On a budget holiday, chasing meaningful experiences instead of expensive sights is the way to go.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while travelling on a budget
For couples who love hitting the road every chance, the main constraint for travelling often is the budget. While travelling can be fun, if you don’t plan it enough or if it is impromptu, the whole thing can turn into an expensive affair. To plan transport, the activities there, your stay, food, shopping and an emergency fund and to fit this all into a budget requires time. Budget travelling is art and if you’re doing it with your partner, practising the art gets simpler.
1. It’s you both against the budget
Remembering that you are not going on a solo trip and have to think in terms of two is very important when travelling on a budget as a couple. Going solo can be relatively cheaper compared to two people, but you can’t lament that. The whole point is to travel together and see the world. It’s more fun when you go together as a couple. You have to think of the other person when travelling as a couple constantly. This doesn’t mean become obsessed with them, but you do have to give their needs importance. Travelling can be uncomfortable and people tend to retreat within themselves when doing so; you can’t do that when you’re travelling as a couple.
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2. Let them go
While the idea is to go on a trip together, and it is cheaper to get couples passes in places, there has to be room for you two to do your thing. If your partner wants to chill at the beach and you want to go to a museum, there is nothing wrong with you two doing just that. You can gather experiences together for the rest of the trip, but a little bit of a break can be good. It is also worth keeping in mind that this is, in fact, a holiday and forcing the other to do things they don’t like defeats the purpose.
3. Homestay to the rescue
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the mountains or by the beach, homestays are the best thing ever. They are usually run by a small family that has extra space to rent out and is trying to make ends meet. They aren’t as luxurious as a hotel and therefore are extremely economical and can be perfect for a budget holiday. Going and staying at a homestay will free up enough money for both of you to spend on other experiences. You could go drink that special local liquor, or watch that dance performance you wouldn’t get to see anywhere else.
4. Local is global
Speaking of local, the best way to eat, drink and be merry on any holiday but especially a budget one is to eat and drink local. A group of my friends ended up drinking the local brandy in the mountains of north Bengal instead of buying mass-produced alcohol. They ate at the homestay they stayed at or ate at street side shops, momos and local fare that was available. Another instance of this is when you go to south India. If you go into a big restaurant, you’ll find north Indian or Chinese food available. On the contrary, the best appam and sambar can be found at the street side shack. Eating local is the best way to become part of the landscape of a place while travelling there.
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5. Treasure hunters
The main principle behind budget travelling is to seek out experiences instead of sights that you could enjoy. While going to any designated tourist destination, museums and sightseeing are great, but they often cost a lot more money. Sitting in a shack by the beach or a roadside cafe in the mountains requires less money. In some cases, it might just be free. Therefore finding out treasures like these is the best way to ensure that you aren’t counting the rupees in your head instead of having a good time.
6. Search for the epic
One way of finding an activity or a place that doesn’t cost too much to visit is to go to a place which is built around a legend or which houses something so special that you can spend time just looking at it. Be it the Ganga and its ghats in Varanasi, or the mighty Brahmaputra in the North East, or it might be the serene beaches of Goa, visiting these places, sitting by the ghats, having a cup of tea or a glass of something cold is the lowest maintenance activity on a holiday. The beauty can be a backdrop for your romance. You can talk about life, or just enjoy each other’s company near these places.
Going on a holiday as a couple, and a budget holiday at that, can be a real test for the relationship, but chasing experiences on such a holiday often brings couples closer.