Home » Five Cheapest Ways to Enjoy, Explore and Ease Out in Your Vacations

Five Cheapest Ways to Enjoy, Explore and Ease Out in Your Vacations

by Ritu Gulabani

We are a travel buff family. Come vacations and we are ready with our backpacks.

It refreshes, fill us with enthusiasm and prepare us for the monotonous and exhausting 

daily chores to be followed.

We had not gone on a long vacation for the past one year due to renovation at home 

followed by my illness with dengue. I had hardly recovered when my husband got kidney 

stones followed by a severe Herpes zoster virus attack. Things were going pretty messy at home when we decided to go for a grand break. 

Being sea lovers, we knew it had to be some island. Sri Lanka and Maldives, being closer became our first choice but they are not advisable during Monsoon while children have long vacations in May and June only.

We had already seen to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand and so we wanted to go somewhere else this time in our budget.
1. Decide Your Destination
We shortlisted Mauritius or Greece and after some reading and internet searching, we decided to 

visit Greece. The tours in newspaper ads turned out to be extremely costly. The cheapest I saw was about hundred thousand Indian rupees (1250 €) per pax for seven days in Athens, Santorini and Mykonos; while we wanted to enjoy for a fortnight and explore Crete too.

Moreover, we knew that tours usually pack too many things in a day leaving tourists drained off and tired whereas we were going to explore, enjoy and ease up on.
So we started our hunt from scratch. The return flight ticket, for four of us, in one of 

the best airlines- Emirates, was about one hundred fifty thousand Indian Rupees (approx. 1900 €) and our only major expenditure. We could have saved here too, about ten to fifteen thousand bugs (approx. 200 €) had we planned and booked two months earlier, it was definitely cheaper and since we had checked, we remembered. Moreover, a good airline means you don’t have to worry and pay extra every time for food, drinks, baggage and even children because they provide so many channels and games that kids get busy. So for long distances at least, I would recommend a good Airline over low cost ones which keep charging for every small extra thing you need.

For Shenzen Visa too, we did everything on our own. Application form and documentation was done by my husband and we didn’t pay any extra fees to a travel agent for this.

2. Read Thoroughly About Your Destination
I do this every time we decide our destination.
So after booking our tickets, I started reading about islands. I received some of the best Greece travel tips from www.greektravel.com – Matt Barrett’s Greece Guides. This man is just a mail away from all those who are curious and travelling to Greece. He personally replied to each mail I wrote, till I was satisfied. He also added me to an FB group which helped me understand about Greece, its culture, local tours and the people.
Finally we zeroed in on Rhodes, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos along with Athens. But 

with this itinerary, we knew we were squeezing too many things in a small pack of fifteen 

days. Nevertheless, it was our first trip to a European country and since we had kept ourselves away from group tours, we knew, we would just rest whenever and wherever we felt like.

3. Plan Your Transfers
Though I never thought this is important but off late, I have found that even airport transfers are equally important as taxis do charge unreasonable and exorbitant amounts especially from foreigners.
So read about the place you are going to and find out which is the best and cheapest means. In Greece, we found Buses were reasonably comfortable and economical. Taxis are good for short distances and it is better to fix before boarding wherever possible.
After finalizing the islands, we worked upon our stay, hotel booking and transfers to 

islands. For a smoother travel, we did all our bookings online in advance. We read that planes, flying dolphins and ferries were the most common ways to travel. Cruise, we found, were available for a week or more and were costlier, as we were already late. Moreover they hardly give you a day to explore an island though you are, in that case, free from the task of selecting and booking hotels. 

After a thorough read, we found that big ferries were actually luxurious huge ships 

almost like a cruise. We booked a first class cabin with four beds and an outside sea view, ensuite bathroom and toilet in Blue Star Ferry Patmos for our travel from (Athens) Piraeus to Rhodes. It was almost like a five star hotel with a glass window much bigger than a porthole, a dressing table, a wardrobe, TV and an intercom. Drinks and food were just a call away and they had a wakeup service too. It was huge and the ship had a car deck too with lifts and escalators to go from the deck to the reception and other floors. Apart from this it had ala-carte and self service restaurant with good quality and variety of food, cafes with colorful tables and couches, children play area, wifi, shopping zone, business lounge etc. There were about 9-10 floors. Pricewise also it was quite reasonable, around twenty thousand Indian Rupee for four of us ( ~ 250 €) and it definitely made us feel like a day in Mediterranean cruise.

Rest of the ferry transfers were done in economy as they were just three to five hour 

journey during the day time and cost was around Indian ten thousand (125€). This too, we spent our time on huge curved luxurious couches in the aircon café with a sea view. 

We used domestic airways twice, which landed within half an hour to our delight, saving 

our time and money.

4. Book Your Stays Online
Coming to hotels, which are definitely expensive in Europe, the moment you click on a four 

star for a family and sometimes even three stars, so we opted for apartments. Yes we could have stayed in two and three star hotels too, but reviews were not good and my main concern was cleanliness. So we chose super hosts with good reviews in Airbnb and booking.com, which were not more than three to four thousand per night. In fact staying in these apartments proved out to be better and helped us save more. We got the whole luxurious apartment, we could make our own food, do our laundry, as there was a washer, dryer and iron and kids got a separate room too; whereas in hotels we have to pay extra for every single service. Almost every apartment had a coffee maker, juicer, microwave and fridge. And except in Athens, we got a swimming pool with sun beds and umbrellas in all the island apartments too.

5. Eat where locals eat
Every time cooking required some ingredients and I had to visit the nearest supermarket. This again helped me find things that were cheaper as compared to those in touristic spots especially things like wine, olive oil and other Greek products. We also discovered that cafes and restaurants were cheaper in the residential area as compared to touristic points.
Yes, we did join a few local tours like those of hop on hop off bus and little fun trains at some places but didn’t purchase much from touristic places. Even souvenirs were sometimes available at supermarkets. So we promised children that we will do their shopping in our last two days at Athens.  We succeeded in saving our Euros to a great extent and bought them what they wanted along with some olive oil, wine, chocolates and souvenirs for friends and family. 
True, by the time we reached Mykonos, we were really tired, but Mykonos doesn’t have much 

tourist places. So we went to the Mykonos town, Little Venice and Windmills which are at walk able distances and Platis Gialos, the beach which was near to our apartment. We relaxed one whole day in our Greek Villa turned apartment with pool and great countryside view.

Overall we had a grand holiday!
And here comes the answer to a question most of our relatives and friends have asked – all this in a little less than four hundred thousand Indian Rupees (~ 5000 €) that too, without sacrificing on 

luxury and good food. 

So friends keep rejecting negative thoughts, give positive affirmations to your dreams, to your little brain and enjoy life by following your passion and loving yourself and your family.

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0 comment

Unknown June 25, 2018 - 8:53 pm

Very nice and helpful

Ritu June 30, 2018 - 8:43 pm

Thank you so much

Unknown August 12, 2018 - 12:41 am

Nicely planned Mam ..Really helpful

Ritu August 14, 2018 - 10:55 pm

Thanks so much


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