Top Seven International Trips under Rs 40,000

This article is written by Neeraj Narayan. When Neeraj is not busy watching cricket,dimpling or doubling up as a Dilli tour guide,he likes to masquerade as a travel/sports writer.

Once upon a time Julius Caeser said “Veni vidi vici”. When translated to english it means “I came, I saw, I conquered” but methinks he was showing off a bit. Not that we should grudge him that joy, face it we are talking about a dude who captured half of the western world and managing to look serious at it even though he was wearing a skirt the entire time. Anyway, what it also means is that the guy got to see a lot of beautiful places in the world, something that we all hope and dream to do too. There maybe a lot of reasons why people hesitate to travel to international shores, and the prime one is the costs international travel involve.

Friends, Romans and countrymen, let cost no longer be a reason that dissuades you from travelling international for today we bring to you, after days of meticulous research (appraisal approaches, hence the drama) a list of the best international holidays under Rs 40,000. Take a look and if ye love one so much that you plan that as your next holiday, well mate, you can come and hug me, but anything beyond that then you better be necessarily female.

1) Phi Phi Islands (Thailand) :

Phi Phi Islands

If Thailand was the Batman movie, Phi Phi  would have  been  its ‘Joker’. If the former were a game of Tennis, Phi Phi would be its Federer –  sublime and delicious.  It is Thailand’s poster boy and superstar island.

Approach the island on boat, and it looms up from the sea like an intimidating fortress. Towering cliffs give way to a beach-fronted jungle, and twenty bucks says that you shall run across the sand like a child, yelling with joy as soon as you set foot on the island.

Many a discerning traveler would say that Phi Phi is probably the only reason why one should land at Phuket. Unlike some of its bigger cousins like Phuket and Pattaya, the Phi Phi islands are still unravaged  by the evils of tourism.  While Phi Phi Don Island has no roads and just miles of white sand, pretty cottage resorts (budget prices) and a sea rich with coral reefs, the smaller Phi Phi Ley does not have any inhabitants at all. It is as if you have stepped back in time, and visited one of those Pirates in the Caribbean islands.

They say that charmers are always cocky of their appeal, at superb ease with themselves, and  have an air of freedom that cannot be tied down and will leave you yearning. Phi Phi is no different.

How to plan a round-the-world trip

Circumnavigating the planet and stopping off wherever you fancy is the ultimate trip – perfect for travellers who want to see it all, or who are just plain indecisive. But booking a round-the-world (RTW) trip can be a complex business. Here is a guide to get you started.

How to do it

The most economical way to circumnavigate the globe is to buy a RTW air ticket that uses one airline alliance. Theoretically, any routing is possible, but knowing how the RTW booking system works will make your trip cheaper. For example, the Star Alliance, a coalition of 27 airlines which fly to 1,185 airports in 185 countries, offers a RTW ticket with a maximum of 15 stops.

There are rules: you must follow one global direction (east or west – no backtracking); you must start and finish in the same country; and you must book all of your flights before departure, though you can change them later (which may incur extra charges).

How long you will need

You could whip around the world in a weekend if you flew non-stop. However, the minimum duration of most RTW tickets is 10 days – still a breathless romp. Consider stock-piling annual leave, tagging on public holidays or even arranging a sabbatical in order to take a few months off work. The maximum duration of a RTW ticket is one year.

When to go

The weather will never be ideal in all of your stops. So, focus on what you want to do most and research conditions there. If a Himalaya trek is your highlight, do not land in Nepal mid-monsoon season; if you want to swim with whale sharks off the coast of Western Australia, be there between April and July. Then accept you will be in some regions at the “wrong” time – though this might offer unexpected benefits (for example, Zambia in wet season means lush landscapes and cheaper prices).

Whale Shark Diving in Australia

In general, city sightseeing can be done year-round (escape extreme heat/cold/rain in museums and cafes) but outdoor adventures are more reliant on – and enjoyable in – the right weather.

Where to go

The classic (and cheapest) RTW tickets flit between a few big cities, for example London – Bangkok – Singapore – Sydney – LA. If you want to link more offbeat hubs (Baku – Kinshasa – Paramaribo, anyone?), prices will climb considerably. The cost of the ticket is based on the total distance covered or the number of countries visited.

Everest Base Camp

Remember, you do not have to fly between each point: in Australia you could land in Perth, travel overland and fly out of Cairns. Or fly into Moscow, board the Trans-Siberian train and fly onwards from Beijing.

Pick some personal highlights and string the rest of your itinerary around those. For instance, if you are a keen trekker, flesh out a Peru (Inca Trail), New Zealand (Milford Track) and Nepal (Everest Base Camp) itinerary with Brazil (Rio’s a good access point for South America), Australia and northern India.

If budget is an issue, spend more time in less expensive countries. Your daily outgoings will be far higher in Europe and North America than in South-East Asia. Indonesia, Bolivia and India are particularly cheap.

Tips, tricks and pitfalls

  • Talk to an expert before you book: you may have an itinerary in mind but an experienced RTW flight booker will know which routings work best and cost least – a few tweaks could mean big savings.
  • Be flexible: moving your departure date by a few days can save money; mid-week flights are generally cheaper, as are flights on Christmas Day.
  • Think about internal travel: it can be cheaper to book internal flights at the same time as booking your RTW ticket. But, with the global increase of low-cost airlines, you may find it better (and more flexible) to buy them separately as you go.
  • Be warned: if you do not board one of your booked flights (say, on a whim, you decide to travel overland from Bangkok to Singapore rather than fly it) your airline is likely to cancel all subsequent flights.

Sarah Baxter

23 Dec 2011