Whoever said you have got to be rich to travel around the country for a riveting experience? We unravel smart tricks that are easy on the pocket. From travelling off-season to making a mid-week excursion, getting free entertainment to shopping at tax free places, here are 50 ways to save money while travelling in India.
1. Bargain for better prices
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Before setting off on your holiday destination, make sure that you are armed with the best possible deals. One way to achieve this is bargaining. Be it with hotel bookings or the nitty-gritties of the trip.
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Extend the same logic of street shopping albeit in a more subtle and dignified way. Even while on the trip, avail your Indian bargaining skills with the auto people and merchandise shops.
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2. Use price-comparison websites
It can be a tedious task to go to each website and check out the prices and deals. Also, chances are, you may just get lost in the sea of information. A simpler option is to go to price comparison sites that have it all mapped out for you. Check out websites for the best deals.
3. Pick your flight dates
The bane of cost cutting is the expensive flight rates that easily make a huge dent in your pocket. Be smart, pick your flight date and time when it is the cheapest. Go to sites where the thriftier flight deals are listed.
4. Take your own food
At least for the initial day take your own food. This will cut the eating expenses while travelling to your destination. Prepare something that you know will last for long. Also, pack along some munchies and snacks for the mid meal cravings.
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5. Weigh your luggage in advance
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Yes, because if it does not meet the standard criteria, you might either have to pay more or part with some of your dear belongings. Keep this in mind while you are coming back from your vacation too. If you know that you are going the land up shopping, leave enough empty space in the bag before you start your holiday.
6. Be wary of car rental pricing
In this case, ignorance is certainly not bliss. Be wary of car rental pricing and ask for the various deals that are available on the various vehicles. Ask around beforehand.
7. Hire a diesel car
Don’t let the escalating petrol prices be a deterrent to your trip. Hire a diesel car instead.
8. Travel overnight or sleep while travelling
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Another way of saving the moolah is by travelling overnight or sleep while traveling. Not only will this buy you some more time, but by doing so, you will be able to cut down the cost on stays.
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9. Don’t open the mini bar
As tempting as the mini bar appears in your hotel room avoid opening it. These seemingly innocent and tantalizing objects are sure to shock you when the hotel bill comes by at the end of the stay.
10. Pick your menu
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The lobster can be left for another time and so can the other exotic dishes that burn a whole in your pocket. Scan through the menu in detail, there certainly will be some sumptuous dishes that are also budget friendly.
11. Use budget hotels for stop-overs
Opt for budget hotels at stop-overs where you know more time is going to be spent outdoors than indoors. They might not be the most luxurious but you certainly have some clean and comfortable options out there.
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Just make sure that you read the reviews or ask around before shortlisting on one.
12. Choose local wines
When in a foreign destination, indulge in the wines of the locals. Not only will this enrich your palate, but will cost you lesser than your favourite bottle of wine.
13. Drink free water
India is a land where thankfully you get free water in most of the eating places. Drink the free water available unless the sanity of the place is in a questionable state. These little savings run into a substantial amount by the end of the trip.
14. Walk around the corner
The advantages of this are many. On one hand, it will ward off the impending holiday weight gain which mind you is not the easiest to shake off.
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It is also a great way to unravel and get a feel of the place. And in the process it can save some money too.
15. Don’t over-tip
We are not telling you to be ungrateful and cheap here. But after a great meal or experience when you are about to jauntily over-tip, just remember there is a budget to be kept in mind.
16. Get pally with the locals
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Now this will help you in many ways. On one hand you can unravel the destination like a local would and on the other hand, they can give you the inside dope on different ways of cost-cutting.
Learn a bit of the local language to get an edge. And also learn to differentiate when they are taking you for a ride.
17. Keep a tab on phone roaming costs
This is when you devote your time to enjoying the destination and the people with whom you have taken the trip. Refrain from talking endlessly on the phone. Remember you are on roaming and all that can wait till after the trip can surely be avoided. That includes pesky calls from annoying people too.
18. Check for family deals
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While planning your trip, do some research and ask the representatives what are the family deals that they provide. Chances are you may come across something useful and economical.
19. Stay in hostels and Dharmashalas
A much viable option to hotels and resorts are Dharamshalas, guest houses and hostels such as the Youth Hostel and YMCA. Even government guest houses MTDC in Maharashtra offer better deals. You also check out sites like Airbnb for viable options.
20. Rent a bike
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Instead of a car, you can rent a bike that will cost you lesser. Offering a different experience, ride along and explore new places as the fierce winds blows in your hair.
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21. Join a frequent flyer programme
If you are one of those who has to travel often by flight then it is advisable that you join a frequent flyer programme. This will come handy while planning on a holiday. Also, some of them come with the advantage of additional baggage allowance.
22. Use public transport
It is actually not as bad as you imagine. Public transport costs lesser and gives you a true local experience. Get a completely different feel of the place as you travel in a bustling train or discover landscapes on a rickety bus.
