Travel The World: How To Find The Best Airfares Online

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Every now and then, the travel bug is going to bite you. When it does, the prospect of travelling the world would seem almost dreamlike. What if you could make that dream a reality?

To travel the world, all you have to do is find the best options at your disposal. Thanks to the advent of the internet, you can now find amazing options online. From the best airfares to India to the most ideal stay options in Australia, you can find it all at the tip of your fingers.

To help you find the best ticket prices online, here is a list of things you can do when hunting for your ideal airfares.

  • Look Online And Subscribe To Airlines

When looking for the cheapest airlines in Australia, you have to be flexible. You can’t zero in on one airline alone and be adamant to travel by it. So, subscribe to various airline websites and get notifications about their offers and airline ticket slashes. If you know when you want to travel, then subscribe months in advance. This would help you identify the lowest airfares, which you can swoop in and collect on.

  • Opt For Connecting Flights

If you are travelling to places like India, breaking your journey into two to three legs would help you save on airfare. Just because you might not like waiting in the airport for your connection, doesn’t mean you should rule this option out entirely.

  • Ditch The One-Way

When buying your flight tickets, make sure you include your return journey as well. Yes, sometimes you might have to forfeit the return leg, but you will see that the overall expenses would be much lower than that of a one-way ticket.

  • Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates

To get the best airfares online, you will need to be flexible with your dates. By being flexible, you allow yourself with a window of opportunities to choose from. You can check on the cheapest airfares within that time frame, and choose ones that suit you best.

  • Fly Out From Out-Of-The-Way Airports

Instead of connecting to major airports across the globe, look for smaller airports you can use. This choice in travel would reflect in your air ticket price. For instance, if you are looking for cheap flight tickets to India, you will see that the fares reflect differently for flights to the New Delhi airport, when compared to flights heading to Bangalore.

By keeping these pointers in mind, you will be able to find the best airfares in Australia, in no time! Remember, do ample research online before you decide on an airline. And, if you ever need assistance, approach the experts—a travel agent.

A Travel Agent: Australia’s Solution To A Smooth Getaway

tipsWith an umpteen number of travel booking sites in play today, many travellers feel their best bet lies with them. While DIY travel booking can save you a lot of money, because you can choose the cheapest fares for travel and stay, there is a chance of turning your pleasant getaway to a tiresome journey—due to lack of proper guidance.

That is where a travel agent comes in. When looking for the best travel agents Australia is home to, you need to be able to identify what makes them great. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, when looking for a travel agent to plan your next holiday.

What Does A TA Do?

Before you decide on a travel agent or a travel website, it is vital you know what they can help with. A travel agent’s duties include:

  • Offering suggestions and advice about a holiday
  • Giving you options to choose from
  • Researching several accommodation options to present you with
  • Plotting out best travel routes
  • Organising travel-related documents (visas, insurance, etc)
  • Booking stay and travel according to your personal preferences
  • Scheduling your stay to include as much as the sights and sounds possible
  • Penning down a payment plan

Points To Remember When Choosing Your Agent

  • Look for someone who knows what they are doing

Presently, travel agents need not hold a license to be a member of the travel sector. That being said, try as much as possible to find a travel agent who is recognised by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA). If the TA support a national accreditation, such as ATAS Travel Accredited, they would fit the bill perfectly. The reason behind this is, you need someone who isn’t a rookie sorting your travel out. They would have the experience and the know-how to provide you with a well-thought out travel plan.

  • Get a travel agent who is flexible

When it comes to travel, nothing is set in stone. There are circumstances where things just pop up, unavoidable situations. In this case, you will need to alter your travel plans a tad bit to accommodate the sudden surprise. A good travel agent won’t let this phase them—they are flexible.

  • Remember to divulge what you want out of the travel

If you are looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family holiday, tell your agent. Chances are, they know the best places to go, the perfect time to visit, and the most affordable means of getting there. Some travel agents will even jot down a hypothetical itinerary for their customers, so you can pick and choose the type of holiday you envision having.

Before you take off on your well-earned getaway, ensure you have all that you need for a hassle-free holiday—travel insurance, tickets, and paperwork—if not, your travel agent is just a call away.

