I ditched the idea of short vacations in 2015 and embraced long vacations to live a digital nomad.
I was not rich but we spent our entire summer vacations in Thailand in 2016.
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
- Everyone will not get a long leave from the job
I solved both the issues by working remotely and finding ways to save money on international travel.
I planned my travel well in advance and used a combination of credit cards + online offers + AirBnb accommodation.
Let’s find out how to afford long international trip events with a small budget.
#1. Save for your foreign vacation in advance
I do not spend any money without planning.
I saved 2 Lakh rupees for vacation over one year. Our goals were clear. We wanted to travel and explore the world rather than spending money on a new car or house.
We lived in a rented house to save money on home loan EMI and 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 but I made some money from freelance writing, consulting and selling some 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.
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 International Air Tickets
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 with terms and conditions.
#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 cash back or reward points (worth Rs. 240)
Effective cost of Air tickets for 3 people = 58,200
#3. Book from AirBnb
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 Cheap Forex
I tried a couple of ways to get cheapest currency conversion. 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 destination.
- Spend rest of money on credit cards
- If you still need more cash then use Indian debit card to withdraw money from ATM
If the destination country is card friendly (US/Europe/Australia) then use more credit card or a forex card.
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 milk at Rs. 100, Fruits at Rs 120-180 per kg, and no vegetable was cheaper than Rs. 100 per kg.
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 bank statements and forex conversion.
- 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 on regular living expenses on electricity, travel, and groceries.
On average, we spend about 30K per month excluding rent. 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
Let me know in the comments, what you think about long vacations.