Why don't you travel more often if it is the passion of your life? Why can't you just pack your bags and plunge yourself into this beautiful world exploring the shades of colors you didn't see yet? Why is it that you have to spend weeks and months planning before you answer the calls of your heart and leave to the places, cultures, people, and stories unknown? These are question I asked myself more often than I have heard, and the answer had always been 'Paisa yaar!'. I am someone who intimately relate to the old famous phrase that goes "If traveling was free, You will never see me again". And because of the never ending shortage of money, and the ever growing passion to travel in the heart, I have thought, researched and practiced a lot of ways to keep my pocket reasonably full so that I can start planning of the next trek as soon as I am back from one. So here, let me help you! You should not never stay in your room caressing a packed bag, with plans and dreams so vivid, that you have your soul at the place you wish to go, but have no money to take the burden of your body there. Here are five tips from my experiences that I had the luxury to learn from, that will help you to save money during your travels, only for more such trips.
1. Travel in Packs
This is obviously one of the best ways to save money while you are traveling. The more number of people you are with, the cheaper your expenses will get at multiple levels. You can save a lot in accommodation, food, getting from one place to another etc. so. And with more people with you, it is easier to get discounts in different packages, or in camping like activities. So it is always better for pockets if you are traveling in packs.
2. Be shameless.
Since the possibility of someone knowing you where you are going is remotely less, and being shameless can actually save a fortune for you, it is better to be so, given at the right places. The better you negotiate, the better you can put forward prices as 'na mera na aapka', the more you can save. So this requires skill and a thick hide, but come on, you want to travel more or not? Negotiate with the package providers, accommodation providers, stalls and all places where you feel fit and your ego can take. Get emotional if you may. Even a ten rupees saved is a Parle-G in your backpack during your next trip.
3. Planning makes Pockets happy.
If you have enough money to travel with no major constrictions, I will say not to plan your trip a lot, but the tighter you are on the economy side, the more planning you have to do. The planning for what you are passionate about is a rewarding experience in itself. Geography, culture, lifestyle, attractions, and history to a limit where it does not hurt, of a place gets unveiled before you during this planning process. Search for cheap places to stay, cheap places to eat, cheap ways to get where ever you want to get, cheapest means of survival! Decide where you want to stay to how much time, how much you can spend where and finally draft a budget. Learn money management on the go! And also, plans are good plans when improvisations are incorporated. So, plan on the plans. Or make backup for backup plans. Anything for saving money.
4. Be from there Where You are at.
Don't be a tourist. The best economic and rewarding way to explore and experience a place is to live the way the local people will. Dine from places where the locals eat, Stay at the places where unassuming generous locals suggest. Take their advice to get around the place. Ask them the best way to get through your trip, to get to places where you intend to go, and maybe let them know that your wallet is thick only because of all the visiting cards. The more people you ask around the better you can manage money, and know the place better. Most of the time you will come across people that shower love, just because they are the best of people, and may make relationships that will always bring a smile to your face. Memories are no memories at the instant of making it. They are just experiences. No particular context, but felt like saying it. Experience more. As Decaprio wonders in the 'The Beach' movie "We all travel thousands of miles just to watch TV and check into somewhere with all the comforts of home." Don't be that guy. Ditch comfort. Gibran reminds: " The lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul and then walks grinning in the funeral".
5. Before for After.
Saving money in a travel plan not starts in the first day of the itinerary. It starts weeks or even months before. You can save no money during your travel if you have no money to travel at all. Saving money for travel takes a lot more determination than to save during a trip. Do one thing. Continuously keep yourself excited about the place you are going next. Follow the Instagram pages that will make you drool with the pictures of the place, Watch YouTube videos of the place so much that YouTube quits suggesting you 'O Saki Saki' but more of your next destination. And people, God sometimes give us money directly, which I call 'Holy Money'. It is the money that arrives unexpected, like the notes that appear out of the back pocket of your jeans, a bonus, a refund, a Google Pay kindness. Save it please. It is the money that is out of your income-expense budget. So let it serve the noble purpose of taking you places. Save little by little, and it is drops indeed, that make a stream. Walk away from unwanted expenses and show-off luxuries. You are a traveler, you are to be in less possession of meaningless things. And remember, You are no miser, only wiser.
So, fellow travelers, these are the pearls I fetched from the bottomless ocean of exploring. If it is of any good to you, if any of these tips helps you to leave for your dreams faster, I am proud and infinitely happy. One of the things that I know travelers develop and in great awe of is, the selfless love for the fellow travelers. This is out of that love. Travel more, People. Otherwise, life is no fair business.