5 foreign holiday destinations at Rs 2 lakh: Smart ways to budget your money


As Covid loosens its grip and travel guidelines across the globe are relaxed, Indians have begun to holiday with a vengeance. This, despite a rise in travel-related costs. While Yatra.com claims the foreign travel costs have risen by 8-10% compared to pre-Covid prices, SOTC Travel states these have gone up by 25-40% across countries. “With strong pent-up travel demand and demand-supply imbalance, coupled with an increase in ATF (aviation turbine fuel), there has been an uptick in air fares. Still, we expect these to stabilise as airlines increase capacity and routes in a phased manner,” says Daniel D’souza, President & Country Head, Holidays, SOTC Travel.

Indians are vacationing across the world with visits ranging from 5-10 days. “The favourite destinations this year include Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy in Europe; Dubai and Abu Dhabi with 40-50% growth in demand; and Turkey and Egypt,” says Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa,

(India). Among short haul holidays, Maldives, Mauritius, Indonesia and Thailand are being preferred.

If you are a couple planning a vacation in the near future, ET Wealth offers some suggestions for travelling abroad with a budget limitation of Rs.2 lakh. Though there are several short-haul options in Southeast Asia that you can try, we have tried to include some destinations that may have seemed infeasible, including Turkey, Austria, UAE, Jordan and Indonesia.

With tips on cutting costs and optimising your spending, we have provided a budget breakdown that can serve as a guide while planning your trip. Whether it’s flights, accommodation, eating or sightseeing, you can slash your costs in various ways. “Travelling during off season, living in pods, paying by hour, couch surfing, staying off the tourist-heavy locations and eating local food are some of the ways tourists can holistically save money,” says Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder and COO, Yatra Online.

This is the reason we have chosen shoulder season and budget accommodation for our destinations. Not only are the costs low during this period, but crowds too are less. “Consumers can also choose stay options closer to their choice of activity or attractions. Another way is to book your travel and stays with platforms that offer higher flexibility, ease of cancellation and modification of bookings in case of change in plans,” says the Oyo spokesperson. Of course, the most effective way to reduce your costs is by planning and booking in advance.

While plenty of travel packages online offer good value for money, planning your own holiday gives you freedom to curate your own itinerary. Whichever option you choose, we hope the following pages help you arrive at a decision and pick a destination that suits your needs and style. Happy holidaying!

TURKEY



Duration: 6 Nights / 7 Days

FLIGHT TIME

6 hours, 45 minutes direct Delhi-Istanbul one-way flight

Reality check! Typically takes 7 hours and 30 minutes

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TEMPERATURE (OCTOBER)


15-20 degree Celsius

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Among the most visited countries in the world, Turkey straddles both Asia and Europe. Its historical sites, natural wonders and rich culture make it an appealing destination. For this reason, sightseeing will take up a big chunk of your budget, coming second after air fare.

AIR FARE: While booking tickets to foreign destinations, keep in mind the time it will take to reach. Direct flights without stops will cost more than those that take more time and have layovers. For instance, Delhi-Istanbul flight booked on 14 May threw up an option where the cheaper flight for Rs.35,477 per person took 20 hours, while the more expensive flight costing Rs.41,234 per person took just 7.35 hours. So pick a flight depending on whether you want to sacrifice time or money.

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STAY:
You can pick from hostels, bed & breakfasts, boutique and star hotels. In Istanbul, stay close to city centre, such as in Sultanahmet, as most of the wellknown tourist attractions like the Hagia Sophia Church and Blue Mosque are here. Eminonu, Beyoglu and the more expensive Taksim Square are some other areas to stay. In Cappadocia, Goreme is the centre of all action with many choices, but check out the lesser touristy areas like Urgup and Uchisar as well. In Antalya, Kaleici and Belek are good areas to stay in.

FOOD: Street food is your best option as you get to sample local delicacies and spend less as well. Try out tantuni, lahmacun, kumpir, various types of kebabs, mezze and baklava, among others. The average cost should be Rs.250-300 per meal, per person.

