Sunday, November 17, 2013

Money for Travel

For all those backpackers who would like to go round and round the globe non-stop, there is only one challenge. Money for travel. Many crack this puzzle their own way, savings, living frugally, social security and just plain debt. Here is a way to capitalize on your travel experiences for those who like to share their travel stories. There is a lot of appetite for travel content , reviews and suggestions online. A blog could help you make money, it certainly helped me. while it is possible to make a lot of money if you are an accomplished writer by being a travel writer, blogs help small time folks who have a unique experience or information ,make a bit of money that would add up to something. Mind you, this may not being you $1000 a month , but hey, something is better than nothing.
  Here are my stats:
My travel blog, has 20 posts. Most of these are what I write to capture details of my trip which I would forget if I didn't write it down. Blogs to share with my family and free storage for pictures. This was viewed about 3386 times and has made me $34.69 so far. But throw in my other blogs on cooking , career, yoga and gardening it really adds up.
   There are many sites that tell you how to set up a Blog account and monetize it with Adsense. Start a blog today and start making money. Even if you don't end up making a ton of money, it would pay for a meal or two with a nice cold beer someday. Good Luck!
You can also complete surveys and make $1 per survey. Itt is not easy money and surveys can take as much as 10 min. Here is a link, check it out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Last Minute India Train Reservations and Foreigner quota

So you know the date, you know the train you want to travel on and you finally found the site to make your reservation, only to find that there is no confirmed reservation on the train. This happens and happens a lot. Here are a few tricks that can help.

1. Last minute "Tatkal" booking for additional fee. Tatkal tickets can be booked for all classes except First A/C up to one day in advance. The booking opens at 8am the previous calendar date before the scheduled departure of the train. More info.
2. International tourist quota.  In certain major tourist areas, you can access the "International Tourist Bureau" which will book tickets against a special tourist quota. More info
3. Waiting List: An ordinary second class compartment will sleep 72 passengers. Trains usually have 18-20 coaches, so there is enough capacity. Waiting list move fast , but only from the station the train originates and in some rare circumstance from an intermediate station. It doesn't hurt to hold on to a unconfirmed (wait listed) ticket. If your reservation is not confirmed you would get your money back.

Book your tickets at Indian railway reservations.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Budget for India travel

Most people know India is a cheap country to travel in. No wonder this is a backpackers' paradise. But the economic reforms that India took in the early 90s and the booming IT and off-shoring business has created pockets of wealth. Just like any other capitalistic country, the divide between rick and poor is not very significant and pronounced. As an Indian who lived in India for over 22 years, India today excites me and scares me at the same time, welcomes me and disgusts me at the same time. It is this diversity and extremes that makes it electric.
Most people start the trip in Delhi and proceed to Agra and Rajasthan. This is the well known golden triangle tourist circuit, with an array of services geared for western tourists. Prices can be high. I am from Tirunelvelli, Tamil Nadu a place close to the tip of India some 100 km from Indian ocean. Western tourists are rare, many would  not know that a dollar is worth Rs50 and have not eveolved to take advantage of the western wealth (yet). Small cities like these can have good transportation links, nice air conditioned hotels. A near western style Air conditioned room for 2 is $24 and a non-air conditioned for $14 for 2. Places like these have a lot of history , temples and historic monuments, markets that purely cater to locals and authentic villages stone throw away.
Cities Accom Luxury Accom comfort Accom backpack Meals western Meals comfort Meals backpack travel comfort travel backpack
Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta $250 $100 $40 $40 $20 $8 $50 $5
Trichy, Vijayawada, Nagpur, Pune $125 $60 $25 Limited options $10 $5 $40 $5
Tanjore, Pallakad, Rishikesh, Gaya NA $40 $12 NA $20 $8 $30 $5

The cost of beer and public transport tends to be standard across India, however some states have low tariff on liquor making it relatively cheaper. Best best if to opt for comfort accommodation as the costs are for 2 people. Backpack accommodation works best for solo travelers.