Ever noticed something? Every Monday morning, when you're neck-deep in emails at work, you will find at least one friend posting awesome pictures from some exotic location on Facebook. In times like this, what do you do: unfollow them out of spite? What if we told you that instead of giving in to the green-eyed monster, you could plan your own exotic holiday? Here's how you can do it...
1. Figure out your ideal vacation – Before setting sail on the adventure of a lifetime, it's important to zero in on what type of vacation you are looking for. Do you want to head to the mountains? Or do you simply want to bum it out on a beach? Do you want to travel alone, or with someone special? Another thing to determine beforehand is the timing of the vacation. This will help you plan your time off from work.
2. It's never too early to start doing your research –Once you have a holiday destination in mind, sit down, crack your knuckles, and use Google to find out everything you can about that place. Find out the cheapest time to fly there, where the affordable hotels are located, whether there are homestays you can rent, and so on. Reach out to your long-lost friends and relatives staying in and around that location. Learn about the local transport, fish out the most delicious cafes to visit, and the unique experiences that the place offers.
3. Keep an estimated budget in mind and then workbackwards – Overshooting your budget is one of the worst things that can happen on holiday. So keep a fixed budget in mind, and then, start working backwards. First tick off all the important things like air tickets, hotel, food and sightseeing and, then add the miscellaneous expenses like shopping. Make sure the budget comfortably covers most of these expense heads; if not, go back to the drawing board and try trimming items that are relatively expendable.
4. Know where you want to spend and where you would like to save – Just because you are planning ahead doesn't mean you have to take a budget holiday. If you would prefer to spend the entire day at a resort instead of seeing the sights, that's what your budget should reflect. Knowing what's important to you during your holiday will help you allocate your resources in a more efficient manner.
5. Start by saving a little everymonth –You don't need to put aside a large chunk of money every month to take your dream vacation. Just try to curtail unnecessary expenses and put the money you save into your vacation fund. No contribution is too small. Another strategy, especially when planning an expensive vacation well in advance, is to invest money in an instrument like a mutual fund. Mutual funds allow you to invest even small amounts in a periodic manner in a sector or basket of your choice. Certain mutual funds even offer tax benefits. The key here is to invest consistently and resist the urge to take out the money too soon. And before you know it, you could have enough money for your exotic dream vacation!
Investing in mutual funds can help you plan for both short-term goals, like a vacation, and long term goals, like retirement. The recent 'Mutual Funds Sahi Hai' campaign by The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) aims to educate investors about the features and benefits of mutual funds.
Mutual fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.