The best ways to get deals while travelling in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Travelling can get stressful and expensive, but it does not have to.

By planning a few things in advance and getting to know a few tricks of the trade, you can re-learn how to travel and not dread it! Heading to Sri Lanka for your next holiday? Remember to apply for your Sri Lanka visa  in advance to avoid unnecessary distress and extra costs.

Play the dates to your advantage

If you can afford to be flexible with dates, playing around on an app like Skyscanner can lead you to interesting combinations and save you money. Google Flights lets you set up email alerts so that you never miss a price drop.

Usually, flights are more expensive closer to the weekend. Additionally, selecting an early morning or late night flight can be convenient. Having said that, use common sense: a cheap flight sounds amazing until you spend an entire day snoozing in your hotel room to recover from it.

If your holidays have to be planned around an office or school calendar, booking your flight and accommodation several months in advance can be another big advantage. Now you have a lot of time to look up the best sights, activities, and restaurants.

Luggage

If the luggage allowance included in your fare is not enough for you, try to figure out the best combination of extra fees, especially when travelling with friends or family. For example, an extra checked suitcase might suit you better than two separate carry-ons.

Stay connected

Have you figured out how to use your phone abroad? Some apps let you pay for a virtual SIM card that you can start using as soon as you arrive. Another option is to book a SIM card or a mobile Wi-Fi router to pick up at the airport. Although public Wi-Fi is common in airports, stations, hotels, and museums, you do not want to end up stranded somewhere, looking to borrow someone’s phone!

Withdrawing money

The government in Sri Lanka is very strict about the amount of rupees if you can import and export, which cannot exceed 5000 LKR.

Therefore, it is advisable that you exchange money once you arrive. Make sure you keep the exchange certificates so you can show the authorities receipts if you end up with excess cash at departure.

If you are going to use a card, remember to notify your bank that you will be travelling to avoid having your purchases get flagged as suspicious and your card blocked.

Fees

Pay attention to non-refundable fees. The last few years have changed the way we look at refundable rates. Sure, you would rather spend that money on a nice meal, but devoting a part of the budget to refundable rates can help you deal with a last-minute change. The refundable rate for a hotel room is often not much more expensive than the non-refundable and can usually be cancelled up to 24 hours before expected arrival.

Eating out

Sri Lanka cuisine is incredibly flavourful, and nothing beats good street food when it comes to diving into a new country’s culture and saving money while at it. When in doubt, follow the locals. Street vendors will provide you with an array of snacks that you can munch on while walking, but you can find plenty of sit-down restaurants, too. Do not miss out on the countless variations of coconut curries (coconut is incredibly popular here!), seafood dishes (plenty of fishing villages in Sri Lanka) and fresh, tasty fruit.

Do not postpone your Sri Lanka visa application

All travellers heading to Sri Lanka are required to apply for a Sri Lanka visa. Apply for the Sri Lanka visa for tourism by filling in the application form and paying with your preferred method. You can save time by applying for your whole group of travel and filling out the form once. Then, just wait until you receive the visa by e-mail. Travellers without a valid Sri Lanka visa are not allowed to enter the country, which is why it is advised to apply well in advance. In case of necessity, submit an urgent application and have it approved within 23 minutes on average. After the e-mail confirmation, you can travel to Sri Lanka. The granted visa is linked to your passport number, therefore you should not be asked to show it. Make sure to print the Sri Lanka visa and take it with you just in case.

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