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Travel

Saving for and during a holiday abroad

We are in the middle of the festive season and holidays are just around the corner. Saving up for the holiday vacation and funding it with cash is what we usually do. However, if you have already managed to save the target amount, then instead of using your credit card to book your holiday trip might be a better idea. You may be able to make a claim, back out if the holiday isn’t as described or make other plans without having to worry about refunds.

Here are the steps to consider to save up for a memorable “me and my family” time.

Step 1: Set aside a budget

You will need to list all the things you need to buy for your holiday and then estimate the amount you’ll spend each day. It is better to account for ‘extras’ you haven’t planned for during budgeting than allow the actual costs to spiral out of control.

Step 2: Start saving

Treat saving for your next holiday trip, the same as your next big purchase , and commit to saving a regular sum each month. But be realistic - it’s better to commit to a small, manageable sum than to try too hard and give up.

Step 3: Set a goal

Whether it’s a family trip or a romantic break that you are planning, setting a goal will keep you motivated. Try labelling a separate savings account with the name of your goal, to help you keep track of your progress.

Set yourself small targets and as you hit each milestone, give yourself a treat. When this year’s goal is done, set a new, higher target for next year to ensure your holidays become credit-free. And remember to take your money-saving habits with you, as you travel.

Planning for the travel

  • Negotiation is the lifeblood of the travel industry as they are time-sensitive: a room left empty one night can’t be resold the next day. So start negotiating.
  • Consider an indirect flight, even if it means hanging around the airport departure hall.
  • Avoid peak season and save money by holidaying during the off season period.
  • Charges for seat selection and priority boarding can vastly inflate the headline price of a flight. So, avoid unnecessary frills.
  • Weigh and measure your luggage to make sure they are within the size and weight restrictions imposed by the airline before you leave for the airport. 
  • Regularly browse the net to get the best fares especially during the peak period.

En route

  • Travel overnight. If you drop off easily, or catch up quickly, you can save the cost of a hotel by taking an overnight train or a ferry.
  • Avoid the airport express service. This applies to getting to and from the airport.

Saving on staying

  • Use budget hotels for stopovers and book well in advance. They are generally clean and good for families that are happy sleeping in one room.
  • Check Wi-Fi costs if you are keen. Most hotels now offer free coverage. But holiday is about taking a break, isn’t it?

Sightseeing and shopping

  • Arrange your own excursions. This will help reduce the cost you may incur when you take a standard tour.
  • Buy a travel pass. If you prefer not to walk, transport passes can help you save significantly on costs.

Money, insurance and health

  • Play your cards right. Use your debit card in overseas ATMs if you need cash when you are abroad (make as few withdrawals as possible), or use your credit card to make payments (though this works only if you pay off the balance each month).
  • Save on travel insurance. Travel insurance can be cheap if you buy a basic policy online. Be wary if you have an annual policy on an automatic renewal - it is always worth getting a new quote each year.

With the Rupee falling sharply against every major currency, holidays have become far costlier. Unless rupee experiences a sudden resurgence, Indians should expect their rupee to stretch less far during the holiday season. Using the above tips will help both the newbie and seasoned travellers in saving money.