I remember a time when I saved all my earnings to enjoy a few days of vacation- but the side effect was that I was left yearning for a few more days of break throughout the year. Over the years, I have begun realizing the importance of maintaining a balance between work and personal life. I have personally used these tricks to enjoy more vacation days a year but not at the cost of burning a hole in my pocket!
1. Fix the budget: I know we all feel that a vacation deserves a break from financial planning- it’s the time to splurge & enjoy! I am sure & hopeful that one day we all will achieve that dream! But remember, the reality is REAL- it can give you a nightmare. Do a cost-benefit analysis of the destinations you have shortlisted. Which are the ones that you are most excited about & why? The WHY is extremely important- just because your neighbour enjoyed a yacht vacation in the Greek islands does not mean you would not get seasick. Live your dreams & not others’! Also remember, we all live at different stages of life- comparison of vacations should not spoil the main intent behind a vacation!
2. Select the right travel companions: You love to travel & your partner hates the sun, you love the beaches your partner loves the mountains- these differences are inevitable. Of course, you will not be able to leave your partner behind for every vacation. Come to an amicable solution- split vacation destinations & select turns on choosing. Make sure you select activities that you both enjoy. While travelling with friends, remember- great friends don’t always make the best travel companions! Sometimes you may be forced to spend beyond your capacity when your companions insist on doing activities that you are not very inclined to do! Be open-minded & do not fret when things don’t go your way- the more the merrier is not always true & once you begin a journey do not regret it.
3. Pack travel size: We all want to look our best during holidays- but remember to keep light! The more you pack the more are the chances you may misplace a few things, you would be essentially paralyzed in places where you need to walk more but you can’t since you have to take care of the umpteen packages! Not to mention, with airlines reducing the baggage capacity daily, you would end up spending more if you pack beyond their limit! Always keep extra underclothes as you may not get time to wash your clothes that often, carry basic medicines for fever, body ache, stomach infection etc. I generally carry 3 pairs of footwear- one sandal that I wear while travelling, a good robust walking shoe or sneakers to help you walk comfortably whenever needed & a nice pair of stylish footwear for party time! Make sure you carry one small backpack so that when you leave your stuff at the hotel for the day, you can put a few essentials in the backpack & carry it along with you for the day.
4. Travel Research: The reason why I saved a ton while travelling in Malaysia was because of its affordable & reliable public transport. We ensured that we stayed in a strategically located place in Kuala Lumpur so that we could save time & money on travelling. While not every country or city may have the best facilities in terms of infrastructure- there are so many amazing tips provided by travellers on the internet that you can surely save a few bucks by modifying your itinerary. Spend money in what satisfies you and save the pennies wherever you get a chance.
5. Enjoy Planning: It's the planning, the journey and the companions which make a vacation perfect! Enjoy every moment of it, find about people, places, activities in advance and make sure you keep a track of every interesting aspect of the vacation you come across! I generally have a Google spreadsheet which has details of everything that we have spent on- right from booking to food expenses- this helps me keep a track of my budget before I embark on the trip. I know exactly how much cash I should carry and if need be- how much I can spend on collecting gifts for family!
Just like everything else in life, travelling and budgeting when done in conjugation can help in extracting the best out of life! I have been implementing these tips for a couple of years now. I have meticulously avoided paying extra for airlines by booking in advance, I have done thorough research about transportation before reserving a hotel room or Airbnb- these are small things but they all add up to ensure you don't spend more than you can enjoy!