The world and its ways have been dynamic over the years, and so have our lifestyles. The trending 12-hour work schedules, the frequent skipping of meals, tight deadlines, untimely working hours and lack of appreciation to top it all has literally drained the life out of us. There comes a point where all we need to do is unwind, decentralise, streamline and slough off the excess to find our centre. And what better way than taking off on a trip?
But “how do I manage finances when I can barely meet ends?” and “What would I do?” are only a few of the questions that apprehend you. However, careful planning and tedious management make differences. Below are a few tips that will help you slit your budget in half and enrich your experience twice as much!
When you’re booking your budget travel tickets
Always keep a regular tab on the discounts posted on budget airlines like Air Asia, Tiger Air, JetConnect etc.
For example, I was able to save 50% on tickets to Perth by booking them on AirAsia. When my friend paid 70K for a round trip, I managed to find it within 35K! But do remember that these are budget airlines and leg space and meal comfort may vary. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get discounts before they sell out.
Whenever you find a number of connecting flights to the country you want to fly to, always check the price of a local budget flight in that country to the country you’re flying to before booking. Chances are you’ll get it at a cheaper price. Moreover, you’ll also get to explore the connecting country as well. A list of the Budget Airlines with respect to the region have been listed for your reference:
Canada -Porter, Air Transat
United States -Jetblue, Porter, Southwest, Allegiant Air, Frontier, Spirit Airlines
Australia – Jetstar ,Tiger Air, Scoot
New Zealand – Air New Zealand, Jetstar
Asia – Air Asia,Tiger Air, Eastar , Jeju Air , Jetstar, Hong Kong Express, Scoot, Peach Air, Dragon Air, Spice Jet, Spring Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Nok Air, T’Way Airlines, Vanilla Air
Europe – Vueling, Ryanair, Easyjet, Norwegian Air , Aer Lingus, Wizz Air, Aigle Azur, Wow Air
When you’re booking your stay
Staying in star hotels is elaborate and classy. But on a shoe string budget, it may not turn out to be an ideal choice. However, this should never limit your experience and comfort. You can always find the right stay for you depending on what you fancy and require.
If travelling on a whim is your thing and you cherish experiencing, living, breathing and eating ethnic and local food, you must try couchsurfing.com or stayforfree.com. You can get in touch with hosts who are ready to accommodate you by providing you a roof to rest under for free, and show you around the local delights and delicacies. They take it up as a passion and to build a network. Always make sure you give a clear understanding to your host as to what you are looking forward to before you agree to anything.
You can also stay in backpacker hostels – they are cheap, clean, provide unlimited wifi, locker facilities, and unlike the stereotypes, are open to the older crowd as well. You can check out Hostelworld, Hostelz, and HostelBookers for rooms and user reviews.
If you travel to know about how people across borders make the world a better place through their contributions, and are willing to make your own, worldpackers.com and www.helpx.net offer a list of hosts who are willing to take you in for the skills you provide in return. This may vary from house-keeping and gardening to web designing and promotions. You can also volunteer with Kibbutz, UN and WWOOF if you are looking at providing volunteer services.
If you love travelling with family, it can often be an expensive affair. More importantly, senior citizens always tend to find it difficult to adjust to a new environment. HomeExchange.com, SeniorsHomeExchange.com, IHEN, and Home for Exchange are platforms where you can list your home and get to stay in someone else’s home in exchange for yours when they visit your country. That way you have the comfort of a home and you can go by your own schedule.
If you don’t have a home to list or have issues in letting people in, you can always check out Mindmyhouse.com, HomeCarers.com, LuxuryHouseSitting.com where you can stay free of cost by ensuring general housekeeping when the owners are away.
Does walking down the aisles of a 1000-year-old church lit by fire torches catch your fancy? Do you wish to live the Spartan lives of people who lived in those tombs and dome-structures? Monastrystays.com provides you with a list of monasteries you can stay at in Europe. They are safe, simple, minimal and quite the experience. Though a few of them charge a menial amount, most of them get by only with the donations you make. There are a number of monasteries that provide stays in India such as the Thiskey Monastry, Hemis Monastry and Phutgal Gompa in Leh
If treks up the hill and yatras are your thing, there are many families who stay up in the hills who open their homes and have babas and yogis welcome you to stay in their caves. The food may be simple and unlikely to what you have on a regular basis but their warmth and hospitality are simply impeccable. Their experiences and stories are out of the world! Literally! Be open to ask for help and it’ll blow your mind to see how much good exists!
When you’re looking out for activities to do
Good research and travel magazines can help you identify what needs to be visited and experienced, the best places to dine and what to eat. However, if it doesn’t fit within your budget, couchsurfing also gets you in touch with local travel mates you can meet and seek advise from.
Websites such as groupon.com and poshvine.com are great in this regard and offer deals at a good discount.
After a long haul of budget stays, you can always spend the bucks you’ve saved on a star hotel and a luxury meal on the last few days of your travel. After all, with the rich experience and local encounters, you deserve it!
Originally posted in India Times