Budget Travel: A guide to frugal travelling on a shoestring budget


Budget travel has become a buzzword today and people are finding inventive ways of doing more for less on vacations. The cash crunch that everyone is facing today because of the ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes has further forced us to rethink how we spend the limited money we have. This has changed how we shop, how we eat and even how we travel the world during these times of financial adversity. Of course, everyone needs and deserves a getaway from their monotonous routine once in awhile, but it doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. There are frugal ways to spend a nice holiday without spending a fortune on it. While trying to travel efficiently on a tight budget, you need to have a discerning eye when booking travel tickets, hotel rooms, transportation and meals. Here’s a list of ways you can make frugal travelling on a budget possible.

Don’t buy those expensive flight tickets

It’s quite surprising how cheap air fares have become of late. But booking without looking, as they say, is a drain on your travel budget. If you are not careful you might see half your travel budget gone on air tickets alone. To avoid such a situation you must be flexible with your itinerary. Find out if there is a cheaper way to get to a place and change your travel plans accordingly. If there is a possibility of booking a cheaper flight with a stopover instead of a costlier non stop flight, don’t think twice before booking it. You may just get to see another city in the process and save a heap of money too. Also keep a look out for discounted air fares that are offered for a limited time and use your frequent flyer rewards to club them with these discounts for a hefty saving in your travel budget.

Opt for home-stay or rent a cottage

If you are travelling as a group and booking many different hotel rooms is draining your travel budget, choose to stay in one of the many home-stay options. Of course going in a group gives your the advantage of dividing the expenses for lodging etc. but there are better ways to do it for far less money. In Himachal for example you can find people renting out their homes to guests for a fraction of what it costs to book a hotel room. You get the matchless experience of living a day in the life of a Himachali family and save a lot of money at the same time. If you need more privacy during your holidays there’s also the option of renting out cottages, log huts and tree-houses to keep the travel budget low. You can even carry your tent and pitch it in a nice meadow in places like Himachal and end up spending zero money on accommodation!

Travel during off season

The most popular tourist destination see a spike in travelling costs during peak season and this is true for all places that are worth visiting. However if you decide to visit the same place while the tourist season is off, not only will you be able to travel on a tight budget, you will also find the place less crowded. For instance, in Himachal the occupancy in hotels is low during off seasons like monsoons, the prices for hotel rooms, meals and cab fares are reduced by as much as 40 to 50% of the peak season rates. This is the perfect time to book your holiday because travelling to such destinations during low tourist rush gives you bargain deals on almost everything.

Travel with people in similar financial situations

One way to benefit greatly from budget travel is to be with like minded people who understand your preference for efficient travelling. Someone who knows how to make the most of your rupees is a good companion for budget travelling. For example in Manali and Manikaran in Himachal you can enjoy a relaxing natural hot water spring bath virtually for free, so why travel with someone who insists on going for an expensive spa instead? You don’t need a spendthrift, you need a frugal buddy who priorities cheap and efficient travel experiences over costly indulgences.

Eat street food

A great way to save money and stick to a budget while travelling is to eat street food at your destination. Renowned budget travellers and foodies swear by the experience of going from stall to stall while trying out different dishes at unbelievably low prices. Keeping your budget in check, you can savor some of the local cuisine instead of going to a high end restaurant that would include unnecessary service charges and VAT in the bill. Also, It wouldn’t be wrong to say that sometimes the traditional street food stalls being run by families for generations can offer you much better food than any KFC or Domino’s ever can. Great food at a great price is a recipe for successful budget travelling. Be sure to check out if the place is hygienic because an upset stomach is the last thing you want on your vacations.

They say that some of the best things in life come free. To a certain extent, this is true while travelling too. For example you can’t put a price on a breathtaking view you get after trekking to the top of a mountain, it’s free if you know how to get there. Now I can’t say about free for all things but I can assure you that there are definitely ways to avoid spending a chunk of your travel budget and still have a great time. It is really beneficial to explore cheaper alternatives of lodging, transport, meals and activities for budget travelling. The trick is to not get trapped by the usual touristy stuff that costs a lot. Be flexible with your itinerary but don’t forget to research and plan you holidays so that you can find the cheapest deals.

Also, Don’t forget about the power of bargaining, especially if you are travelling to India. Chances are that a small haggle over an extra bed or a cheaper taxi will prove to be considerable savings in your travel budget at the end of the day.I hope you will find these tips for budget travelling useful when you decide to take your next trip. It is actually possible to enjoy a satisfying vacation anywhere in the world without having to get your FD broken. Budget travel is a way of life for the new age traveller who wants to make the most of every last rupee he has. So don’t let the cash crunch keep you from travelling, remember this mantra -Live life with no excuses and travel with no regrets.

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