Travel without Travails: Tips for Travellers to Save Time, Money and Avoid Last Minute Blunders

September 5, 2017 Tips for travellers @TheRoyaleIndia 1401 0 0

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To be at that vantage point in life where you can look down in leisure at the world, and anticipate your next venture into your favourite adventure is indeed bliss. For those who love travelling, existence is pleasantly divided between travel reminiscences and the next installment of the realisation of wanderlust. No matter how joyous travel dreams might be, trips have to be planned with realistic considerations. Keeping expenses under control is the first obvious concern of travellers, followed close on the heels by using time optimally, getting exclusive memorabilia, relishing scrumptious meals, all the while keeping your head above troubles and travails. Though hiccup-proof traveling is a concept on the lines of Utopia, here is a list of traveling tips and tricks to safeguard you from being a wastrel—against over-spending, wastage of time, and other major travel disasters.

The Early Bird Catches the Flight

If you are a person who goes by travel checklists, then booking flight tickets should top your list and rightly so. Booking flights one and half months prior to the trip, gives you the privilege of finding the lowest ticket rates on different airlines. The difference in cost between flight tickets dated a week or a month from now can be up to a staggering INR 4,000. What’s more, booking early gives you the advantage of picking whichever seat takes your fancy— window, aisle, middle— instead of compromising with the last leftover seats at the back of the row. Generally, middle of the week, that is Tuesdays and Wednesdays are believed to be ideal for reserving flight seats. A study conducted by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation has come to the conclusion that if travellers are booking their tickets around 21 days in advance, they may get best rates on Sundays. Milder rush of business travellers on Sundays, makes tickets cheaper by thousands. However, these rules and assumptions vary according to destinations, making it safest to start looking at flight rates 45-47 days before the tentative time of travel.

Travel without Travails: Tips for Travellers to Save Time, Money and Avoid Last Minute Blunders

Image credits – cleartrip

Last Minute Travellers can be Choosers

When it comes to finding last minute travel deals, it is easier said than done. With countless travel booking apps and numerous online resources, there is no dearth of options. Yet you may have no time to check and compare prices at every website for same day travel plans. Knowing the exact places to look for last-minute flight offers can help you in this regard. Even with just a few hours on your hands, you will find comparatively cheaper flight rates at Skyscanner. This app deftly scans the flight schedules for the day, locating the lowest airfares in a jiffy. There is at least INR 500 of difference between last minute flight deals showcased on Skyscanner and other booking apps like MakyMyTrip. For example, tariffs on same day Kolkata to Mumbai flights start from INR 7,125 at Skyscanner whereas the lowest fare quoted at MakeMyTrip is INR 7,921. In their bid to make last minute hotel bookings inexpensive, MakeMyTrip offers 30% discount on same day check-ins. The Oyo app too offers low cost hotel rooms across a vast number of Indian cities, starting at as low as INR 999. So, whenever the gypsy in your soul awakens, you can quench its thirst with such immediate booking solutions.

Travel without Travails: Tips for Travellers to Save Time, Money and Avoid Last Minute Blunders

Image credits – opodo

Better Late than Peak Seasons

There are two ways of travelling economically—either be flexible about your destination or be flexible about the time of year you visit the destination. And, if you already feel dismay rise up in your heart, stubborn in its choice of destination, the only option left is timing your holiday according to your budget. Every destination has a peak season, when everything from flight tickets and hotel rooms to cab fares and foods cost more. It is a matter of plain economy to time your travels before or after the peak season timeframe. For example, hotel rooms and homestays in Kashmir are exorbitantly high in March-April. This is the time of the year when Tulips and sixty other varieties of fragrant flowers cover the Valley, decking it up in bride-like splendour. Holidaying in Kashmir from December to January, during the off-season, is also near impossible due to the extreme cold and snowfall. Thus, September to October is the perfect time to experience “Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast”, Kashmir, when the weather is pleasant and one can visit the different parts of the region without emptying your account or freezing to death.

