National Tourism Day: Travellers share practical hacks for a budget-friendly vacation

24 January,2024 07:30 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Maitrai Agarwal

Ahead of National Tourism Day, seasoned travellers share their tried and tested hacks to help you plan a budget-friendly vacation. Try out these tips on booking accommodation, navigating logistics, and finding the experiential activities to ace travelling on a budget

Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Key Highlights

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To acknowledge the impact of, and promote tourism in the country, National Tourism Day is observed on January 25 every year. As the popularity of travel continues to grow across age groups, vacations have become a part of our yearly calendars. While everyone wants to go the distance, planning for it may seem overwhelming, especially for international destinations. Taking inspiration from travel influencers might not be enough as travel comes with its set of bottlenecks.
"There is a lot of prep that goes into planning any vacation, especially if I am trying to not overspend. From booking specific tours in advance to opting for homestays, I've adapted certain strategies over the years that have helped me enjoy stress-free holidays," says travel enthusiast Karishma Khanna. The 28-year-old has visited 32 countries over the past 10 years and swears by her meticulous planning.

Kaushal Karkhanis, who describes himself as a solo and slow travel blogger (, seconds Khanna. The digital nomad started his travel adventures with a life-changing trip to South America in 2008 and is currently working as a UI and UX designer, blogger and community builder. He shares, "Failing to plan is planning to fail, it is said - so if you're travelling independently, do your research and keep backup plans as well. From keeping multiple cards and spare cash on you at all times, to having emergency contacts upfront on your phone, you can never be prepared enough."

In photo: Kaushal Karkhanis

Fret not, ahead of the
Republic Day long weekend, we have got these seasoned travellers to share their best travel hacks to help you plan a budget-friendly vacation. Whether you're a frequent traveller or a first-timer, these travel hacks can make your trips more enjoyable, stress-free, and affordable.
Look for ‘anywhere' and layovers

When looking for domestic or international flights, browse on websites such as Kiwi, Kayak, and Skyscanner which offer the option to explore ‘anywhere' destinations. This may help you consider a wide range of destinations combined with the cheapest fares. The more flexible you are in terms of destination and dates, the better your chances of landing great deals.

Also, consider extending your trip with multiple destination layovers. For example, flights to Europe from Jordan can be as low as Rs 5,000 one way, and flights to Japan will be cheaper from Vietnam, etc.

Shoulder can make you bolder
Ask any experienced travellers, and they will strongly advise you to avoid peak season travel. It is not just about how expensive the same destination becomes, but also about the throngs of crowds. Think about Himachal Pradesh or Goa during December, from traffic to exorbitant hotel tariffs, it is far from ideal. Consider visiting popular destinations during shoulder season (the time between peak and off-season). Please do some research because every place depending on climate will vary.

Look for stays on Google Maps and familiarise with Google Street View
Location is king when it comes to looking for accommodation. Unless you're familiar with your destination city, choose a centrally located stay, ideally with public transport access. For those who want to get a better idea of the locality and surroundings, Google Street View is a great tool to get acquainted with the area, so you get a sense of comfort when you reach it.

When searching for centrally located accommodations, you can use Google Maps to discover the best pricing. It is a great aggregator to get an overview of and compare options in varying neighbourhoods.

Long-term stays and sublets
If you are travelling for long-term, or over a month, you can check out and also explore local options for monthly rentals. Most websites and accommodation providers offer sizable discounts for longer stays. While Karkhanis scours these on foot - keeping an entire day aside to look, Khanna gets in touch with locals through digital nomad Facebook groups.

Split money across cards, and e-pockets
It is advisable to spread your money across multiple cards, accounts or ‘digital pockets' so that you can reduce your risk. Avoid carrying all your physical cards in your wallet as well. It is not only to guard you against pick-pockets but also to have a fail-safe mechanism if any of your cards don't work. For example, Karkhanis uses his debit or NiYo card for cash withdrawals while using credit and forex cards for transactions.

Cabin only
It may seem impossible, but try travelling light with no check-in bags and just your 7-kg limit cabin bag will help you reduce your flight expenditure. With the increasing number of budget airlines, such fares are now being adapted for long-haul flights as well. Try doing this locally first, followed by South East Asia. Once you get used to it, you'll come up with your own hacks and enjoy the comfort of not having to ‘lug' your luggage.

Laundry and thrifting
This hack is reserved for those who travel for longer durations. One of the best ways to travel light is to pack only up to 3 to 4 pairs of clothing even for longer trips, and do laundry. This not only helps you travel light but also allows you to experience how locals do their laundry in different countries. Need more clothes? Look for thrift stores and in the end, consider selling them or giving them away after washing them.

Annual multi-trip insurance
The talk of insurance might seem morbid when you're imagining a leisurely afternoon at the beach, but considering the medical costs abroad it is essential. If you're going to be travelling abroad multiple times in a year, look for annual multi-trip insurance instead of buying one for every trip - this way you can opt for the highest coverage and still save money.

Price check of local services
The arbitrary pricing of tourist services, including cabs, and guided tours may sometimes seem unsettling. Nobody likes to be ripped off whether it is domestically, or abroad. A quick comparison of prices online can help you save the trouble. It is also important to check out reviews, and if possible, get in touch with local service providers in advance.

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