I am not rich but I spent my entire summer vacations in Thailand (with family).
Anyone can do that, but there are two issues that steal away our freedom of long vacations
- We don’t have sufficient money for long international travel
- It’s damn difficult to get a long leave from the job
I solved both the issues.
A remote job gave me leverage to work while at vacation. (We can talk some other day about finding a job in which you can work from home.)
I planned my travel well in advance and applied some travel hacks while booking my foreign vacation.
Let’s find out how to afford long international trip events with a small budget.
#1. Save for your foreign vacation in advance
Don’t take wrong decisions with your finances. I never spend money without planning my finances.
I saved 2 Lakh rupees for vacation over one year. Our goals are clear. We want to travel and explore the world rather than spending money on a new car or house.
We still live in a rented house. That help us saving money on home loan interest. Some people call us fool for not investing in real estate but we are happy with our stress-free lifestyle.
I did not have a regular job last year. However, I made some money from writing, consulting and selling my shares in the stock market.
By the year end, I got a full time job in a startup as content marketing head (80K/month + Equity)
Our day to day expenses were taken care of by regular salary and we planned our travel with our saved money.
Next year vacation planning
Well, I started saving regularly for my next year vacation.
A 20,000 contribution from my salary every month to my next year travel goal.
I will have 3L in my vacation account by July 2017 if nothing unexpected happened in life.
It’s Sufficient for a small family to spend two months abroad.
#2. Booking Air Tickets (India to Thailand)
I compared the prices on MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and Cleartrip
The cashback offered by MakeMyTrip and Yatra is virtual cash. It means you have to book other tickets from these portals within a short duration of 2-3 months. That is the reason they offer so much cashback and put lots of terms and conditions.
When you try to redeem cash, you left with disappointment because you can not use entire virtual cashback in a single transaction.
#1. Cleartrip offers actual cashback during the checkout (saved 1400 Rs)
#2. Checkout with PayU money or similar wallet that gives you additional cashback (saved 590 Rs)
#3. Pay with Credit Card to earn cashback or reward points (worth Rs. 240)
My favorite credit card is Standard Chartered Manhattan where I earn more than 1% Cashback (or reward redemption value)
Effective cost of Air tickets for 3 people = 58,200
#3. Book Accommodation from AirBnb (not Hotel)
I prefer AirBnb than booking hotels.
Our apartment selection criteria are
- Apartment with facilities like Gym, Swimming Pool, Security and Lift
- Kitchen with stove and utensils
- Near to Market
- Near to Beach
- Proximity to Public Transport
Other things to consider if water and electricity are included in the price or not. What are cleaning charges and how often they clean. Is there any security deposit?
We found a decent stay in 38,400 for 50 days.
Most of AirBnb accommodations provide Towels, Bed Sheets, Blankets, and Toiletries.
To save more – Pay by money wallets like PayU (1%) and use a credit card for additional cashback (1%). Enjoy the additional saving of 384+380=764.
Effective cost of accommodation for 50 days is Rs 37,600.
#4. Get Forex Cheap
I tried a couple of ways to get cheapest currency conversion. But there could be issues with fluctuating currency rates.
I did some mistakes on this trip regarding forex which I would fix next time.
From the next time, I will plan my currency like this,
- 10% Cash Conversion in India
- Keeping 30% Indian Cash Currency that can be exchanged at the destination.
- Spend rest of money on Credit Cards
If the destination country is card friendly (US/Europe/Australia) then use more credit card than cash.
Local Expenses in Thailand
It’s difficult to predict local expenses unless you start living. We underestimated the living cost in Thailand.
Everything was almost the double the price as compared to India.
We were buying 1L milk at 100Rs, 1Kilo Fruits at Rs 120-180, and no vegetable was cheaper than 100Rs per Kilo.
We found Indian grocery store in Pattaya. He was also selling everything at the double price.
We spent more than 20,000 rupees on Thai Massage. Thailand got infamous for sex & erotic massages but a Traditional Thai Massage is the best thing you can get in Thailand. They charge just 400-600 Rupees per hour. We enjoyed a massage on every alternate day.
We did not track our daily expenses like we did in Goa. It’s easy to calculate how much we spend by looking at my Forex.
- India – 7000
- Airport – 30000
- Debit Card – 40000
- Local Counter – 10000
- Credit Cards – 10000
Total – 97,000 living expenses for 50 days.
Expenses in India
We had to pay rent for the home in India while we were away but we saved expenses on electricity, travel, and groceries.
On average, we spend about 30K per month excluding rent and school fees. Let’s say a saving of 50K for 50 days.
In summary : We spent 58,200 on travel tickets, 37,600 on AirBnb stay, and 97,000 on living = 1,92,800.
If we deduct the living cost of 50 days in India then the effective cost of our vacation is 1,42,800 rupees.
Anyone with 80K salary can afford this kind of travel. You can manage your finances but the biggest issue is getting a leave of more than 1 month or asking your boss to work from a remote location.
There is no quick fix for this problem.
But you can find a passive source of income and slowly shift from your full time office job to remote work.
Let me know in the comments, what you think about traveling for a long duration.
Originally published here.