How to plan a Travel Budget and Travel Cheap?

So one of the biggest thing about millennials like us face at the thought of travelling is budget, we’re often suppressed from travelling our hearts out, unless you’re super rich.

Well coming from a middle class background I’ve faced the short comings of travelling as it takes a dig on your income. Now me being a travel freak, I can’t just let go off travelling and well I’ve found ways how to curtail expenses while travelling.

Caution : Luxury Travelers, This isn’t your thing.

Coming to my own way of budgeting while I travel. I’m a person who gives in all savings to travel. Because to travel is to find peace to me. And by savings I don’t mean thousands and thousands of rupees. I usually plan and manage to wrap up my itineraries in the cheapest and safest possible way.

How do I do it?

Assuming you’ve planned the destination where you want to head to.

Step 1 : Flights/Train/Bus

Coming to today’s scenario, finding train tickets is a hard thing and if you really want to travel by train you need to book your tickets two to three months in advance at least. Now for me, planning trips two – three months ahead is a real task as I get freelance calls even in a days response. So what do I do? I prefer travelling via flights if the distance is more than 1000 odd kilometres or if I don’t get busses to my destination. Busses are a real cheap way of transport and they are safe too,and as a result it’s my favourite mode of transport. And when I need to travel farther, I take flights, because firstly it saves time and secondly train tickets and flight tickets these days have almost become the same cost, so flights are definitely an advantage.

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How to book cheap flights ?

This question is an often asked one, and well time has taught me the way to deal with this. What I do is, I book my flights about a month before my travel dates, try to avoid weekends and holidays as prices tend to be higher around those dates. Another small tweaking one must do is while booking the tickets try to do it from your computer or phone in incognito mode, because when you don’t do so, they can track and by the frequency of your repeated searches they often hike up the prices.

I use two websites to find the cheapest airfares, Kayak and Skyscanner, as they show the prices of all the ticketing agents in one page.

Now one of the many problem is somewhat solved, I guess. Let’s move on to the next.

Step 2: Arranging the Stay.

This is the most trickiest thing to plan or manage while planning a trip, one might just contradict to this opinion of mine, but I can’t really help it.

The choice of the stay depends on your budget, how much safety you prefer, and how hygiene conscious you are!

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Well, in my case, I look for stays which provide clean beds, clean bathrooms and preferably free breakfast within the 600-700 price tag. I look for Hostels or even Oyo’s, they are often clean, and provide wholesome breakfast. Now there comes the tricky part, you will find hostels within 500 in most places, but they might not have complimentary breakfast, I look for it because it saves around 100 bucks a day at least. Secondly hostels might have a stipulated time restrictions and also consumption of alcohol isn’t permitted in most of the hostels. Lastly, for all the people who like staying alone, 100 bucks extra a day won’t pinch you to stay alone in a private room where you don’t have to share a bathroom.

If you prefer staying in hostels, you can always look up for Zostels, as they are available in most of the places, if not, try Youth Hostels or you can even look up for hostels on Airbnb, the best and convenient option.

And lastly, if you’re adventurous enough you can always try Couch surfing, it’s a platform where travelers often host other travelers which boosts their profiles so that they can stay in other cities with other hosts. And all of it is for no bucks, yes it’s completely free, even though, if you want to verify yourself, you can do it with a small one time fee, this increases your chances of getting accepted by the hosts.

Another problem solved? Is it? At least the two main heads of budgeting have been ticked! Coming next is another tricky part.

Step 3: Food

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This one thing is very subjective, it depends on your choices, if you’re open for experimenting you won’t certainly have any problem. But if you’re a bit choosy, you need to spare a good budget for it either or go around in the search of your choice of food. In my case, I often like to experiment at the first go, and if it suits me, then well and good, else I start the search for my comfort food, one advantage which I have is I can adjust with everything when I find chicken, which is easily found in most of the places. I also tend to spend quite a bit if I find a specialty restaurant with a view or so, because in that case I’m paying for the experience and the view. There are a lot of budget options available everywhere in INDIA, and in abroad I can only talk about Thailand as I’ve been there a couple of times.

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Thailand is a wonderland for foodies, you name it and you get it, that too it’s dirt cheap, best budget food option there is Seven Elevens, the world famous convenience store, you’ll find them everywhere. You can manage a good wholesome breakfast meal for 50-60 Baht, which is around 100-120 in INR, you can have good enough dinner at around 150 Baht. They have so much variety that you might just get lost. Another thing in Thailand is their street food, a country well known for it’s street food will never let you down, there are thousands of different varieties of street food, ranging from fried chicken to mango with sticky rice and how can I forget their Pad-Thai noodles, they all are very pocket friendly.

And if you’re a bit too choosy about your food I would suggest you to search the options available beforehand on Zomato if possible. It won’t let you down and you can always have a rough estimate of the food budget.

Step 4: Travelling expenses(“sightseeing”)

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This one thing depends on how you’re travelling, if you’re travelling solo, the best option is to find a tour operator and ask them if they have a plan on sharing basis, because booking cabs are usually too expensive and often not affordable for solo travelers, but if you happen to be a vlogger or a photographer, you might just want to book private cars, because it gives you the freedom to stop and create content wherever you want. And for this very reason, what I suggest is find out before hand where can you find two wheeler or four wheeler self drive rentals, two wheelers are naturally very economic but if you’re a person like me, who doesn’t know how to ride a bike or scooty you might just go for the four wheeler self drive. Now if you’re in a city and too lazy to drive yourself, the best option is to go for bike taxis, they are very cheap and consume way less time than normal cabs. If you’re planning to visit a city, in that case i would suggest look up for cost of public transport like buses and metros, they prove to be the best pocket friendly option. There’s another possible way if you’re adventurous enough, and that is hitchhiking, well only if you’re extremely extroverted, perks being you don’t need to spend anything almost. Now, once you’ve decided what’s the best suit for you, you can easily plan a budget for it, do it as a per day expense that would certainly be helpful. The cab booking app’s have always been of help while i plan my travel budgets, as it gives me a fair idea of how much can i expect to spend to go from a place to another.

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Coming to the next expense under sightseeing is the tickets to the monuments, parks, historic sites, museums and so on. You must always look up on the web for their costs, because it’s a common thing to forget about it, and they can really take a toil on you pocket if you’re travelling on a shoestring budget. Places like Rajasthan, Agra, are full of monuments and most of their tickets cost in hundreds, so it’s better to take a look beforehand. One good thing about the historic sites is they have a striking discount for students.

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Lastly, there are a couple more points to keep in mind while planning the travel budget, like shopping, booze(if you wish to) and something else maybe which i’m missing out. Well, they are anyway subjective so i won’t make it anymore lengthy.

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Hoping this would help you plan your budget from the next time, and if it does help you, do drop a comment below!

Thank you! Till we meet again….. 🙂

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