The Kumars, a city-based family of four, had been planning a vacation for more than two months. But they booked their air tickets and hotel for their Singapore holiday for which they leave May 27, only this week.
“With everyone in the family working, it was difficult to coordinate our leave from office,” said Payal Kumar, an advertising professional whose parents and younger sister too have high-pressure jobs. Surprisingly, the family bagged “reasonable” booking rates despite the last-minute reservations.
With family members juggling their respective demanding office commitments, families such as the Kumars would often be deprived of the luxury of planning a vacation in advance to avail discounted tickets and hotel bookings. However, now even last minute bookings for vacations to nearby foreign destinations such as Malaysia, Dubai and Singapore are proving light on the wallet.
“Airfares and hotel rates to these destinations are still quite reasonable,” said Jay Bhatia, western region chairman of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). For instance, a four-day trip to Thailand for the coming week inclusive of airfare and a three-star hotel stay is available for Rs 30,000 per person, which is the normal holiday season rate.
Countries offering visa on arrival are most popular among late planners. Those holding long-term European tourist visas too are making last minute travel plans. “Hotel rates in London are exorbitant but that did not affect our plans because we have many relatives in the UK,” said Ekta Tanna, a middle level executive with an audit firm in south Mumbai.
Amongst late vacationers households, with kids are going for shorter trips compared to upwardly mobile working couples. “Working couples prefer tours longer than a week while families with kids sticking to shorter trips,” said another Fort-based travel agent.