Hello everyone! I hope all my fellow bloggers are doing great… It’s been a while since I could read any of your marvelous writings or do one myself… But here I am, after almost a month or more… Luckily, I traveled recently… and I have so many things to share with you all!
Being a solo traveler all along, I was pretty intimidated to plan a vacation abroad for my parents. As I had to start my planning way ahead of time, 5 months before the desired travel dates, I started deciding on a destination. Since it was the first international travel for them, I had to choose flights with shorter duration. So there’s where Sri Lanka popped and got stuck on my mind! But this wasn’t enough. On referring to few packages, that portals like Make My Trip, Yatra etc. had to offer, I gathered there wasn’t much to explore within Lanka, unless you took the road trip! So I started looking for some other options as well. There came the view of a package from one of the travel sites that involved Maldives and Sri Lanka in 6 days. Now here was a charm and so began my individual research.
I started off with Maldives on www.booking.com and reviewed a lot of beach hotel options until I finally found my budget deal from Arena Beach Hotel on Maafushi Island. But that’s not where I stopped. After booking the deal I contacted the hotel directly for their best deal options… and trust me, they gave me their best… Then I started looking for hotels in Bentota and Colombo, and found my happy deals in no time. I also had Kandy on my mind; but the travel time to that place, made me think otherwise. However, eventually we did go that way during our vacation:) Now every hotel I was looking for over the portals, I had few checkpoints on my mind:
- Customer ratings and reviews
- The space of the rooms
- The extra bed cost being reasonable (coz we were three)
- Breakfast included
- Convenience of commute
- Features offered by the hotels
- Things accessible around
- Activities offered by the hotels
Now that my hotels and their dates were decided and almost booked; it was time to check the flight fares. Since the hotels were on a free cancellation until few days before my check in, I had the full freedom to make changes to my plans based off the flight details. Thus, I started observing the fares’ fluctuation for 5-6 weeks and then booked on a day with slightly lower denomination in each transit fare from www.makemytrip.com. What was more.. when MakeMyTrip saw me book multi-city round trips, they gave me a call on their own, saved me the online convenience fees and made me pay quite less; now here was yet another great deal:)
But, no matter how much you try, your bookings won’t always be full fetched. For instance, the guest house I’d booked in Bentota, was a sad news upon our arrival! No proper doors, water supply, cleanliness or anything. But, the manager helped me out herself, finding a better stay nearby and did not even charge for getting fresh in one of her rooms! Again, the hotel in Colombo, Ivy Lane Colombo, was the best last stay we could’ve found to end the trip; the Loft!
Our stay in Malè was another great experience (more about it, on another post ;))
The only thing I did not get time to do, was to make a list of all the things that we needed to do and see while we were at our destinations… But this wasn’t a set back at all! As and when we reached our places, we found help from all the local people around and explored way more than we’d initially expected. More about the Help from Locals, coming soon….
And what’s surprising? All these happened, way less than my planned budget 🙂 YAY!!! There you see the happy faces…
P.S. the two major things I made sure of, before commencing our travel was:
- All the three of us had copies of all the travel itinerary as well as hotel booking details
- Both my parents had a few dollars in their hands.
I thought this was mandatory, just in case either of them got lost somehow, somewhere, but still knew where and how to get back!
What do you think?