5 Summer vacation hotspots diy holiday or package tour, take your pick easy chinese dessert recipes for kids

In the scorching heat of summer, the one thing that can sizzle up a work-worn employee or an exam-weary parent, is the thought of a vacation. The dream of serene, silence-bathed mountains spur one to plan, but the dreary task of making bookings, shortlisting sightseeing spots and fitting the family expectations within a budget are often enough to send one scurrying to crowded hills closest home.

Or, take the easier route and opt for a packaged tour offered by various travel firms. There are, of course, the travellers who want to shun domestic hotspots for exotic foreign locales. But, as travel experts will tell you, domestic tourism is witnessing an upward swing. “the domestic passenger traffic is growing at 19.69% year-on-year, as per a directorate general of civil aviation report.Port blair domestic tourism has increased due to lower airfares, induction of more seat capacity and stable crude oil prices,” says sharat dhall, COO (B2C), yatra.

As for the dilemma of building your own itinerary or taking a packaged tour, says karan anand, head, relationships, cox & kings: “if you are choosing to stay at a place for a longer period just to relax, you can plan your own trip. For those looking at sightseeing, inter-city travel and activities, a package is advisable.” “an individual itinerary requires more effort and research and works better with evolved travellers. But it also helps in saving money paid for activities one may not want,” says manmeet ahluwalia, marketing head, expedia in india.

On the other hand, bulk bookings by tour operators help pass on discounts to customers, thereby saving money in a packaged tour.Port blair to help rid you of your planning worries and reduce your confusion this summer, we bring to you five domestic holiday destinations: kashmir, ladakh, sikkim, uttarakhand and the andaman islands.

These are not offbeat spots, but irresistibly beautiful and ones that warrant a visit at least once in your life. These are not budget holidays either, but are still worth every rupee that you spend. We have put together a four-night, five-day package for a couple from delhi, for each destination, except ladakh, which is a five-night, six-day package. We have confined ourselves to 3-star hotels in two-three cities or towns that you could visit in each of these places.

To further remove the confusion of deciding between a packaged tour and a do-it-yourself (DIY) plan, we present both the options.Port blair under the DIY approach, we have done the tedious research on your behalf and picked where you could go, what you can see and the amount you are likely to spend under heads like travel, stay, food, sightseeing and internal commute. At the same time, we are offering two package options, one by yatra and the other by cox & kings, with the total cost, places of their choice at each destination, and inclusions.

Remember, however, that the packages don’t always include the cost of reaching the destination. Go through both these options and decide which one suits your pocket and needs the best. If you are planning a trip yourself, the best way to save money is by booking in advance. “booking airfare at least five months in advance can save rs 5,000-7,000,” says anand.Packaged tour other ways of saving include pooling in with fellow passengers if you are hiring a cab for inter-city travel, or choosing a budget hotel which is close to the market. You can also use volvo buses which are much cheaper than cabs. So book now and make your holiday the coolest one this summer.

This lost paradise is beginning to attract tourists again and mid-may is a good time to visit as the weather will be cooler than in june. It is a good destination to partake of the natural beauty sprinkled liberally across the area. You can either opt for a direct flight from delhi to srinagar, which takes about one hour and 25 minutes, or a train to jammu and from there a cab to srinagar, which is about 300 km away and will take 4-5 hours to reach.Port blair

Once there, you can hire a cab for sightseeing either for all the remaining days or pick one as and when you need it. It’s a good idea to shortlist the sightseeing spots beforehand instead of doing it on arrival. The dal lake, various gardens, as well as gondola and shikara rides are a must. Stay in a houseboat in srinagar and in 3-star hotels in pahalgam and gulmarg.

We have considered two nights in srinagar, and one night each in pahalgam and gulmarg, while both our packages (cox & kings and yatra) have taken three nights in srinagar and one in pahalgam or gulmarg, with day excursions to other places like sonmarg. Remember that the package costs do not include return fares to srinagar. Pick the one that suits you best.

The breathtaking scapes of ladakh warrant a visit at least once, and summer (end-may or june) is the best time because of easy accessibility.Port blair this is also the most expensive destination among the five considered, but it will be well worth the money spent. You can fly directly to leh, or take one of the two land routes via manali or srinagar.

The cheapest option is by bus via srinagar. You can also opt for the only slightly more expensive option of flying from delhi to srinagar (one hour and 25 minutes) and then taking a bus to leh. The downside is that the bus takes two days to cover 434 km, with an overnight halt at kargil. Even the manali route, with an overnight halt at keylong, will take two days. The entire road trip will take at least 60 hours. So take into account these extra days before you plan your fivenight trip.

You can spend three nights at leh, one night at nubra valley, and one at pangong, the last made famous by the movie 3 idiots.Make your the good thing is that sightseeing doesn’t cost much, though you may take a while to get used to the high altitude. While the cox & kings package does not include fares to leh, the yatra package considers the return economy fare with breakfast and dinner, but the stay is in 2-star hotels.

The northeast has some gems in terms of tourist destinations, but we have chosen sikkim for its scenic marvels and accessibility. Though there is no direct flight from delhi to gangtok, you can take one to the closest airport at bagdogra (about two hours), and then take a cab to gangtok (125 km or four hours away).

You can also take a train to new jalpaiguri in west bengal, which will take about 25 hours, and then take a cab, which will take another four hours.Packaged tour remember to discount this time from your four-night trip. You can spend four nights in gangtok, one in pelling and one in lachung, and the 3-star accommodation is not too expensive. There are a lot of monasteries, waterfalls and lakes in the area for sightseeing.

Once in gangtok, you can hire cabs for travel to pelling and lachung, two stunning places replete with natural beauty. Neither package includes fares to and from gangtok, but if you make your own provisions to reach the sikkim capital, the package costs are comparable to the do-ityourself plan, and can be considered. The cox & kings’ cost is for a six-night, seven-day plan, while the one from yatra includes stay in 2-star hotels.

This is the only beach destination in the list because unlike other beaches, which are too hot to visit during summer, the andamans have tolerable weather till mid-may, and can also offer discounted airfare (which is otherwise too high) in this shoulder season.Port blair

The other reason, of course, is that these string of islands are too beautiful to not visit at least once. Contrary to popular belief, the airfare from delhi to port blair works out cheaper (if you fly in the first week of may), than a combination of delhi-chennai flight or train and a ship journey from chennai to port blair. Besides, the ship has a low frequency and takes too long (about 60 hours), which will have to be included in the trip.

There are several things to see and do in port blair, but don’t spend more than two days. Shift to havelock island for the other two nights. Make sure you undertake excursions to other islands like the north bay and ross and indulge in snorkeling and scuba-diving. The yatra package includes chennai-port blair fares, as well as visits to havelock island and radhanagar beach.Make your the cox & kings package also includes travel to havelock islands and other sightseeing visits. If you make your own provisions to reach and travel back from port blair, both the packages can be considered.

* transport for local sightseeing tours and airport/hotel/jetty transfers by AC vehicle at port blair & non-AC vehicles at havelock on sharing basis.

This northern state is home to several hill hotspots and we have chosen nainital (two nights), ranikhet (one night) and kausani (one night). As the destination is relatively close to delhi, the plan works out to be the cheapest. The access to nainital is also easy by road and train, while ranikhet and kausani will provide relief from delhi’s summer heat. You can hire a cab from nainital for the trips to ranikhet and kausani.Port blair

The cox & kings’ six-night, seven day package considers nainital, ranikhet and jim corbett park, which is why it is more expensive than the yatra plan, which is a four-night, five-day trip to nainital and jim corbett park.

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