SIGHTSEEING: Plan your arrival in Istanbul in a manner that you have the entire day to move around. On Day 1, visit the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Church, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, and Hippodrome, and in the evening, take a Bosphours cruise boat. The next day shop at Grand Bazaar and Egyption market and eat out at the charming cafes.

In Cappadocia on Day 3, a hot air balloon ride over fairy chimneys is a must even if it is expensive. For rest of the sightseeing, including underground cities and valleys, a good option is taking the full-day Red Tour. On Day 5, move to Antalya and relax at the beach, then visit Hadrian’s Gate and Duden’s Waterfalls. The next day, take a day trip to the famous calcite-laden waters of Pamukkale and the nearby Hierapolis.

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LOCAL TRAVEL: Flights are a timesaving option for inter-city transfers. You can cut cost by buying Welcome card in Istanbul for two days, which cover the cost of commute and tourist sites. You can also hire a taxi for the day to see all attractions. In Cappadocia, it’s best to hire a taxi or book a day tour in advance

Covid guidelines

Fully vaccinated travellers need to submit negative RTPCR test report taken 72 hours before departure. Non-vaccinated tourists will have to undergo mandatory quarantine for 10 days in a hotel or a location mentioned in the declaration which includes children below 12 years.

AUSTRIA

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Duration: 4 Nights / 5 Days

FLIGHT TIME

8 hours, 30 minutes direct Delhi-Vienna one-way flight

Reality check! Typically takes 11-14 hours

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TEMPERATURE (OCTOBER)

5-15 degree Celsius

The tiny European country has the shortest trip duration of 4 nights and 5 days as everything, from flight and stay to sightseeing, is very expensive. In fact, the air fare is the highest among countries in this list. Still, it will be money worth spent to take in the luxurious palaces, old cathedrals and museums. You could reduce your travel cost by staying in hostels and homestays, cutting on outside food, and taking public transport and walking.

AIR FARE: One of the best sites to book international flight tickets is Skyscanner as it offers cheap options, and also throws up good inter-city prices. Domestic players like MakeMyTrip and Cleartrip are also offering discounts in their ongoing summer sales. For instance, MMT is offering up to Rs.5,000 off on international flights, while Cleartrip is giving a flat Rs.1,250 per passenger off till 31 May. Combine these with discounts on your credit cards to lower your flight cost.

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STAY: You can bring down this cost by opting for cheaper hostels and ‘pensions’, which are essentially private rooms with breakfast. In Vienna, go for these in the Neubau, Mariahilf, Weiden or Leopoldstadt districts; in Salzburg and Innsbruck, stay at Altstadt or Old Town, which has easier access to tourist sites. FOOD: Since food is expensive in Austria, carry your own water bottles and finger food while travelling. Instead of having full meals outside, buy cheaper fresh food at Hofer supermarket like bread and spreads, fruit, cold cuts and cheese. If you want to try local food, eat bigger meals at lunch since restaurants have cheaper set menus around noon.

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SIGHTSEEING:
A good way to save money and time is to buy passes for various attractions and public transport in advance, such as the Go City Explorer pass, Digital City Pass with public transportation and 24 hour Hop-on, Hop-off bus trip, in Vienna. These are available for specific number of days and tourist sites with entry tickets included. So you save on commute while avoiding queues at the site.

In Vienna, visit the Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens, the Hofburg Palace, Belvedere Palace and St Stephen’s Cathedral. Also pick from the many museums and churches in the city, and take in the Spanish Riding School performance. The two popular options in Salzburg are the Mozart concert & dinner, and the Original Sound of Music tour. If you are not too keen on these, check out Mozart’s birthplace and visit the Hohensalzburg Palace and Mirabell Palace, or just walk around the Old Town. Since you only have a day in Innsbruck, visit The Hofkirche or Court Church and the Swarovsky Crystal Worlds. After this, you can walk around the Old Town and check out the Imperial Palace.

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TRAVEL: The cheapest option to travel within cities is to walk or take public transport like trams, buses, metro or trains. The national rail operator ÖBB has a countrywide network of trains and its Railjet trains are the fastest for intercity routes. Book in advance to lower your costs.

