Travel enthusiasts say the key to a cost-effective holiday is to plan well in advance
Enjoy your travel plans but make it cost-effective
Thanks to our busy urban lifestyle, our work-life balance has taken a severe hit and this is visible in some numbers too. In a research conducted in September last year by Manipalcigna Health Insurance, 95% of Indian millennials are stressed at work as against the global average of 86%. It’s natural for us to go to a resort in a weekend getaway and recharge ourselves for the upcoming week. It is only prudent for us to make calculated plans so that our future does not get compromised. Mumbai-based couple Krutarth Vashi, 26, a process manager at HDFC Bank Ltd and Shruti Sengunthar, 26, a strategic network manager at Tata Motors Ltd, love to travel and take at least two trips in a month. “The type of trip varies with the season. For instance, we avoid trekking destinations when it’s warm and prefer a road trip or trek during monsoons," said Vashi.
The couple has also begun to make custom-made plans for travel enthusiasts and go by the name Mastaane Musafir on Instagram. “Around 90% of our travel plans are without the help of a tour guide or a planner as we prefer non-tourist locations to cut down on the costs. We spend around ₹6,000 to ₹ 7,000 on an average for a short weekend trip for two and the number inches up for slightly longer trips," said Sengunthar.
The key to travelling cost-effectively is to plan well in advance. “We generally go for cheaper hotels but it depends on where we are visiting. Last year, we visited Udaipur and the essence of the city is in its royalty. So we booked a room for a day in one of its palaces. Sure it came at a steep cost, but that day we did not arrange for any other activities and just spent our entire day exploring the palace and made optimum utilisation of the money spent. The next day we moved into a cheaper accommodation and completed other activities," she added.
There should at least be a three months’ gap for longer duration trips or the shorter ones which are expensive. “We also prefer booking refundable flights because you never know what will happen in future," she adds.
Besides keeping money aside for weekend getaways, the couple generally invests in equity funds, debt funds and hybrid funds and keeps a big portion of the amount as liquid cash for emergency purposes, which is aligned with their long-term and short-term goals. “Our goal is to prepare for the worst in the future, because we cannot spend whatever we earn in enjoyment," he added.
However, not everyone has a higher frequency of travel in a shorter duration. For instance, Anisha Sharma, 27, deputy manager at National Stock Exchange goes for a short weekend trip in a month and a big trip once in a quarter. “I probably spend 30% of my annual salary," said Sharma, who stays with her family so she saves money that otherwise would’ve gone towards rental accommodations. “I always opt for budget hotels to save on my travel cost and plan reasonably. The only thing I have in mind is to plan in advance, so that I avoid any money crunch, and fortunately I have yet not encountered any such situation," she added.
What goes wrong usually? “A lot of fellow travellers we meet believe what is the point of thinking about what will happen in the future. This is where they go wrong. Another common behaviour we have noticed is when people face financial issues after a travel plan, they end up blaming the trip and time of the planning," said Sengunthar.
These travellers seem to be going the right way according to experts. “You should indeed not spend more than 10-15% of your income net of your regular expenses. These regular expenses would include your monthly rent and other such payments. So in case you live with your parents, your income net of your expenses automatically goes up and the amount you save in that 10-15% bracket will also go up," said Rachit Chawla, founder and CEO, Finway- a Delhi based financial advisory firm.