Have you already started planning your summer holidays? If yes, then we have a tip for you. The budget for the domestic destination you have made may well accommodate an international destination this time, thanks to cheaper international airfares.
Check out leading travel portals, including Cleartrip.com, MakeMyTrip.com, Via.com and Expedia.com, and you will find that there are a few destinations overseas where you can fly for less as compared with domestic destinations.
We took five popular destinations in India, according to data received from Cleartrip.com, and found out international destinations that were cheaper than them in terms of airfares.
So if this year you were planning to fly to Srinagar, there are five cheaper international destinations that you can visit instead at a cheaper cost — Nepal, Singapore, Dubai, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In April end, fares for Srinagar between May 15 and May 25 were as high as Rs 22,580 as compared with R7,823 for Kathmandu, R14,799 for Singapore, Rs 16,460 for Dubai, Rs 16,522 for Colombo and Rs 17,504 for Bangkok.
If the Andamans and Nicobar Islands were on your plan, consider Dubai, Sri Lanka and Thailand, airfares for which are almost at par.
What’s with the airfares?
All airlines have raised their fares on busy domestic air routes by 10-25% even before the holiday season has begun.
Reason: The airlines are cashing in on the severely curtailed services of the ailing Kingfisher Airlines. Kingfisher has reduced its flights to 16 from 64. “The flight cancellations by crisis-struck Kingfisher is one of the reasons for the soaring prices,” said Biji Eapen, national president, IATA Agents Association of India.
Service tax has been increased from 10% to 12% which has added to the costs. “Airfares change as per the demand and supply forces affecting the market,” said Mohit Gupta, chief business officer, MakeMyTrip.com. “Besides there are external factors such as fuel charges and increased service tax that further hike airfares.”
The holiday demand has added to the misery for domestic flyers.
Why are international fares cheaper?
If you take a close look at the fares of international flights, you will notice that destinations such as Singapore, Bangkok, Kathmandu, Colombo and Dubai are much cheaper or on a par with popular domestic destinations. Flying to South East region and West Asia would turn out to be cheaper because fares to these regions have slumped.
“Prices to SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) are 30% lower than last year,” said Noel Swain, executive vice-president (supplier relations), Cleartrip. “This is because low-cost carriers have launched their services in these regions.”
Watch out for additional costs abroad
When travelling abroad, remember that airfares are not the only cost you have to bear.
Visa cost: Most foreign destinations that we have mentioned above are at an advantage here. While there is no visa requirement for Nepal and Thailand, you have to shell out for Singapore and Colombo.
Currency cost: Carrying money in the local currency is a must. In places like Kathmandu and Colombo, you will get currency benefit as the value of currency in these countries is less than the Indian rupee. But if you plan to head to Singapore, Bangkok or Dubai, you will have to consider the additional expense. For every Singapore dollar, you will have to shell out Rs 42; every one Thai baht is worth Rs 1.7; every one dirham is worth Rs 14. You also need to consider currency conversion charges.
Sightseeing and hotel expense: This is a cost that could really pinch, depending on the kind of accommodation and mode of transport you are willing to take. You can use government tourism services for sightseeing as they are cheaper or hop on the local mode of transport.Insurance: In some countries, it is mandatory to take health insurance, which adds to your cost. But this one is important. "However, even if not compulsory, ensure that you take health insurance because if you fall ill abroad, the medical costs can mount significantly," said Veer Sardesai, a Pune-based financial planner. So work out your budget and we are sure at least one of the foreign destinations would fit into it.