A vacation allows an individual to explore, enjoy and discover the wonderful places in the world. Let us look at how vacationing has evolved today and how companies are meeting customer demands and what should we take care of from a financial perspective.
Indians have come a long way from the annual vacation to their native place as the only holiday trip taken during the year. People are now open to different experiences. People explore different locations in India like Kashmir, Ladakh, Goa and other places as well as destinations abroad from Bangkok to Brazil and New York to Sydney.
A survey by TripAdvisor has shown that the number of Indians travelling abroad has risen by 21% in the first half of 2014. The survey also showed that many prefer to take holiday packages as they tend to be more pocket friendly and people also get overwhelmed by the information on the internet to decide the itinerary properly.
Vacations have evolved from being just an annual trip to a particular place and visit a couple of tourist spots. Travel companies have understood that each person is different and wants a different vacation depending on his interests, travel companions and events around the world.
Family Vacations: Family vacations are fun and they can create fond memories. Family members can bond with one another. If one is planning a vacation with children or parents, one needs to have a mix of various experiences like sightseeing, visiting amusement parks, visits to the zoo and some shopping so that the entire family has a memorable time. Most travel companies have tailor made holiday packages depending on the audience. For instance, Kesari - a Mumbai based tour operator, can tailor different itineraries for Singapore depending on whether it is a family holiday or a honeymoon. A holiday package is better for a family holiday as meals will be taken care of and transportation will be pre-arranged which is good if one has older people or children with them.
Adventure Holidays: Few love adrenaline charged activities to have a memorable vacation. There are plenty of adventure options – Scuba diving in the Andamans, Swimming with Whale Sharks in Maldives, Trekking in the Himalayas or Bungee Jumping in Macau and more. If any of these get the heart pumping, one should go for an adventure holiday. Local travel companies and global giants like Thomas Cook offer adventure holiday packages.
Thrillopia offers camps in Rishikesh where one can do overnight camping, kayaking and white water rafting in the mighty Ganges. Trekking organizations have treks in different parts of the country all year around. One can join one of these for a walk with nature. One can take a look at INDIAHIKES and GIO adventures for options and prices. There are many small local travel companies that arrange for adventure sports. If one knows someone locally, one can contact them. It is better and safer to go in a group and with guides who know the area. It is also important to select a tour operator who has quality equipment and does not compromise on safety gear.
Religious Tours: Some people prefer to go for spiritual and religious tours to pay their respects to God and to get reconnected to faith. There are travel operators who specialize in these packages.
Theme Holidays: Just visiting popular vacation spot is passé for some of us today. Travel companies now offer theme based vacations. The theme could be based on books, history or culinary experiences. People take a 'Lord of the Rings' vacation tour in New Zealand as the movie was made there. Many places offer wine tasting vacations where one can visit vineyards, learn more about wine and sample fine wines.
Event based Holidays: There is a special thrill in watching live events be it an F1 race or the Football World Cup or visiting places for special events like being part of the Oktoberfest in Munich. If an individual is a tennis fan, one can plan next year's vacation in London with the Wimbledon in the itinerary and watch the players in white fight for glory while one enjoys the strawberries and cream. Cox and Kings had sold customized packages to Brazil for the Football World Cup in India. British travel company Gullivers has vacation packages for several sporting events like Formula 1 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Here are some tips for the Vacation Plan:
1. One should set a budget and also track the actual expenses. Try out an app to keep a track of expenses on the smart phone.
2. Booking travel and accommodation in advance will surely save money. Before one buys, check deal sites, coupon portals and cash back websites to get maximum benefit.
3. Check portals like airbnb for affordable stay options. Being a paying guest in someone’s house can be good experience in meeting new people and understanding local culture.
4. One should research on the place even if one is going on a holiday package.
5. It is preferable to take two international credit cards + the debit card. All other cards should be left at home so that even if the wallet gets stolen, the losses are mitigated.
6. The credit cards, cash and important documents should be distributed within the adult members so that in case of theft or misplacing, there is a chance that the other is still safe.
7. Being together with family and friends’ gives added joy and also the power to bargain. At the same time, a larger group may restrict the individual flexibility. So strike a balance.
8. One must have overseas travel insurance so that unforeseen incidents are taken care off.
9. One should use public transportation if possible. It is cheaper and one also gets to see the real city and get an all-round experience.
10. Rent a smaller car. Rentals are lower and lesser fuel will be used.
11. Look out for smart tips from friends and families who have been there.
The traveler should decide the kind of vacation he would prefer to go with his family. The individual should manage his or her finances properly so that the vacation truly rejuvenates the spirit, body and mind.
The author regularly writes on personal finance and financial planning. She has written two e-books. She is currently associated with GettingYouRich, a Mumbai based financial planning firm.