Covid guidelines

From 16 May, proof of vaccination or recovery or PCR test are no longer needed for entry into Austria.


UAE

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Duration: 5 Nights / 6 Days

FLIGHT TIME

3 hours, 25 minutes direct Delhi-Dubai one-way flight

Reality check! Typically takes 3 hours and 40 minutes

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TEMPERATURE (OCTOBER)

24-35 degree Celsius

One of the preferred holiday destinations for Indians, the United Arab Emirates is continuing to pull tourists. It makes up for its lack of natural beauty with loads of fun activities, adventure and man-made marvels. The travel time and cost is relatively less, but sightseeing is very expensive, and the visa fee is the highest in this list of vacation destinations.

AIR FARE: It is best to book your tickets 4-5 months in advance for cheaper options. However, while focusing on cheaper flights, don’t forget to check the time it takes to reach your destination, as well as the departure and arrival times. If you reach your destination in the afternoon or evening, you would have wasted an entire day. Also keep your dates flexible and opt for fare alerts as you may get better prices.

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STAY: The best and most economical areas to stay in Dubai are Bur Dubai, Downtown and Deira, which are also close to most attractions. The Marina and Palm Jumeirah Beach areas are expensive and far from most tourist sites. You can pick from a range of options from hostels and apartments to hotels. In Abu Dhabi, a stay at the Yas Island will be expensive, and cheaper stays are available in Downtown or city centre area.

FOOD: Local delicacies and street food are a must-try and these are cheap as well. Try out the kebabs, shawarma, shirin polo, fatteh, shish tawouk sandwich, and among desserts, try the mahalabiya, knafeh and luqaimat. You can have most of these from Rs.120 to Rs.1,000.

SIGHTSEEING: A good way to go through various activities in Dubai is to download Hideout or other similar apps, which not only allow you to pre-book any activity but also offer discounts. The must-visits in Dubai are Burj Khalifa, which also houses the Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, and the musical fountain outside, which can all be combined in a single day.

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The next day, go on desert safari with dune bashing, camel riding, quad biking and barbeque dinner. Other places to visit are the Marina beach, Atlantis resort and water park, old Dubai for souvenirs and shopping, as well as the Gold Souk. In Abu Dhabi, visit the Louvre, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Corniche beach, and Yas Island, which has the Ferrari World theme park, the

Bros theme park and Yas Waterworld, among others. Since there are a lot of theme parks in both cities, all of which are expensive, costing Rs.6,000-8,000 per person, pick only the ones that interest you.

TRAVEL: The best way to move around Dubai and Abu Dhabi is to hire taxis, by just hailing them off the street or using car apps like Careem, which are cheap and efficient. Even for inter-city travel, cabs are a good option, though buses are available. You could also use the Metro, which is cheap and time-saving.

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Covid guidelines

Vaccinated travellers are not required to present a negative RT-PCR test. They have to present a valid certificate reflecting that they are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the WHO or the UAE, and including a QR code. Those who are not vaccinated must present a valid, negative result of RT-PCR test conducted within 48 hours before arrival or a recovery certificate (containing a QR code) issued within 30 days of departure.

JORDAN

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Duration: 5 Nights / 6 Days

FLIGHT TIME

7 hours, 30 minutes direct Delhi-Amman one-way flight

Reality check! Typically takes 8.5-10 hours

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TEMPERATURE (SEP-OCT)

12-27 degree Celsius

A tiny oasis of stability in the region that has seen constant unrest, Jordan lies at the cusp of Asia, Africa and Europe on the banks of Jordan river. Oozing ancient history that dates back to Paleolithic period and a run of several empires, it is a popular tourist destination.

AIR FARE: Instead of booking through an agent, do it yourself as you can bring down the cost via discounts, frequent flier miles, choosing right dates and airline combinations, and comparing prices on aggregator sites. If you are doing it through an online platform, factor in the service charge that is typically tagged at the end of transaction as it will escalate your price. STAY: Besides hotels, hostels, such as The Wanderers Hostel, and guest houses are a good budget-friendly option in Amman. While you can find cheap accommodation in Old Downtown area, swanky places like Abdoun can also throw up good budget stay options.

