If you can’t manage the expense of a luxurious trip right now, finding ways to travel affordably is not as tough as it seems. Some financial planning and research on alternate solutions can help one enjoy that dream vacation without financial stress.
Planning a vacation during the pandemic requires more than just ensuring that COVID-appropriate protocols are being followed. It needs budgeting of finances too. While travelling does cost money, there are various ways to make it easier on your wallet.
Gaurav Jalan, CEO and Founder, mPokket, says, “If one can’t manage the expense of a luxurious trip right now, finding ways to travel affordably is not as tough as it seems. Some financial planning and research on alternate solutions can help one enjoy that dream vacation without financial stress.”
Here is how to plan your year-end vacation amid COVID:
1. The first step, industry experts say, is to carefully consider all your financial requirements and set a budget for the trip. Without a budget, you risk overspending while on vacation.
2. When setting the budget, one should not touch one’s existing investments and savings. “Once the budget is finalized, follow it scrupulously. Choose your travel destination and accommodation to best suit the budget you have set,” says Jalan.
3. Start planning for your vacation well in advance. This has several advantages. You can start saving money for your travel fund, wherein you set aside a fixed portion of your monthly income for the trip.
Jalan adds, “Preparing in advance will also help one discover better deals, discounts and offers. This will also give individuals time to do research and help decide the final destination and the trip itinerary – while staying within the budget.” Note that you can also save a lot of money by travelling to less crowded destinations.
4. Besides financial planning, you need to manage money effectively on the trip to avoid unnecessary expenses. Experts suggest, if you are planning an international vacation, procure the travel currency well in advance. Do not get reeled in by the foreign exchange bureaus, which charge exorbitant exchange rates that can erode your overall budget for the trip.
5. A smarter move is to opt for a prepaid travel card. This saves you from fluctuating exchange prices while offering the best rates and keeping you within budget. According to Jalan, it is advisable to split your overall travel money into different mediums such as credit and debit cards, travellers’ cheques and cash to avoid inconvenience due to any loss or last-minute technical glitches.
6. Use a credit card while booking your trip because it has benefits such as reward points and discounts associated with these transactions. However, “be careful of the amount spent on a card and ensure timely repayments to avoid penalties and any detrimental effect on the card holder’s credit score,” explains Jalan.
7. If necessary, you can also take a personal loan to bridge some additional expenses for your travel. However, you should be sure that you can comfortably pay the EMIs. Such loans will usually carry higher interest rates and so you should choose shorter tenure loans that can be paid off quickly.