Travel Hack : 7 money saving tips when on a Mauritius Holiday
Enjoying a vacation in an exotic destination as you sip your favorite drink while watching the horizon dawn – This is everybody’s dream; We work hard every day, slogging in our offices to make this dream come true. And finally when it does come true and we book a vacation for ourselves, it’s a little difficult to think that so many days of hard work is going away into somebody’s account in seconds. But, we console ourselves saying that, this exactly what we were waiting for and we deserve every bit of the money spent on our vacation. Absolutely true! That doesn’t mean that all we have to do is splurge. There are certain travel hacks for each destination, which when followed, saves us heaps of money!
The name ‘Mauritius’ conjures up vibrant images of pristine beaches, turquoise blue sea with a backdrop of beautiful mountain ranges, lush green sugarcane foliage and adrenaline pumping water sports. We were intrigued by this tropical paradise and booked ourselves a honeymoon to Mauritius. Here, we share our travel hacks and travel tips, which saved us substantial amount of money while we holidayed in Mauritius. It was not a backpacking trip and we splurged a bit, after all, it was a honeymoon in Mauritius! Yet with a little common sense, we saved a LOT of money 🙂
1. Visit the Agent office before transferring the money
Yes, this did the trick for us! Usually, we take multiple quotes from various agencies, compare the itinerary, look out for inclusions and exclusions, negotiate and then seal the deal. Most of the big travel agencies have offices in every major city of the country. We happened to chat with an executive of a major travel agency through the website chat and we requested a quote from him. But, going by the gut feeling, we called up the agency’s local office here, in Bangalore and the executive there, offered a better deal for the same package 😀
Just when we thought the deal was fair enough, he offered us a discount of another two grands per person when we visited the office to settle things. Lesson learnt! I, now always take multiple quotes within the same agency, one from my husband’s name and one in mine. This trick works only with big travel agencies, where multiple people handle queries. So, try this once!
Savings : 8,000 INR per person
2. Stock up on your sunscreen
Mauritius weather is though not unbearably humid and hot, the sun is definitely harsh on the skin. A sunscreen lotion deserved a place in my beauty kit, not in the closet back home. This inane gaffe put the budget back by at least 1 thousand INR. Harsh lesson learnt after getting nasty sunburn on Day 1. So, the takeaway from this read is: Mauritius is a pretty expensive country. Reason being that, it is a country which thrives on its sugarcane cultivation and tourism stints – so almost everything here is imported and not much locally produced. To such an extent that the fine sugar from Mauritius is exported to major foreign destinations and the cheap sugar from Africa is imported for local use!
Set Back : 1000 INR
3. Currency Exchange
DO NOT ever exchange money at your hotel. The hotel exchange prices are usually on a higher side when compared to local exchanges. We got a fair exchange rate at Mauritius Airport; hence we went ahead with that. But, you can continue to carry some USDs too, as major establishments in Mauritius accept USD widely. Also note that if there are some MUR remaining, it’s better to finish it off at the airport than exchanging it again, which by the way is a total waste of money unless your sole intention is to help the exchange agency in racking up some good commission :). Also, always convert the currency bit by bit than converting everything you have, at a go. Every major attraction has one or two exchange agencies, so currency conversion is not a big headache in Mauritius.[We could not get any exchange in Bangalore which would give Mauritian Rupees (MUR) in exchange for Indian Rupees. FYI : 10 INR = 5.27 MUR. So, we took a mix of US Dollars and Indian Rupees.]
