Friday, January 29, 2010

Air passengers support 'fat tax', survey finds

A survey of more than 550 people has found that fewer than one in four would object to a 'fat tax' being imposed to charge heavier customers more for their seat.

More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents supported the proposal, which could lead to extra comfort on a flight to Cairo, Dubai, or short-haul to continental Europe.

Barry Smith, director and co-founder of Skyscanner, says: "On one hand, it's not unreasonable for airlines to charge passengers extra if they occupy more than one seat."

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Enjoy the Elephanta Festival on holidays to Mumbai

Flights to Mumbai in February will allow holidaymakers and sightseers to attend the city's Elephanta Festival.

Held each year near the Elephanta Caves, this night-time event allows people to party beneath the stars while taking in the spectacle of the World Heritage site located just across Mumbai harbour.

As well as adding an atmospheric touch to the proceedings, this is also a unique opportunity to see the caves in the dark - an experience not normally available to visitors.

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Travellers advised on protecting tourism sites

Travellers have been advised on how to prepare for holidays in sites of historical or natural significance, to ensure that they do not cause unnecessary damage to the regions that they visit.

Anyone planning flights to India, for example, may be interested to hear that the 'golden city' of Jaisalmer is on the critical list of endangered tourism hotspots compiled by Wanderlust.

However, that need not dissuade people keen to visit the attraction from booking flights to India in order to do so.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Commonwealth Games comes to town – New Delhi

The much coveted Commonwealth Games’ nineteenth edition in 2010 is scheduled to be held in New Delhi, between 3rd October and 14th October 2010.

The event will be the biggest sporting extravaganza to be conducted in New Delhi after the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982. The 2010 edition of the Commonwealth Games will be the first one to be held in India and the second time to be held in Asia after 1998. The opening ceremony of this prestigious event will be held in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi which will be all spruced up for the event.

The estimated expenditure for hosting the 19th Commonwealth is US$ 1.6 billion and this excludes ancillary development expenditure in the city like airports, roads and other structures. This makes the 2010 Commonwealth Games as the most costly Commonwealth Games ever.

You are in for a big surprise if you are visiting Delhi after a gap of a couple of years. The national capital, which has always sported all bearings of a modern city, has undergone a sea change in wake of the commonwealth games thereby joining the league of some of the ultra modern world cities. To brace themselves for the gigantic influx of visitors travelling to Delhi throughout the Games, authorities have taken numerous steps to advance the city.

Indeed, the most notable changes are seen in the city’s otherwise deteriorating infrastructure which has received a new lease of life. The city now boasts one of the most sophisticated airports in the world, a world class metro rail system and a highly advanced road transport, spruced up parks and gardens, new landmarks, stadiums, Games Village, and a new look for the Connaught Place, the heart of the city! The list of new projects that have been undertaken in the run up to the games is actually endless with the city’s populace singing praises as most of the projects are near completion and many of them have already been put to test in the recent international events held in the city.

The city is all geared up to pull the curtains to the Commonwealth Games with a grand opening ceremony sure to leave memories to cherish.

Holidaymakers advised to shop around for travel insurance

Holidaymakers should look at a number of different travel insurance products before taking out a policy, it has been suggested.

Abta - The Travel Association spokesman Sean Tipton stated that "it's always good advice" to shop around in order to find out what deals are available, however, people do need to be wary as the "levels of cover on offer can vary quite drastically".

For this reason, he recommended that consumers ensure their decisions are not solely informed by price, as sometimes cheaper policies will not provide the level of cover that is needed.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tips to reduce the cost of your travel to India

If you are amongst those who travel frequently to India and are tired of looking for cheaper fares then here is some help for you to slash your travel costs.

Flexibility is the key if you want to keep you travel costs low. Unless on a tight schedule, try to be flexible with the date as well as the time of your flight. Tickets on early morning or late night flights are usually cheaper as fewer people prefer to fly during these unearthly hours.

Try flying mid-week instead of weekends as many airlines charge a weekend surcharge. The weekend surcharge is applicable separately for each leg of your travel – outbound and inbound. Opting for connecting flights is always an economical option instead of flying direct. But ensure that you fulfil the set transit criteria relating to your nationality and visas while booking a flight which involves a connection as certain countries have stringent norms for such transition or connection. If you are looking for cheap flights to India from Europe, Australia or America then a connecting flight from Middle East, Bangkok, or Colombo that lands in any major Indian city will surely prove to be a lot cheaper.

Flying by the carriers of the destination country is a good idea as there are generally less taxes levied on tickets of these airlines. The Indian carriers that operate flights to India from the UK are Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher. By enrolling in frequent flyer programs of your preferred airline you can redeem the points earned to buy free tickets or holidays. Another smart idea to lower your travel cost to India is to purchase the tickets them from the web portals of airline consolidators who buy tickets in bulk and sell at discounted rates. It would be sensible to avoid booking tickets on dates which coincide with any important national holiday or religious festival as most passengers would want to travel on these days leading to a spike in ticket prices.