Cheap but Grand: Tashkent

As told in my earlier, blog, it was amazing to undertake our first pleasure trip to Bangkok. We again started to plan our 2nd international trip. In between we had traveled to Ladakh. Again, money was something to consider for the international trip. This is a visa agent asked me to try Tashkent in Uzbekistan. I initially though it would be expensive. However, I coordinated with a travel agent and got a price of around INR 40,000 ( approx. AU$ 865 ) per person. This time it was 8 of us traveling.  It was cheap holiday package with accommodation, all meals , airfare and Visa. We booked a flight after 2 months. It was a 4 night/5 days package on a premium accommodation. The flight was on Sunday 1100 hrs. and would take us to Tashkent at 1340 hrs.( Local time). India is just 30 minutes ahead of Tashkent.

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Just like in Thailand, we had a company tour leader waiting for us at the Delhi airport. We all assembled at the lounge. It was a group of approx. 40 people. There were also 4 couples traveling in the group. The Uzbekistan airways flight was nice, however, I felt the Thai airways was much superior in terms of service and feel. We reached Tashkent. The immigration clearance took some time. It was almost lunch time so the tour leader stopped at the coach at an India restaurant. We were welcomed with non-alcoholic drinks called sherbet. Shortly afterwards, a  buffet with different snacks, sandwiches and hot beverages were laid down. We had a couple of chicken grilled sandwich and tea. Tea was not as good as home. Then the tour leader took us to Hotel Ramada. We were allocated 4 rooms and provided the room number. Although, 4 rooms were allocated, we were all gathered in one room and chatting. Me and one of my friend went to look around the hotel. We sat at the swimming pool area for some time. We had been told to assemble at the hotel lobby by 0530 pm. We all assembled there. Other passengers of the group joined us. The tour leader took us for an evening city tour. Tashkent is a beautiful city with amazing city planning. We had stopped at the independence square and Broadway for photo stop. We had enjoyed more at the Independence square. Later in the evening, we were taken to another Indian restaurant which was reserved for the group for a few hours. It was a party time. The DJ payed amazing Indian and western party numbers. This time our DJ friend was interested in the Vodka rather than the DJ challenge. We had filled ourselves with Vodka. Amazing belly dancers added to the hangover. We couldn’t eat much. A little bit of chicken and tandoori breads was enough. We went back to the Hotel. One of the guys was too much down with Vodka. The vodka effect made his wife flirt with us-youngest lot of the group. Just like before, all the friends were in one room; 3 on the joined double bed and 2 on the carpeted floor. We looked like tattered  clothes lying here and there.

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It was difficult for us to get up next morning. We got up with headache and backache. We had to get up as we would be staying in a different place today. A shower with warm water helped us a little to get over the hangover. We dressed and assembled at restaurant for  breakfast. Today we would be visiting Charvak. It was slightly on a higher altitude. Tashkent was around 25-27 degrees centigrade., however Charvak would be cooler. Charvak was amazing with the lake and boating on it. The group was there for a few hours. We boarded the coach for the resort. We had our lunch. The place looked like Gulmarg in Kashmir.  We had a amazing time there. We went to the hotel lobby and got our rooms allocated. We completed our pending sleep. The evening was cooler. We played cards for a few hours. The couples who were with us joined us in playing cards. We had a good time and became friendly with them. Gala dinner and vodka waited for us in the evening. We shook our leg with the belly dancers . The tour manager was a little hesitant to join due to his professional boundaries. We made him comfortable and easy and made him to dance and drink.  We had our share of drinks and food and went to the resort discotheque with the couples. We had a grand time too. Dancing our heart out with these couples.

We asked him to make a certain change in the tour program and leave for Tashkent a little late. We requested him to leave the panoramic city tour of Tashkent for day after tomorrow and take the group directly to the hotel. He understood and made these little changes. He took us to an Indian restaurant for lunch and took us straight to the hotel. The evening was free. We and the couples went out to explore the city together. They purchased some souvenirs from the local shops. We went back to our hotel for the gala dinner and drinks. We had never parties for 3 continuous nights ever, that too with drinks. We waited for Saturday night to party in India. Next day after breakfast we were taken for the city tour with photo stops at a few places. Day four also ended with drinks, belly dancing and party.

