Rupee Rani
Although holidays are a great deal of fun, they do come at a cost.

Here’s how you can afford that dream holiday!

Summer is upon us! Perhaps the only thing more ubiquitous during summers than the heat, is the talk of holidays, vacation and travel. And although holidays are a great deal of fun, they do come at a cost. There’s also the fact that women travelers end up spending more because of the little precautions that they prefer taking, whether it is opting for a flight that lands during the day or booking hotels that are in safer (and therefore, more expensive) areas of the city. These might seem inconspicuous to many but are entirely capable of burning a big hole in your pocket when you add them up. So, if the cost of a holiday is what is putting you off from taking one, here are some money related travel hacks that can help make your dream vacation, a reality!

Start a Recurring Deposit account - A Recurring Deposit account is a type of bank account where you can set aside a specific sum of money every month. It can be as low as Rs. 100/- or as high as Rs 1,00,000/-. You can sign up for an RD for a year or up to 3 years in most banks. Saving through a Recurring Deposit will allow you to save considerable amounts of money in a sustained and easy manner. The thought of having to pay a few lakhs for a holiday might seem improbable if you're on a salary, but if you set aside Rs. 15,000/- a month, you’ll have a sum close to Rs. 2,00,000/- by the end of a year.

Do Your Research -  Planning a vacation is never as easy as just going to one website, seeing a price and booking some tickets. Take some time to research assiduously to ensure that you are getting the most out of your money. Use travel specific search engines like Expedia or Booking.com . You can also use websites like Travel Triangle or Pick Your Trail to investigate sample itineraries or customize holiday packages based on your budget. Don’t forget to delete cookies from your browser or do your searches in ‘incognito’ mode! Travel websites use your browsing history to hike prices when they know you’re searching for hotels or tickets to certain locations regularly.

Loyalty Pays - Signing up for a membership with hotel chains or hotel booking websites can result in savings by way of discounts that are offered only to members. These can vary from free breakfasts to ‘members only prices’ or points that can be converted into credit for your next trip. Booking in advance through these sites can result in even bigger discounts. Make sure you know what the cancellation policy is like, though! Some hotels don’t offer refunds on cancellation, so if your trip isn’t set in stone, it might make more sense to pay for a rate that is refundable.

Travel Insurance is worth the money - There’s always a chance that your holiday might end up becoming memorable for all the wrong reasons, so travel insurance is a necessity, especially if you’re travelling solo or with young children. Most travel insurance policies will cover passport loss, baggage loss, loss of cash and hospitalization charges. There are many different insurance companies that offer travel insurance, so do your research and purchase a policy that you know will cover the emergencies that you consider more likely – if you’re travelling with kids, for example, make sure your travel insurance will take care of hospitalization expenses because hospitalization charges abroad are incredibly expensive.

Cash vs Card - There are always differing views with respect to the amount of cash that you should take with you during your trip. Although this isn’t an issue while travelling locally, it makes sense to carry more cash when you’re travelling to hilly destinations where network signals are not strong (there’s no point asking for card machines when you’re trying to buy thukpa in Sikkim, for example). If you’re travelling internationally, however, it makes most sense to carry 20% of the total money you wish to spend in cash and the rest, loaded on to a ForEx card. A Forex card is similar to a debit/credit card, except the latter will incur charges when you use it abroad. You can also use Forex cards across ATMs and they are quite easy to block in case of theft. Most banks will also give you a ‘backup’ card that you can keep in your luggage in case the primary card is stolen.

All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. Take a holiday this year by taking full charge of your money!

Rupee Rani is a weekly column on finance for women. Write to us with your queries at rupeerani@thenewsminute.com.