Even the choice of airport has a bearing on the price of your air-ticket. If you choose a lesser known airport for your arrival and departure then that would also translate into significant cash savings. If it’s not urgent, try booking your tickets a few weeks in advance to get the best rates. Do not procrastinate at any cost; grab an exciting deal as soon as you see it flashing on your screen either as a banner advertisement or as a clickable link and ensure that you keep the print out of your confirmation code safely till you embark on your journey. Delay in these matters would prove to be costly as these blink-and you-miss it deals will vanish by the time you return from your tea break.

If you happen to be a frequent flyer to India then getting email updates about the latest offers would help you get the best deals all throughout the year. A little bit of smart work would enable you to slash your travel budgets significantly and help you make the most of your vacation. Good luck in your search!

Spa break offers alternative for holidays to Goa

Those looking for something different from their holidays to Goa may find a suitable option in the form of a spa break.

Jane Dunford wrote for the Observer of the seven days she spent on retreat in the Indian destination and said while it might not fit some people's idea of a vacation - such as seeing the sights and enjoying lots of the local cuisine - it may be precisely what others are after.

"If you want to escape from the world for a while and come back refreshed with some helpful health tips, it could be for you," she commented.

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Travellers offered tips on currency exchange

Pre-paid currency cards could be a wise choice for those heading off on holidays to Australia, it has been suggested.

Donald Strachan wrote for the Daily Telegraph this week that there is the potential to make savings through this type of plastic, which are also easy to obtain, simple to use and offer the same level of security as a credit card - although consumers should watch out for charges.

Most prepaid cards are available in euros and US dollars, but other denominations can be found. According to MyTravelCash, the popularity of Travelex's Cash Passport Visa surged when it began to offer Australian dollars and additional currencies.

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Older travellers 'just as adventurous' as younger counterparts

People in their later years are becoming increasingly likely to jet off and explore the world, it has been revealed.

Rather than opting for the obvious choices, older travellers are just as likely to book flights to India or Thailand as their younger counterparts, according to Real Gap.

Lauren Mackay, marketing manager with the company, commented: "They want to see parts of the world that once upon a time were off the beaten track and not as easily or safely traversed."

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Things to do During Easter

Easter, the triumph of good over evil and life over death heralds the advent of spring after a long bleak winter. Almost every school breaks up for a long Easter vacation, making it the perfect time to plan your holiday getaway. It may be a good idea to hop on to one of the flights to India, especially because spring is the best time to explore this religious mystical country’s world famed mountain destinations.

If travel is not on top of your mind, there are myriad other ways to celebrate Easter. Remember those days, when you went hunting for the colourful Easter Eggs that your mom hid in the garden! Easter vacations are the perfect opportunity to recreate those times with your kids. Nowadays, you can even buy candies shaped like Easter eggs.

One can plan a traditional Easter breakfast of boiled eggs along with other families or a lavish dinner with the highlight being the scrumptious roast lamb and baked potatoes. For tea, don’t forget the mouth watering Simnel cake complete with the eleven marzipan balls representing Christ’s eleven true disciples.

Those who would prefer outdoor pursuits can head to any part of the country for a bout of hilarious or unique Easter celebrations – be it the horse parade in Ardingly, West Sussex, the colourful Nutters Dance in BACUP, Lancashire, World Coal Carrying Championship in Gawthorpe, Yorkshire, the Uppies and Downies game in Uprington, Cumbria, Egg jarping in County Durham, or the Hocktide Festival in Hungerford, Berkshire.

A tip for those who have accepted my advice of exploring the mystical land of India this Easter would be to include in their itinerary a visit to the enchanting seven-sister states of the north east which boast a combination of an interesting culture and immense natural grandeur. Also, book your cheap flights to India now as you would find numerous airlines offering cheap fares.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spice up holidays to Kerala with Indian cookery courses

Anyone who is booking flights to Kerala and wondering what they could do once they reach the area may be interested in some recommendations made by one travel publication.

Wanderlust magazine suggested that anyone visiting the region should take one of the gourmet curry cookery courses and spice up their trip.

Those staying in northern Kerala may want to seek out Ayesha Manzil, a villa in Tellicherry, Malabar, where a specialist chef can pass on the secrets behind Kerala Muslim cuisine.

According to the magazine, "guests will concoct dishes fit for a Malabari feast, from seafood curries and rice dishes to tasty desserts".

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Health and Safety advise for Travel to India

India is one exotic destination that every one craves to explore once in a lifetime. However, in your excitement to visit this enchanting country, do not let health and safety take a backseat. To minimize the impact of any unfortunate eventuality, remember to buy travel insurance.

The airplane is a breeding ground for air borne infections as the air you breathe in is re-circulated. Protect yourself with a face mask and ignore those smirks. Although airlines have set stringent health checks at the international airports in view of the recent strike of the deadly swine flu virus which resulted in a tremendous loss of life across the globe, the face masks are highly recommended.