A Friend in Need is an App indeed

Kudos to technology for saving our backs, inventing all sorts of apps needed during travels. On your vacations abroad, Google Translate can prove to be a lifesaver, enabling you to give directions to cab drivers, read names of roads, order foods, exchange pleasantries and ask for help in local languages. Camera and editing apps, such as Camera+ for iPhones and Snapseed, Camera 360 Ultimate and Camera FV-5 for android users, can substitute DSLRs, doing just as good jobs as the bulky apparatus. No matter which corner of the globe you are planning to explore, the AccuWeather app will keep you abreast of the latest weather updates, cautioning against unexpected rainfalls and storms—or inviting to make hay while the sun shines. Google Maps and Citymapper are essential apps for avoiding traffic-congested roads in times of hurry, navigating your way around unknown cities like a pro. The CityMaps2Go app lets users download maps of cities and even remote towns for offline use, in case Wi-Fi is unavailable. Also, install the XE Currency App to keep a tab on your expenses in different currencies while you go round the world. Last but not the least, WhatsApp calls are a lifesaver, enabling you to stay connected to family and friends, never missing out anything on your globe-trotting spree.

All’s well if you Book the Right Hotel

Facilities, tariffs and location are the three watchwords of making hotel selections. Apart from basics like room-service, parking, AC, free Wi-Fi, geyser and television, look for other specific facilities like currency exchange, airport shuttle, car hire service, laundry service, trouser press, daily maid service and free luggage storage. Opting for hotel rooms that come with complimentary breakfasts can mean significant savings at destinations where food is costlier. If traveling with kids or senior citizens, you might want to find out whether the hotel provides medical help in times of emergencies. Apps like Trivago lets you compare tariffs of hotel rooms, but before making reservations at surprisingly low rates, always check whether the location of the hotel is favorable. Booking hotels located far away from the city-center or on the extreme outskirts will multiply your cab expenses, eating up your time, hindering you from visiting all the places in your travel itinerary—you will be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Not every destination allows humdrum hotel stays. If you are traveling to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, you will have choices of accommodations ranging from the humble self-catering and camping to luxurious suites with plunge pools and viewing decks. Houseboat stays at the “Venice of the East”, Alleppey is imperative for enjoying the serenity of Kerala backwaters and getting a taste of local cuisines plus life-style first hand. Contact the right authorities, making reservations, confirmed via emails, to enjoy exotic accommodations.

There’s No Place like Home-Stays

Countless homeowners are listing their properties online for travellers, who want to experience luxurious yet more personalized hospitality, and a relaxing ambience. Airbnb is offering endless choices of accommodations from romantic cabanas in Armenia to duplex houses in Kashmir, stretching the limits of your travelling experiences with each stay. Most of the home stays that are listed at Airbnb come with complimentary breakfasts. Complying with the requests of guests, hosts at home stays sometimes provide square meals throughout the day. Travel booking biggies like MakeMyTrip and Goibibo have started listing affordable home stays at par with Airbnb. Well decorated interiors, warmth of hospitality, complete privacy and more dwelling space at same or lower prices make home stays perfect choice for the home away from home comfort.

When in Rome, Eat as the Romans

Rome or any other destination, eating what the locals eat will make your trip all the more memorable. Each part of the world has a distinguishing cuisine that reflects the lifestyle of its locals/culture and offers some delicious surprises for visitors. A visit to Petra in South Jordan is incomplete without tasting Falafels and Mansaf, a rice dish made of lamb meat, curd and spices. Likewise, when in San Francisco tasting clam chowder, a hot soup served in bread bowls, thrills the taste buds. Cuisines near at home like the freshly made ice-creams with diced strawberries at the strawberry firms in Mahabaleshwar and chicken cooked inside bamboo shoots at Araku Valley are equally memorable. Lovers of Biriyani will be delighted with the rich aroma and bona fide flavors of Hyderabadi Biriyani served at Paradise Hotel in Hyderabad. There is no better way of satisfying culinary curiosity than trying local cuisines at the places you visit. Unfortunately, rampant commercialization of traditional recipes at tourist spots prevents travellers from tasting authentic indigenous foods. Do your research regarding the cuisines of a place and find eateries that serve them best before traveling.

Fortune Favors the Informed Shoppers

Shopping is one of the exciting bonuses of travelling. Just like food, every place has some unique merchandise that characterises its culture and traditions. Being a country of history and heritage, every nook and corner of India boasts of exclusive items worth splurging, yet there are a number of products that one gets at affordable prices as keepsakes or gifts for dear ones. If you are planning to buy famous handloom saris from Madurai or sandalwood powder at Mysore, the Government controlled Cooperative stores would be the best options for genuine products. The Golghar beside the GPO of Varanasi offers freshly woven silk-brocade Benarasi saris in a spectacular plethora of colors and designs. Connoisseurs of collectibles and mementos shouldn’t limit their research to finding out specialty merchandise offered at tourist spots but also discover the best outlets where those products are available.

