We had a mesmerising road trip in December 2016 to January 2017. We travelled from Chandigarh (Punjab) to Karnataka and covered more than 6,000 Kms in 36 days.
It was our first long road trip. We were anxious and excited to try something new.
We don’t like to spend on gadgets or fancy things but we love to spend money on travel. We feel alive when we travel, meet new people and learn new things. Travelling is one of the top priorities in our life and we will go to the most exciting places on the earth before we die.
When we travel, we make sure to spend only on the things that matter to us.
In the past we travelled for our long vacations.
We spent Rs. 82,210 on our more than a month long road trip. That includes every penny that went out of our pockets (including the things we bought for ourselves and gift for friends)
Here is the overview of the expenses.
#1. Make a plan but don’t book in the advance
We made a mistake. We booked our stay in advance for Bikaner and Jaisalmer. Things won’t go as per plan when you are on a road trip and many unexpected good and bad things happens.
We stayed at AirBnb haveli in Bikaner and we had a good friendship with the host family. Vishnu and Anita were such warm people that we felt like being at some relative’s family. They shared their inspirational story of leaving a boring photography work, learning French at the age of 30 and becoming a travel agent.
We decided to stay with them for more days. We didn’t get any refund for cancellation of upcoming Jaisalmer booking. Though I don’t regret losing some money on Jaisalmer booking as we were happy extending our stay in Bikaner, I learned that we should book next accommodation only when required.
We just needed a draft travel plan
- Goa (in the week of 10th Jan)
Don’t book non-refundable accommodation in advance. Road trips are full of surprises and uncertainty.
#2. Major Expenses – Fuel+Toll
The fuel and tolls are the major expense when you are on a road trip.
We spent Rs. 23,000 in diesel and Rs. 3000 in paying tolls. The national highway in Gujarat and Maharashtra had a toll booth for every every 30 to 40 Kms. We were paying more than 1 rupee per Km in tolls.
And so, we started to avoid the national highways wherever possible.
We enjoyed more beauty on state highways (with jungles and mountains) than just pumping gas at high speeds on the expressway. It was easy for us because we were not driving for more than 300 Kms in one day.
We were not in a hurry to reach our destination because the road journey was more beautiful.
Whatever we saved from the tolls, we might have spent on extra fuel by taking long routes. But we loved driving on the state highways.
Money Saving Tip: Use credit cards to save money on fuel. I used my Amex Gold card to fill up fuel because it was offering 3% cash back after waiving off 2.5% surcharge. Unfortunately, American Express is not accepted everywhere. Alternatively, I used HDFC Regalia or Paytm to fill up fuel. (You can also consider having/using Standard chartered Super Value Titanium Credit Card or Citibank Indian oil card for savings on fuel)
#3. Expenses on hotels and accommodation
Did you notice that we spent Rs. 15,800 in first 6 days on our accommodation and spent just 9,500 in rest of 30 days?
Here are the details of our accommodation expenses of both the months.
We booked a room at a resort for the new year’s eve. It was very difficult to find a room at a decent place on 31st Dec night.
The second biggest expense on our accommodation was on our camping in the desert. We booked Osian camp resort for Rs. 7000 that included a camel safari, folk music evening with campfire, luxurious accommodation in swiss tents, dinner and breakfast.
Once again, the experience was worth of the price we paid.
Those were only two expenses where we spent more than 5000 rupees per night stay. For rest of the trip we kept our stay in the range of 1000 to 1500 rupees per night.
We always prefer to book from AirBnb because we love to connect with local people and prefer to cook food ourselves or request homemade food from the AirBnb host. But there are certain places where AirBnb options become limited.
We booked rooms from MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip and OYO. Here are some additional details to help you decide.
- OYO Rooms – Cheap and available in big cities. It was our last preference to book when we had to book at last moment, just for the night stay. Personally, we didn’t like the quality of the rooms and services.
- MakeMyTrip – Rooms are available even in small cities. Find a room away from the city and you may get 4-star rooms at the price of 3-star.
- ClearTrip – Similar to MakeMyTrip, just compare the prices with MMT just before booking.
Money Saving Tip on Rooms: Always save money by using discount coupon + credit card + mobile wallet. If multi-layers discounts are working, then why not to avail all of them.
#4. Expenses on Food
We loved the food and hospitality of Rajasthan. We couldn’t find delicious food (as per our taste buds) in Gujarat, Maharashtra (except Mumbai/Goa), Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
We spent around 15,000 rupees for food on our entire trip, that includes fruits, snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We really missed cooking food because that’s what we do at our long vacations. We buy raw material and cook most of our food ourselves when we are on long vacations.
Most of the times we were staying with our friends where we were getting homemade food.
Money Saving Tips on Food: Order one Thali when you eat in a new restaurant of unfamiliar place. Order additional food only if you liked anything from the Thali. We could not find a good food in most of the roadside dhabas of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. This trick saved us a lot of money by avoiding food wastage.
#5. Personal Shopping & Gifts
We were travelling in our own car so we were buying some stuff for our house which is not easily available in our area.
We were buying something from every place and spent around Rs. 12,000 on shopping for ourselves or friends.
Money Saving Tip on Shopping
It’s better to stay away from the places where we are tempted to buy.
Please share your best tips when travelling on a road trip.