Travelling soon after surgery is not advisable as the atmospheric pressure changes onboard the flight can disturb the healing process. Cabin pressure also worsens symptoms of flu, sinus infection, or head cold. Apply petroleum jelly to your nasal region. It reduces extra tenderness.

It is advisable to inform the cabin crew of any health conditions that you may have. They would know what to do if some emergency arises. Carry a bag load of your prescription medicines. You may not get them anywhere else in the world.

Skip alcohol on a flight as the diuretic effect of alcohol along with the dry recycled airplane air make for a lethally potent combination. In fact, try to carry your own food. Airline food is often known to be very high on sugar and calorie content.

To avoid incessant ear pain on those long flights to India, chew gum, drink plenty of water and swallow often. While drinking water will keep you properly hydrated, chewing gum and swallowing often will take care of ear pain and blockage. This will also exercise your facial muscles.

In addition, blink as much as possible because the dry air sucks out moisture from your eyes. Stretch yourself and try walking at regular intervals. Be sure to exercise your calf muscles. This will not only wrinkle out those irritating cramps and the stiffness, but may very well save your life from a pulmonary aneurism resulting from a blood clot in the leg.

Blame it to the climatic conditions or the lack of community will, India is still home to malaria despite continuous efforts of its eradication. Mosquitoes thrive in the unhygienic conditions that are, in many parts of the country, a bitter reality. Protect yourself by consulting your GP and getting all the required immunizations and vaccinations at least a couple of months before you travel as certain vaccines take up to 6 weeks to reach optimal performance.

Getting hospitalised in India is one thing no tourist would want. However, in case you do land up in one, ensure that its one of the renowned hospitals. Also, in case you were not aware, India boasts highly advanced and high end medical infrastructures and education and training of its doctors. Needless to say, many doctors educated and trained in Indian universities make great careers in countries round the globe.

The list of precautions is endless. If you have taken all the necessary health & safety precautions, then just relax. Board your flight to India and enjoy your India holiday! One last piece of advice though - keep your GP’s number handy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kolkata Tourist Spots

Flanked by River Hooghly, ‘The City of Joy’, as Kolkata is called, blew my imagination with its own brand of charm. Extremely helpful and friendly people personify the soul of this city. Arguably India’s best spot for cheap and scrumptious food, Kolkata also teems with numerous attractions – old and new.

Curious about the Raj days? Visit the grand Victoria Memorial with its opulent display of Moughal and European architecture and colonial artefacts. Another Raj remnant is The Botanical Gardens, founded by the East India Company. Largest in India, this garden is an oasis of peace amid Kolkata’s bustle. The Park Street Cemetery, where Kolkata’s founder Job Charnock rests along with British martyrs invokes nostalgia for a rich past.

The bygone era’s sinfully rich nawabi splendour assails one at the Marble Palace, where priceless antiques, including Joshua Reynolds and Rubens masterpieces adorn the walls. Shoppers have a tough time deciding where to go. Options are many – Park Street with its age old food joints and shops, Swabhumi, Central Cottage Industries Emporium and Dakshinapan to name a few. Culture throbs at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Nandan Complex.

Hindu religious fervour reaches crescendo at Kalighat’s Kalibari and at Sagar Island’s Gangasagar Mela. The highly acclaimed St. Paul’s Cathedral, Belur Math and Dakhnineshwar Temple also offer an intoxicating religious high but in a much more relaxed manner. Kolkata is probably among the last few places in the world where hand pulled rickshaws and trams still ply.

An unforgettable highlight of my trip was the visit to Sunderbans Delta, a natural habitat of man eating tigers. Exploration and sightseeing during the day, followed by an electrifying nightlife or an evening of downing drinks at a bar with garrulous locals makes you fondly reflect on the phrase that Kolkata is a city of joy.

Malaysia Airlines offering cheap flights in sale

Travellers seeking cheap flights to Australia could be in luck with Malaysia Airlines' latest sale.

Starting on January 23rd, passengers will be able to book seats for flights to Thailand, Australia and India, among other destinations for bargain prices.

Holidaymakers could pick up flights to Australia for £679 or to find fares to a range of south-east Asian destinations from £579.

The discounted prices are available on flights before March 26th or between April 4th and June 30th this year.

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Jet Airways launches new flights to Delhi

Anyone booking flights to India may be interested to learn that Jet Airways has launched a new route between Doha and Delhi.

The Indian carrier will now operate daily flights to Delhi from the city in Qatar.

Its latest route will complement existing services that fly from the Qatari capital to Mumbai and Kochi.

For British travellers, the operation from Doha to Delhi could provide a useful connection for those heading for holidays to India.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book with travel agents and relax!

For the uninitiated, a travel agency is a retail business that sells airline tickets, holiday packages and other travel related products like car rentals, cruise vacations, hotel rooms, and railway tickets to those desirous of seeking either a business or leisure trip or both.

