Travel More with Less Leaves, my secret to how I manage to travel so much despite having a full-time job. I love travelling and I end up taking atleast 1 big holiday and couple of small ones in a year. Many people always ask me how do you get so many leaves from office to go on personal trips. It is indeed difficult for working class whether he is entrepreneur or service class to go on more holidays than what general situation allows.
So I thought, why not share tips and ideas on how to Travel More with Less Leaves to utilise your holiday and also manage finances to manage holidays.
The first part of the Travel More with Less Leaves blog will focus on Managing leaves whereas second part of the blog will focus on saving money for travel by optimising finances.
1. Public Holidays
Public holidays are sure-short holidays which you know comes every year and everyone, I mean everyone gets it (except those who work in hospitality, retail etc). We know it is coming, so why not plan in advance. Except Wednesday, whatever day it falls on, here is your chance to plan a long weekend trip. Most of my trips are in August due to India‘s Independence Day on 15 August. That’s kind of my way of celebrating independence.
2. Festival Holidays
Just like public holiday, there are festivals and holidays around that. In country like India, we have lot of festivals to celebrate and also holidays. Many of us don’t travel during certain festivals like Ganpati or Diwali. Apart from those festivals, you have other Festival to celebrate with Travel. Each organisation, whether public or private, have their yearly festival holiday list out. So just choose your holiday and apply for leaves at the beginning of the year. Sometime, 2 festivals are close by and you end up saving more holidays (only if you plan in advance, else you will end up paying surcharge to the hotels as demand will be high).
3. Birthdays / Anniversaries / Engagement Day etc
We humans love celebrating and what better way to celebrate than go on trip to celebrate such occasions. I know many people take leave on birthday but end up celebrating only in the evening when everyone (friends & family) is free. Instead utilise that time by adding weekend or small trip into it. Whenever my birthday falls on Monday or Friday, I take a trip around the city for 2 nights atleast. Instead of spending money on few hour of party, I rather do it with stay in some resort / spa.
4. Avoid light sick leaves
I know it is difficult to avoid and we tend to be sick with no energy to work. I try and reduce my sick leave by opting for work from home or just take a half day. Half day sound better than taking whole day off. Also avoid taking leave because you don’t feel like going to office, yes we all do that once in a while! If you want to take such leaves, take it on Friday or Monday and merge it with weekend trip. Though chances of your boss knowing is high, but once in a while, it is ok to be sick so that you can travel, even your boss will also be doing this at some point.
Weekends are best for those day trips around your city or hill station nearby. We spend time focusing on countries and cities away from us that we forget we have an amazing place just next door. Whether you stay in Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore (or any other city for that matter), you always have places around you, some hours drive away, calling you to relax and just enjoy the place. Even if not a night trips, look for day trips like a picnic at the lake side or trekking to nearest mountain peak, all these are travel experiences which you can do with hardly any cost.
If you take around 3-4 weekend gateways along with 1 or 2 long trips in a year, you will visit minimum of 4 new places in a year!
World is too big to explore, let alone be India. Go to different places instead of going to same old, same old!
6. Occasional holidays
As we Indians love to celebrate, we also love to participate in other people’s celebration. Going outside your city to attend friend’s wedding or relative’s function, add 2 more days and visit place around the destination. E.g. I had to attend wedding in Siliguri, West Bengal and I did small trip for 2 days to Darjeeling before the wedding. In short, if you going somewhere for something, make most of it!
These are few ways you can Travel More with Less Leaves. Obviously it requires planning but if you want to do anything, first step is Plan.
After planning the leaves, second part of Travel More with Less Leaves is budgeting and managing finances. Let’s explore the ways to save money and optimise the budget to Travel More.
Save Money on Travel
1. Advance Planning
With some or the other commitment, we Indians, are afraid of planning in advance. However, advance planning helps a lot in saving quite a bit of money. The price of hotel won’t go high in May-June but as August approach with Independence Day, rates go up. Advance Planning leads to saving on surcharges or momentary increase in the price. Also, with planning in advance, you will know how much money you need to save for on ground and shopping expense. So plan atleast 2-3 months in advance to save some bucks and add those in shopping fund!
2. Pick Lean Season
There is always a conflict between saving the leave or money. If you save leaves, you spend money and vice versa. There is no right formula to make both equals but there is a trick. Trick is that you plan on days, when not everyone is traveling. Confusing? Let me explain, if public holiday is coming on Tuesday, many will plan holiday between Saturday-Tuesday. You can select other route and select Tuesday-Sunday, though you will take more leaves than planned, but you will also earn longer holiday at competitive cost (no unnecessary high cost).
Another way to pick lean season is to travel during off-season or between off-season to season time. Eg. If ideal time to travel to Europe in summers, prices will be high, you can opt to travel during winters or fall season when there are less tourist. I prefer off-season traveling as you get less tourist and cost of flight & stay is less. Some of the best experiences are when you see touristy place with less tourist around.
3. Offers and Deals
With booming internet and travel e-commerce sites, you have some or the there offer floating. There is discount on domestic hotels, free extra nights, cash-back offer, instant discount, all these offers will definitely help you in saving some money. Always keep a look out for offers on new hotel opening, new flight to a destination and so on. Festival offer and flash sale offer on stay at various places helps in saving the money.
4. Loyalty and Membership programs
Loyalty program are company’s way of offering you discounts so that you stay more with them. Start being member of such companies and utilise their point and redeem system. Whether it is airline or hotel memberships or sticking to some of e-commerce travel companies, they will offer you discount to travel more. And more you travel, more discounts/points you get. Being a member of such loyalty program, helps in saving money in your next holiday.
Apart from hospitality loyalty program, even credit cards have good redeem policies. With points earn on every spend of yours, the can be utilised in booking a hotel or airline. On certain spend, they also reward you with stay vouchers. I have diverted all my expenses to credit card which leads to earning point and redeem them on booking my next holiday. I have saved a lot of money by such point system and their optimum utilisation.
These are some ways in which you can save money so that you can Travel More with Less Leaves. More information on holiday and planning, checkout Eat Travel Fun Youtube Channel.
I hope these tips and ideas will help you make most of the holidays and you get a chance to explore new cities, or country perhaps!– Eat Travel Fun