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Next day was free. So we drank heavily last night and got up late. We called up the couples in our room and another session of cards went on for hours. We had got our personal bottles  of whiskey in the suitcases. We took them out and started our day party. By afternoon, we were drunk again. We had light sandwiches and Russian salads for lunch. The couples went back to their rooms and we went out in the evening to experience the night life of Tashkent. We came back for our gala dinner. Since it was the last night of the trip, we prompted our DJ friend to take over. He took over and as usual the party mood was set. Even a few foreigners heard the music and joined the group. It was amazing finish to the last day. Next day as usual we got up late. In the evening, we board the bus and transported quite early to the airport as the check out time was 06 pm. We waited and chatted. The couple were trying to plan their next trip with us.

We landed in India early on Friday early morning. We all went to one of the friends place who lives alone and slept. We have travelled to many more destinations with cheap flight tickets  and will share the experience in the blog.

Our First International Pleasure Trip: Thailand

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Me and my group of friends were travel freaks since high school days. We had already discovered half of our country(India) by the final year of our graduation. Rafting & rock climbing in Uttarakhand, trekking in the Himalayas, Rajasthan, Southern India( Kerala, Karnatak) and many other places had  been covered. We used to avail the concessional student railway pass and travel. Staying was mostly happening at charitable Inns and hostels to save money. Then we started to earn. We decided that now that we were all earning, we will travel international. Again the earning during the initial career phase was low so only option from India was Thailand( Bangkok & Pattaya). All of a sudden, we came across an advertisement that said 4 nights Thailand package, with lowest airfare, in just INR 25000( approx. au$ 540 ) per person. This was within our budget. We went to the travel company and paid an initial deposit of INR 5000 per person as the booking amount. We were highly excited to take international trip with our own earning. We had confirmed a departure date after 2 months. Since I was already a Visa officer, I used my contacts to get the Thai visa with only the visa fees ( it wasn’t on arrival then for Indian passport holders). We saved some on the service charges of the  travel company.

Then came the D day when we would be starting our cheap holiday package. The tour company had asked us to meet at the lobby with the tour manager and other passengers. They were around 38-40 passenger travelling in the group. The tour manager met us in his formal attire-blazer(with the company logo). The flight was awesome. The stewards were very helpful and polite. That day I got my first lesson of the service industry-service with a smile. We saw one of the passenger going crazy, and trying to “be smart” with one of the stewardess. He was handled very smartly by one of the male steward of the airlines. The flight was via Kolkata and he was threatened that he would be deboarded. The flight landed at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport. While landing I saw, the after the oceans, it was mostly green outside Bangkok. While landing Bangkok seemed to be a little crowded and congested. We were met by a female tour escort(local) at the airport. She escorted us to the coach. After 15-20 minutes the coach started and drove us to Pattaya. On the way to Pattaya, I noticed that Bangkok was more like an Indian city. The scyscapers were much higher than in India. However, the crowd, pubic transports and the ‘Tuk tuk” was like India. Bangkok had ‘tuk-Tuk” and Delhi  had “Phat-Phat sewa”. Once outside Bangkok, the ride was scenic. After around 2.5 hrs drive, we reached Pattaya. Central Pattaya was a little congested. The coach stopped outside the hotel. We and few passengers did not get down there. The tour manager got down there and while the local female tour escort continued from there. After 10 minutes, the coach stopped outside a four star apart-hotel. At the hotel lobby, the local tour escort told us that today we would be on our own. She suggested us to for the popular cabarets, discotheques and “ entertainment zones”. Pattaya had an amazing nightlife. We were a group of non-vegetarians. We had chicken wings, roasted shrimps & prawns and snake meat. My family would have out casted me for the this. Snakes are worshipped by most people in India, but our young blood incited rebellion. We went to one of local rooftop discotheque. It was mostly trance, reggae and western pop. My friend who was a part time DJ in Mumbai, challenged war of the DJ(friendly challenge between DJs ) Our friend, had got his mobile filled with popular party numbers from Indian albums and Africa. It was fun. We went back to the hotel.

 Next day it was hard for us to get up after heavy drinking inside our hotel room. But the tour escort had asked us to meet at the lobby at 08 am. We were going to the coral Islands. Our eyes were still heavy. She jokingly said that once we reach the coral island our sleep will be gone. The drive to the beach side was amazing. We were ferried by a motor boat to the coral Island. It was beautiful. We did some snorkelling and para gliding and diving. It was fun. The honeymoon couples were engrossed in their romance. Then it was time for lunch-seafood based. It was difficult for the escort to get us out of the water. We were again driven back to the hotel. In the evening, we went for a Thai boxing show and then to another discotheque.