The travel agency business flourished with the booming commercial aviation starting 1920. The travel agency business has undergone a sea change since then with the new technology and host of innovative ideas being adopted by the key players. Internet has indeed been the biggest change that the industry has seen which has presented a whole gamut of travel services to the traveller at the click of the button!

Today, by accessing major computerized databases like Sabre, Amadeus, Galileo and Worldspan, travel agencies are able to counsel the customers on the best available fares for flight tickets and provide them with the same. These online tools also known as Global Distribution System (GDS) help agents book and sell airline tickets, hotels, car rentals and offer travel related services.

Besides this, travel websites allow tourists to compare hotel and flight rates offered by multiple travel service providers for free. They also provide tourists with the added functionality of comparing holiday packages by amenities, cost, and proximity to a town or landmark. There are a plenty of travel houses and agencies which have integrated these functionalities into their online portals and are offering superior travel services.

Some travel agents turn into airline consolidators on the strength of their network which they have developed over the years. These Airline consolidators and other kinds of wholesalers are high capacity sales businesses that focus in trading to ethnic niche markets. Sometimes their services are blended into holiday packages that encompass airport transfers to the destination and lodging. Some of these businesses may not generally deal directly with the public and may proceed as wholesalers to small time agencies and fledgling travel service companies.

A holidaymaker booking package tours can immensely benefit from buying a holiday package from an ATOL licensed travel company and avoid any bitter experiences of losing money or getting stranded in a foreign country in the event such a travel company goes bust while you are on your holiday. The Air Traveller Organiser’s Licence is a financial protection scheme offered by the Civil Aviation Authority. Holidaymakers can easily check on the internet if the travel company they are dealing with has an ATOL.

Travelling to India 'is very accessible'

The availability of cheap flights to India has made it easier for more people to explore the country, one travel expert has stated.

Simon Calder, travel writer and presenter, commented: "There's some great opportunities to explore, probably going east so you get the best value. India is very accessible in terms of airfares."

He noted that the standard backpacker round-the-world trip is no longer obligatory, as cheaper flights allow people to tailor their trips to what they want rather than follow a standard route.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Celebrate Easter in India

As schools break up this year for the Easter hols in April, you may want to take your family to a far away exotic destination, which does not burn a hole in your pocket. If this is the story with you, I would suggest that you look East this Easter. Sounds familiar? Yes, I am talking about that easily affordable exotic destination called India.

Years of colonial rule has left its mark on the country. The nation’s secular character combined with its Christian population has ensured that festivals like Easter are celebrated with pomp and show. This is especially true for Christian dominated areas like the premiere beach destination of Goa, the glittering city of Mumbai, alluring Kerala and other Southern regions, and the beautiful seven sisters (an epithet for the virginal North Eastern states of states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura). In fact, Christmas and Good Friday are national holidays in the country. So, you can rest assured that during your Easter hols in India, you won’t miss the English celebrations back home.

By booking your flights to India during Easter, you can look forward to a delightful hotch potch of celebrations, as practices and conventions of Indian Christians differ from region to region. Perhaps, Goa is India’s best Easter holiday spot. This entertaining city with its long erstwhile Portuguese lineage turns into riot of fun during Easter. Fun and frolic spills out on the streets, where singing, dancing, and street plays further add to the charm of this magnificent destination. Colourful carnivals become the order of the day and a host of Easter games keep everyone in the best of spirits.

A celebratory fervour engulfs the Christian community from Lent and finally reaches its peak on Easter Sunday. There is no end of hearty lunch, dinner, and Easter parties. People flock to the churches in hordes, where colourful rituals and holy prayers reach a booming crescendo. Usually, parents do not decorate Easter eggs for their children, but buy the same from gift shops. Easter bunnies also sell out in dozens. There is an overwhelming spirit of sharing as smiling happy people exchange gifts after the church service. Besides the holy cross, colourful lanterns also count among the favourite Easter gifts in India. Almost every Christian household bakes mouth watering Easter cakes or at least buys one.

This is also the time when you can look forward to the best deals in shopping and accommodation. Many of the hotels adorn a colourful look with Easter theme parties, while the airlines do their bit by operating cheap flights to India. So, wish you a memorable Easter in India.

Holidaymakers 'rely on reviews when booking trips'

Many British travellers seek feedback from other holidaymakers online to help them decide on destinations and hotels, new research has revealed.

According to, 79 per cent of UK tourists said that they are happy to base holiday decisions on the opinions of fellow travellers that are posted online.

The study also found that people are more likely to trust the recommendations of total strangers than of their friends and family.

However, many respondents did state that they will use a variety of sources before making a final choice about a holiday or hotel.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goa – A perfect Beach Getaway

Dotted with pristine beaches, Goa’s coastal areas are mesmerizing indeed. The beaches are ideal for water sports or plain lazing around in a shack with scrumptious sea food and chilled bear. Start your beach itinerary with the hot favourite Anjuna beach, where you can party throughout the night or pick tremendous bargains at the weekly flea market.

