Like every child, I grew up listening to the expeditions of Hanuman, my favorite avataar, who flew over land and seas to reach far off lands. The comic dream grew into me so much, I always aspired to be the one travelling far and wide. A trip “abroad” was not just a dream, it was also a matter of pride and satisfaction. And though it is more of a perceived value, I am as human and was all eager to plan my first trip.
I did what every teenager would do. Visited various travel agents and portals online to understand the best destinations and itineraries to go for my first foreign holiday. I read blogs and posted on forums for advice and ultimately decided I would go to Singapore, lured by the amazing beaches and a friend I was chatting with. And needless to say, financial planning was an extremely crucial aspect of my foreign trip. And convincing my parents was a task, unless I could manage my own finances.
Saving money for the big vacation
Even though throughout my childhood I used to travel from Bombay to Bangalore via air, twice a year, setting my foot on another soil did not seem so easy. While my travel and stay could be pre-booked and paid for in advance, untimely changes in travel plans and itinerary, food and beverage costs, soaking in the local ambience, and of course, shopping sprees would demand more money than what it seemed.
The lazy one that I am, I needed simple hacks, tricks, and methods, that would not make it as difficult for me. Here are 5 ways I used to travel to my dream destination on a budget:
Time = Money
There really is never a “good” time to start saving for a foreign trip. I started off with doing odd jobs when in college to save up for this trip. I worked at a local pizza place and worked overtime. The salaries and tips went into two piggy banks. 30% for my daily expenses and 70% into the holiday travel pool. I realized rather young that putting it off for next month, next season, next year, or the like would only delay things and I would almost never get going. To make it stricter still, I opened a savings account in a co-operative bank, away from home, and kept my 70% savings there. I ensured the bank did not have many branches, no Central Banking System (which meant I couldn’t draw from any other branch) and did not even avail the Cheque Book facility.
Realistic isn’t only a genre of cinema
While I had even better destinations I could go to, e.g. the Caribbean, and also dreamt of going on a World Tour, planning such an extravagant jaunt and beginning to save for it could have been a pipe dream really. It was evident to me that I needed a whole lot more money for a trip of that sort. Choosing a destination and an itinerary that fit my backpacking budget was more realistic and my focus to save for my foreign trip did not waver.
Saving the best for later
Avoiding over indulgence until the last moment, crossing out extravagant spends and purchases made into the plan to make sure I make the most of my trip and not lose all the money, lest there be unaccounted for and unplanned expenses at the end. While saving for a foreign trip, anything more than savouring the must-have experiences spent on would be an indulgence. The pleasure of having more money than expected or planned at the end was certainly a delight, making my return journey Duty Free shopping, a feast.
Resorting to the last resort
While everything was planned and accounted for, the savings in spite of all the efforts, did not match up to the amount I needed. to see about and live for the planned number of days. I wouldn’t have let go of my dream so easily and I had already procured the Visa and air tickets. So, here I was with just half the money and all leaves sanctioned from my day job.
The opportunity that came as a breeze when my good friend in the office told me about MoneyTap’s personal line of credit that I could use it conveniently as a vacation financing option. I was jittery to try it out. A couple of days later, after thinking about it, I installed the MoneyTap app to know my approved limit. The whole process was so quick and before I knew it, I had a credit line of Rs. 3 lakhs sitting in my app. The last hurdle was the easiest to cross and there was no looking back.
Being a little frugal, a little smart, determined and setting a goal for myself, made my experience memorable and a great life lesson on planning, saving and keeping a financial backup such as MoneyTap. You too can travel your dream destinations on a budget!