How to get ready for your dream overseas vacation

It has been more than two years since the pandemic struck, derailing the vacation plans of most people. But, with travel bans being relaxed globally now, this could be the ideal time for a holiday with your family. There are challenges though, and experts say you should consider these six major points for planning a stress-free vacation.

Destination research: This should be the first thing to do before you reach out for that airline ticket. Do some research on the destination of your choice and the hotel you plan to stay in. Check on the tourist attractions nearby and look out for any seasonal activities such as festivals in the vicinity. Plan your itinerary only after you have chosen your destination.

“Before traveling, it’s essential to be apprised of regulations and current state of affairs at the destination you are headed for. There might be events or regulations that could impact your itinerary,” said Prahlad Krishnamurthi, chief business officer, Cleartrip.

Plan your finances: If you are serious about going on a vacation later this year, it’s best to start planning your budget now. Both hotel and flight bookings will need to be done earlier.

“There is a pent-up demand for vacation, which has pushed up prices for flight tickets and hotels,” said Anup Bansal, chief investment officer, Scripbox “Planning your vacation will ensure easier booking of flight tickets and hotel rooms. You will have to budget for a much higher amount (typically more than 30-40%) for last-minute bookings, so it is better to plan your vacation ahead of time expenditure and ensure a stress-free holiday. It is important that you plan your vacation at least six months in advance,” added Bansal.

Invest for your vacation: Once you decide on your destination and allocate a budget for that, it is time to make some investments that will help you achieve this goal without much hassle. This will help you be organized and provide you with an alternative to using your savings.

Bansal said, “To get the best rates, bookings need to be done quickly and this will require some money immediately. Investments should be made in safer and liquid fixed income instruments to create a sizable corpus. This will ensure that you don’t break your bank or funds for emergency or long-term goals.”

Currency issues: If you plan for an overseas vacation, currency exchange value can be a pain. There are chances that you may not get a favourable exchange. Typically, airport currency exchange and foreign exchange bureaus charge additional fees; thus, their rates are not quite competitive.

Sudarshan Motwani, founder and CEO of BookMyForex.com said, “It’s no secret that airports are an expensive option for exchanging money. The forex rates can be 8 – 15% higher than the standard market rates. Online platforms forex sell cards at the exact interbank rate, ie with zero mark-ups on top of the rates seen on search engines, which means you don’t lose any value when exchanging your money. “

Go digital:The pandemic has transformed individual preferences for payments from traditional cash transactions to online payments. “You can enjoy the vacation without carrying hard cash and the stress of keeping it safe. However, keeping a small yet considerable amount of cash with you can help in an emergency,” said Bansal.

Vaccination mandates: Keep your covid vaccine certificates handy. Adhil Shetty, CEO of BankBazaar.com, said, “Before undertaking any travel, ensure you are clear about all vaccination and testing mandates. While most nations no longer ask for RT-PCR tests, there may still be local variations due to infection spikes. You should also review all cancellation and refund procedures before booking tickets if you cannot travel either because of an infection or due to any last-minute travel restrictions.”

Also, ensure that you have a travel insurance policy that covers any illness during a foreign travel that requires isolation or hospitalization.

Mint take

Between the inflation and the falling rupee, travel has become more expensive, and international travel especially so. Prices for food, accommodation, and flights have all gone up, and you need to account for the additional costs while budgeting.

Moreover, due to the recent hikes in interest rates, using a personal loan to fund your travel will become more expensive than ever. So, you need to be prepared not just to shell out more but also to shoulder a sustained monthly instalments (EMIs) burden.

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