Making every rupee count

Published On: June 1, 2018 09:14 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Exploring exotic new places doesn’t necessarily have to cost you a fortune. You just have to be a little wise with your money and there’s a lot you can do on less. Make a budget and stick to it. But we know that’s easier said than done which is why The Week is here to tell you how you can plan a low-budget adventure.

Choose the right time to travel
Generally, traveling expenses hike up during the holiday season because this is the time when everyone will be traveling, thus increasing demands of transportation services and hotels. So, to minimize your travel cost, avoid holidays and travel during the off-season. During these times, you will get cheaper airfare, find affordable rooms, and get to meet locals from whom you can learn a lot about the culture and history of the place you are visiting. For Nepalis, April through mid-June, September through October or November can be some of the best times for traveling abroad. However, check with your travel agent who will be able to better guide you on this as the timings may vary depending on where you want to go. 

Know when and how to fly
Buy your tickets at least a month before you fly and try picking tickets for midweek days. This way, as early customers, you will have more options and be able to choose good seats in low fares. Likewise, the midweek travel prices are lower than those during weekends. Don’t upgrade from economy class, no matter how nice business class seats look. For flights less than six hours long, the price isn’t worth the ‘luxury’. Choose aisle seats instead and you can stretch your legs a bit when you won’t get in anybody’s way. Also, at times, the prices might fluctuate after you have booked your tickets so stay updated and be informed about the changes. 

Do it early
Early bookings are beneficial not just where flights are concerned but it can also save you some serious cash if you need to rent a vehicle for your trip. Pick a time as early as possible in the morning and check for the lowest-priced compact cars. Try negotiating the charges. Also, don’t depend on a single agency. Contact multiple agencies and compare the offers. If possible, ask if you could share the ride and thus split the cost with some other customers. Many hotels provide vehicle services too. So, ask if they can offer you a customized package deal comprising your hotel stay and rental services. And to save more, walk to nearby places or take the public transport. Carrying a detailed map with you can be a great help here.        

Pack like a pro
When your trip is finalized, come up with a plan. Prepare a list of things you will need on the journey. From a pair of joggers and slippers to extra packets of snacks, pack everything so that you don’t need to buy them on the way. Often times, while traveling, we end up not packing some essentials thinking we will just buy them on the way or when we get there. But this way, you are not only spending money on what you already have but you will also be wasting time, time you could have spent doing other things. 
Don’t fall for the name

You will be surprised as to how many 3-star hotels these days offer the same facilities and services as 5-star ones. And the prices won’t send your budget over the roof either. So do your research. Look through hotel rooms online and compare the prices. Also, find out what’s included in that price as many hotels throw in complimentary breakfast when you book a room. If you are traveling in a group, you can also opt to rent out a space through AirBnB or and split the cost.

The same trick applies while shopping too. Don’t just choose malls and boutiques to shop at. Browse through the local markets and you might find what you were looking for at a much cheaper price. And don’t forget to bargain, even if there is a fixed price sign at the store. Remember, asking for a discount usually gets you one. 

Know what you are spending on
If you really want to limit your travel expense, then be willing to be smart with cash and a little vigilant about how and where you are spending your money. Opt to eat at local restaurants rather than heading to fancy places every single time where you will have to pay double for the same menu. Also, while using your ATM cards for foreign currency, either take out exactly what you know you will need or withdraw the maximum amount allowed and use the cash thoughtfully over the period of your stay. This way you can avoid additional ATM charges. You can also get an online paying account for monetary transactions while abroad that can save you quite a substantial amount in fees. 

Receive your refund
Those who are not a citizen or resident of the country they are visiting can have VAT refunded at the airport. All you need to do is shop from those stores that display ‘VAT refund for tourist’ sign. Different nations have their own set of rules regarding the total invoice or amount spent. So, ask your agency beforehand for such details. Keep the bills of your shopping with you and present them along with your VAT refund forms when you get to the airport. You will get these forms at the stores that have the VAT refund system. Different nations also have their own additional requirements for claiming the refund. So, be active enough to ask and cross-question the person in charge of giving you your money back in case you run into any problems.

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