20 Useful Tips For Travellers Planning A Trip On A Shoestring Budget

Posted on September 9, 2014 in Lists, Travel

By Ashni Dhaor:

They say, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. This statement might be true to its philosophical sense, but in reality, travelling does cost you. Everything, from the journey, to food and accommodation, nothing is possible without emptying your pockets. Every travel-lover has struggled through those ‘broke days’ in order to go on a vacation. Hence, to your rescue, here are 20 tips which you should know every time you decide to travel in India.


1. Choose offbeat destination:

India is a vast country, and if explored correctly, it can open to you its beauty at unexpected destinations! Travelling and accommodation costs are always cheap at offbeat tourist destination. Places like Roopkund lake, Khajjar and Malana are some of the must visit places in the Himalayas because of the beauty, the adventure and cheap accommodation and food as well.

2. Explore travel destinations around your home:

Explore new arenas around your place of residence which won’t require much of travelling costs, and at the same time, will give you your much needed vacation. The place might require a 4-6 hour journey which can be travelled by bus at cheap rates.

3. Plan a vacation in off-season:

Tourist season is generally the time during winter or summer vacations in schools. That is the time when most families decide to go on a vacation and the prices of everything possible at the tourist destination sky-rockets to new heights. Planning a vacation in off-season not only means cheap food and accommodation, but it also gives you the added benefit of enjoying the beauty without any rush or noise of a huge crowd.

4. Book accommodations in advance:

If your travel plans are not made at the spur of the moment, then you can try to look up cheap hotels and guesthouses on the internet and book them way in advance. This will give you huge discounts and there won’t be any last minute hassles.

5. Stay at a friend or relative’s home:

It’s time to re-establish long forgotten ties with that relative whom you never met or that friend who moved out of the city as they might just accommodate you in their house! This is the best way to cut accommodation costs when planning a trip to a city where your relative or friend might be staying.

6. Home stays:

Home stay is essentially a concept used by cultural exchange students who stay with the host family instead of renting a room in a hotel. This idea is soon becoming a thing for the travelers since it is comfortable, affordable and you get to make new friends as well as learn the culture of the place. You can look it up on the internet and book your home stays at cheap prices.

7. Travel overnight and save on night stay:

You need to be clever in order to save money. Travel overnight and reach the hotel right in the morning (around 12PM, as the usual check out time is 12PM in most hotels) which will save you charges of one whole day. This trick is always useful since you can save money, as well as utilize the day time for exploring the city and sightseeing, hence earning you an extra day without an additional cost!

8. Carry home-made food for journey:

Though we tend to munch on chips and snacks during journey hours, but preferring to carry food can save you a whole lot of money. Additionally, eating outside during journey can result in a heavy stomach which may need frequent trips to the loo which in turn might be difficult during a journey.

9. Try out the street food rather than eating at the hotel:

Once your journey is over, you must explore the dhabas and street food of the city rather than eating at the hotel. The price of a lunch at your hotel can buy you three full course meals at a dhaba. Trying out the street food will also cut off the cost by a huge margin and also introduce you to the local culture.

10. Travel in the local inter-state buses:

Rather than booking a lavish taxi for your sight-seeing, travel in the inter-state buses which the locals use for commuting. These will be three times cheaper than a taxi, and you can get a chance to look into the everyday lives of the people.

11. Bargain as much as you can:

This is an art which you must master in if you wish to save cash. Do some research beforehand and get an idea of the cost of the service or product you are vying for. Bargain in hotels, taxis or any shopping that you might be indulging in. Shopkeepers at tourist places tend to raise their prices since tourists seldom have any idea of the reasonable cost of the product. Remember, you will definitely be charged more than the locals, so don’t forget to bargain!

12. Make friends with the local people and gain benefits:

Though this may sound a tad bit selfish, but making connections and friends at the destination can help you loads if you try to garner benefits. They know the cheapest places for almost everything you can possibly do there. The local people might get you discounts at the food joints, can offer you lift from one place to another, and, if you feel safe, you can also stay over at their place cutting down a huge chunk of your travel budget. Though this option is not so safe, but isn’t life all about taking risks?

13. Avoid going to places where entry fee is required:

If you love nature, then museums and forts might not interest you as much as a silent moments at the waterfall. If you are low on budget, avoiding tourist spots with entry fees is the trick. A walk on the roads or exploring the townships around might be a good idea.

14. Be choosy while shopping:

Don’t buy stuff from shops which you might get in your city as well. While shopping, look for things which are famous in the particular area, like wood art crafts from Himachal Pradesh or Bandhinis from Rajasthan. Buying souvenirs is not recommended when on a tight budget. Memories and photographs should be your best keepsakes.

15. Try travelling in large groups:

Travelling in groups of friends or family is safe as well as cost effective, since after dividing everything, per person cost amounts to way lesser than what it had been individually. Instead of getting one room for one person, the same room can be shared by two people, cutting down on the cost. You can try various kinds of dishes as well by order a little of everything since ultimately, per person bill would be very less.

16. Carry less luggage:

If you are travelling by air, avoid carrying heavy luggage since you might end up paying extra for the weight.

17. Keep a reservoir of snacks in your bag:

If you get too low on budget, surviving on chips and maggi might not be a bad option.

18. Cheap accommodation near the tourist spots:

When looking for cheap accommodation, your main criteria should be security and cleanliness of the place. If you have shopping in your agenda, look for a hotel near the marketplace so that you don’t spend much on commuting. However, if you wish to go sightseeing or be close to nature, chose an accommodation near that place for the same reasons.

19. Light luggage means travelling on foot:

Save your money by travelling on foot for going from one spot to another for short distances, with or without luggage. You would have an added advantage if your luggage is light. Plus, you can immerse yourself in the culture and sightseeing.

20. Never book tour packages through agents:

Always book your whole vacation yourself and never resort to travel agents if you are really trying to keep your pockets full. Planning and booking on your own gives you the freedom to chose your own itinerary, and at the same time, you can cancel some of the spots later as well. Booking through agents should be considered a luxury for people who are low on budget.

All these points may help you cut off on your travelling cost by more than half, but one must consider travelling as a lifetime investment because of the rewards of memories, experiences and adventure which you get to take home with you and cherish them forever.