Yes, you heard me right – I indeed said WATER! Though drinking tap water is absolutely safe in Mauritius, our Indian mentality of buying drinking water when on vacation doesn’t allow this to happen! 😉 That said, if you ever think of ordering water from your room service, then, Congrats! You have just burned a deep hole in your pocket! It is safe to assume that your budget will be setback by at least 10,000 INR just because you like to drink water. The prices in supermarket and the prices quoted in the hotel are at least 8-10 times higher. At the time of our visit in 2011, the hotel charged 125-150 MUR i.e 250-300 INR, whereas the price in the supermarket was 10-11 MUR i.e. 25 INR for 1 litre. Isn’t the difference just too much!! Thankfully, we had done our homework and requested our driver to stop in a supermarket before dropping us off to the hotel. Mauritius drivers and tour guides are some of the sweet and friendly people I’ve come across so far! They understand you concerns and oblige to your requests. And with these folks, you can talk endlessly until the journey halts and remember the conversation you had, for a lifetime 🙂
Savings : 9000 INR
(7 days -> 2 people -> 40 litres; 40×250 = 10,000 vs 40×25 = 1,000)
As I mentioned earlier, Mauritius is an expensive country, thus the food is not any cheaper. Usually, breakfast and dinner will be covered in most packages – so, you need to worry about filling you stomachs in the afternoon in the most economical way as possible. You can get an option to eat outside, if you go out on a tour that day, which is any day better than a meal in your hotel. If you decide to stay back and relax at the hotel, then be ready to shell out some decent cash, all at the cost of your rumbling bellies. If you are smart like us, you will tell your driver to stop at the nearest KFC or McDonald before reaching the hotel (in case you go out). Or say you decide to stay back at the hotel and relax, then again, if you are clever enough, you will take some mug noodles with you and eat it before going to lunch in hotel and order something light which is even lighter on your wallet!
Savings : 10000 INR
6. Shop local
When you go on group tours, you know your guide will take you to a shop which lets him earn some decent commission; if you still shop there, I must tell you, that you are very generous and kind, which we are definitely not! We better pay him a tip, than allow him to rob our hard earned money as commission. We decided not to buy from the souvenir shops, which we were told, is the best and cheapest place to shop in Mauritius. Instead, when we were allowed for a free time to roam in ‘Caudan Waterfront’ in capital city of Port Louis – we decided to venture out of ‘Caudan Waterfront’ into the market across the road just to discover a quaint little local market. We shopped for Tshirts and handbags for 1/3rd of the price quoted by the so called ‘Cheapest store’. And the quality is so good that I still see my cousins’ children wearing those shirts which I bought them five years back (Of course, I misjudged the size and brought bigger ones) and through these years, no color fading nor any damage to the cloth. And about the handbag, I still have it as a memory and trust me, the leather hasn’t worn out a bit even after much use; whereas the bag I received as a gift from Kuala Lumpur has given way.
Check out this beautifully hand woven and sequined jewelry/gift box that I bought for just 25 MUR (50 INR) from a local vendor at ‘Black River Gorges National Park’, Mauritius.
Savings : Minimum 4000 INR
Being a tropical paradise that it is, Mauritius is surely a heaven for watersports. Like its other companions, watersports too is costly in Mauritius – unless you make some smart moves. Do not jump into the beautifully laid out trap with excitement, as soon as you hear of Parasailing, kayaking, Water ski and the sorts. These watersports are usually operated from the Ile Aux Cerf Island and as soon as you alight from your bus/car, every travel agent tells you that the slots get filled up and you better make a booking at the office here and once you reach the island, there are no offices there to do the booking. We kind of sensed the ploy here and decided to go to the island and check it out live. We were transferred by a speed boat to the island had time till evening to be spent there. So, by the time all the intelligent souls who booked before coming to the island finished all their activities, we soaked up some sun. And after lunch, when the activities in the island slowed down, the organizers of those activities, came around asking if anyone was up, for half of the price quoted back at the office. Well, we didn’t disappoint the opportunity that came knocking!!
Savings: 10,000 INR
Total Savings : 42,000 INR
Every destination is a maze, we got to make our own paths and leave trails for others to follow. With almost savings of 40,000 INR, we are proud to hack the travel to Mauritius with both – the comforts of luxury and some smart moves that saved thousands.
P.S : We used up these savings for 2 short weekend getaways once back home. Well! What else can you expect from a wanderlust couple that loves to hop miles!
Been to Mauritius? Saved up some money? How did you? Let us know in the comment box below.
Also read : Honeymoon to abode – Mauritius