Five Ways To Pay For Your Next Dream Trip

Five Ways To Pay For Your Next Dream Trip

If travel is your guilty pleasure then fulfilling it is what must be driving you at your day job. The dream of sitting in a beach shack with a beer in hand and the sunset for a view can often be taxing on your paycheck often leaving you with a feeling of restlessness, which every wanderluster can relate to. But as they say, necessity is the mother of all inventions. Smart travellers find ingenious ways to pay for the next big trip, without having to dig deep into their day job salaries. With easy access to internet, location independent gigs have given people great flexibility and more opportunities to earn handy cash that supplements the day-job income.

Here are some five ways to pay for your next dream trip:

1) Barter:

You’ll always have skills that someone else could use. For me it’s photography and WordPress website building. I often reach out to businesses and hotels in the place I plan to wish, offering them my photography skills or website building skills in exchange for stay/ food. It’s a no brainer. I’ve had reasonable success with this and I’ve gone on to become good friends with many such businesses.

2) Complete tasks on Streetbees:

We often overlook the fact that we’re all consumers, and that our thoughts, habits and preferences determine the products that companies make. Giving our feedback on products or sharing info in exchange for cash is a great and easy way to pay for that next trip. I personally like Streetbees because it’s super easy to use. It’s an active marketplace that’s packed with paid activities.

The app is on the Google Play Store and the App Store with a pretty large user base, which is why many large Indian brands work with them directly. Use my reference code k47p0c when you sign up! Recently, Streetbees launched a project in which they asked Indian women to shoot a 2-minute video about their home cleaning routines and the products they use. The cash reward for doing this was Rs.1500, which is a handy sum by any measure. Enough to take care of your visa fees, if you think about it 🙂

3) Host on AirBnB:

While I haven’t signed up as a host on Airbnb myself, I’ve had tonnes of friends who seem to have made Airbnb a consistent source of secondary income. Offering a spare room for 10$-12$ a night is a good way of saving for that grand trip. Don’t be surprised if you end up becoming close friends with your guests; travel always leaves you with a long list of new friends in its wake.

4) Get an Airline – Credit/Debit Card:

Spend smartly. Use an airline affiliated credit or debit card. These cards earn you air miles every time you swipe your card. Yes. Use your card even if it is a trivial purchase. I use the HDFC Jet Airways card and let’s just say that in a span of 6 months, I’ve accumulated enough miles for a trip to Sri Lanka! Ahem. Yes, this could very well be my next destination.

5) Freelance:

There are 24 hours in a day and if you dream of sipping sangrias in Spain, you could spend the free hours after work freelancing. Busting your ass during the week with freelancing gigs can definitely help you earn serious handy cash for the next dream trip. Besides, it also builds your portfolio professionally. Win- win, isn’t it? Check out websites like Fivver and Freelancer to get started!

Combine all of these tips into your daily life and what do you get? Your dream trip of course! Sure, it involves a little bit of hard work, especially if you consider taking up freelancing work, but things like swiping an airline affiliated credit/debit card or doing activities on Streetbees require minimal time and effort.

Give these tips a shot and share your thoughts! In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing my budgeting strategy for my upcoming trips.

 

 

 

City Breaks – Paragliding in Kamshet

Living in a bustling city like Mumbai, where time is money; it is easy to wear out and not realise that you need a break. I was working in a reputed ad agency but the job failed to thrill me. I knew I needed a change and this was the best time to do it. A dear friend of mine calls me a maverick because it’s hard for me to settle into something and she is probably right. It’s just the way I am! If work seems to involve very little application of mind, very little discovery in day to day routine, there is a good chance I’ll get tired of it. It’s in such situations where I need to break out and unwind. It’s all for the best I said, found a job which I thought would really challenge me and decided to take a short break before getting into action.

I had 3 days to spare and I wanted to escape every semblance of urban civilisation. The first instinct was to look at remote places in the Himalayas but that plan was quickly shot down. I really wanted to learn a new skill and so the idea of learning paragliding came up. I’ve heard a lot about paragliding in Kamshet and I really wanted to give it a go. In a few days, I made my bookings and was ready to go.

Getting There:

If you are travelling from Mumbai, it is very convenient to drive all the way to Kamshet since it’s just a few Kilometres away from Lonavla.

I really wanted to do this on a budget, so I pre-booked a sleeper class ticket Indrayini Express from CSTM to Lonavla costing INR 110. There are local trains from Lonavla to Pune that stop at Kamshet station. It’s just 2 stations away & the local ticket costs INR 5.

Kamshet Station

From the station walked a kilometre to the market chowk & get on to a bus for Uksan Village. The fare was INR 18 & drops you right at the doorstep.

Course & Stay Experience:

If you don’t have strong arms & shoulders like me, it is advisable to work them out a bit, before the trip. Paragliding is really easy to learn but it really works your upper body out.

Day 1 – Ground Handling.

This was the toughest day of the entire course. Ground handling involves learning the basics of paragliding and trying to control the glider as it tries to blow you away. Oh I should mention, better pad up your waist because it will hurt like a bitch when you are learning to control the glider. Picture this, we spent the entire first day bending forward, raising our arms high at the back and looking like chickens that caught some flight!

Shelar Hill Site

At the end of day 1, we were sore, bruised, tired and yet so damn happy! The vast open field, the prospect of going airborne tomorrow, simple yet delicious meals and the fresh air all contributed to a happy bunch of people.

Day 2 – Bunny Hops

Waking up at 7am doesn’t seem so difficult in such a beautiful place! At 8.30am we were off to another site, practicing what we learnt the day before. Muscles warmed up, we arrived back at the dorm and hogged on some good food in preparation for the bunny hops later in the evening.

