In this age and time where the Globe is within our reach, traveling in and around one’s own country and abroad has become less demanding if we compare few decades back. The Internet and online access to all things travel being the path maker. But do we all end up making the most of it or do we get cluttered and clouded by the innumerable options of booking websites and online travel advice while trying to plan our travel?
I have a few amazing travel hacks I swear by, especially when traveling in India and around and mostly so when the plan is to do the budget traveling. Read my list of top 10 travel hacks for India and thank me later.
1. How to grab a cheap flight
Okay, this one always works with a 100% success rate. More than not we need to book flights, in order to save time however we usually opt for other modes of transport due to the cost involved in flight bookings which are always more expensive than trains, buses, car hires, etc. The way to get around this is to always opt to travel during weekdays or more specifically mid-weekdays. The majority or people would plan to catch a Friday or Sunday flight to make the most of the weekends, that leaves the weekday flights under less demand and you will find that there is always a huge difference between the flight rates for Wednesday compared to Friday for the same destination. Also, book odd hour flights to get even better rates. The inconvenience is worth it I must say!
2. Your Browser knows it all!
To make sure you get the best flight or hotel rates, the first rule as always is to use an Incognito window in the browser while searching which disables browser history and web caching. The second rule, after you have finalized which hotel or flight to book, make sure to delete the browser cache before making the bookings. This will guarantee you the best rates.
3. Make Google your best friend
The most time effective and error free way to find your way around the streets and cities of India is to blindly rely on Google and Google Maps. Thanks to the new age 3G and 4G internet connectivity in most of the cities in India. For many places that are taboo, for example, haunted Bhangarh fort in Rajasthan is a place the locals will not encourage you to go and might be hesitant in giving out the directions, Google maps will help you get there. It will also suggest the least congested roads and shortest route. Also essentials like medicine shops, petrol pumps can be easily located during an emergency.
4. Yes my luggage is Fragile
It is a common experience that the check-in luggage in flights gets handled wrongly. Sometimes the trolley wheels are broken or even worse the handle or straps get ripped off. Imagine beginning a travel experience with a broken trolley bag wheel or handle and tagging it along throughout your vacation, not a very good situation to be in. The trick to make sure that this never happens to you is, always label and report your luggage especially cabin and hard luggage bags, trolleys and suitcases as ‘Fragile’. That’s the trick to making sure your bags get handled well enough.
5. Go Wifi
We all do know that when traveling to different cities, we incur roaming charges on our phone bills. Now imagine this plus additional internet roaming data charges. This together can amount to a considerable bill. Why take this burden? ‘Go Wifi’. A lot of places, airports, stations, trains, restaurants and especially hotels provide free or complimentary wifi access. Make it a habit of asking around and find out if there is free wifi available and save yourself some internet data charges. Use wifi wherever available to make online calls or do your research or google your way around and take note of the same or save the information for later to be used during your no wifi period.
6. Make Breakfast your favorite meal
We do not usually realize, but during travels, we do end up spending a considerable amount of time on eating out. In a hurry to get to the next touristy place first thing in the morning, we end up skipping breakfast, sometimes the complimentary breakfasts as well in the hotel. And then we end up with a sudden pang of mid-day hunger that needs to be addressed immediately, and we do so by opting to eat at the next closest eatery. Not bothering too much about how much we are paying plus exorbitant taxes. To skip’s these situations of untimely hunger demands, never, never miss your breakfast, especially if it is a complimentary one. Make sure to have a heavy breakfast at your hotel, if not, at a local eatery to save the taxes. A healthy heavy breakfast will last you until afternoon and is a great way to travel through the day without taking too many food breaks
7. Local transport
A lot of us have inhibitions about traveling via local transport, we end up hiring a car to go around the place or city. But the most efficient and budget way to explore a new destination is to use local transport. Not only they are way cheaper than hiring a car, It also gives you ample scope to interact with the locals and is the best way to get to know the place and appreciate it’s unique customs and culture. If you are lucky enough to strike up a conversation with your co-auto or bus or train passenger I am sure you will gain some extra (sometimes unwanted) advice from them which often comes in handy.
8. Keep a copy of all important paperwork saved in your email and phone
I am sure we have all been here some time, feeling helpless and desperate after misplacing our important wallet or bag full of documents. Be it hotel vouchers, flight tickets, passport copies, PAN card or Voters Id copies, make sure to download or scan copies of all these into your mobile, tablet, laptop, etc. Whatever you are carrying to be sure a backup plan is in place when things go south on you.
9. Multi-purpose clothing
In our effort to have the right thing to wear at the right place a lot of us end up packing our entire wardrobe into our suitcases and then it so happens that we don’t end up wearing a lot of what we pack. Instead, we are just left carrying a big bag full of clothes and this brings a lot of inconveniences. The perfect way to travel is to travel light. To make that possible try a multi-tasking wardrobe, such as carry a shawl that can be used as a bedsheet or warmer or also as a scarf. Carry a jacket that can also double up as your pillow.
10. Skip hotels, try homestays
Give the hotels a miss and try staying in homestays or guest houses. They are the closest you can get to staying with the locals. Homestays might not be as swanky as hotels, they might not have a menu card to choose your dinner, they will usually have a fixed menu with fewer options to choose from, but it’s the best way to make sure you will have healthy home cooked food and feel at home. Also, homestays are mostly run by local people and are the source of income for some. It is a great way to help the locals economically and also a small step from us travelers towards responsible traveling.