For a dose of history along with beachside revelry head to the white sandy Sinquerim beach. Remnants of the majestic Fort Aguada stand there. From here, you can take a long beach walk to the delightfully serene Candolim beach; perfect for a day of quiet sunning under a hired beach umbrella or gorging on excellent local cuisine. If the solitude becomes overbearing, then head to the nearby Calangute Beach called the ‘queen of beaches’. This beach is colourfully splashed with sunbathers, bustling beach markets and aromatic food stalls. It is wise to skip swimming here as the waters are treacherous. From here, you may move to the adjoining peaceful Baga beach, ideal for fishing. Baga is also considered one of the very few top-less Indian beaches.

To behold a splendid example of Christian architecture in Goa, head to the church of St. John the Baptist, which overlooks the Benaulim beach. For dolphin cruises, the Palolem with its epithet of ‘Paradise Beach’ proves perfect. This fishing beach also abounds with dirt cheap accommodation facilities.

There are scores of other exotic beaches – each with its own unique charm. As you exhaust yourself with Goa’s coastal wonders and your vacation draws to a close, rejuvenate yourself with a calm day at the virginal Agonda beach. As you swim on its crystal clear waters, you can clearly gaze into the ocean’s floor.

So just go ahead with your holidays and plan the entire tour, book your flights to Goa and enjoy life in the beaches hub of India. Goa is among the popular beach destinations worldwide and you must visit there once in a lifetime. Goa travel industry is booming in a fast tempo. You will find all luxurious facilities here from 7 star hotels to expert travel guides.

Mumbai 'is a city of a thousand worlds'

The metropolis of Mumbai is a city full of contrasts waiting to be discovered, one travel journalist has claimed.

Writing in the Times, Stanley Stewart commented that people on holidays to Mumbai should explore some of the city's neighbourhoods as well as following the tourist trail.

He said that the identifying features of Mumbai are its people rather than the buildings and suggested that travellers head off the beaten track to find the heart of the city.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Travellers 'underestimating holiday costs'

People who are considering booking holidays to Thailand to mark a special occasion have been warned to make sure they budget for all the costs the trip will entail.

New research released by travel insurance provider PJ Hayman has revealed that many people underestimate the cost of big holidays by as much as £1,500.

According to the company, gap year travellers are most likely to fall short, with 53 per cent of respondents estimating that such a trip will cost between £501 and £2,500.

However, revealed that the actual cost of this kind of trip is typically between £3,000 and £4,000.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Best Time to Travel in India

The best time to travel in India depends upon the location of the place you want to visit and the type of experience you are looking forward to. Though, flights to India are available throughout the year, most places are best visited during the winter months of October to February. This is the time when Mother Nature envelops the scenic hill regions in a carpet of snow.

Goa and other beach destinations should also be visited during winters when the sun, sand and sea are pleasantly warm. This hot favourite destination further shoots in popularity on New Year’s Eve, when an overwhelmingly festive aura lures tourists in hordes. South India, with its captivating sights and serene backwaters is best visited during December and January, when the retreating monsoon refreshingly cools up the belt. Similar is the story with Mumbai and other spots of Maharashtra. Winters are also the right time for exploring famed Northern Indian destinations like Delhi and Rajasthan.

Escape to the hills during the intense summer months of April to September. In fact, some of the hill destinations become totally snowed up and inaccessible during winters. Uttarakhand’s Valley of Flowers becomes a riot of colours. Summers are also ideal for trekking the Himalayas. The arduous climb to the famous Kedarnath shrine of Uttarakhand offers a great tame trekking experience. Innumerable hill stations like Ooty, Darjeeling, Nainital, Gangtok and Shimla spoil tourists and locals for choice during summers when the sun god is at his unholy worst.

During festivals, the country bursts into a colourful milieu. Venerable Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, Pushkar Mela (the cattle fair of Rajasthan), Lohri (a festival of the flamboyant Punjabi community) Christmas, the New Year, and the Republic Day to name a few, are celebrated with zeal.

A word of caution before you embark on your journey. ‘Pan India flights are so high in numbers that you will be boggled with an infinite choice of holiday packages’ and cheap flights to India destinations. So, get, set and go…

Singapore Airlines voted favourite by travellers

Anyone who is looking for flights to India or Australia may want to consider travelling with Singapore Airlines after the carrier received a host of industry awards in 2009.

In a global survey conducted by the Official Airline Guide (OAG), the company came top among frequent business travellers.

It also received the accolade of OAG airline of the year for the seventh time at the organisation's industry awards in 2009.

Other notable successes include being named the best global airline for the 21st consecutive year in a poll of readers of the Conde Nast Traveller and being rated as the best Asian airline in the Business Traveller UK Reader's Poll Awards.

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Adventure holidays 'will remain popular this year'

Adventure holidays will not lose their appeal among British tourists this year, one industry specialist has commented.

