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A holiday! How the heart soars at the thought of going on a holiday and, personally speaking, I would love to go on a holiday every month! But, those who love taking frequent holidays are compelled to think about budgeting, unless, of course, they are blessed with millions.

Here are some great ways to save money on a holiday, for those of us who don’t have millionaire dads!

1. Plan and book much ahead of schedule

A sure shot way, and this is from experience, to save money spent on travel is by planning and booking tickets, especially air tickets, much in advance. You have to play detective and keep track of the airline discount offers that are announced off and on. Just keep your eyes and ears wide open and you will be able to net a suitable offer in time.

2. Off-season travel

Travel becomes really expensive in peak season; businesses want to make most of the influx of tourists to popular destinations. If you can negotiate your dates to coincide with non-peak seasons, then you will benefit from the off-peak prices offered by hotels, travel companies, etc. During non-peak season travel, you will also be far from the maddening crowds you would otherwise have encountered in your chosen destination.

3. Package tours

Another way of reducing the pocket-pinching effects of travel is by opting for package tours. Travel companies offer competitive packages to popular destinations. There are many fold advantages of taking package tours, some of which are: the experience of a systematic trip covering a good number of destinations; the opportunity of travelling with company and making new friends and, of course, travelling on a budget.

4. Avoid mega-budget hotels

Practically speaking, a person bitten by the travel bug would like to travel light in more ways than one, including travelling on a light wallet. This inevitably means avoiding stays at expensive hotels. So if you can do without the plush bedrooms and super-styled bathrooms, choose low-budget hotels, or even bed and breakfast options. In fact, the latter would offer a more homely feel to your stay abroad.

5. Camping

Camping can be an exciting way to spend nights outdoors while travelling. This not only saves costs, but also gives a feel of being close to nature. Many countries have permanent campsites for the adventure loving, where one can set up tent for the night. So, if you are ready to brave it out with your bug spray, meager campfire meals and makeshift loos, then camping is a great way to saving cash on your travels.

6. Walk…walk…walk

Are you someone who likes a chauffer driven metal chariot to take you from place to place while travelling? Well, if not, then you are lucky indeed, for not only will walking let you enjoy a place much more, but it will also save you some mega bucks that would otherwise be spent on transport. Imagine walking around a city like London or Paris. You will be able to appreciate the place, people and sights much better. And more importantly, you will be spared from paying heavily priced cabbies.

7. Opt for public transport

Another way of saving on transport while travelling is by opting for busses, trams and metros (And, even a fun ride on a horse cart if you find one!). Availing of these modes of transport is much cheaper than taking cab rides. A hired car turns out to be very expensive at the end of the day when, apart from the basic fare, one ends up paying all the toll taxes and parking charges. Also, a traveller must keep in mind that inter-city travels by train are much more cost effective than taking flights. So if there is an option of the train, chuck the plane!

8. Flea markets/ night markets for a bargain

Do you love to shop while on holidays? I do! Holiday shopping, though exciting, can burn a hole in the pocket; but do not worry, there are ways out of this too. The secret is to find out the right places to shop and discover the local markets where prices are cheap and bargaining is possible. Flea markets and night markets are places to shop for a good bargain. Apart from being cost effective, these places offer local varieties and flavours which tourists find attractive.

9. Tag along with a performing group of artists

Want to travel but cannot afford it? Here’s a novel tip for those who don’t mind putting in a few extra hours of work. Hitch up with a travelling performing group (especially big banner bands) as a volunteer. Put in a few hours of work as a steward or helper or, if you have a special talent, offer your services in exchange for a free ticket and stay. In this way, not only will you be able to enjoy the free travel, you will also get to attend international performances for free. Smart eh!

10. Take advantage of those ‘golden’ phases of life

Sometimes we are in those golden phases of life when a lot of our costs are taken care of as part of social welfare. Two such phases include our ‘student years’ and ‘senior citizen years’ (those golden years of seniority), which come after a particular age. Both students and senior citizens are offered economic perks in various areas including travel, in the form of discounted ticket fares, subsidized restaurant charges, etc. If you are in one of these phases of life, then take full advantage and travel cheap to your hearts content!

11. ‘Staycation’

Hey, I have a suggestion for those of you who want a vacation at practically no cost at all – get a ‘staycation’! What on earth is that? Well, it is a smart way to enjoy your holiday at home or some place near home – a hotel in the city, maybe. But how will this be enjoyable, one would ask. Why not? How many times have you truly relaxed at home, in your own backyard or driven around your city taking in the sights and sounds or enjoyed the sunset from your terrace? We lead fast paced lives and have forgotten how to enjoy our immediate surroundings. A ‘staycation’ helps us do just that. So save money and enjoy a ‘staycation’!

Now that you know some insider tricks of saving while on a holiday, go ahead and plan a great low-cost vacation. It’s bon voyage time!

Anjali Nayyar

Anjali loves to read, philosophize, travel and spend time with her family. With a Masters in Sociology, Anjali ended up as a writer instead of a sociologist. She believes that writing is a channel through which one can express one's innermost self and express one's uniqueness, the gift of life, for all to savor.

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