Note: The cost includes only flights and hotel expenses and not any personal expenses incurred in the trip.
The summer is upon us and you can now notice a lot of Flight/Hotel offers flashing everywhere. So is this the right time for a trip? Not really. All hotel prices are now inflated at-least by 50% and by using the offers you do save, but marginally. I prefer to travel during Off season when the rates are at its lowest and on top of it, coupons makes it even cheaper.
This is about my recent trip with my friend to Vietnam during February 2017 wherein i was able to book both Flight tickets and stay at 3 Star hotels for 6 days @ just Rs.3700 (per head). Its all about reward points redemption and using coupons at right time, lets see that in detail and before that..
If you ask why Vietnam?! well, they’ve Visa on arrival for Indians, however you need “Approval letter” before landing in Vietnam. I got my approval letter from a reliable provider called “Vietnam Visa Easy” that provides Vietnam Visa for Indians. You generally get the approval letter on email within 2-3 days but mine was delivered in less than 24 hrs.
Travel Hacking: Booking the Flights & Hotels
The biggest expense in any foreign trip are flights and hotels and so i covered this part of the trip, rest day to day expenses aren’t much unless you wish to spend a lot.
#1 Booking Flight Tickets
Our Trip to Vietnam includes 2 Destinations: Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. So apart from two international Flights i had to take one domestic flight as well to fly from one city to other. I flew on Malindo Air from Trichy(India) via Kuala Lumpur to Vietnam. So my routing is as below.
- TRZ -> KUL -> SGN
- SGN -> HAN
- HAN -> KUL -> TRZ
- Revenue Ticket Cost: ~25,000 INR
- Paid: Nil
I have been accumulating quite a lot of reward points on my HDFC Regalia Credit card and this was the perfect time to burn them all and the regalia devaluation became another reason. The revenue ticket costs about INR 25,000 for which i simply redeemed my equivalent HDFC Regalia Reward Points. So the effective cost for me is ZERO and hence my flight tickets for the entire trip is completely Free.
#2 Booking Hotel Stays
We stayed in 2 hotels – one in each city, so 3 days in each hotel as below:
- Blue Diamond Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
- Angel Palace Hotel, Hanoi
- Actual Cost of Stay: 17,400 INR
As you can see, the actual cost of stay in 3 Star Hotels for 6 days is really cheap by default, because its relatively Off Season and on top of that i availed the Amex MMT International Hotel Offer that gave me Flat Rs.5000 off with each hotel booking on MakemyTrip thus saving Rs.10,000 Off on both hotels. So the numbers goes like this,
- Total Cost for 6 Days: Rs.17,400
- Paid: 17,400 – 10,000 (Discount) = Rs.7400 (for 2 members)
- Per Head Cost: Rs.3,700 (perks of traveling with a friend)
And hey i forgot to mention that this also includes complimentary breakfast for two that we had for all 6 days, which itself is worth the cost in my perspective. Coming to the Hotel experience, they weren’t like Taj Santacruz, Mumbai but i can still call them as luxurious hotels at affordable cost. See it for yourself:
And this is how i saved a nice ~Rs.30,000 in a single foreign trip and ended up paying just Rs.3,750 for transport & stay.
Do you Know? Makemytrip uses Expedia’s Booking Engine for International Hotels
Travel hacking – Things to note:
- Amex Hotel offers are very lucrative and so if you love Travelling, you must need atleast one Amex Card in your wallet.
- Grab the offers when available. I booked the Hotels with MMT offer 3 months in advance, which is too early. You can get such deals usually during festive season, so book accordingly.
- Tip to accrue more Credit Card Reward points: Use it on 2X, 5X, 10X categories to speed up the accrual Process.
- Redeem your Credit Card Reward Points every 6 months or 1 Year. Beyond that you’re at risk of Devaluations and Loyalty program changes.
While i do find deals and ways to save like this, i don’t really “save to save” but i “save to spend” on experiences. For example, in this Vietnam trip we also spent one more day in the country in a Luxury cruise overnight, that costs about Rs.20,000 a night and it was worth every penny.
The above shot was taken at Halong Bay, Vietnam – the same location where the movie “Kong: Skull Island” was filmed. We were surprised to know this as the movie was released just after our visit to vietnam. Perfect Timing and yes i didn’t miss the movie. It was filmed good but the location and especially the weather was infact much better than whats shown in the movie.
Got something to say? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below, as always 🙂