Someone had aptly put “If Travelling Was Free, You’d Never See Me Again”! But then again, it’s not. Hotels, flights and food cost money! Most of us who would have been keen on jumping on a trip would rather shy back just because they thought that there isn’t enough money. Well, there isn’t ever enough money! However, if you make up your mind that you would make the trip anyway, solutions always come up! Here are some ways I have learned to save money in my travels.
Before you read further, it is necessary to understand that we are not discussing a vacation where you look to rejuvenate yourself from all that grinding in your nine-to-five job but of traveling in the purest sense. This post is for travelers who aren’t looking for great accommodation, the best food, and a convenient transport but for those who are more interested in what the destination has to offer and be prepared for any kind of experience.
While it is always necessary to have some cash handy, there are good ways of cutting down your costs. What would I do in such backpacking trips?
Founded in 2004, Couchsurfing.com has become quite popular among travelers who are trying to save money or are looking for authentic local experiences. If you aren’t already aware, it’s a community of travelers and travel enthusiast who would help you find a place to bunk up – for free! All you need to do is create a profile that offers enough details about the kind of traveler you are. You can also send couch requests to locals, who come from diverse backgrounds, beliefs, professions and hobbies. It’s easy and safe as long as you do the right amount of research.
Check out my profile at https://www.couchsurfing.com/people/madhumaymallik.
- Traveling at night
There are three important benefits when you choose to travel at night in India. Firstly, you save money you would have paid just to get a room at a hotel. Secondly, by the time its morning, you are already at your destination, or closer to it. Thirdly, you won’t need to sweat when trying to sleep! Traveling at night is more comfortable in a tropical country like India, even if it is winters. Book a bus seat or even a sleeper class train ticket and you should be fine. The money you would have saved can always be spent on better things.
My backpacking trip in Gujarat for a week cost me just about INR 5000 (about US$77) and I covered Ahmedabad, Diu, Gir National Park, Narara Marine National Park and Greater Rann of Kutch.
- Washing up at hotels/malls
Now that I have suggested that I don’t usually book a hotel when I am traveling budget, it’s a usual query about where I wash and freshen up! Not all stations and municipal bath complexes are hygienic enough to step foot into! Well, you will always have a decent hotel or a mall or even a café, depending on the place you are going.
The Indian Sarais Act, 1867 even states that no one can be denied drinking water and washroom facilities in any public mall, registered hotels, and similar public places. You can use it to your benefit. If that doesn’t sound convincing enough, you can always ask for a chai and take your time to freshen up without anyone questioning! Couple your breakfast with bathroom needs! Both are morning necessities.
- Eat local
A big part of traveling in India revolves around the local food. You would always agree that panipuris served in leaf plates always tastes better than the ones served in steel ones! The local flavors of a community reside in roadside shops. This doesn’t only give you an opportunity to experience the authentic flavor but you can save a lot by not getting into an expensive restaurant.
- Talk to people
From my experiences of traveling in India, I am pretty sure that there would always be people who would come forward to help out a needy traveler. The art of convincing and talking comes with experience and traveling. However, it doesn’t take too much to get local info, be it about cheap places to stay or the cheapest way to get to another place.
Traveling cheap is hard if you are embarking on a budget trip for the first time but after a few experiences, you would realize that it was the best way to go around.
Hope this post helps you on your journeys. Do share your experiences of budget trips and what you do to save money!