10 Ways to Travel Smart

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I sometimes wish that I could travel to any place in the world without this entire chaos of booking tickets, finding hotels, making an itinerary, finding awesome deals and the likes. And then I wonder, if the process of planning a journey doesn't exist, will I truly be happy.

The answer surprisingly is no! It’s said that for some people happiness comes from planning and anticipating the vacation rather than the vacation itself (I think I am one of those people). Even during the holiday, I like planning, scheduling and re-scheduling stuff and trust me, this is the only way I completely enjoy my vacation!

Now all the planning, budgeting and strategizing has helped me figure out some relatively cool ways to save money, be stress-free and enjoy any vacation to the fullest!

Photo of 10 Ways to Travel Smart 1/4 by Kirat S
Credit: Roger Schultz

Choose your chariot smartly

Constantly checking air fares, airline specific discounts and other discounts schemes can greatly benefit anyone who is fond of travelling. Many a trips are planned instantly as soon as irresistible discounts are offered. Another tip that helps is to decide your mode of transport if you are travelling within the country. Ask yourself if saving time is more important than saving money? Will it really make a difference to your budget if you take the plane instead of the train? Though sometimes train fares are as expensive as air fares (if not more), buses usually end up being more reasonable. But since transport choices are completely dependent on the destination, you may want to plan well in advance.

If you happen to have credit cards that promise you points and other travel rated rewards – you are sorted. They are super awesome and very reasonable.

Share, care and enjoy

Couchsurfing, Air BNB are great options to enjoy a reasonable stay. This is not only a very wise plan for international travels but also if you are travelling within your country. The range of options will surprise you and you can be assured of a memorable holiday.

If you are apprehensive about this option, the perfect alternative is to find friends who are in the city and who wouldn’t mind hosting you. Local homestays, too, have become a very popular accommodation option to enjoy the local flavors of a place. Though avoid the expensive ones and hunt for reasonable, authentic homestays that are not in it for the money. Ex: some homestays in Leh are ready to accommodate you in return for a service!

Make an itinerary

I know a lot of travellers detest making itineraries and planning any more than absolutely necessary but trust me a tiny bit and prepare an itinerary for your next trip. No one is asking you to follow it word by word. An itinerary simply gives you an idea of all the places you definitely have to visit and also ensures that you research about a place before you visit it. One can retort that itineraries spoil any possible surprises the place has to offer, but I have always missed out on something absolutely splendid because I didn’t even know it existed.

The best way to make an itinerary is to ask someone who has visited the destination or read tons of travel blogs that’ll give you real, helpful information.

Photo of 10 Ways to Travel Smart 2/4 by Kirat S
Credit: Kiran Jonnalagadda

Say hello!

The locals are the best people to show you around their town. So if you happen to befriend a local on your journey, you are in for a treat! Now this certainly doesn’t imply that you become over-friendly and annoying simply to get around town. Be genuine; accept the ways of a place and in no time you will have a bunch of people willing to go out of the way to help you. Give respect and respect you shall receive in return.

If you are inconsiderate towards a place, their culture and their way of living, it would be foolish to expect help or hospitality.

From luxurious to reasonable

Find the perfect balance. Depending on the kind of traveller you are, choose your battles. Some people just can’t compromise on their hotel. They want everything spic and span, flawless service and an overwhelming culinary experience but these same set of people don’t mind travelling through local transport, eating at street stalls and bargaining at flea markets.

So decide what you can’t and can compromise on and strike the perfect balance to spend your money. If there are a set of adventure activities you must absolutely do, either carry extra cash or eat at reasonable restaurants for the entire duration of your stay!

Use public transport

This is one thing that ALWAYS helps and it saves so much money! Forget chauffeur driven cabs, either rent out a bike, a bicycle or use the bus or local train to reach from one place to another. If you are travelling internationally, you know perfectly well how useful this is. Understand how the transport system in a town works and you are set to go. Carry a map, ask a local EVERYTIME you are confused and double check everything lest you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Photo of 10 Ways to Travel Smart 3/4 by Kirat S
Credit: elaine ross baylon

Don’t be afraid to try new things

Because if you do, you’ll be missing out on a lot. A new recipe, an unheard sightseeing spot, a cool pub – try everything and you will not regret it. All you need to remember is to do your research well before heading out and be sure that your safety is well accounted for.

Inform your family and friends about your whereabouts and go ahead and enjoy your experience.

Compare everything

From air fares to hotel tariffs to local transport fares – compare everything and you’ll be surprised how much money you end up saving. Most of us avoid carrying our phones since we want a technology free holiday but simply for this, your smart phone can come very handy. Directions, local information is available instantly and can save you a lot of time!

Use a guidebook

Many may not agree to this but this is especially useful if you are travelling solo. Some guidebooks offer precise information that will help you make your way around town and will also save you time and energy in searching for easily available information. The only advice is to pick up a reliable guidebook before blindly trusting everything and to double check details from locals around.

Photo of 10 Ways to Travel Smart 4/4 by Kirat S
Credit: Wonderlane, flickr

Live like the locals

My favourite tip and the one that works best! If you truly want to experience a place, live like a local. Eat where they do, travel how they do and shop the way they do – you will discover a completely new way of travelling. When someone visits our house, we love all the compliments and appreciation, similarly when visiting a new place, appreciate all that there is to admire before pointing out everything wrong with the destination.

I believe as travellers, it’s important to look at the bright side of things or else the point of travelling ceases to exist (at least for me). Every time I discover and explore a new place, new people, new cuisines; I learn something invaluable! Most travellers I know wholeheartedly believe that every journey teaches you something and gives you some unfathomable to take back.

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