How much to spend?
- (Image source: Google)
First Step, before going into details where I will go, I need to think how much am I willing to spend per head.
As am an Indian, I do my calculations in INR. The below estimated budget of places is calculated taking into consideration my expense to be in twin-sharing basis.
If it’s around 10k, I better stick to my own state, West Bengal, maybe Bihar and Orissa.
For 10days in 20k I can make do Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Sikkim, Assam.
For the same duration in 35k, its Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh.
For the same duration in 40k and onwards, it’s Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa. Although with the right bit of calculations, you can make do these places in 35k. But to know how to make the calculations if you are still wondering, scroll down below.
Now let’s take a look at abroad..
For 20k, you can stretch your trip to Bangkok and Pattaya for 4days and 3nights including airfare. Or get to Malaysia. Or simply to Singapore. Going solo sounds fun, but it is tad expensive then sharing the trip. Then again there’s Sri Lanka, although many tourists give it a miss, but I can guarantee the charms Sri Lanka has to offer. I will be updating about Sri Lanka soon. You can also visit Nepal, Bhutan.
Point to Note: As airfare is a big part of budget…research on skyscanner.co for good flight rates. If you are sure about the country you wish to travel, uncertain about the date..click in CHEAPEST MONTH in the skyscanner search engine.
Tip: Every year Airasia provides great deals to travel southeast Asia and Australia..be on the lookout.
For 30k to 40k budget, you can stretch it to Maldives, Mauritius, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam even Dubai.
For 40k to 55k budget, the opportunities are endless..from Egypt to Seychelles, you can even consider Japan if you can stay in people’s homes.
For 55k upwards, Europe and so on..I think I will stop here.
Now second step, Zeroing down a destination:
- Hotel Price Range
On this step, I jot down two or three destinations. I take into consideration the price ranges of hotels of the places I am considering.
Normally, you should consider three star hotels all through out, if you are looking for basic amenities alongside comfort, but two star hotels sometimes turn out quite well in Europe or in Japan, even in China. But how will turn out in Southeast Asia depend bit on luck and research you have done. For places in India, I depend on makemytrip, Cleartrip, Yatra.com..they give good hotels in reasonable rates, Yatra.com even had twice upgraded my hotels free of charge.
For outside, go for booking.com, agoda.
Research your hotel well before booking online.
I need to consider how conveniently the hotel is located to where am going, what are the facilities, location of the hotel from nearby restaurants (if possible) and the most important thing REVIEWS. I often don’t take the risk of booking into a hotel where there is no review. Booking online in a hotel without any reviews, is like taking a gamble.
- Make an Itinerary
Now the easiest part of your budget, make a rough itinerary after narrowing down the list of destinations depending on your liking. This will help you to identify how much expense you need on transportation locally.
- Local Transportation
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Make Google Maps your best friend if you are using local transportation. You will get plenty of suggestions about which route to take, which bus to board..even the bus stop/tourist spot will be shown in local language which will help others to understand where you want to go.
In India, Cars are the best transportation at any given place. And it’s best to hire cars on spot.
Another problem I face in India, agents..in colloquial language dalal. They try to dupe you to pay more for hiring cars telling that the cars are part of good agencies. It’s important you try to talk with the driver directly, but confirm the amount the driver is charging with some other drivers as well at once.
Or you don’t want to get into the headache of haggling, contact only those travel agencies beforehand of whose credentials you are sure. I once booked online; then when I got to see the car waiting for me at the train station, I was in mind to weep or throttle the driver.
So now depending on where you are going, think what will suit you best- bus, train, ship or car. Research the net to find out the local transportation and then what’s the average car hiring prices or the bus prices etc.
Last but not the least, calculate the food expense. This also forms a big part of your day to day travel expense. If you are in a tight budget, visit the local grocery store/supermarket. You will get a variety of instant noodles or ready to eat foods in the gourmet section. I always carry a mini rice cooker with me (400ml) from the time my child was a baby. I not only use it to make rice (capacity is just perfect for a 5-year-old child and an adult), but boil vegetables and instant noodles for dinner. If you do not want to get in the hassle of cooking, I will suggest researching wikitravel’s eat section of the place you want to visit. Wikitravel.org has always the updated information about restaurants to suit any type of budget (budget, mid-range and splurge).
Please note, while booking a hotel, try to note whether there are nearby restaurants or the hotel you are booking provides foods that will not pinch your pocket. It’ll be a hassle to again look for transportation after a whole day outing just to eat out at restaurant of your choice. Not to mention the additional cost you have to bear for transportation.
Another thing I would like to add. The cost of water adds up to our food expenses. A breakthrough invention is made in the road to finding drinkable water. “lifestraw”. It is your portable drinking water purifier, you can drink even drain water through it and it will make it perfectly drinkable. It is available online at Amazon. You can always buy one which will definitely help in cutting down cost of buying mineral water.