Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tips for a DIY holiday

I've had enough with travel companies cooking itineraries for me, offering me packages, and planning my trip. So, this time when we decided on Egypt, I decided to do it all by myself...and it's been the best trip all ways...we had the *mostest* fun and the logistics and finances were better than the best.

So, these are my tips, if you are planning a holiday on your own.

1. Planning - Research, research, and research. You are gonna thank yourself for this. Once you decide on your destination, find about these things:
  • Places to visit/see - Make a list of the must see and must dos. Check costs - entrance tickets of places, costs of excursions you may want to take with local agencies there. Decide on the number of days this would take you.
  • Travel - Mode of transport available (cabs, metros, buses). Are there cabs available on call or you can hail them on the streets. Are there tourist buses? Do they have a specific point to point service?
  • Where you would like to stay...right in the center of the city or a little away. It makes sense to stay near to locations you would like to spend time at. But, keep in mind that city center/downtown accommodation would be more expensive then  hotels a little bit away.
  • Find out the good places to eat/party/shop
2. Getting there - Once you have finalized your dates, get around looking for airfare.  I suggest looking up several websites. Check the airline websites and compare the fare with travel company websites. You may get discounted airfare on sites like, Booking online maybe cheaper and more hassle free.
For your visa, i recommend that you still take the help of your travel company. They will take their fee and take care of the running aorund to the consulate.

3. Staying there - Look up the hotel sections on websites like -,, You can search by the city and you will be surprised at the cheap tariffs you can get for the best of 5* resorts and hotels. Again, compare the tariff with the hotel website. Specially, if you are traveling abroad...the tariff available for hotels to Indian travel companies are pretty low.
Also, very important - go and read real tourist reviews of the hotels you shortlist on websites like - and are extremely helpful website and give you a very real picture of things to do, tourists traps, where to shop, eat, and stay. You can ask your questions to travelers and get fast replies based on their experience. I swear by these sites.

4. Get your travel insurance. Again, go online, check the premium, and buy a policy...It's that easy. If you want to compare policy quotations/premiums...i found this quite useful - I compared the premiums and found what suits me and then went to that insurers website and bought my policy online.

5. Reconfirm - Once you have got your tickets, hotel vouchers, insurance up the airline and hotel and check/confirm your reservation. Place any special requests you may have with the airline or hotel.

With all these basics covered, you should be packing you bags and be good to go. Also, it would be good if you got yourself a handy map and a travel book, or betters till you can download information from the internet about the places you wanna visit.

Our DIY trip this time was awesome and everything went as planned and very smooth. We took our holiday at our pace and time and did not have to rush through or visit places we did not want to go to. We stayed at the best of places, which the travel company was not offering us in the package deal. We ate, made merry, slept, lazed, danced, shopped...everything we wanted to do! We had lots of fun and got a chance to meet locals and see their life.
And you will be surprised, in terms of finance we saved between 50% - 60% on the total cost that the travel companies gave us for a package tour. We had got package quotes from 4 travel companies and they were all too inflated. Im happy we did it our way and could spend that extra cash on shopping  :)

This makes me wanna plan another trip soon :)


  1. Now that is information indeed. Honestly. Thanks for the tip. I'm going to keep this post in my "keep forever" list!


  2. You r welcome...i love traveling and planning for them...Have been organizing/helping plan trips/holidays ever since I was in college...for family and frnds and myself...wish I could make it my full time job...yea yea..someday..when I run away from the big bad IT world!

  3. I am very poor in planning my travel.Thanks, it gives a lot of sense to some one like me.

  4. That's a very good tip..i am usually scared of planning all the logistics ourselves!