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Friday, June 01, 2012

Summer is not the only time to travel, so don’t moan about the end of the season. Often, travelling during off season can mean better deals and less rush. So, Rhea Dhanbhoora & Gargi Bansod bring you a few great packages and destinations to check out…

Package deals
Don’t be confused about where to go to get the best package for your vacation this year. We’ve sorted through to bring you some of the best out there. Here’s who to call:

TUI India: TUI India has launched a Family Club Holidays option where you can get customised holiday options for you as well as your family. The holiday options include packages to Goa, Mauritius and Thailand. The Goa trip includes airfare, meals, drinks, sightseeing and tours and starts at `16,999 for four days.

The Mauritius package starts at `69,990 for seven days and includes meals, drinks, water sports, activities, shows and entertainment. You can also visit Thailand for seven days at prices starting from `50,990 with rooms, breakfast, tours, meals and drinks.
Contact: 0120-33008888 or e-mail at [email protected]

Venetian Macao: The Venetian Macao is a great way to travel to Macao and have a holiday with a difference. The best time to visit would be in the next four months, because they have stunning series of ice carvings at the CotaiExpo Hall. Called Ice World, it’s an 18,000 square foot indoor ice hall and you should catch a glimpse of it!
Contact: www.venetianmacao.com/iceworld

MyGuestHouse.com: You don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet to enjoy a great vacation. Get budget deals with MyGuestHouse.com and travel across India. They have packages to Goa starting at `6,999 per couple, an Amarnath Yatra in Srinagar starting from `10,450 for three days where you can stay on a houseboat and a four day stay at Kerela starting at `17,400. You can also visit Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok at `9,045 in a combined Triangle of the East package for six days.
Contact: www.myguesthouse.com

Bhutan Travel Agency: Visit BhutanTravelAgency.com if you want a vacation in Bhutan. They have just introduced their great Filming & Photography packages to help you capture the right moment on your vacation. The tours are customisable and take you on a four day stay around the scenic parts of Bhutan from Paro city and Thimpu to Gangtey Valley and Mungar. The packages cost `34,500 and include hotels, a vehicle, a guide, breakfast, monument fees and road taxes.
Contact: www.BhutanTravelAgency.com

Singapore tourism: The Singapore Tourism board in association with Mercury Travels has a host of great packages for you to avail of. One of them includes the culinary package where you can learn from professional chefs in Singapore. You can also go on the Makansutra Food Safari Tour, savouring the best of local fare. The Singapore Food Trail is also a good option. You can also opt for a number of their romantic getaway packages in places such as Sentosa and Clarke Quay. Their romantic packages have a range of fun activities and dining options to make your trip an unforgettable experience.
Contact: www.yoursingapore.com

Tourism Australia: Looking to head down to the coral reefs and some of the world’s best beaches? Australia is a great place to visit and a good package can really make or break your trip. Choose the 10 day Aussie Adventure for `1 lakh per person from Tourism Australia for a holiday that includes several hotels, a tour to Dreamworld, a helicopter ride, hot air ballooning, bungee jumping, bridge climbing and lots more. Or, opt for the Adventurous Australia package for `1-2 lakhs for eleven days, which includes, accommodation, a Harley Davidson tour of Sydney, jet boating and reef cruising.

Contact: Bilkish Tejani on 26482000 / 5000 or [email protected] for the Aussie Adventure package and Pinal Reshamwala on 66338822 / 40418888 or [email protected] for the Adventurous Australia package

Excluzen.com: What we get to do once we are at the vacation spots is important too. Considering this, Excluzen.com, a premier luxury website, provides you a rendezvous with amazing summer halts, in India and abroad, to make your family vacation an unforgettable and exquisite experience. Excluzen packages abroad include exotic locations such as Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Maldives and a complete Dubai tour. The India packages include a luxury yacht in Kerala, Ranthambhore Tiger Safari and Srinagar, Kashmir. They offer great deals and also customise the trip to suit individual travel requirements.
Contact www.excluzen.com

Tourism Queensland: Experience the land of koalas and kangaroos with great deals from Cox & Kings. You can go surfing around Gold Coast, experience the Skyrail in north tropical Queensland, enjoy hot air balloon rides at Cairns and have fun jet boating with your group of family and friends. With an itinerary packed with exciting activities, it will make for the perfect adventurous getaway.
Contact: 1800321235 or log on to www.coxandkings.com

Quick trips
No time to plan an elaborate summer holiday? The summer holidays are nearing a close but if you’re still being bitten by the travel bug, Mehernosh Colombowalla, from Beyond Borders Travel Management Company, gives us a few great places around the city for a quick getaway:

Rough it out at Khed: If you want to head down to 104 acres of a pollution free zone, 5 lakes and a lot of hiking, Khed is the place to be. You’ll get a true taste of nature here.

