Five ways to save money on your summer vacation

So you can’t wait to pack your bags and gear up for a much-awaited summer holiday. There are plans being made and multiples options thrown around. You deliberate and ponder and work out a holiday budget, but wonder if sticking to it is ever possible. Here’s how you can save on your family vacation and leave your worries about budget constraints home.

Catch the right ticket timing – Frequent travellers will tell you that booking in advance could save you a lot on flight tickets. But what they might also add is that booking too early could cost you more. This happened with me. We booked flight tickets two and a half months in advance to Jaipur, only to see an almost 40% reduction in the price just 20 days before our trip. To save up on travel fare:

  • Opt for a ‘set fare alert’ option on travel websites when booking your air tickets. It allows you to keep a track on rising and falling of airfares daily or weekly
  • If you plan to hop from city to city on your tour, choose the multi-city ticket booking option for airlines or the circular ticket booking on irctc.in for trains and save oodles
  • Keep an eye out for coupon codes/ discounts on flight tickets that come in with your credit/debit card purchases and use them smartly
  • A seasoned traveller friend of mine always flies at wee hours of certain days such as Tuesdays or Saturdays. She swears that has kept her holiday budget from going haywire

Saving while staying – Another great way to hold on to your monies on holiday is to book villas, homestays or service apartments as opposed to hotels especially if you’re travelling as a large family or group. Most mums of babies and toddlers I know preferred a more spacious accommodation with a kitchenette as opposed to a cramped up hotel room. These tips can also come handy.

  • Websites such as Tripadvisor.com, Homestays.in, AirBnB, Homestay.com etc. have plenty of guest house, service apartment or bed & breakfast options in India and abroad
  • Sometimes, writing in or calling the hotel directly could fetch you better discounts than booking online or with an agent. Compare and haggle are the words
  • Booking combo deals of train/flight tickets plus hotel deals on travel websites also help keep the budget tight

The deal with the meals – Eating out on holidays can eat into a large chunk of your budget, since it’s never limited to three meals. There’s coffee on the go, snacks, bottled water, sweets or other impulse purchases. And if you’re travelling abroad, meals can run up some big bills.

  • Breakfasts are usually included in the hotel package so if you’re sightseeing abroad, try to eat local food with familiar ingredients so that you don’t end up wasting and ordering alternatives (this especially applies to kids and fussy eaters)
  • Make a trip to the local market and pick up some fruits, bread, spreads etc. for cost effective snacking options when you’re exploring.
  • You could even carry snacks from home (if travelling abroad) to get you by for a few meals. Once we carried a whole bunch of theplas to London and managed to save enough to squeeze in an experience at a fine dine restaurant!

Shop right – Not matter how much I decide not to shop on my travels, I end up buying something even if it’s not for myself.  This activity could seriously burn a hole in your vacation wallet and the fact that tourist spots are strategically planned around shopping spots does not help. Here’s how you can save.

Avoid buying from shops where your tourist guide takes you. They usually get a cut from the sales, so stuff there is more expensive. Look at what is on offer and then take a stroll around the area to smaller shops who sell similar quality stuff for a lower price.

 

When abroad, try to attend weekly flea markets. Europe is famous for these. You may find an amazing range of antiques, souvenirs, semi-precious jewelry etc. at throw away prices. Do watch out for apparel sold at these places though, they’re usually second hand.

Among the budget friendly places to shop abroad are outlet malls. Outlet malls or factory outlets sell expensive shoes, jewelry, watches and apparel at discounted rates that don’t make you feel guilty after shopping

Commute smart – Using the public transport to shuttle within the city instead of the taxi is a huge saving. Here’s something you could consider:

  • When travelling abroad, buy a train travel pass. It works out cheaper than buying a single ticket each time you travel and can be used across all lines. Similarly, enquire about passes meant for buses as well.
  • If you’re buying tickets for tourist attractions, check for combo tickets or all-day tickets.


Think smart, save smart and enjoy your holidays.

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