Five best destinations for international travel

Linda D. Garrow

“On a month-on-month basis, we have seen a jump of around 30% in international travel bookings,” said Rikant Pittie, co-founder, EaseMyTrip.

However, due to suspension of regular commercial flights, you may find fewer foreign options to holiday in, and demand-supply imbalance has made air travel expensive.

“Supply is currently constrained due to the limited capacity of the present bubble flight arrangements,” said Indiver Rastogi, president and group head, Global Business Travel at Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC.

That said, some destinations are offering bang for your buck even now.

For instance, Maldives and Dubai opened travel for Indian travellers soon after the second covid wave last year, so airfare and accommodation costs have rationalized in these countries.

 

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Depreciation in Turkey’s currency Lira has made the cost of local conveyance, food and entertainment significantly cheaper.

Mint has picked five international destinations for you that are offering the best value for travel right now.

We have shortlisted these destinations on the basis of cheap airfare and accommodation.

We have picked the fastest flight options offering the best price from Mumbai and average prices for 3-star hotels.

To prune accommodation costs by 30-40%, you can rent holiday apartments or bread and breakfasts (B&B) in place of hotels (see graphic).

The prices for each destination are for a couple and indicative.

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Rastogi said Sri Lanka is among the most popular closer-to-home destinations as it offers great value for money and affordable luxury. “In the past 10-15 days, airfares from India to Sri Lanka have witnessed a 30% reduction,” he said. Experts are unsure whether this reduction is due to the country’s troubled economy right now, yet it presents a good opportunity for tourists to bargain for cheaper forex rates. Sri Lanka has also resumed visa on arrival facility. It is among the most affordable destinations for Indians with complete tour packages for a 7-day trip for a couple starting at as low as 40,000 (exclusive of airfare).

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The island country emerged as the preferred holiday destination for Indians amidst the pandemic as it was among the first countries to open borders to Indian travelers. The Maldives offers experiences and accommodation options catering to all budgets, with large stretches of white sand beaches open to all. Maldives is the perfect relaxing holiday spot as there are limited sightseeing activities and is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, etc, can cost anywhere between 500 and 5,000, so we suggest that you budget accordingly.

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The ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis may push up airfares to Paris, so one needs to book flights in advance. Mint’s research shows that the return airfare for Paris has increased from 51,000 to 63,000 in the last week. Also, Covaxin is not valid here, so travellers who have taken Covaxin jabs will be treated as unvaccinated on their arrival. They will have to take an RTPCR test on their arrival, but there is no mandatory quarantine if they don’t test positive. Among the popular destinations in Europe open to Indian tourists, airfare for France is the cheapest currently.

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Currently, Dubai is among the most easily accessible foreign destinations for Indian travellers, with 7-8 direct flights daily. Last week, the country lifted mandatory rapid RTPCR at the departure airport, making travel much easier. For local commuting, you can book a full-day taxi through a local operator or simply book Uber each time you have to get from one point to another, both available at reasonable prices. For long commutes, metro and bus are the fastest and pocket-friendly options. After the recently concluded annual Dubai Shopping festival, hotel prices have been reduced by 10-15%.

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Turkey’s currency Lira has fallen nearly 50% in value in the past one year, presenting a cheap holiday opportunity for do-it-yourself travelers. However, take note that airfare and hotel fares have remained largely unaffected in Turkey as the rates are contracted in USD. Tourists can save substantially on all the expenses borne in Lira, such as commute, shopping, food, entertainment, etc. Further, instead of booking hotels online in advance, you can hunt for guest houses, B&Bs, or holiday apartments that charge in Lira through local tour operators to bring down accommodation costs.

 

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