Alun Davies, editor at Adventure Travel Online Magazine, explained that for many, adventure trips are a passion or hobby rather than just a holiday.

"People who go on adventure-type holidays - whether it's hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, that type of thing - they are enthusiasts so it will be the last thing they cut out," he said.

Mr Davies also stated that he expects the market for this kind of trip to expand as more and more thrill-seeking travellers jet off around the world.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

New planes for Qatar Airways

People taking flights to Mumbai and other exotic locations with Qatar Airways could soon be doing so on new planes as the carrier has taken delivery of four new aircraft.

Two Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft and two Airbus A320s joined the airline's rapidly-growing fleet, taking it up to 76 aircraft.

Chief executive of the group Akbar Al Baker said that the acquisitions represent the airline's determination to improve its fleet size while providing the latest inflight features.

"Today's consumer is becoming more demanding and, we at Qatar Airways, recognise the need to remain at the forefront of the aviation industry by flying modern aircraft and offer the best levels of comfort and inflight amenities," he added.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Delhi Metro – New Delhi Attraction

Being a microcosm of people from all nationalities, Delhi, in recent years is reinventing itself into an international city. One of the ingredients which make the city a truly world class city is the Delhi Metro. Commuters in Delhi never had it so good. They now have one more commuting option to travel in national capital territory - an option that is safe, comfortable, environment and pocket-friendly.

Metro has come as a blessing with the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which the city is hosting, being just round the corner. The Metro system is as much a boon to the tourists for exploring the city as it is for the city’s denizens to meet their daily travel needs. Built in keeping with the international standards and using the cutting edge technology from across the globe, Metro has put Delhi in the league of world cities which have a smart, efficient and eco-friendly transport system.

Since independence, dependent on the creaky transport system offered by Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhi administration moved towards privatisation with the introduction of bluelines. The transition was like going from the frying pan to the fire as Blue line buses proved to be lethal for the safety of passengers. Driven by greed, blue line drivers had scant regard for the safety and security of pedestrians and passer-by’s.

Metro has provided a new lease of life to the city and a breath of fresh air to those who wanted a quick and fast mode of transportation. Slickly designed trains slicing through the heart of the city is a sight to behold.

The metro has provided the much needed relief from the clutches of Blue lines for those who cannot afford their own means of transport. In fact, the metro has been built in response to a cry from environmentalists who insisted that there was an urgent need to shift masses from private to public transport if the air in the city had to be clean, healthy and fit for humans. The Delhi Metro, is one of the few steps towards making Delhi a cleaner, greener city which we all will be proud of in the times to come.

India – A Globetrotter’s Delight

So, you have decided to tour India. Bravo! This country will spoil you for choice with its myriad exotic locales. Hill enthusiasts can pick from South India’s picturesque Ooty and numerous other spectacular spots to Northern India’s tremendously beautiful destinations like Manali, Srinagar, Gulmarg, Mussourie – the list goes on. In skiing, Gulmarg is among the top five global skiing destinations. Don’t miss the riot of colours at the ‘Valley of Flowers’ or the adrenalin soaring white water rafting at Rishikesh, which bewitched all – from Sir Edmund Hillary to Brad Pitt.

Recreate colonial times at the little known quaint town of McCluskey Ganj. This erstwhile nation of snake charmers also satiates the spiritualist. Mythology, complete with fakirs and sadhus comes alive at the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh and Benaras among other myriad cultural hot spots. See the images of Kamasutra carved in the stone sculptures of Khajuraho. From the ‘Char Dham Yatra’ of the Himalayas to the Durgah at Ajmer and scores of mosques, temples and churches – it is easy to lose yourself in a religious frenzy.

Beach enthusiasts would do well to visit the former Portuguese settlement of Goa. The sun kissed beaches are perfect for water sports or sheer lazing around. Superb cuisine tantalises the gourmet.

Heard of Jim Corbett, the famous British hunter who became a terror for man eating tigers and leopards in India during colonial times? Explore his hunting grounds on a jungle safari to the Corbett National Park. The Sunderbans Delta with its man eating Royal Bengal Tigers and the Kanha National Park are further jungle destinations among many others.

India stuns with its plethora of sights, smells, tastes and heart touching people. In this land of contradictions, you might actually see a bullock cart and a Jaguar vying for space in a narrow street.

A Guide to Acquire your Visa for your travel from the UK to India

Getting a visa for your travel from the UK to India is not too difficult. Here is a step wise guide based on my personal experience to help you in case you need a visa to visit India. The first step is to download the visa form from the website of High Commission of India. After carefully filling up the form, get two passport size photographs and visit one of the Indian consulates. In London, it is the India House, Aldwych. Before visiting the Consulate, check out the official holidays listed on the web site, lest you end up there on an off day. Be sure to carry the sum required for your Visa application in cash as credit cards or cheques are not accepted.

