: Close to the airport OR close to the shopping street. Take your pick. If both are possible, fabulous, as you can wrap up fast and head for the airport even if you are little late, and its generally preferable to walk while you enjoy your ice-cream in your favorite shopping street, rather than enjoying it through a taxi- window.
Ideally, look for a location from where you can have most of your locations on your list equidistant. If its not close to a shopping area, well, the shopping area also can be equidistant.
(d) Public Transportation: Most of the locations in tourist countries are connected by Public transport like ‘Metro Rails’ or buses. Hunt for the guide maps and route charts at the Airport Exits. (Yes, that’s where you find them) and keep as many as you can. You will get all the public transport information you need, to NOT get wandered away. Please check on their last train schedules should you plan to stay outdoors until late evening. You won’t like to pay double charges to the taxi owners as you missed your last train to your hotel.
Try Local Cuisine for a Change:
Trying to look for native food on a foreign land might often prove you costlier. Unless you are not too stringent about your food habits, you must try the local cuisines. They are often lesser priced than your native food abroad. Who knows you might end up discovering your favorite cuisines you ever came across in your life..After all, travel is all about experimenting..
Check your Network Service:
Now, there are different services available to take care of that. ‘Matrix’ can provide you great offers. try ‘Skype’ for a change. It is accessible from multiple devices, is available in majority of the countries and best, it saves you from purchasing a SIM card altogether, while you continue to use the same no. at all times. Just purchase a calling service from Skype and they provide great service. At least, I liked it..
Planning your travel budget is half the battle won. Remember, its your little laziness that helps to make someone else’s business. When its your journey, why to leave it on someone else to decide…