Akash Dahiya, CEO and co-founder of travel fintech platform SanKash shares some useful tips for a stress-free and financially well-planned vacation:
1. Automate bill payments<br>Have a thorough look at all the bills that remain overdue. Clear them one by one before the vacation begins. You can also automate your bill payment procedure to stay relieved while you are away.
2. Choose your cards wisely<br>Using a credit or debit card? Possess in-depth knowledge about its terms and conditions. For instance, credit cards may charge 2-4 per cent extra on shopping outside the country. Likewise, debit cards may also charge extra for withdrawing cash from foreign ATMs. Consider cards that charge no or little fee on foreign transactions.
3. Avoid busy time of the year<br>If you are someone looking for a peaceful holiday trip, plan to visit off-season destinations to feel refreshed, and also save some bucks on deals.
4. Choose the best exchange rates<br>This is important! Collect insights of the currency rate at your destination by contacting various banks and other service providers. This will save some of your moolah which can be spent on other relevant things.
5. Insurance<br>People often avoid taking insurance thinking all will be well during the trip. Accept that the future is unpredictable and taking unnecessary risks could cost you big-time. Make it a point to buy travel insurance as it covers medical expenses, theft, cancelled trips, etc.
6. Look for deals while dining out<br>Dining out is very common while you are out on a vacation. Therefore, while planning to eat out, always look for food and drink offers -- for instance, happy hours, coupons or daily specials.
7. Go for a systematic investment plan (SIP)<br>In today's digital world, doing SIP is no more a hassle, especially in the wake of numerous digital players that completely cut out the need for agents. Just download the app and start investing. Do a little research about which SIPs are performing well, giving good returns, and start investing a handful amount from your salary - say Rs 4,000-5,000 per month - to capitalize it over the years. Once you save enough, redeem it as per your travel needs. This is a feasible option when one has enough time to plan for a vacation.
8. Be aware of the cell service charges<br>Since cell services could cost you more while you are away in a foreign land, being aware of the international roaming charges is a must. You may also switch to a different cell service provider for that particular period of time that offers you the best deals. While some may charge extra for using the Internet, others may provide free international roaming.
9. Check for smart travel loans<br>Since India is now home to multiple new-age lenders in the travel space, one can stay relieved from the hassle of saving first and spending later. Moreover, these travel loans come with customized payback options in the form of highly flexible EMIs, making travel even more affordable than ever.
10. Leverage travel budgeting apps<br>Apps are great tools when it comes to tracking your spending habits -- be it shopping, transportation or accommodation. Leveraging these tools could be of great help to have a rejuvenating holiday trip while keeping a check on your expenses.
Finally, always keep a safety blanket for yourself. Keep some extra cash to avoid any sort of financial emergencies that may arrive. Moreover, know that you can also customize your travel package before buying it, so always discuss it with your travel agent.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at email@example.com)