Be prepared for long queues. It is advisable not to visit right after a holiday as the queues can be longer than usual. To beat the queue, it is essential to arrive early. The later you arrive, the longer you will have to wait. In fact, being too late may mean that you will fail to get your visa on the same day. Altogether, you have to stand in three queues.

The first queue is right outside India House. When you reach your turn, you need to show the clerk that you have a valid passport. In return, the clerk gives you a queue number or numbers. This depends upon the number of visa or passport applications made by you.

Armed with your queue number, you need to join the second queue upstairs. Take the stairs and head to the main room. The current queue number is displayed in a corner of the room, along with an alphabet from A to E. The display panel flashes from A1 to E99. Go to a window, when your queue number is flashed. Hand over your passport, passport photos, application money and application. You will be provided with a receipt containing your queue number, which would be the same as before. Your passport won’t be returned as it would be required for visa processing.

Now, you will be asked to wait. If everything is in order, your number would be called out pretty soon. The moment you hear your number, go to window 1 and collect your passport. Your visa would be inside your passport. When they ask you to check the details, do it carefully. After all, you need to be absolutely certain that there are no discrepancies concerning your passport number and the dates of your planned trip.

Once you have acquired the visa, it is advisable to make few copies of it to help you in case you need them. You can now set on your search for some suitable flights to India.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Virgin Atlantic voted one of the top five airlines

Virgin Atlantic was named as the second best airline by business travellers who were surveyed ahead of the Business Travel and Meetings Show due to be held in February.

Top spot was taken by British Airways, while Emirates, Singapore and Lufthansa completed the top five.

People booking flights to India with Lufthansa may be pleased to hear that the carrier was bestowed the honour of the world's greenest airline by respondents to the survey.

The German operator also performed well in the customer service category, where it came third.

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News Media

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Malaysia Airlines offers cheap flights to India

Malaysia Airlines has announced that it is holding a sale on flights to south-east Asia and Australasia to mark the beginning of the new decade.

Passengers who are looking for cheap flights to warmer climes this winter may want to investigate the carrier's routes and availability before booking.

The sale will run from January 2nd to 18th, with return fares to south-east Asia starting from £519 and prices of £639 on offer for return routes to Australasian destinations.

Dates of travel must fall between April 15th and May 31st if passengers want to take advantage of the deals.

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Air passengers offered advice about luggage restrictions

People who have booked flights to Thailand and other exotic destinations over the coming months may be interested in the advice offered by one news publication about luggage allowances and restrictions.

Following the latest changes to airport security, the Daily Mail has provided travellers with some helpful tips about how to make their airport experience a smooth one.

In terms of baggage allowances, it stated that 20 kg per person is usually standard but added that there are exceptions so it is advisable to check with your airline before you fly.

Some of the greatest confusion arises about what products are allowed in hand luggage.

The news provider explained that 100ml containers of liquids can be taken in carry-on items, as long as they can all fit into one small plastic bag which must be scanned separately.

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Brits 'opting for foreign holidays in 2010'

After a year of credit crunch gloom and chilly staycations, it seems that Brits are keen to pack their bags and jet abroad.

Research carried out by Simonseeks revealed that 56 per cent of people are planning to shun domestic breaks in favour of foreign holidays over the coming year.

Half of those polled said they would gladly sacrifice every day luxuries in order to pay for their flight to Australia or elsewhere.

The website's founder Simon Nixon said the findings demonstrate a real desire among the British public to travel.

"Staycation was the buzz word of 2009 but it seems that 2010 will be more about a compromise culture, with people giving up short-term benefits to ensure they can afford that holiday abroad," he added.

Figures releases recently by Skyscanner revealed that Spain, Thailand, Australia and the US are likely to be popular destinations with British holidaymakers over the coming year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sugababe jets off for holiday in Goa

Sugababe Heidi Range headed off for a romantic break to Goa with her boyfriend Dave Berry this new year.

The 26-year-old songstress decided to leave her fellow band mates in Barbados in favour of an Indian holiday, according to the Press Trust of India.

Amelle Barrabah, one of the other Sugababes, wrote about Heidi's departure for the country on her Twitter page just before New Year's Eve.

Other celebrities have been drawn to the Asian country to escape the cold this winter, including comedian Russell Brand and his pop star girlfriend Katy Perry.

The couple, who are currently staying in Rajasthan, visited the Taj Mahal during their trip.

Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra, the monument is among the Seven Wonders of the World.

The white marble palace took more than 20 years to build and was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife.

Monday, January 4, 2010

India Travel Menu

The exotic land of India with deep jungles, meandering rivers, looming mountains, time forgotten villages, haunting historical buildings, colonial architecture, countless vernaculars and excellent cuisines offers a bewildering array of exciting vacationing activities. If you are addicted to skiing and other winter sports, visit Gulmarg during December to April and at a fraction of the cost that one would incur at the Swiss Alps. Gulmarg also boasts world’s highest golf course. If beaches are your idea of fun, head to laidback Goa with its delightful Portuguese ambience or scenic Kerala. Definitely not to be missed is the world famous adrenaline pumping white water rafting on the raging currents of the Ganges at Rishikesh. This activity has seduced quite a few celebrities – Sir Edmund Hillary and Brad Pitt to name just two. With most airlines operating flights to India from Heathrow, visiting this destination is a breeze.

