Apologies! This has been a rather long hiatus from blogging and with the blog at such a nascent stage too. It is said that it takes up to 21 days before you can develop a habit and I must have blogged for about 10 days before this break. Hopefully I can build blogging back into my daily routine.
October was an eventful month with 2 vacations and 1 family emergency. With breaks spread all over the month blogging took a back seat and got neglected. Not to worry. I am back and will continue with the same enthusiasm as September.
Out 1st vacation was a trip to Goa! My wife had never been there while I had visited once with friends about a decade back. Before I discuss the details a little information about us – both of us are almost teetotalers generally; wife is a vegetarian and we love beaches. We had 3 whole days and 2 half days in Goa. Even before the tickets and hotel were finalized we decided we would stick to either North or South depending on where we booked the hotel at.
Dates: The Mrs. had Tuesday and Wednesday off for Dussehra and we decided to combine them with the weekend to get a good vacation. Since this was early October it was still not tourist season in Goa, but since there was a holiday in the week tickets were costly. We could have chosen to travel on a weekend where there were no festival holidays and saved some money, but that would have meant more problems at work. At the end we were happy since the total trip cost was within the travel budget.
Tickets: Plane tickets were costly since this was the weekend before Dussehra. We decided to travel via bus for the onward journey and return back by plane. This would keep the cost manageable and leave us not too tired to return back to office. This also did not waste any of our time since we boarded the bus on Friday night and checked in at about 12noon on Saturday. Taking a flight would have meant a similar time for check-in.
Bus tickets for 2 = 1500
Plane tickets for 2 = 6952
Taxi from Airport to home = 250
Hotel: We looked at both AirBnB and hotels as options. We have never used AirBnB until now and at least I was looking forward to the experience. But we found a great deal for a hotel in Calangute. This was about more than a Km from the beach, but this was ok since we were planning to hire a vehicle. Cleartrip had a great deal and I had a INR3500 voucher that I could use.
Hotel for 4 nights = 6100
Local Travel: We took an auto for a drop to the hotel from the bus drop off point. We walked to Calangute beach on Saturday. So no expenses on day 1. For the remaining 4 days, we hired an Activa. This was from a shop recommended by the hotel and was about 10 meters from the hotel and very convenient. Other shops we enquired from near the beach quoted higher rates. Some shops had a weird rule that we needed to return the vehicle every night and pick it up again in the morning. The shop we hired from had no such rule and was the most convenient. We hired a car to drop us at the airport on Wednesday. The guy who hired out the Activa quoted 1500 but our hotel booked a cab from the same guy at a cheaper rate. Asking around really helped in both counts.
Auto from drop-off point to hotel: 250
Active for 4 days = 300 * 4 = 1200
Petrol for Active = 250
Car from hotel to airport = 1200
Food: My wife like to try out need items and had a list of places she wanted to try. This generally meant we ate dinner at restaurants. We did save a bit by having breakfast at cheaper outlets. We saved on lunch 1 day by ordering from a cheaper outlet near the hotel and another day by skipping since we weren’t hungry – courtesy a breakfast and a snack + tea an hour later. We did try some cocktails and the local cashew feni while in Goa.
Breakfast for 4 days = 800
Lunch for 5 days = 3500
Snack for 5 days = 500
Dinner for 5 days = 4000
Entertainment: We visited a club – Love Passion Karma. Since we entered as a couple the charges were 1500 for the both of us. We experienced parasailing and this cost us about 1500. We had planned to visit one of the floating casinos, but cancelled when we went to the reception and learnt the cheaper packages were not available. Deltin had packages available upward of 5000 per person and the others did not have as good a package as the cheaper one at Deltin.
The total trip cost came up to 29500. I am thrilled to see that our travel and stay costs were much below expectation. We could have saved a couple of thousands if we had had lunch and dinner at cheaper outlets, but the trade-off was ok for us. We could have also taken a bus from hotel to airport and saved another thousand there, but we heard reports of huge traffic jams the previous day and decided to play it safe. I had a figure in my mind of about 30000 for the trip when we started planning this and am happy we managed to stick within this.
All our travel in Goa was confined to the North. The beach we liked best was Mardem in the far North. This had just about 10 tourist, though with a lot of beach facing ‘resorts’. We were lucky that we decided on the spur to visit this beach when we were returning from Chapora fort. We would like to go back and stay in a similar beach at a later date.
The other vacation was during Diwali to visit the In-laws. We had to pay only for the flight tickets and taxis from and to the airports. The only other expense was shopping for the Mrs. and some local sweets and snacks for us to bring back home. Sandwiched in-between was a trip back home for a family emergency. Ticket cost for both trips was higher than normal since it was Diwali for the 1st and an emergency booking for the 2nd. The good thing is that with our savings rate we can afford expenses like these without a second thought. At the end of the day spending time with family is most important.
Did you travel recently? How did you spend less money?