Next day we departed for Bangkok. On the way, we were taken for the city tour. We visited the Wat Jetuphon and the grand palace. It was amazing. Buddha and the surrounding associated with it, incites a strong sense of spiritualism and peace. We were taken to a gems gallery. A few couples purchased gems when they were told that some of them) based on their birthday and time), would be beneficial. I got a bracelet of gems which told me that it would keep my blood pressure in control and hence would help me control my temper. We were taken back to the hotel. Evening was free from any activity. We hired a tuk tuk that would take us around the city. Finding us all bachelors he prompted us to take us to the ‘entertainment zones (red light areas)’ and checked with us if we would be interested in weeding. Definitely we did not want either of this. However, probably his commission was associated with it, he told us he would take us to a very popular disco. After entering we realised it was a strip club and one lobby for” entertainment zone”. We were out quickly after finishing a show (it is a taboo in India). Next day we went to the safari world. That was something which we definitely liked. It was more like a wildlife safari park. The stunt show was equally amazing. There were many marine & non marine animals that I had only seen in the channels like Discovery, Nat Geo and animal Planet. In the evening we tried octopus and squids. Octopus was good but not the squids. Then we had grilled lobster, crab and snake meat (one last time).

Next morning, we were transferred back to the airport. We reached back to our home. In those days we did not have Facebook. Some of our photos were put on Orkut and was greatly liked and envied by many. One of my friends had almost broken up with his girlfriend for myths associated with Bangkok & Pattaya. We had a hard time in getting them together again. It was fund. Within a few years I had become a qualified travel agent and had travelled to Bangkok, Singapore, Tashkent, Srilanka but never had fund as much as we had in our first international trip. In fact, I had kept the contact number of the local tour escort and till date she supplies me with Thailand packages in very good rates.

Mesmerising Ooty

Not far from the India’s IT hub, Bangalore is this popular hill station on the lap of the nilgiri mountains. 80 kms from Coimbatore and 280 km from Bangalore, it is a very popular weekend and a short break destination in Karnataka. From Bangalore there are a few overnight buses to Ooty. You can also hire self -drive cars & bikes from Bangalore to enjoy the charming and mesmerising drive to Ooty.  The weather is very pleasant throughout the year. Ooty was the summer capital of the Madras presidency so was visited by many British officials during the colonial days. The effect of the British colonial legacy can be felt in the atmosphere, architecture and town planning.  Ooty is an absolute treat for the nature lovers with places like Pykara waterfalls, Dodabetta peak, Lamb’s rock , Catherine waterfalls and much more. If you happen to get a cheap airfares to Bangalore, do not miss a short holiday package to Ooty. My personal favorite is the Pykara waterfalls. It is a short drive from the Ooty town. Me and my group of friends had rented bicycles  and had peddled the entire stretch to the falls. It was tiring because pushing uphill took a lot of energy, but it was fun. We had taken packets of instant noodles and freshly baked cakes. The rumoured ghost stories of the place makes the place been more exciting. There are hotels almost of all ranges. We have personally stayed in the Hotel for Ferrnhills Royal Palace to meet the so called ghost. When after 2 days we did not see anything fishy, we moved to another hotel to save money.

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1.Ferrnhills Royale Palace: Is one of the oldest hotels in Ooty. The suites in the hotel has got a royal touch to it. The entire ambience finished with Burmese teak highlights grandeur. This heritage property is situated on a 50 acre landscape spread with lawns, dense forest and tea garden.

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2.Hill Country Lovedale: This is also an amazing place little away from the tourist congested places of Ooty. The view from the hotel is marvelous and the hotel can be recommended to the newlyweds and the honeymooners.

3.Fortune Retreats : This hotel has it all. Proximity from the city center, modern amenities and  the colonial look.

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This is  a vacation worth taking if you ever happen to visit Bangalore. Many people take business trip to Bangalore at least one of twice a year. Look forward for a cheap holiday package during one of those trips and feel blessed.