Step back into time at the Mathoor village of Karnataka. Here Sanskrit (supposed to be the world’s oldest language) is the language of choice. One can revisit shades of quaint colonial life at the sleepy hamlet of Jharkhand’s McCluskieganj. Watch Kamasutra coming alive in stone sculptures at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. The famous golden triangle tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is a wonderful lesson in history. Here, one gets the opportunity to behold the architectural wonders of the awe inspiring Red Fort and the magnificent Taj Mahal. Jaipur, known as the Pink City, is jam packed with havelis, forts, and other grand remnants of India’s rich royal past.

Hill lovers may have a tough time selecting a hill destination as there are so many of them. Every hill station outdoes the other – be it Kashmir, known as the Switzerland of India, or Darjeeling with its dazzling view of KanchanJunga, supposedly the world’s second highest mountain peak. Another rare treat is the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, a riot of colourful flowers and butterflies during the summer months of June to September.

India, with scores of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, is also a boon for wildlife enthusiasts. Just some of the most famous ones are The Corbett National Park, the Sunderbans Delta with its notorious man eating tigers, the Kaziranga Rhino Sanctuary, the Kanha National Park, and the Gir Forests, home to the Asiatic Lion, which is on the verge of extinction.

With innumerable temples and pilgrimages, India also acts as panacea to the soul who seeks solace in Eastern mysticism. Every Indian city will leave you with fond memories, be it the ‘City of Joy’ (Kolkata) or ‘City of Pearls’ (Hyderabad). In fact, India may well be your best bet if you want quality but cheap holidays.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tour to India - A travellers resolution for 2010

Spread across multiple longitudes, India is an ideal destination that showcases countless experiences to its visitors. Rolling meadows, snow-laden tops, sandy beaches, peaceful backwaters, India is a land where you can locate a unique combination of scenic landscapes and enchanting cities.

Be it the lovely beaches of Goa, the peaceful backwaters of Kerala, turtle nesting beaches of Andamans or the scenic hill stations of Coorg, Darjeeling, Kodaikanal, Manali, Nanital, Ooty, Shimla; tourist have many alternatives to enjoy a blissful holiday in India. The sheer range of entertainment, adventure and water sports alternatives one can indulge in is phenomenal.

Book your flight to India during the peak October to March season and as you embark on an exploratory tour of India you will be captivated by the sheer beauty and architectural brilliance of the forts, palaces and museums built during the medieval era. Stunning marble-white buildings with shimmering blue water pools, stone columns engraved with intricate carvings, decorative staircases with lamp streaming through the windows, the architectural splendour of the massive tombs, the valour displayed in its forts and the stunning elegance of its palaces are sure to enlighten you with the ebb and flow phases of the country’s prowess in the past.

Ancient temples which dot India’s landscape stand as gleaming instances of India’s cultural ethos and have weathered the ravages of time across a millennia. Embellished with awe-inspiring designs, several of the ancient temples have continually redefined temple architecture during their times. Take time to visit some splendid temples like Sun Temple at Knar, Khajuraho temples, Ajanta Caves, Brihadeshwara Temple and the Sanchi Stupa which have not merely found a position in the World Heritage menu but also stand as instances of India’s wealthy architectural heritage.

While on a tour of India take the time out to examine the sculptures and embellishments carved on these temples which would disclose interesting insights. The mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal in Agra or the Taj mahal is one of the architectural marvels of the world. The spell binding beauty of this grand mausoleum in white marble is sure to mesmerize your senses.

Venturing down south one can experience the beauty of the peaceful backwaters of Kerala and if time permits one can opt for a soothing, reassuring massage treatment at an Ayurvedic resort in Kerala. India, in my experience, is one place which shall brighten up your spirits and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

Trend for short breaks 'is over'

Short breaks are out and two-week holidays are back in fashion, it has been revealed.

Research carried out by found that the majority of Brits consider a long holiday abroad as an essential expenditure.

Of those polled, 81 per cent claimed they are planning to take a ten to 14-day break next summer.

However, 50 per cent said they will take currency exchange rates into consideration when choosing a destination.

Commenting on the findings, Alison Couper, communications director at, said: "People see their holiday as a right not a luxury and while they'll still be looking for a great deal, they are determined to get away to enjoy a well deserved break and some sunshine."

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Holidaymakers offered money saving advice

Brits planning to take holidays abroad and book flights to Thailand and elsewhere in 2010 have been offered some advice on how to reduce their costs.

According to Thomson and First Choice, there are a number of steps people can take to save money.

They noted that travellers should book their flights as early as possible, particularly if they intend to take a break during the school holidays.

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