How to plan a cheap laid back weekend in Manipal

Your hack to the perfect weekend

The weekend is here again. You can’t help but wonder how boring your life is because of your small pocket money, which doesn’t allow you to travel as much as your other friends in Manipal during the weekend . You call your parents to ask for some extra allowance, only to be turned down.  Frustration takes over as you start cursi ng the place, after all, what much is there even in Manipal?

If this sounds like a familiar situation to you, don’t worry. Regardless of your budget, Manipal has plenty to offer if you are looking for a laid back weekend for cheap. Ofcourse, it might not be something that you can afford every weekend, but with a bit of strategic saving, you can have your dream mini vacation once a month! Read on to find out more on how to plan a cheap, laid back weekend during  your tenure at Manipal!

First things first, before you can even make a plan, you need to know the places that you should visit atleast once when you are in Manipal. Once that is done, you can focus your mind on the sort of weekened you want, which can either be relaxing by the beach or going on a trek. To make things easier for you, this article will take you through both (since forests isn’t really much of an option if you are looking to stay within a tight budget).

So, before going ahead, you need to assess your budget really well. If you are looking for a multi day trip, you have to add in money for a minimum of ₹600 per day. For the most part, you will not need to stay for more than a day for most of the places worth visiting around the weekends. However, in the case of places with beaches, you do have the option of having your own small campfire near the beach if you are there with a large group of friends, hence saving on the staying cost. If you are going for a trek to Kudremukh or around the Agumbe range, staying won’t be necessary as well. Most of the day will go in beautiful treks and splashing around pristine falls and you’ll be doing the journey on a bus to save up on money, you’ll like to take the next day off to just sleep all day before college starts up again on Monday. So, with that in mind and your budget , let’s dive in to make the right plan for your cheap, laid back weekend trip. Please note that we won’t be targeting any place in particular. You can select among the many places you can travel to from Manipal, since the formula for travelling cheap usually stays the same throughout.

First up, beaches. First and foremost, skip the travelling via car mentality. Travel local. As a Cherry on top, most beaches worth travelling to outside of Udupi  (Karwar, Gokarna and even Goa) falls on train routes. Take advantage of that and travel on a train! It’s extremely cheap and probably the best way to travel that exists under the Sun. Since the travelling time is not extremely long, it’ll not cause you a any sort of problem even if you are not a fan of trains. If you’re travelling in a group, it’s better to take a 2S train seat, solely because of how cheap they are (You can reach Goa in ₹200). If you’re travelling in a very small group or alone, it’s better to not take 2S. Instead, go for sleeper class. That will significantly make your journey more comfortable as well. However, try skipping on the considerably more expensive AC options (Unless you really have the budget for it, though honestly, it might not really be needed for the short 3-5 hour journeys). Having non AC option gives you the freedom to take better pictures out of the windows and the fresh air of the gorgeous countryside hitting your face is really refreshing.

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Picture by Sanjana P

Once you get out of the station, check once on Google maps for the best places to go around in the spot. A common mistake is going to the most common (popular) tourist spot, even if it’s furthest from the station, then travelling in a zig zag, which can make the total cost of travelling a lot higher. The two best things you can do is start from the closest place, enjoy the views and whatever there is to do here, then plan on how much further you wanna travel. Or you can initially go to the furthest place, then slowly make your way back to the station by coming closer and closer to the station (Bus or train), or in the case of a stay over at a hotel/hostel, just go closer to your spot for staying over. It’s better to book properties that are close to the beach or beachside properties (Though they can be on the costlier side) to cut down on travel expense to and fro. Food is always something that completely depends on you, but it’s never wise to eat less just to save up on your budget. Energy is required to enjoy the trip to the fullest, so don’t skimp out on that aspect.

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Karwar station, one of the greenest stations in India.

For hills, there is the downside that most of the popular hill stations doesn’t have access to trains. However, that’s where Karnataka’s amazing public transport system shines, as you will find a bus to almost anywhere. A trip to Kudremukh, that costs around ₹3600 on a taxi would cost around ₹400 per person (Round trip) if you travel via Bus. Depending on the hill station you want to go to, it’s best to inquire about the timings from Udupi bus stand a day in advance as buses to some specific routes aren’t that frequent.

If you are going trekking, it’s best to go in a large group. That will help cut a lot of costs as you might have to take a jeep, which is a costly affair. However, for non trekking purposes, you can just travel around the close by hill stations and take public transport and a full round trip might cost you less than ₹600, which includes auto fare to travel to the scenic spots. While traveling to the hills, it’s recommended to carry extra bottles and food with you to combat the times when there are miles of empty space before the next local grocery shop. That should cover on how to travel cheap during the weekend in Manipal!

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A trip to the hills can’t disappoint.

All in all, traveling is a really fun affair and it never needs to be hard on your pocket. So go ahead and plan your trip without breaking the bank! Happy travels!



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