By Kapil Goswamy, CMD, BigBreaks.com
With the prospect of Navratras, Durga Pujas, Dussehra, Diwali, Id-e-milad and Christmas in the offing this winter, there is ample opportunity for adventure lovers to explore their preferred destinations. But because there is the unfortunate likelihood of rush in travel bookings, it is advisable that holiday-goers start planning early.
You may already have a destination in mind or a certain mood to come to grips with. But actually enjoying the trip takes weeks of planning especially if you’re on a budget. Planning ahead of time is the safest way to ensure things run smoothly. You get time to add more members if planning a group tour. You get to calmly think and take advantage of benefits, redeem gifts or reward points at travel portals, hotels and airlines. Marking the days in a calendar helps fill up schedules and hedges you against fare increases later on. You also get more space to choose between activities and personalize your engagement and experiences with the locales and the local populace when you make the actual visit.
Deciding where you want to go is the first step to planning your holiday. With Durga Puja already underway in West Bengal and Dussehra to follow on the 19th of October, places such as Kolkata, Ujjain and Pushkar require early bookings as air or rail seats get fully booked a week before the occasion. Diwali, scheduled for November 7 in 2018, is celebrated with great enthusiasm across North India. Ideally, your destination should be compatible with your moods and personality so that you obtain the maximum from your destination. For the meditative individual, the 23rd of October, the ceremony of the Royal Kathina, a Buddhist festival succeeding the end of Vassa or rain, is held every year in Assam. For the party goer, carnival season in Goa runs from December 1 to December 10 in 2018. Kapil Goswamy, CMD, BigBreaks.com lists down a few check points before planning your winter vacation.
Make a checklist of to-do things when on vacation
Even when you have a travel agent or guide to assist you, you must decide whether an individual activity is suitable for you. For example, a beach tour in Goa may include hotel stay, buffet meals, sightseeing and so on. But if food, wine and nightlife are not your standard sojourn, you should be allowed to skip this activity. You should, preferably, have your own set of questions about locations that you would be visiting, whether excursions are included or excluded, your budget, age or physical condition and state of mind.
Remember that the earlier you book your tickets, the more economical the airfare or rail fare is likely to be. Most transport fares are dynamically priced. It helps if you book round trips instead of one-way flights as you given incentives for a little extra spend from the same airline.
Ensure that your booked accommodation is trustworthy and reliable. For the safest deals, you must have written contracts as are available on online portals. That way you have recourse to the law should things turn sour later. Help lines must be open 24 * 7 in case you run into an emergency. Check for facilities such as wi-fi, phones, fax, and foreign exchange vendors and so on.
If you’re travelling alone, make sure you trail a larger group to stay safe during this raucous festival season. This is especially true if you’re a woman. If you are going as part of a larger group, make sure you take advantage of discounts and redeem points on packages and activities. Established online travel portals provide the maximum flexibility in travel itineraries and activities without the risk of fraud. Make sure you keep all receipts of payments though.