May 23, 2017
With popular global currencies like the Canadian Dollar witnessing their valuations fall by as much as 9.5% in the last three months, the global currencies market has been facing a tumultuous time of late. The Indian Rupee, on the other hand, has only grown stronger against foreign currencies. This is exciting news for Indian travel enthusiasts, who now have an opportunity to make cost-effective international travel plans. Here are some smart hacks which will allow you to save a lot of money while planning exotic getaways to popular international destinations:
Book tickets and Forex in advance
Anyone who has travelled by air knows that fare prices on flights are usually quite high close to the date of travel due to lower availability of seats. Similarly, prices for hotel rooms escalate drastically during the holiday season due to higher room occupancy. This is why you must plan your trip well in advance. Book your flight tickets and hotel reservations at least three to six months in advance in order to avail the best prices. It is also good practice to plan your forex transactions, as it gives you the flexibility to identify and avail the most preferable currency exchange rates, saving you to money whilst also helping you avoid last-minute mental stress.
Opt for roundtrip flights
The average economy class ticket from New Delhi to New York City in the period coinciding with the summer vacation is in the range of INR 40,000, whereas a business class ticket for the same dates between the same itinerary costs about INR 1.5 lakh. On the other hand, the average price for an economy class roundtrip ticket and a business class roundtrip ticket is around INR 65,000 and INR 2.1 lakh respectively. Given the stark difference in prices, doesn’t booking a roundtrip ticket sound like a financially sounder decision?
Going incognito for travel research
Ever wondered why there is a significant difference in ticket prices displayed to you in the morning and the prices for the same details later in the day? Travel companies – including airlines, hotels, and travel aggregators – are known to manipulate ticket prices based on your interest in a specific destination or itinerary, which is ascertained by the means of website cache and cookies. Searching for flights and hotels on the 'incognito' mode of a web browser will ensure there are no cookies saved from your previous searches, which limits the fluctuation in fares.
Online Forex marketplaces vs. traditional moneychangers
There are several reasons why travellers must be wary of getting their currency exchanged at traditional moneychangers. Apart from unreasonably high conversion rates, some private moneychangers have been embroiled in various forex scandals and counting frauds. On the hand, leading online forex marketplaces feature only genuine and RBI-authorised banks and forex companies. This not only increases the reliability of such channels, and protects travellers from frauds, but also extends the best available market rate to holidaymakers. Competitive prices offered on such platforms give up to 6.5% savings over bank and forex companies and 6.5% to 13% savings on airport exchange counters. Top forex platforms also send you notifications when the currency exchange rates reach your desired level, and can also lock-in conversion rates for a period of up to three days.
Depending on the country that you are travelling to, you have multiple options to carry currency abroad. This includes debit card, credit card, cash, preloaded forex cards, and traveller’s cheque. But while making the decision, one must also consider dynamic and ever-changing nature of currencies. An impetuous, ill-timed purchase made with cash, debit/credit card, or a traveller’s cheque can often end up making a great difference to your overall expenses.
Preloaded forex cards, with advantageous interbank rates, are the time-tested option to prevent such a thing from happening. Certain forex marketplaces even provide zero margin foreign exchange to their users, essentially meaning that there are no charges to be paid on top of the base currency rates. This ushers in a whole new level of transparency for customers, who are able to convert forex at the same rates as shown on major search engines and forex trading sites. You can also load up to thirteen different currencies on a single card, which eliminates the hassle of keeping multiple currencies in your wallet at all times. Do, however, ensure that you take along an add-on card while travelling. These cards can be activated instantly if your primary card gets damaged or stolen, and help you avoid distressing money-related situations.
International vacations have always been synonymous with major capital expenditure, but these smart tips can help you plan cost-effective travel with minimal effort. The money saved also increases your financial flexibility, allowing you to partake in the most exhilarating and wide-ranging experiences on your dream vacation.
Stories by Nitin Motwani