Travel without Travails: Tips for Travellers to Save Time, Money and Avoid Last Minute Blunders

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God Helps Those Who Pack Well

Efficient and well-organized packing can save you from a lot of trouble during your travels. The heftier your luggage, the heavier your liabilities will be. Irrespective of destination and duration, it is always advisable to travel lighter and pack according to the weather. With some deft packing skills, a kind of luggage Tetris, one hold-all and a suitcase is all you need to carry. Invest in packing cubes which easily fit within a larger traveling bag and provide compartmentalized spaces for your travel essentials like clothes, shoes, toiletries, gadgets and chargers. You can use a packing cube as a medical kit containing basic medicines for flu, cold, diarrhoea and indigestion along with first aid must-haves and your regular medicines, if any. Absolutely vital documents like visa, passport, and id proofs can be taken on a trip in travel pouches tucked inside your carry-all or shoulder bag. Crocs, sneakers and flip-flops are best friends to your feet on holidays, and they also require less space.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Start Negotiating

The tantrums of children are what the nightmares of traveling parents are made of. The toddlers throw a row while the teenagers take to sulking if the activities in your itinerary are not to their liking. Especially, teenagers and pre-teens want to have their say in your travel plans. Even the toughest parents have no option than to relent to their demands. Strike a negotiation with your children, promising them a day in the itinerary assigned to activities of their choices. Add the condition that they too will have to accompany you to museums, operas and art galleries sans the fits of mischievous outbursts. Travelling with kids will also test your navigation skills out of tricky situations. For example, carrying a baby in your practiced arms in London might not be perceived as normal, since babies are supposed to be travelling in prams. Think of baby seats in your car if you plan to drive. Enquiring about prevailing norms for traveling with children in advance will save you some shocks and jolts.

Hope for the Best, but Prepare for Emergencies

Unforeseen travel emergencies deserve an encyclopedia of their own and can only be dealt with adequate preparation. Prolonged visa procurement procedures can delay your travel plans, leading to cancellations. To successfully side-step such crises, apply for visa with ample time till the trip. Save all necessary contacts, including Indian Embassies at foreign countries, in your smart-phone as well as free cloud storage, for backup. Special permits are the prerequisite of traveling to places like Sikkim and Bhutan. Permits for travelling to Bhutan are issued by the Bhutanese Embassy and Inner Line Permits of Sikkim are issued on arrival at Rangpoo Check Post. Don’t let travel frenzy drive you inexcusably reckless and enquire whether political unrest or terrorist attacks are plaguing your desired destinations, before marking the calendars.

Precaution Speaks Louder than Troubles

Precaution makes for a fantastic companion in combating all that can go wrong on the roads. Reaching the wrong airport at the last moment, getting stuck in traffic missing flights, booking air tickets on wrong dates only to pay a preposterous cancellation fees are just some specimens of travel troubles. Precautions like pre-booking cabs to reach airports and double checking the name of transit airports at foreign locations will help your cause. MakeMyTrip is offering a cover called Zero Cancellation at INR 399, which secures travellers against paying flight cancellation charges up to INR 2,500. Another crucial precaution against unprecedented travel disasters is getting a quality travel insurance that offers comprehensive coverage. In the US, travellers have to pay around USD 100 as registration fees for medical checkups. Buy travel insurance that refunds extra charges like this. Awareness regarding local customs of a place can save you from embarrassing and offensive faux pas like wearing bikinis at Maldives, a Muslim country that prohibits shorts and swimsuits.

A Penny Discounted is a Penny Earned

If saving is earning, the multitude of online booking apps are unstintingly doing their best to help travellers earn through discounts. With the online booking options you get full freedom to plan your holidays at lowest prices yet complete convenience. MakeMyTrip’s Airfare Flash Sales offer up to 38% discount on specific flights on select routes. Frequent travellers are more likely to find a deal complimenting their next trip. Presently there is a discount up to 30% on domestic hotel bookings at MakeMyTrip on check outs before 30th September, 2017. Under this offer hotels at prime locations in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai can be reserved at as low as INR 1,500 per night. Goibibo has introduced gostays that showcases value for money hotels at 40% to 44% discounts nationwide.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step ” but for the seasoned travellers every new episode of travelling starts with putting money aside though parsimony and perseverance. The travelling tips discussed here pay tribute to the truth seeker in every traveller, eager to find out if indeed “The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side” of the world, living their dreams.

Happy travelling!

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