Tuesday, 23 August 2016

5 Tips On Scoring Good Flight/Hotel Deals

Travel is not just for the rich. Yes, you can travel even if you don’t make oodles of money. If I can, so can you! After travelling for so many years, I can confidently say that to be able to travel, you need to have the willingness to do it. I believe if you got to do something you got to do it, right?

So, let’s talk about how you can score good flight and hotel deals while you are planning to take a trip –

Keep your travel dates flexible.
Yes, of course, you want to travel when you have a festival or a special occasion around the corner. There could be several factors that make you decide on a particular time to take a vacation. But, as long as you can keep your travel dates flexible, you are more likely to grab good deals on flights. Keep an eye on air fares, such as Pune to Chennai flights and book your tickets as soon as you spot a lucrative deal.

Also, it’s good to be open to travelling in the off season. Try to travel when tourists are scarce in a place, so that you can extract better experiences out of your trip.

Do a lot of research.
There isn’t lack of good deals if only you knew the key to them – the key is a ‘good research’. A good research will not just save you money, but time and energy as well. Start looking out for hotels as early as possible. For example, search Kodaikanal hotels on various sites to be able to compare prices and amenities of different places to stay.

Go beyond the touristic terrain.
I have experienced that whenever I try to search hotels in a touristic area of a place, the prices are usually high and the accommodation is not that great. On the other hand, when I have looked for places to stay beyond the touristic circle, the accommodation is more inviting and even the prices are lower. Go for offbeat stay options, such as home stays and guest houses run by the locals, apartments, etc.

Book through a hotel booking site for lower rates on rooms.
Always check room rates on a hotel booking site first. You are likely to get better rates on a hotel booking site than on the property site. So, compare the room rates before booking your stay.

Go for combo deals.
There are excellent combo deals on flights and hotels, which you can take advantage of. Although I’m more of a ‘plan and book each thing separately’ kind of traveller, I’d still recommend taking up combo deals. The idea is to research, compare and book the best deal possible. So, if you are looking for good deals on both flight and hotel, it’s better to book them together and score some discount.  

Do YOU have a tip to share that saves you money on flights and hotels?
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

My Food Trail In Mumbai

It was my husband’s idea that we take a food trail in Mumbai. Since he’s lived in Mumbai for quite a few years now, and is a foodie, he knows a great deal of eateries in the city. So, the long weekend couldn’t keep us at home. We were out to taste different regional cuisines of India in one city!

Also read Mumbai Mornings

I have to say that Mumbai is an amazingly diverse city. Who says it lacks space? In fact, it has place for everybody! Coming to food, which is the topic for today, Mumbai offers a great variety. I think you need quite a few long weekends to be able to taste all kinds of cuisines that are available here.

For today, let’s talk about Irani, Malvani, Udipi and Punjabi food in Mumbai –

Day one:
Iranian Breakfast
We started our food trail with breakfast at Kyani bakery and restaurant in South Mumbai. It was my first taste of an Iranian cuisine. Although the breakfast options were simple and quite similar to what we usually eat, they had their own unique flavours. Besides the Iranian tea, we had Bun Maska, sausages and three different types of egg preparations. I’d say the Iranian flavours are subtle, but delicious.

Malvani Lunch
After a heart and stomach full of Iranian food, we headed for a Malvani lunch at Malvan Katta in Dadar West. According to Wikipedia, Malvani cuisine is the standard cuisine of the Konkan region of Maharashtra and Goa, and some northern parts of West Karnataka. Although Malvani cuisine is predominantly non-vegetarian, there are many vegetarian delicacies. Although it is an independent cuisine, it overlaps Maharashtrian cuisine and Goan cuisine.

We had Bhakri (chapati made with rice), Kombdi Vade, Sol Kadhi (made from the kokam fruit and Coconut Milk), mutton curry and a couple of fish dishes.

Day two:
Udipi Lunch
We lunched at Udipi Shri Krishna restaurant in Matunga the following day to enjoy a South Indian ‘plantain leaf’ platter. Matunga is a mini South India in Mumbai. Besides the South Indian restaurants, you can also see the glimpses of culture and traditions sprinkled all over the place – temples, flower vendors and traditionally dressed men and women.

Although I don’t really relish South Indian food, I love the veggies that an Udipi platter serves – it’s so delicious and healthy. But, whoever is a fan of Rasam, Sambhar, wet curries and Paayasa, you must try an Udipi platter in Matunga.

Day three:
Punjabi Breakfast    
Now the third day of our food trail was in JTB Nagar, which is a Punjabi neighbourhood of Mumbai. To have an authentic Punjabi breakfast in Mumbai, you need to eat at Guru Kirpa – Amritsari Kulcha and Dilli de Chhole Bhature. It’s a small, modest shop run by a Sardar. He’s a nice fellow, who seems enthusiastic about serving his guests. Of course, I had a great time gorging on the Chhole Bhature and Kulche, but I also loved the fact that I could reminisce Delhi and its delectable Punjabi food.