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FOOD: Try out the neighbourhoods around Amman to sample traditional fare and street food such as mansaf, maqluba, falafel, shawarma, among others. You can visit the low-budget hummus parlours or Lebanese restaurants for these, while another must-try is Arabic coffee in the funky cafes and restaurants on the Rainbow Street in Amman. A meal will typically cost Rs.1,000 per person, but snacks will cost much lesser.

SIGHTSEEING: On the first day in Amman, take a city tour and visit the Amman

to see the Temple of Hercules and Umayyad Palace. Then 20 minutes away from the citadel, visit the Roman Theatre. Spend some time at the Rainbow Street and visit some museums and art galleries. For the next three days, take full- day tours to Jerash to see the historic ruins, the Dead Sea which is actually a salt lake, and indulge in desert fun at Wadi Rum, or take in the cool beaches at Aqaba. On the fourth evening, take a bus to Petra and spend the next day going through the historic sites.

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TRAVEL: Buses are the cheapest mode of inter-city travel, but you could hire a car with driver if the distance is less, such as that to Jerash from Amman. Yellow taxis and ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem are the best for travel within cities.

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Covid guidelines

It is no longer required to bring a negative PCR test from the country of departure. However, tourists are required to fi ll a declaration form and obtain a free QR code that shall be presented on boarding. Wearing a mask and gloves is mandatory in public places such as malls and public gathering places.

INDONESIA

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Duration: 6 Nights / 7 Days

FLIGHT TIME

9 hours, 10 minutes direct Delhi-Bali one-way flight

Reality check! Typically 11 hours

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TEMPERATURE (OCTOBER)

24-33 degree Celsius

Lying between Indian and Pacific oceans, the world’s largest island country has nearly 17,500 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Borneo and New Guinea. These are brimming with pristine beaches, marine life, corals and reefs, flora and fauna, komodos and orangutans. Since travel to most of these islands is very expensive, we have kept these out of our purview.

AIR FARE: This country costs the least in terms of air fare, but the travel time is long. So focus on getting direct flights without stops that take the least time even if you have to pay slightly more.

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STAY: As you will have money to spare, you can stay in 4-star hotels in Bali and Yogyakarta, even though cheaper options are available. You could also opt for vacation rental villas or homes if you don’t like crowds. Ubud, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Uluwatu, Canggu, among others, are all good places to stay in, and you can visit the others as day trips depending on what you want to do: chill on beaches, surf and indulge in water sports, visit temples, or enjoy the nightlife.

FOOD: Eating in Indonesia is cheap, with a good meal easily available for Rs 600-700 per person. Try out the local delicacies like sate, babi guling, mie goreng, lasi campur, and pepes ikan, among others.

SIGHTSEEING: Start your trip with a city tour and follow it up in subsequent days by visiting nearby areas like Ubud, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua, or most famous being the Tanah Lot temple. None of these activities is expensive, except for water sports. If you have the time and money, you could also visit other islands like the Gili Islands, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Lombok, and Komodo Island, which are far from Bali.

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TRAVEL: The best way to travel in cities is to take ride-hailing apps, Grab and Gojek, which are cheap and reliable. You could also hire a car and driver for the day to go sightseeing. Driving yourself will be a hassle due to traffic and taxis are expensive, with the only reliable taxi service being the Blue Bird company. For travel between cities, take a flight.

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Covid guidelines

Negative RTPCR test result required within a maximum of 48 hours before departure. Quarantine of 5 days for those not vaccinated or without first dose. Need to present valid printed or digital international certificate for full vaccination. The fi nal dose should have been administered at least 14 days before departure.

Note: All prices are indicative and may vary; Currency exchange rate as on 14 May 2022; Flight rates for 1-6 October 2022, as on 14 May 2022; Some figures are rounded off.



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