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Hacking a two month long foreign vacation (even when my salary is Rs 80,000)

I am not rich but I spent my entire summer vacations in Thailand (with family).

Anyone can do that, but there are two issues that steal away our freedom of long vacations

  1. We don’t have sufficient money for long international travel
  2. It’s damn difficult to get a long leave from the job

I solved both the issues.

A remote job gave me leverage to work while at vacation. (We can talk some other day about finding a job in which you can work from home.)

I planned my travel well in advance and applied some travel hacks while booking my foreign vacation.

Let’s find out how to afford long international trip events with a small budget.

#1. Save for your foreign vacation in advance

Don’t take wrong decisions with your finances. I never spend money without planning my finances.

I saved 2 Lakh rupees for a vacation over one year. Our goals are clear. We want to travel and explore the world rather than spend money on a new car or house.

We still live in a rented house. That helps us save money on home loan interest. Some people call us fools for not investing in real estate but we are happy with our stress-free lifestyle.

I did not have a regular job last year. However, I made some money from writing, consulting and selling my 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 my regular salary and we planned our travel with our saved money.

Next year vacation planning

Well, I started saving regularly for my next year vacation.

A Rs. 20,000 contribution from my salary every month to my next year travel goal.

I would 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 Air Tickets (India to Thailand)

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 and put lots of terms and conditions.

When you try to redeem cash, you are left disappointed because you can not use the entire virtual cashback in a single transaction.

#1. Cleartrip offers actual cashback during the checkout (saved Rs. 1400)

#2. Checkout with PayU money or similar wallet that gives you additional cashback (saved Rs. 590)

#3. Pay with Credit Card to earn cashback or reward points (worth Rs. 240)

Effective cost of Air tickets for 3 people = 58,200

#3. Book Accommodation from AirBnb (not Hotel)

I prefer AirBnb over 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 Rs. 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= Rs.764.

Effective cost of accommodation for 50 days is Rs 37,600. 

#4. Get Forex Cheap 

I tried a couple of ways to get cheapest currency conversion. But there could be issues with fluctuating currency rates.

I did some mistakes on this trip regarding forex which I will fix next time.

From next time, I will plan my currency like this,

  1. 10% Cash Conversion in India
  2. Keeping 30% Indian Cash Currency that can be exchanged at destination.
  3. Spend rest of money on Credit Cards

If the destination country is card friendly (US/Europe/Australia) then use more credit card than cash.

Also Read : My previous post on TheRodinhoods about my first long vacation experience in Goa (30 days in 4 day travel budget)

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 double the price as compared to India.

We were buying 1L milk at Rs 100, 1Kilo Fruits at Rs 120-180, and no vegetable was less than Rs 100 per Kilo.

We found an Indian grocery store in Pattaya. He was also selling everything at double the price.

We spent more than Rs 20,000 on Thai Massage.  Thailand got infamous for sex & erotic massages but a Traditional Thai Massage is the best thing you can get in Thailand. They charge just Rs 400-600 per hour. We enjoyed a massage on every alternate day.

We did not track our daily expenses like we did in Goa. It’s easy to calculate how much we spent by looking at my Forex.

  • India – 7000
  • Airport – 30000
  • Debit Card – 40000
  • Local Counter – 10000
  • Credit Cards – 10000

Total – Rs 97,000 living expenses for 50 days. 

Expenses in India

We had to pay rent for our home in India while we were away but we saved expenses on electricity, travel and groceries.

On an average, we spent about 30K per month excluding rent and school fees. Let’s say a saving of 50K for 50 days.

In summary : We spent Rs 58,200 on travel tickets, Rs 37,600 on AirBnb stay, and Rs 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 Rs 1,42,800.

Anyone with a Rs 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.

There is no quick fix for this problem.

But you can find a passive source of income and slowly shift from your full-time office job to remote work.

The article was originally published on CashOverflow

If you have any lifehack to share with me, You can reach out to me via Twitter or email me pardeep[at]cashoverflow.in

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5 Comments

  1. hey pardeep, 

    let me know if the company you work for is looking for a community manager 😉

    ps: i’ve been working remotely for a long time now so can appreciate what you’re up to! i happen to be on holiday right now!!

    good luck for next year’s vacation…

  2. Asha, you are best for managing TRH community. We will not let you switch to other company 🙂

    My next vacation will happen in coming summers, till then I will figure out some sources for earning extra money. 

    Will share my tips on passive income in coming days 🙂

  3. What an amazing post 🙂

    I really appreciate your transparency.

    By the year end, I got a full time job in a startup as content marketing head (80K/month + Equity)

    Where and when can we meet? I am in awe of your clarity of mind..

     

  4. Thanks Alok. I would also love to meet you. Please come to Chandigarh sometimes and be my guest. 

  5. Hi Pradeep,

    Your post is an eye opener for me, learnt a vital lesson that, if we plan for what we want, nothing is impossible.

    By the way, i would like to discuss something related to content writing with you. Could we connect on twitter ? My handle @RajPanda, i follow already, if you follow me back i can send you a DM there and we can take it forward from there.

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