We had a mesmerizing road trip from 26th December 2016 to 30th January 2017. We travelled by car from Chandigarh (Punjab) to Hampi (Karnataka) and covered more than 6,000 kilometers of journey.
It was our first long road trip in India. We were anxious and excited to try something new.
We don’t spend much on gadgets or fancy things but we love to spend 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 dream of going to the most exciting places on earth before we die.
We usually keep our travel plans in a buffer. We decided to share our travel journey through a blog travelbuffer.com
When we travel, we make sure to spend only on the things that really matter to us. Our primary purpose is to enjoy the experience of travelling, spending time with old friends and making new friends on the way.
We spent Rs. 82,210 on our more than a month long road trip. This includes every rupee that went out of our pockets. This includes the expenses on the things that we bought for ourselves and gift for friends.
Here is the overview of expenses for both the months.
#1. Make a path but don’t book in the advance
We made this mistake. We booked accommodations for Bikaner and Jaisalmer before starting our trip. 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 loved the host family. Vishnu and Anita were such warm people that we felt like being at some relative’s family. They have an inspirational story of leaving a boring photography work, learning French at the age of 30 and becoming a travel agent. Read about our Bikaner trip here, the places to visit and delicacies to eat in the Bikaner are just lip-smacking.
We decided to stay with them for one more day. We didn’t get any refund for cancellation of Jaisalmer booking. Though I don’t regret losing some money there as we were happy that we became friends with such nice people.
We learned that it would be stupidity to book the future accommodations well in advance. We had clarity on our journey and on certain places where we would be definitely staying. We were open to take the risk for the rest of the days and places.
The clarity of path
- Goa (in the week of 10th Jan)
Money Saving Tips on Travel Planning
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 kilometers. We were paying more than 1 rupee per kilometer.
And so, we started to avoid the national highways wherever possible.
We enjoyed more beauty on state highways, jungles and mountains than driving at high speeds on the expressway. It was easy for us because we were not driving for more than 300 kilometers at one stretch. We were not in a hurry to reach our destination because the journey was more beautiful.
Whatever we saved from the tolls, we might have spent on extra fuel by taking long routes. But that was the purpose of our travel. To explore and to enjoy.
Money Saving Tips on Fuel
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.
(I use MoneyView Mobile App to track my expenses)
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.
My friend Shivam Tomar helped me find a good resort at Mount Abu. We never expected that we would enjoy so much over there. It was worth spending every dime for the location and fun that we had on the new year’s eve.
The second biggest expense on our accomodation was on our camping in the desert. If you are visiting the Thar desert, then a camping experience in swiss tents is a must. 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 Tips on Rooms
I am maintaining a list of deals & coupons on travel. Have a look at that just before booking. I will keep the list updated as much as possible. 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 got to taste one of the most delicious snacks in Agra but that was almost end of our trip.
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.
We were carrying utensils, raw material for cooking and induction stove. But the cooking was not possible on the road trip since we were not staying for more than 2-3 days at one location.
Most of the times we were staying with our friends or AirBnb, 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 bought a swing like thing from Goa
We bought coconut grater and dosa tawa from Karnataka. We were buying something from every place and spent around Rs. 12,000 on shopping for ourselves or friends.
Money Saving Tip on Shopping
If you are travelling with family then keep your wife and child away from the markets. If you enter into the market then divert their attention from shopping to food. Enjoy delicious food rather than buying things that you don’t really need (impulsive shopping).
I shared my most secret tip with you that saved me a lot in past 8 years 🙂
My wife does not have overspending habit but companies play marketing gimmicks so that we buy unnecessary things. It’s better to stay away from the places where we are tempted to buy.