The 8th of November marked a new but unwelcome change to Indian currency when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. A month later and Indians are still struggling to come to terms with this new concept of living without cash in hand, which was used solely during emergency situations.
A study shows that 500 and 1000 rupee notes accounted for 86 percent of the hard currency used in India, and with that suddenly rendered useless, a lot of people, especially travellers, are facing many issues. Imagine travelling to remote yet popular tourist spots in India this time of the month, only to be faced with a cash crunch when people there refuse to give you change that ridiculous 2000 rupee note.
For any avid traveller keen on making a trip across the Indian sub-continent, December is a great time of the year, being a holiday season. So if you’ve packed up but are still unsure how to manage your finances, the tips below can help.
- Pay before you stay
Exploration is an integral part of travelling, so much so that most travellers decide on their hotel of choice as soon as they reach their destination. Demonetization makes paying after arrival a little complicated, so it’s best to reserve your place at a hotel way before you get there. Thankfully, a lot of hotels had adopted the concept of pre-booking long before demonetization, so you’re bound to find one online that fits your requirements and budget.
- Pack up the essentials
There were days when, if you forget something on your travels, you could simply walk into a store and purchase what you need. Now, with demonetization, that is nearly impossible. The concept of packing light is thrown out the window as you now have to be extra cautious when packing the essentials. Even negligible things like soaps, towels and toothpaste are finding their way in a traveller’s must-pack list.
- Map out the nearest banks/ATMs
As you plan out on the location for your next big trip, also make sure you’ve mapped out the nearest banks/ATMs in your destination’s area. Contact your bank to enquire if they have set up branches in that location. Emergency cash has become increasingly important during this period, so it’s a big relief to now you have a readily available support system with banks/ATMs.
- Download E-Wallet Apps
E-Wallet apps have been rolling out for a while now and could easily become your trusted source of cash due to demonetization. Apps like Paytm, PayZapp and Freecharge have opened solutions to dealing with the current crisis. In most other countries, E-Wallet apps offer unique features beyond just storing money. In India, it may take some time before everyone becomes accustomed to simply pointing their mobile phones to sensors and getting their payments done.
- Opt for cashless rides
Travelling while in your vacation hotspot can be made more hassle-free when you opt for cab services that let you pay using your mobile wallet. A lot of popular cabs in India, like Uber and Ola, have already implemented this feature and even go a step further by actually offering commuting benefits if you opt for cashless rides. Foreigners visiting India during this time can also pay via international credit/debit cards.
- When hunger pangs strike
If you’re in India travelling on a street food adventure, you’re out of luck with demonetization on the rise. Before you narrow down on a hotel to stay at, scan the area for potential restaurants that accept card payments. If you’re not the kind who is comfortable eating out all the time, book a stay at a bed and breakfast joint.
- Book package deals
If you’re the kind of traveller who is keen on saving as much as you spend, booking a package deal can prove beneficial give the lock in general cash. Good package deals offered by travel and tourism services cover up the travel and food expense on your trip, so you will less to worry as you go about exploring.
Are you in the mood for a refreshingly long trip this holiday season? Go ahead without the worry over demonetization.
You can make the most out your money in these 11 countries where the Indian rupee makes you feel richer.