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How to Plan a Vacation?

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vacationSummer holidays are fast approaching and for a lot of working people this is just the right time to escape the routine life and go for a perfect vacation with family and friends. But a vacation in these times of high inflation can be taxing on the pocket.

Here are some tips and tricks which can help you plan a vacation smartly and save more.

1. Plan your vacation in advance – Before you start making phone calls to your travel agent, first chalk out the

vacation plan. The idea is to plan in advance. Following are the steps involved in planning your vacation right:

-Step 1: Start with where you would like to go. Or look at what is being offered and choose one; Vacation ideas are everywhere on the internet.

-Step 2: Then set your date to travel.

-Step 3: You may book your trip yourself or book with a travel agency to save time and also money.

In case you are booking a vacation yourself - You may check the popular travel web sites on the Internet which offer special deals on hotel rates and transport. These websites bid with major airlines for cancelled seats at a discount for you.

You can also search the internet for tips from people who have already visited the place(s) where you wish to travel, to get a detailed idea of tourist attractions, restaurants, hotels and kid-friendly activities. You may also use e-Books on budget travel in regards to your place(s) of interest.

In case you are booking a vacation through a travel agency - If out-of-the-way travel is involved, it may be wiser to use the services of a travel agency. That’s because a seasoned travel agent can give you tips and suggestions when travel brings you to new and unknown places. Research the travel itinerary, additional fees, if any. Ask about a refund policy and charges if you may need to change your plans in the future. Ensure you understand all terms and conditions. Make sure the travel agent is a company of repute.

Step 4 – Figure out the cost of purchase of the trip and what your monthly payment would be in order to build a corpus for your vacation. Alternatively, finalising the date for vacation would also depend upon the amount you would like to set aside each month in order to purchase the trip.

If, for some reason the prices or budget is not working out during the peak season you should try the off peak seasons. Off-season days not only are probably the best days for catching bargains, but your vacation would also be quieter and more relaxing without the crowds.

Step 5 - Start packing your travel bags at least a week in advance. Travellers in their last-minute hurry forget to pack basic things. It is unusual a plan goes all as planned, so anticipate hitches!

If you plan your vacation in advance, the savings are big. Delay in finalising the trip would end up costing you more in the form of highly-priced airline tickets and lodging expenses being uneconomical. However, booking too early also comes with pitfalls. On few occasions, there are chances of the trip getting postponed or cancelled.

Ensure you spare yourself an extra day or two if you’re supposed to re-join your job or have an important business commitment.

2. Start Saving! – Planning in advance would give you enough time to layout a road map for your much-deserved/much-needed holiday. But committing funds at one time is a problem for most of us. One of the ways to overcome this hurdle is through SIP (Systematic Investment Plan). Depending upon the date of vacation, you can start an investment (or open a separate account) where you can transfer a fixed sum on a regular basis. For example, if the tenure is 6-12 months, you can open a bank recurring deposit, or even try mutual funds depending upon your risk appetite and date of vacation. You can start-off by using any idle money lying in your savings account for this purpose.

Note: Whatever budget you allocate, it’s always a clever practice to set aside an additional 10-15% to meet up with uncertain contingencies. It always comes handy. Ensure you also have a health/mediclaim/accident insurance policy or get one before your expedition.

3. Cut down on expenses – There are many ways in which you can cut down unnecessary expenses during both pre-vacation period and also while vacationing –

(a) Before you go on a vacation think about cutting down on excessive expenditure – such as eating out daily, watching movies at home instead of at a theatre etc. Such savings will be worthwhile for shopping at your travel destination. You may also consider inviting your children to start contributing to the vacation fund. This way, they too would learn a thing or two about money management.

(b) While on vacation, one of the easiest ways to cut costs is on transportation. For example, in case of a tight budget, save your money and take a road trip. Travelling by road instead of flight to a nearby destination can save you huge money on fuel and at the same time, gives you an opportunity to experience country life. You can even consider travelling in a group/with friends – a group can travel much cheaper than a couple. You can save even more if one person in your group is blessed with culinary skills!

Some of these tips sound intuitive but most travellers fail to plan in advance and pay much higher prices consequently. Keep these in mind and start planning right away. Have a great vacation!

Courtesy: InvestmentYogi

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