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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Fund your next trip without dipping into your savings

Sneha Mahale, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 10, 2013
First Published: 16:31 IST(10/11/2013) | Last Updated: 15:37 IST(19/11/2013)
Do you want to travel the world, but have no cash? You don’t need to break the bank or scrimp for months to visit exotic destinations anymore. From EMI schemes to crowd-funding, we look at several options for those looking to travel off the beaten track.


In instalments

Just like when you buy a house or car on an Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI) scheme, a vacation too can be financed in small amounts. Jet Airways has an EMI scheme with multiple banks as partners. According to jetairways.com, you can purchase tickets and then pay your fare over three to six months. Similarly, if you have a credit card (multiple banks are partners again), you can purchase tickets that can be repaid over a period of three months to Indigo Airlines, as per goindigo.org.

Travel portals also offer an EMI option. Cleartrip allows users to select from three, six or nine-month payment options. On the other hand, MakeMyTrip offers the EMI option to customers using specific credit cards.

“The service is currently available for HDFC Bank and Citibank account holders. Customers can plan and pay for holidays through EMIs in two ways — first by using the HDFC card on a swipe machine at our retail branch or by paying online using the Easypay link on the website, where options open up after putting in the reservation reference and amount due,” says  Rajesh Magow, co-founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip.

Register for gifts
Another option is to sign up on a registry for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or weddings. Instead of getting a mundane flower vase, ask family and friends to pitch in to fund your round-trip to see the Great Wall of China or Niagara Falls.

Some of the websites that offer this service include wishberry.in or shareyourjoy.com. The websites offer items across categories, and even include travel accessories. You could choose from any of the available options or create your own wish list that includes a dream vacation. Invite friends, family and acquaintances via social media or email to check out your wish list, and they could
contribute as much as they want to fund your next trip.

Aditya Kamath, a 16-year-old college student, recently went to Kolad for an adventure camp with his friends using this method. “It made sense to get my family to pitch in for something I really wanted on my birthday rather than waste money on something they thought I needed,” says Kamath.

Crowd-fund
You can get friends, families or even strangers to shell out cash to finance creative projects such as films, music albums and books. So why should travel be an exception? Target-based crowd-funding sites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, could come to your rescue the next time you plan a holiday.

But you need to sell your trip — the wackier your idea, the easier it is to get backers. The latest entrant in the field is trevolta.com. The website enables travellers to submit their “extraordinary ideas for expeditions” in order to raise funds for it. Projects are funded by inspired people or sponsors looking for marketing opportunities and brand awareness. To ensure authenticity, trips are covered on blogs, where the travelling team posts photos, notes and videos on the go. Kushal Shah, a lawyer, plans to travel to north east India on his four-wheeler. He has started a campaign on the website fundmytravel.com. “The idea is to document the tribes living there while taking in the natural beauty of the area. Hopefully, others will share my enthusiasm,” says Shah.

Get a sponsor
A venue that is not so popularly explored is getting someone, say Google, to sponsor the trip for you. As part of their latest project to help map the world, travellers can sign up to borrow their Trekker equipment and take it to places across the globe. According to Google, “If you’re a tourism board, non-profit, university, research organization or other third party who can gain access and help collect imagery of hard to reach places, you can apply to borrow the Trekker and help map the world...(sic)”

The site further encourages you to give them more information about your proposed locations and trips and they’ll let you know about opportunities for partnering. Countries listed in the pilot project include exotic destinations such as Chile, Lithuania, Peru and Slovenia, among others.

Also remember
According to researchers at Texas A&M University, regardless of the day of the week that the tickets were for, those purchased on Saturdays and Sundays averaged a five per cent savings for routes where both business and leisure travellers fly.
Book return tickets to avail discounts offered by airlines.
There are agencies, like MakeMyTrip and ClearTrip in India, and Airbnb abroad, which provide good deals on hotels.
Invest in a good prepaid local SIM card to avoid expensive roaming rates. Use your hotel’s Wi-Fi and apps like Skype or WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family.
If you plan to use credit cards during your vacation, call the card company and find out if they have any local partners in the country you are visiting and discounts while travelling.

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