Whether you are a college student or a working professional, a family-person or a solo-rider; you must have dreamt of spending a long weekend in the mountains once in your life. But, yes. What stops you from living this childhood dream most of the time is the burden on your pocket! Sometimes, spending a night in a hill-station can be very expensive, if unplanned. Don't worry. Here, we have tried explaining to you some of the best tips that help you plan a budget trip to the mountains. Just follow these simple steps every time you plan to go on a trip and you'll start feeling the difference. The best part is that even after the budget-cuts, you will never compromise on enjoying your trip now. Remember, the more money you save, the more places you can explore next time. Let's set the ball rolling!
Choose the right time to travel:
Choosing the right day and time to travel is the first step in planning an itinerary. Almost all the hill-stations in India- be it Manali or Shimla, Gulmarg or Kashmir, Chopta or Nainital- experience heavy rush round the year. The best part is while the hill-stations overflow with tourists during weekends, the weekdays are comparatively calm and cheaper. If you want a budget trip to the mountains, you must consider going there during weekdays. This can certainly help you to cut down on your stay-expenses. The weekdays are generally less costly than weekends in almost all the hill-stations across India. Additionally, while you experience a lesser crowd, you can explore the nearby areas much comfortably and easily. Due to the controlled crowd, you get better service and attention from the hotel you are planning to stay at. If you have been finding it difficult to skip a day at work and want to enjoy the hills only during weekends; we have another travel-tip for you. Let's continue reading the next point.
Stay at Hostels:
Yes. You read it right. In the past few years, as the hill-stations have started to witness more crowds than ever, the concept of hostels has come into existence. When we say hostels, it doesn't mean staying in a college-hostel of some hill-station. Rather, it means sharing your room with people belonging to the same taste and interest as you. The hostel facility is generally available within the hotels themselves. The arrangement consists of bunk-beds (capacity of at least 4-12 person/room) that you can book for as less as 300 rupees/night. While in some cases you need to pay extra for the food, some hostels charge you combined for food and stay. You must not worry about hygiene and cleanliness as the hostel rooms are sanitized and cleaned every day to provide you with a lifetime experience. Hostels in Chopta, Nainital, Shimla and Rishikesh have started to become a key-choice of college students and professionals. What's more, you can plan to spend an entire month here as you work from the mountains!
Pre-Book Your Stays:
Even if you are planning to stay at a hostel, you must not forget to pre-book your stays. As the mercury soars up, the hill-stations attract people from different parts of the world every day. Today, most of the hill-stations operate with a limited capacity to accommodate tourists. Sometimes, it may get very difficult for you to even find a place to spend your night. We always recommend you to pre-book your stays to avoid any roadblocks. Secondly, never book your stays a day or two before your arrival. Even if the rooms are available, chances are that you may end up booking them at higher rates than usual. Before booking any hotel or hostel, you must go through the terms and conditions of that hotel/resort/hostel. Some of them may not have the provision of giving you back the refunds in case of cancellation of your trip. You must always confirm the refunds before your booking!
Prefer travelling by bus:
Gone are the days when travelling on buses was a tough job, especially when it came to travel the mountains. Even the remotest hill-stations like Gulmarg, Kashmir, Spiti, Rohtang, Manali, Munsiyari and Kedarnath are well connected today with roads. Not just the roads, the broad and metaled roads! The hill-stations are connected with some cities as Delhi, Lucknow, Dehradun etc and can be easily reached by buses. When you prefer taking a bus over a taxi, your total goes down to around 30% instantly. But again, if you are planning to go by bus, you must pre-book your tickets. If you want to have a memorable and budget trip to the mountains, you must pre-book everything on your way!
Prefer hiring over purchasing:
If you are planning for a trek to the mountains, you should prefer taking trekking gears on rent. You can easily find trekking gears on rent including trekking-poles, boots and tents on rent from the trekking point itself. Before you confirm your booking, you can also request the concerned hotel to arrange the trekking gears for you. You can easily take the equipment in under Rs. 500 on rent.
P.S- The above-mentioned suggestion applies to small treks only. If you are planning for a long trek, you must carry your equipment. If not, you must ensure the quality of the gears you've taken on rent. You must also confirm the quality with your respective hotels. When it comes to clothing, always do carry your jackets, socks and gloves while you are going to the mountains.
Try Local Cuisines:
Rather than trying out the same dish that you eat every day at your office, you must go for local dishes. The best part is that most of the 'pahadi' dishes are grown organically and are very delectable too. When it comes to pricing, these dishes will give you the taste of a lifetime and will never put a load on your pocket. You can also prefer purchasing local products and bringing them back to your place. Every time you eat them, it reminds you of your journey to the mountains!
Pretty sure. You must be ready for your next trip now. While you plan your travel in the mountains, we always recommend you to rely more on cash than digital. Some hill-stations may still have proper mobile-connectivity issues and do not offer digital payment services. Also, you may not easily find ATMs in the hilly-areas. To avoid any hassle and make your journey memorable, always plan your journey well! Bon-voyage!