Just like most of us, I love to travel. However, I am a greedy person and no matter how much I travel , I always want to travel more. I am a regular on all travel related websites , whether it is Tripoto or Tripadvisor - I love reading about various places irrespective of whether I get to go there or not. These websites have helped me a lot to plan my trips, I swear by Lonely planet and trip advisor. I am sure all of you, who like travelling, must have read various blogs or stories about people who left their jobs and promising careers to travel around the world and it sounds so wonderful, but I won’t be writing about any of that because I am a regular middle class girl.
I love to travel but cannot afford to leave my job and become a full time traveler (may be in future I might ) . So, I want to write about how people with jobs can manage travelling within limited budget and limited holidays .I try to increase my trips with each passing year and this is how I plan it. After all, being middle class doesn’t curtail options!
First and foremost thing -DON'T ever take packages, why? because:
That just spoils the trip and the budget too - Of course, they have to make money somehow which they will charge from you.
In addition to that, most of these packages are group packages so, it gets very restrictive as you need to stick to a particular group with a particular itinerary. what I would suggest is do good research before you plan to go anywhere, you can use lonely plant, trip advisor, we are holidays, tripoto etc (there are zillions of websites to give you all the information that you need).
Hope I have now established the fact that you should not take holiday packages. Therefore,try and plan in the beginning of the year the number of trips you want to take in that year and what kind of places you wish to visit. For example in 2015 I had planned to take 4-5 trips in that year and I divided that into 3 categories 2 big trips (one national and one international , 1 medium and 2 small trips - just to let you know by big and small I mean the no of days and the budget).
Big trip (Within India) could be Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kashmir, Rajasthan, North East , Leh Ladakh etc.
Biggest cost involved is generally the flight cost so few ways to save money are:
- To check tickets every day for good a month or two and there comes a day when the tickets get cheap (Believe me), I booked Kerala return tickets in 7 k from Delhi. Try travelling off season if weather is not an issue.
- Use sky scanner, it shows which could be the cheapest city to land in a a particular state, use goibibo , refer it to friends and get go cash which you can use from 100 bucks to 5000.
- Try and use credit cards which gives you miles, make all spending through them and collect miles, you can easily get 2500 off due to miles if you make your regular payments using credit cards.
You need around 5 holiday for such a trip (Monday to Friday ) and you get to spend around 8- 9 days. Try to take Saturday early morning flight to save your day & come back on Sunday evening to make most of your days off!
Big Trip (International) - start with close by places as they are cheaper, could be Thailand, Sri lanka, Kazakistan, Bhutan, Myanmar and eventually you can eye Europe, Africa, America, Russia etc.
2nd biggest expense is staying cost, I am not a luxury person but I definitely need an average place with nice view and clean washrooms and sheets. I recently started using booking.com and trust me it’s just amazing.
I recently went to Sri Lanka and stayed at home stays everywhere and I am so happy that I chose to do this instead of spending money on hotels. It's one of the best ways to interact with locals, meet fellow travelers, get amazing home cooked food and get more by spending less. Booking.com & airbnb have a lot of amazing options. Try taking 2 weeks off so that u can travel for good 14 days.
Mid Size trips - For such trips you just need to take 2 holidays and they don't cost you more than 8-10k per person. You can combine 2 holidays with a weekend or even better long weekends and go to places like Kasaul,Manali, Kullu,Udaipur, Jodhpur, Shimla, Jaisalmer, Bikaner etc.
You don't need to book flight tickets, take a car and hit the road, go with a bigger group as it always costs less when you travel in bigger groups. Enjoy your journey, take multiple stops, binge on road side dhaba food, chai and hospitality.
Small trips - You just need your weekend and may be 4-5k in your pocket for such trips, these trips are best if they are improptu. Leave on Friday evening post office and come back on Sunday night.
So called weekend getaways these are, you can go to Agra, Bharatpur, Rishikesh,Jaipur, Pushkar, Mussorie, Nainital, Landsdowne, Kasuali , Jim Corbett etc.
These trips work best when you had a hectic week in office and all you want to do over a weekend is to get away from the city life.
So that's how I have been planning my anti corporate getaways in the last 2 years :
Year 2014 -
Domestic Big Trip - Kerala & Karnataka - 12 days (cost 32 k per person)
International Big Trip - 4 Countries in Europe (this was partially official so cant determine budget)
Mid Size - Mukteshwar - 3 days (8k per person)
Small Trip - Bharatpur & Jim Corbett - Weekend trips (4-5k per person)
Year 2015 -
Domestic Big Trip - Leh and Ladakh - 12 Days (38 k in caravans, you can do it cheaper)
International Big Trip - Sri Lanka - 8 Days (38 k per person)
Mid Size - Dharamshala & Bir Billing - 3 Days (9-10 k per person)
Small Trip - Amritsar - Weekends trip (7-8k per person)
Most importantly, I feel one should be open to travel, do not make plans and not execute them. Spending on experiences rather than materials is what broadens our horizons and makes us learn. The world is really huge but then it really isn’t for those that have met the world. You are born on this planet- knowing the planet is but a natural need within each one of us- we just need to find that need and realize it!
Lots more to tell my fellow travelers, will write soon again.
Till then Happy Travelling :)
PS - I stay in Delhi so all my suggestion for places and budgets are as per that.
This blog was first published on Elixir.