Bunny Hops

Bunny hops are 3-5 second flights that you take from a slightly elevated ground. It’s a stepping-stone to jumping from 200ft on the last day. This gives you the feel of flying the air and what it’s like to fall on your ass. Trust me, it’s fun.

Day 3 – The Final Flight

The entire grind, the chicken flights, ass landings you did is towards that one flight from 200ft on Day 3. We taken out for a practice session in the morning, however the wind wasn’t party to it and so we trekked the jumping hill.

Paragliding Kamshet

You wouldn’t believe me if I said, my legs were like jelly by the time we got to the top. Exhausted more by acrophobic paranoia than fatigue, I scrambled to the very top to this view. It was all worth it. We headed back to camp and fuelled up for the big flight in the evening.

After a few practice bunny hops we were given permission to head to the ledge at 200 ft. on the hill. After a quick briefing and pre-flight checks, we were ready to take off, one after the other. I was honestly petrified by the idea of jumping off a ledge. I wasn’t sure if I’d really be able to do. I shared this candidly with the instructors who just said this – “ Run hard, look at the horizon & the glider will take care of you even before you reach the edge.” It was true, when my turn came, having got the glider in control; I sprinted towards the edge, looking straight at the sun in the horizon. Before I knew it, I was up in the air, leaning back on my seat, feeling a gentle breeze on my face.

It was a surreal feeling. We all soared in the air like a bird, saw the horizon in a way we’ve never seen before. It really felt good to be flying and seeing the ground below where everyone is ant sized and the patches of farms look like well set Lego pieces.

It was an amazing experience, which lasted a good 2 minutes. I had fairly good landing and I was thrilled to have done the whole flight really well.

Getting Back:

Paragliding in Kamshet - Day 3

At the end of the day, there we were, 7 long faces going back home and to ‘real life’. I had a long journey ahead of me. I hitched a free ride to the Kamshet Market Chowk and walked a kilometer to the station. There’s an 8pm train that takes you to Lonavla. Don’t miss it because the next one is at 12 a.m.! You can buy a Kamshet to Kalyan ticket that costs INR 30. This ticket is valid on Mail Trains that halt at Lonavla. From Kalyan Station you can hop on board a local train to CSTM in just INR 15.

Cost of this experience:

Description Cost
Getting To The Paragliding School
Paragliding Course (3 days) INR 14500
Train: CSTM to Lonavla INR 110
Train: Lonavla to Kamshet INR 5
Kamshet to Paragliding School INR 18
Getting Back Home
Train: Kamshet to Kalyan INR 30
Train Kalyan to CSTM INR 15
Total INR 14678

Enjoyed reading about this? Check out my travel venture www.lunchex.co – a website that connects travellers to locals over a meal date for FREE!

5 Nation Lunchex in Mumbai

Lunchex.co has come a long way in the past months growing to a network of over 100 users from over 15 different countries. The dream of connecting incoming travellers to locals over a meal date is growing.

It’s from personal experience that I say; one good thing leads to another. My Vietnamese friend Dang especially altered his route to meet me in Mumbai as he travels across India for a month. We had planned to meet post lunch and I promised to show him around Bombay, my city.

Dang had brought along Marina from Germany & Nadya from Indonesia, who he met at the hostel. Two is company and three is a party I thought and we marched off to explore the city.

The Lunchex Gang
L to R: Nadya, Marina, Stan, Dang

A few steps into the march, we took a pit stop at the nearest general store where Stan from Slovakia, the final member of the gang joined in for what turned out to be an epic evening of talks, good food and drinks.

Afghan-Church, Bombay
Image by Nichalp

Even if you are from Mumbai, there’s a good chance you may have not visited the Defense Colony and the Afghan Church. I decided to take the lot there to experience a little known side of Mumbai. The pace of life is a bit different there and the cleanliness is an amazing contrast to rest of the city. They had a bit of luck and got to try their hand at the game of cricket, which is arguably one of the most popular games in India.

We hopped on to a bus again and got off near Regal Cinema. It was time to get down and messy with street food. The first thing we chowed down was Pani-Puri. I have to say these guys had built up some good resistance to chilies and spicy food. Stan’s insatiable appetite lead him to try out the typical Bombay Toasted sandwich.

Kayani Mumbai
Image Source: priyankamoraes.wordpress.com

It was about 4pm and that was the perfect time for some ‘Bun maska chai’ at Kayani. I think they really found the Kayani environment interesting, especially the ‘house rules’ of not lingering around over the food once the order has been delivered.

Bellies full, we headed to the Chowpatty Beach in Girgaon. The beaches in Mumbai aren’t the sort of beaches you’ll find in Goa. It’s not a place to sunbath in swimming trunks, instead it is a place to sit, relax, breath in the city and soak in the day that passed by.

After spending some quality time by the beach, we headed back to Colaba for a delicious South Indian & Indo –Chinese feast at the Sahakari Bhandar Restaurant. Nadya tried some Medu Wada while Marina, Stan and Dang hogged on some spicy Indian Chinese food!

We ended the day with some warmth inducing Old Monk. In India, if you ever plan on having good local rum it’s got to be Old Monk.

Salvation Army, the hostel Dang was staying at, has a 12 a.m. deadline, which sadly forced all of us to rush back in a hurry. It was a wonderful experience spending time with these guys and listening to their stories.

On my way back home, I almost felt as if I had taken a tour around Germany, Slovakia, Indonesia and Vietnam through their stories. This was indeed an amazing #Lunchex experience.

Would you share a meal with an incoming traveller to your city? Try it out at www.lunchex.co, I’m sure you wont be disappointed.

Travel Journal

P.S: Thank you so much for this AMAZING diary Dang!