While sitting here at my corporate desk I hear a tiny popup sound. As I press alt+tab to find the source of sound, I see a message from a friend inquiring if I would travel to Malaysia with her. My instant reaction is ‘hell yes’. However, being a member of the ‘rationale’ driven specie called humans, my mind starts asking rounds of questions about this proposed trip to “Malaysia”.
First, can we go to Singapore as well? I am usually always on my toes when I am travelling. Asia is on top of my latest travel bucket list. I traveled to Hongkong recently and now I want to experience all that Singapore and Malaysia has to offer to my Gypsy Spirit.
Second, how much will this trip cost? And that’s where my research starts. It’s important to do couple of hours of research and plan a tentative itinerary if you have limited leaves from your 9-5 job. Little research and planning can go a long way if you want to explore a place to its maximum limits within a limited span of time.
- Air tickets: Try comparing flight prices using various Flight and Hotel price comparison portals. Skyscanner.com is a good portal that can be used for both Flights as well as hotels price comparison. To get the best price on flights, do try “flexible dates” “+/-2 days” option on flight comparison portals. It’s a great way to get the cheapest tickets if your schedule is flexible.
- Hotels: If you are a traveler with a plan and budget, look and pre-book hotels to avoid any last minute surprises like non availability of hotels or paying a bomb for them. While booking online, many hotels provide an option to pre pay or pay on check-in, I always go for Pay-On-Check-in unless I am super sure of my Hotel choice. Also, it’s wise to call up the hotel after booking through any online portal, just to ensure that your booking went through to them.
- Check for Visa requirements: The best part of traveling to Singapore and/or Malaysia is that Indians can get Visa on arrival. However, I strongly suggest to check if there are any specific documents required for Visa on Arrival.
- Plan an Itinerary: Refer to sites like WikiTravel for general understanding how you can go about exploring a city, information provided is crisp and is under clear headings. Trip advisor also is a great site for reading user reviews about a place, hotel and restaurant. I keep my itinerary fluid. It lists all the things that I would like to do, with all the requisite information and details. Since it’s a tentative plan, I manage to stay relaxed and yet do most of things and see most of the places without rushing myself.
Personal tip: Keep a day to explore the natural side of the country that you are visiting. It’s a great way to realise that how the human civilization has impacted natural shades and contours of that country.
5. Travel light: Unless there is an absolute and unavoidable reason for you to carry tons of load, high heels and bulky clothes, give heavy load a miss. Pack as light as possible with just the necessary basics that you can’t do without. Portable light suitcases with wheels, comfortable backpacks are easy to lug around in situations when you are on your own and need to drag your luggage without anybody’s help along with your own weight.
These little checks will go a long way in making any trip affordable, comfortable and more fun. Serendipitous little memories that you collect all along these well planned trips are an added bonus.