Spiritual Rejuvenation

Rejuvenating your mind and spirit is very necessary once in a while during a life time. Today, in the professional work environment of cut throat competition it is very necessary to take a break and seek solace. Such holiday packages will help you maintain the right path which will not let you deviate from the path of ethics and honesty. Today, lot of individuals are running around to satisfy their material urge that will never be satisfied. You come to terms with the facts and truth of life, spiritual holiday is a must. Spiritual upliftment is not based on any particular destination but your interpretation of life without disturbance. Say, in my visit to the Pyramids or Abu salem, it is very easy to come to terms with the truth that however, wealth you collect, it doesn’t go with you to eternity. What carries on even after your death is your legacy like the Pharaohs, who are still remembers even after thousands of years after their entire civilization has been wiped away. India is one place to attain spiritual upliftment because of so many philosophies exciting in one place.  Some of the most known and sought after places of visit in India for spiritual upliftment is provided below:

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Varanasi: This is known to be the oldest city of the world. Formerly known as Benaras, this city is situated on the banks of river Ganga and is known to be the spiritual capital of India. This place is not just sacred to the Hindus, but also to the Buddhists and Jains. The place has been mentioned in many religious books of the Hindus. It is regarded as one of seven holy cities which can provide Moksha (liberation) from the circle of life after death. The holy city of Varanasi will definitely bring you face to face with the balance of life and death. There are both economy and luxurious places of accommodation in Varanasi, but “Palace on the Ganges “and “Welcome Hotel Jukaso Ganges” needs a special mentioning.

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Rishikesh: Situated in an amazing location, apt location for deep meditation and solace is Rishikesh. It is also one of the holiest places in India and known for many Ashrams who practise and teach Yoga. The Eastern Philosophy in Rihikesh had helped the likes of George Harrison and Paul McCartney quit drugs and follow a sacred path that resulted in famous numbers like “within you without you”, “on you all” and “the art of dying”. Couple of Hotels that I would like to mention are “EllBee Ganga View” and “Aloha on the Ganges”.

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Pondicherry: The city of Pondicherry or simply Pondi has been attracting tourists in the search of spiritual development. The spiritual attraction towards Pondi enhances because of its quiet and calm ambience. Matri Mandir in Pondicherry is an awe inspiring meditation hall along with the Aurobindo Ashram. Every year International Yoga festival is held here. I will recommend a couple of days stay in “Bonjour Bonheur ocean Spray” or the “Nalla Eco Beach Resort”

Such a short holiday package will not be hefty on your pocket. It is a much needed break to lead a life of the present. Even the noted celebrities like Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Demi Moore, Matt Damon among many others have visited India in search of spiritual upliftment. Never mind even if you cannot get a cheapest airline tickets to India, the money and time you invest in the quest for spiritual freedom will never go waste.

Make Your Mother Feel Special

Although there is no fixed day to gratify your mothers for all the efforts she has made to make your life easier, still, one of the dates in May is observed as Mother’s day each year. This year the Mother’s day will be observed on 08th of May. Why not gift you mother a travel package this year?

Consider gifting travel package to your mother based on her likes and dislikes. One of the option could be arranging for a travel package to India. I will not recommend a visit to India in May or June. However, Monsoon (rainy season) visits parts of India by mid-July which makes some parts of India very pleasant. However, October onward every part of India is worth visiting and is pleasant for travel. If you start searching right now or ask your Travel consultants to get on the job, you might very well be awarded with a cheap airline tickets. You can also coordinate with your friends and try forming a group. In fact, group travel makes lot of people feel safe and comfortable. Larger the group, more economic and lesser will be the price of the holiday package.

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Kerala Ayurveda Spa Packages: Kerala has number of Ayurveda spa resorts that provides amazing therapeutic treatments starting from basic messages to detoxification packages. You have also got many anti-aging treatments with special herbs and oil. Such packages are very rejuvenating and will sure make you mothers happier than ever. Nothing can compensate what the mothers are doing for us, but a nice spa package with good beneficial treatment could be a genuine symbol of gratitude.

Relaxed days of Peace: Rightly said, there is something money can’t buy. But among so many things that a money can buy, why not spend some to buy some peace of mind. Why not spend some time at the Ganga Pool Villa at Ananda in the Himalayas or at the Moksha spa at Parwanoo, Himachal. These places are much away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Such fast paced our life has become today, that few days of peaceful mind will surely be one of the best gift that you can give to your mother.

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Keep everything else aside, the most precious gift you can give to your mother is a family vacation together. When was the last time you were home to give quality time to your parents?  When was the last time you asked you parents out to dinner during the course of which you have thanked them for all that they have done for you? A small and crispy family vacation in Goa would be an amazing to all of you. There are many other parts of India for which you can get a cheap holiday package, tailor-made as per your requirement.