23. Use Credit Card Reward Points
Of all the times you have cursed yourself for using the credit cards, now is the time to reap the benefit. Before visiting a place, find out from your credit card company what the offers they can provide are.
24. Have street food
Relish in the local flavours and save money by eating street food, stalls and local dhabas. Do gauge the hygiene aspect of the eatery before doing so.
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25. Travel off-season
By doing so, you will still get to experience the destination of your choice. Only, everything from the travel mode bookings to the hotel stays is going to be cheaper than usual and the place will be much more quiet and peaceful.
26. Look for free Wifi
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Instead of shelling out on internet cafes, look for free WiFi. Ask around and head to coffee shops and other places that will provide you that.
27. Camping at night
Camp overnight in places where this option is available. Have a unique experience of sleeping under the stars and amidst pristine nature while saving some money in the process too.
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You can either set up your own tent or take delight in the ones that are already there.
28. Go street and local shopping
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If you have to shop, do so were the locals do. The main tourists shopping places will have a hike in their prices whereas street shopping gives you much better bargains.
29. Choose complete package
Opting for complete package saves you the headache of having to plan your vacation and figure out what to do or where to stay. They also are more cost effective and you know exactly how much you will be spending beforehand.
30. Fill up the tyres
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If you plan to take your own vehicle make sure that you fill up the tyres. You will get more mileage and in return save some money.
31. Use sites like Groupon
Use sites that come handy while travelling. With portals like Groupon, you get good coupons for dining and sightseeing.
32. Carry instant food
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To satiate your constant hunger cravings carry instant food like Maggi and oat meals, and refill your flask with hot water. This will help you in avoiding restaurants and saving money when on sightseeing.
33. Stay in a friend or relative’s place
In case you have a friend or relative at the destination you are heading to, stay there. It is a great way to catch up with them and avoid hotel expenditure.
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Just make sure you inform them in advance and carry something nice from home to not appear like you are intruding.
34. Step away from the main areas
The main tourist areas would mostly be hiking up the prices of food and merchandise. Step away to a few blocks or to another street and chances are that you would get the same thing for much lesser. This would apply to your stay too.
35. Plan the vacation much in advance
We all more or less know this, but how many of us actually put it into action? When you plan in advance not only will you book yourself the best deals but the expenses will go down too especially when it comes to flight tickets.
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36. Discover free entertainment
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Reel in the pleasures of free entertainment than paid ones. Ask around tourist sightseeing spots that are free. Enjoy street acts. Find out the places and bars that provide free music and entertainment.
37. Sign up for newsletters and email notifications
Sign up for newsletters and email notifications of trusted travel companies. You might consider these emailers as spam, but many a times, hidden inside are the best deals and offers.
38. Travel in a large group
The more the merrier. Get along your friend, friend’s cousin and that other person you fancy and make a big group. The different personalities will make the trip a noteworthy one. And yes, you can ask for discount on flights, attractions and stays.
39. Shop at the Government emporiums
If you want to take back home some souvenirs of the place, you can do so from the government emporium that is there in almost every tourist destination. They are tax free, easy on the pocket and promote the business of the local artisans.
40. Ask for lift in a truck, tractor
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If there are others along with you too, ask for a lift in a truck or a tractor. Some of the local people can be quite warm and friendly. You can even boast about your unique experience to your friends later on.
However, if you feel like you are going reliving a scene from a cheesy horror hitchhiking movie, get away as fast as you can!
41. Hire a local to bargain for you everywhere
By the end of the trip, you will be thankful for it.
42. Don’t go to shops suggested by your guides or driver
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Don’t go to shops suggested by your guides or driver as they might have a commission. Instead, ask the locals and other tourists.
43. Spend more time in one place
Instead of hopping from one place to the other, spend more time discovering and understanding one destination. You will get experience the true essence of the place. And also, it will cut down on your travel and staying expenses.
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44. Follow on Social Media
Follow all your favourite travel portals on Facebook and Twitter. These days many of the travel companies provide information on their best deals through these websites.
45. Make a mid-week trip
The cost of everything automatically escalates during the weekend. Instead opt for a mid-week trip and use the weekend to recuperate before you get back to regular life.
46. Share transport costs
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When you have to go by ricks or taxis, try sharing the cost with another traveller. This will bring down the rate of getting around places. It can be applicable when you travel to and from the airport as well.
47. Be Flexible
Do not hesitate to tweak your travel plan when a good deal comes along the way. Be it stays, dates or other experiences.
48. Seek complimentary meals
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Opt for hotel stay with complimentary breakfast. Do not hesitate to ask for a complimentary dinner if you are buying a good package. Something similar the Chokhi Dhani experience in Jaipur.
49. Ask hotel concierge for deals and upgrades
Once in your hotel, ask for deals and upgrades. You never know the sweet treats that you might get. Be it an upgrade to a bigger room or meal deals.
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50. Win a free holiday
It is always a delight to get something for free, especially when it comes to a holiday. Leave it up to fate and win a free holiday. Just make sure that you read all the clauses and conditions thoroughly before you enter the contest.