The recession may be getting tougher than projected, and the times a little bit rough on our pockets. Still whether flipping the pages in Conde Nast, browsing through Jovago.com, or reading various travel review sites; India is still as incredible, Kenya as magical, Morocco as magnificent and the whole world – a timeless fascination! In the words of Martin Buber, “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” Here are a few tips to help you keep discovering, without shooting holes through your bank.
Bank on Group Discounts
Whether travelling to the century old rock-hewn churches in Ethiopia’s Lalibela, or joining a pilgrim to Mecca, organizing your travel in a group will always see your travel costs drop by a noticeable markdown. Any travel agency or hotel will lower rates in favor of a common-course group than lone rangers. Get your friends, start a group on social media, ask your church and book club members (or whichever club) and watch the expenses go down.
Booking ahead of time gives you the liberty and loads of time to compare costs, read reviews and negotiate rates with an upper hand. Do not wait till the last minute, because as it is in any industry, your service providers will ply on your panic or despair.
Keep Tabs on the Currency
The greatest advantage in timely planning is the freedom of choice; for instance if you are planning to travel anytime in summer, you can watch the currency trends for your destination over a specified duration, ready to jump on the best day on the stock market and settle your flight, service charges, hotel costs etc.
Book on Local Websites
Still on keeping tabs with the currency, always make your bookings using the local version designed for your destination. This ensures that you get the best rate as offered in the local currency.
Read the Fine Print
Whether on cancellation policy, additional services such as laundry, child-care guidelines as well as provision of special meals, medical needs and such, make sure all your queries are answered before you hit the “pay” button. This will shield you from misunderstandings as well as unfulfilled promises.
Your Luggage and Baggage
As most seasoned travelers will confess, every subsequent trip sees to a lesser pack of clothes than before. Depending on your itinerary, pack just what you shall need in terms of clothing and travel gear. Remember that your lighter clothes will do just fine with a sink soak, and you need not ferry the whole of your shoe rack. Similarly, before packing tools and equipment such as surf boards, large cameras, bikes and such, check around related sites in your destination and compare leasing costs, quality and all-round effectiveness of taking the holiday-hire option.
Maximize on Technology
From taxi ride-shares to free city hot spots, hotel wifi, and Google maps; maximize on what free technology can offer and count a few more notes on your saving scheme!
Shop at Duty Free
Not the best option for any traveler who has a few hours to stroll around for downtown bargains, but if in a hurry, these outlets are your best options into and out of any country. Most airports have this amenity.
Tax Refunds on your Way out
I call them “budget friendly destinations”, those countries that will at least refund all or part of your retail tax purchased within their boundaries. You will be required to fill in some forms, and visit a few offices within the airport lobby, so the earlier you check in the better.