The most common question we are getting of late is “How do you afford to travel so much?“Some even tell us that we must be having lots of money or are just simply lucky. Yes, we love travelling. But we also work hard and we are definitely not very rich. We have worked quite hard for getting what we wanted in our life. Travelling is something that we have made a priority and we do have to plan for making it happen. There are certain delicacies of life that we have given up for travelling. Here is how we save money and travel!
It is said that saving is an art. And investing is a knack! And we both are trying to master these. Saving is an essential part if you want to travel. And yes, financial planning plays a big part too. So, to fund our travels to those beautiful and exotic locations we have adopted a blend of financial planning and investment planning.
Get hold of your Finances:
MAKE A BUDGET
The first thing that you can do is get hold of your expenses. Create a budget for yourself. Keep a track of your daily expenses for at least a month. Write it down in your diary or make an excel sheet. You will be surprised to see that there will be many things from where you can cut expenses. You can also make a yearly travel budget and start saving accordingly. You can open a recurring deposit in a bank and save monthly.
SELL UNNECESSARY ITEMS
If there are things in your home that you are not using, sell them. These days online platforms are great for selling stuff. Your old and unused items can get you money from unexpected sources.
RECONSIDER YOUR CURRENT EXPENSES
This is the trickiest part, I think. Cutting down on current expenses are quite tough. There are things that we simply don’t want to let go. For example, cut on your cable bills. We do not have a TV in our house for the last 5 years. So, there are no expenses for cable and set-top boxes. Also, both of us do not fight with the remote over watching serials or the cricket match!
You can also save on the Gym expenses by going out for a walk and exercising by yourself. Walking is a very good form of exercise. Instead of sweating it out in the closed room, work out in the open and feel the nature.
SPEND LESS ON SOCIALISING
I know that man is a social animal, but we can definitely spend less on socialising. We hardly eat out and go for expensive dinners. There are excellent places to eat in the city, which are less expensive than the fancy restaurants. We prefer to visit those whenever we get bored with my cooking.
SPEND LESS ON CLOTHES
Cut down on your unnecessary shopping. If you are going shopping, make a list of what to buy and try to stick to the list. And SALE is the time when we mostly get carried away. If you are the type that cannot resist spending in Sales, then avoid them. Because it is really hard to resist buying something that we absolutely do not need when it is giving an upto 50% discount.
We have finally got over our temptations to buy new clothes these days. During the last three years, we have not bought any new clothes during the festival time. We had rather spent on travel gears and things we needed.
SPEND INTELLIGENTLY ON CREDIT CARDS
Get credit cards that give offers on flight booking or railway ticket bookings. We, personally do not have a credit card till now (Please don’t roll your eyes!), but have heard about its benefits from may of our traveller friend.
Now a few tips on the travel itself
Plan your travel early. You will not only get a lot of time to research the place, but you can also save money while making bookings, especially the flights.
OFF SEASON IS THE BEST SEASON
I think this is the best tip that we can give you. The off-season is the best time to visit a place. Visit Darjeeling during the winters. Not only will you find the place less crowded, but also the rates of hotels and transport will be lesser.
When it comes to booking hotels, we are followers of the old school way. We do not generally book hotels but prefer to book them on the spot. Also, we usually avoid the expensive hotels and resorts. Places that are neat and clean, even though smaller are our choices while travelling.
And if you are one of the safe kinds, then try booking hotels online a bit earlier. The earlier you book, the chances of getting a discount is more.
GET YOUR TRAIN TICKETS INTELLIGENTLY
If you are travelling between cities, try to travel by the railways if possible. Railways are faster and much cheaper mode of transport in India. Also, try to get your train tickets during the night. This will save you the cost of staying in a hotel at night. And also, the day will be free for travelling. We prefer to book trains and even buses for the night journey.
Preference of local things while travelling can also save a lot. We usually prefer homestays to expensive hotels. We try the local food joints than the fancy restaurants. In this way, you can get to know the place, its people and the culture as well as save your money. You will be amazed to find shops where they provide excellent food, but also at very cheap rates. And finally, make use of the local transportation. While travelling, we generally take shared cabs or local buses.
Finally, the trickier one – Investment Planning
Being bankers, we have some knowledge about investments.
So, should you buy travel insurance for your international travels? Well, we are always confused regarding this one. There are many travel insurances and you need to choose one as per your requirement. Once, our baggage was damaged in one of our flights. At those time, the need for insurance is highly felt. So, for your international trips, a travel insurance is recommended for overcoming any unforeseen circumstances.
Investing in ULIP
Yes, we invest in unit-linked insurance plan, also known as ULIP for our long-term travel plans. They are a very good source of investment and have helped us in many of our trips. You can also try them.
These are our ways of saving for doing something that we both love. You can try a few of them. You can even invent your own ways. Feel free to drop us a line and share the idea if you like our travel tips.
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About Aegon Life:
With a complete product suite of life insurance plans, superior technology, and customised service, Aegon Life Insurance Company Limited launched its pan-India operations in July 2008. As a joint venture between Aegon – world’s leading financial services and Bennett, Coleman & Company – India’s leading media house, Aegon Life Insurance adopts a local approach to facilitate customer interaction. Our vision to be the most recommended new age life insurance company has enabled us to leverage digital platforms that bring transparent solutions to customer needs. Our financial planning and investment solutions include term life insurance plans, pension plans, unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs), health insurance plans, child education plans, and more.