Well, the post is not over yet. I’m looking forward to more such food trails in Mumbai.

Have you had a chance of tasting varied cuisines in your city?
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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

I’m Craving To Travel Alone

It’s been a while since I traveled really alone, and I’m missing that (terribly). Though I did a bit of solo travel in Rajasthan this year – Pushkar and Ajmer, I haven’t been able to travel independently for the past one year. My travels have been largely impromptu in the last eight to ten months. They have either been invites from tourism boards and hotels, or my personal holidays with my husband and family.

I really need to travel alone.

After traveling alone for quite a few years, I have come to a conclusion that I can barely travel with anyone but myself. I love being alone. There’s something about solo travel. The experiences are richer, the connection with places is deeper and the memories are more soulful.

On the other hand, I’d say it’s hard to be alone once you have a companion. No matter how hard I try, I can’t be just with myself. A part of me is always with my husband. I really wonder if I would ever be able to feel the way I used to when I was single.

Thankfully, I have a partner who understands my love for travel. He has a curiosity for different cultures, way of lives and unexplored places quite like mine, which gives me a lot of comfort. He appreciates and has a fairly good sense for the art of photography, too. So, when my husband and I travel together, it’s a joy! Though he loves museums and churches, he’s not really touristy. He also has the ability to appreciate the little nuances of a place. Perhaps that’s where we find a common ground.

But, travelling with a companion and travelling alone are two different things. I believe you can never discover with a companion what you can when you are alone. It is good to be alone sometimes. Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely.

So, what am I missing?

I’m missing the freedom of slow travel. Yes, you get the privilege of travelling at your own pace when you are alone. You don’t have to tick off anything. No itineraries. No plans. Just you and freedom. You literally follow your heart wherever it leads you!

So yes, my travel style is solo and slow. I don’t like to rush. I don’t make it my agenda to have an action-packed day. In fact, I like doing nothing. I like conversations. I like morning walks, the lull of the afternoons and sunsets. I love bakeries and cafes, old battered pathways and indefinite photo rambles.

I’m craving to go back to my own way of travelling. Be it my natters with houseboat owners in Kashmir, hiking with an old German lady in Sikkim or sipping tea at a villager’s home in Kutch, my solo travel experiences have been remarkable.  

I’m curious to know how it feels to travel alone when you have a companion. I’m sure it feels different. As I mentioned earlier, a part of me is always with my husband. But, I guess it’s amazing because ‘being in love’ and ‘travel’ are the two exclusive joys of life. At least, I believe so.   

Have you traveled alone? What’s your favorite part about solo travel?

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Monday, 4 July 2016

Why ASUS ZenFone Max Is A Great Travel Companion?

Travel has just got more fun with my new ZenFone Max from ASUS. Now whether I’m stuck in a traffic jam or waiting for my food in a restaurant, I have ZenFone Max to keep me company. I guess it’s designed perfectly for a solo traveler like me.

Here’s a quick look at what ZenFone Max does for me –

It inspires the reader in me.
Though I’m not much of a reader, I love reading stuff on ZenFone Max. The big screen, its enhanced picture quality and smashing look and feel make me want to read whenever I have time to kill.

Its mobile data switches off automatically in the night.
Yes, I don’t have to bother about switching off my mobile data when I don’t need it because ZenFone Max does that on its own. Of course, I can keep it on if I want to. I particularly like this feature a lot, as it helps me use data when I really need it.

It has amazing camera.
Do I even need to mention that ZenFone Max amazes you with its pictures? It comes handy when I have to take those quick shots. I don’t have to try too hard for focus and other technical stuff, because my phone makes my job so cushy!

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Why Fly With Air Arabia?

Air Arabia is your low-cost airline that connects you to 34 countries, covering over 100 airports, offering the most comprehensive connectivity across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Europe.

The idea of flying with Air Arabia is inviting because of its obvious no-frills image. It’s great to fly over to your destination without much ado. If you ask me, I liked my journey on Air Arabia because of the following reasons –

It’s low-cost.
You can enjoy a peaceful journey on Air Arabia without hurting your pocket much. I mean there’s nothing better than grabbing a low-fare deal on a flight and get all the required comforts. Air Arabia promises to do that for you on every booking!

It has got the middle-eastern feel.
I particularly liked Air Arabia for its middle-eastern feel. The dash of culture, the adab and the tehzeeb added to the experience of visiting Jordan.

They serve nice and hot meals.
The idea of travelling in the wee hours is not so inviting. I remember I had a mild headache while I was waiting to board my flight to Amman. But, as soon as I got on the plane and settled on my seat, I was at ease. The hot meal that was served played a great part in subduing my headache and putting me to sleep.

The staff is hospitable and friendly.
Hospitality is so important to a great travel experience. Air Arabia ensures that you are treated nicely and your flight is memorable.

I thank Air Arabia for hosting me and making me experience the amazing middle-eastern world.

Have you had a chance of flying with Air Arabia? How was your experience?

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