Visit a spa resort at Panvel: At the foothills of the Prabalgadh Mountains, this is just two hours from the city. If you visit a spa resort here, you can relax and rejuvenate in great surroundings. So, you’ve gotten away from city life with a little pampering thrown in and peacefully nestled up in the mountains. You can’t ask for much more.

Live in a tree house at Dapoli: Dapoli is a mere five hours from the city, so you don’t need to think twice about heading out here. There’s everything you need for a great weekend getaway. A clear sky, lush green hills, beaches and a lack of pollution. And, your children will love the option of staying in a tree house as well as the jungle tours available here.

Chill out at Ankola: For a beach holiday with a difference, try staying in one of the resorts on a hill at Ankola. The place is a great weekend getaway, close to the city and surrounded by beach sunsets and the salty sea.

Escape to Bhandardara: If you want to stay in a luxurious cottage with a private garden, just to get away from city life, this is a great option. There is even a great place called Mountain Side Villa where you can stay cocooned in the mountains, completely cut off from the outside world.
Contact: [email protected]

Unusual experiences
When you’re planning a vacation, don’t go to the usual places. We got Mehernosh to give us a list of some of the most unusual destinations that are must-visits:
Oman: From the Hajjar Mountains to luxury yachts, dolphin watching, sand dunes and the wadi’s, you can spend a week there without getting bored.

Peru: If you’re big on ancient discoveries and love nature, Peru is a great place to visit. Don’t miss out on the Nazca Lines, an ancient lost civilisation. It’s one of the most popular destinations this year. Don’t forget Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world or a visit to Machu Pichhu to watch Andean Condor birds.
South Africa: Forget the usual safaris and go shark cage diving!

Want to see the Victoria Falls in a different light? Try the micro lite flights available there.

South of France: Give Paris a skip and cruise down a river in the South of France on a privately owned luxury yacht. You can choose your route, sip on wine and get served by a Michelin chef.

Great Deals
Summer sale at Hotels.com: Hotels.com has some exciting hotel deals under the ‘Summer Holiday Sale’ where you can save up to 40% on your hotel bookings. While bookings for the domestic destinations are closed, bookings for some international destinations are open up to July 31st. They have some exciting packages for destinations such as Bali and Indonesia.
Contact www.hotels.com/deals /summerholiday-in/m-o/

Marriott International:
The Marriott International allows you to have an enjoyable stay with a range of great offers at their hotels all across the country. If you stay in any of their properties, you get a credit of `3,000 all the way up to August this year. You can avail of room upgrade, cocktails or any other facilities in accordance with this offer.
Contact: www.mariott.com

No Kidding!
To avoid tantrums, tears and tarnished holiday memories, Hotels.com has compiled a list of top tips to keep your sanity in check when travelling with your kids.

Rest-up to get ready: It’s paramount that both you and your child get enough sleep before going on holiday, as the anticipation and excitement of the adventure can take its toll and tired children are often hard to console or reason with.

Limit the extra baggage: Kids do require a lot of stuff, so try and cut-down on luggage weight and bulk by eliminating non-essential items from your packing list.

Keep the kids busy: Besides the lack of sleep, it’s often boredom that begets bad behaviour, so keep the little ones busy during travel time. Pack colouring books and toys in your carry-on bag.

Choose a child-friendly hotel: A lot of accommodations aren’t child-friendly, so it’s worth spending time researching hotels that are better suited to childrens’ needs.

Plan to have no plans: Instead of trying to pack as much into the holiday itinerary as possible, try going at the pace of the little ones for parts of the trip and allow them to have some input in what you do.

Although it’s a personal choice, if you’re confused about whether to opt for a set tour or go wild and travel on your own, Mehernosh helps you out. He says, “Set tours are fixed itineraries where too much is packed in and you’re given too little time to do it all. You are always on the run. Some of the preset itineraries may not be of actual interest to you, but you have to go along with the group. There will also be limitations in your choice of food and shopping time. When you’re travelling alone, you customise your trip according to your preferences. You can still get professional help and guidance (good air fares, great places to stay) but the reason it’s so much better than a set tour is that you can unwind, see things at your own pace and choose to visit places and do things that actually interest you.”

Beyond Borders is a travel management company that helps you look beyond just your destination. They customise holidays for individuals and groups according to personal needs and interests. To get in touch with them, email them at [email protected]

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