Travelling Using the Cheapest Flights Available

Athens is the capital of Greece and happens to be among the world’s most popular destinations. Tourists and visitors flock to the city throughout the year to get in touch with the mysterious and mythical city which has a lot to offer to its visitors. The city has blossomed over the years attracting people from all parts of the world who want to get acquainted with it as well as to have a change of environment which can be a very good way of unwinding from their busy daily schedules.

The climate in Athens depends on the seasons and can vary from mild and pleasant to windy and rainy during certain times of the year. Summer months falling between June and August are the peak months of tourism in the city. This is the time most holiday-makers travel to the city, making it very hard to get cheap flights to the place. Some people like the heat that comes with summer especially those coming from the colder regions with the need to bask in the pleasant sunshine.

Autumn and winter months are the off peak season and can be termed as the most convenient time for people looking for cheap flight to travel. The cold weather that can be quite chilly and rainy does not attract many people hence the low travel rates as well as accommodation rates. If you are not too concerned about the weather, this is an ideal time to travel to this destination and still manage to cut the costs of your travel.

Other ways of catching cheap flights to Athens is by shopping around for the best deals available. There are various airlines and travel agents which offer very good flight rates even during the peak season, allowing you to travel within your budget limit. You can also take the advantage of holiday packages available and any discounts that could work to your advantage. It is important to be flexible with the times you wish to travel since the cheap deals you find could fall on odd days and times that you initially hadn’t thought of travelling in.

Travelling To Orchha In India

Not so long ago I spend a few days in one of my new favourite places in India, during a month long India trip!

I have been travelling to India many times now and have always loved getting away from the big, busy cities for some respite in a more rural idyll. The cities in India are vibrant and fascinating, but the hassle levels and general stress of city life do wear you down after a while. So after Delhi, Agra and Jaipur it was great to arrive in Orchha and get some real down time during my India travel adventure.

Orchha’s name actually translates to ‘hidden place’ which suits it well. Geographically and in Indian terms it is not far from Agra to Orchha, but it feels worlds away.

The train took me from Agra to Jansi station. It was then a short drive on to Orchha. The traffic decreased as we left the train station behind and suddenly there was peace all around with just the occasional car and bullock cart on the road.

My driver took me along roughly sealed roads and through town, past some simple but well maintained homes, in lovely Indian shades of aqua blue and parrot green. There were cows, goats and children wandering by, the occasional tractor, cyclist and sadhu. Life had definitely slowed down to a more languid and relaxed pace. Interesting and ancient ruins were strewn about the region and cropped up at the roadside at intervals.

I checked into my lovely hotel. It had the feel and style of a rambling old palace with courtyards, manicured gardens and very spacious rooms with traditional hand painted detail trimming the ceilings and around the light fittings. It had bags of character and personality and the staff were obviously happy and well looked after. I was only pestered by the ‘massage man’ who even came to the door of my room to offer his services for the 3rdtime! This was the extent of the hassle in Orchha as a lone female traveller other than the young man who wanted me to join him in his shop after dark! I declined, but bought some of his Khajuraho ‘dirty’ playing cards which inflamed his interest further before I departed. It was a joy to just to wander freely through quiet streets from the grounds of the hotel down to the banks of the river Betwa past vultures nesting in the ruined chhatris – a rare peaceful travel experience in India!

When I got to the riverside there was lots of activity; laundry drying on the boulders, a sadhu perched atop the highest boulder, people bathing and a narrow stone bridge across the river carrying a few vehicles, water buffalo and motorcyclists. It was a little tricky trying to get safely to the other side with an overloaded bus coming at you as there is no barrier between you and the water. The view back across the water in the late afternoon light was worth it – a real highlight of my India trip.

Orchha can get busy at times with Hindu pilgrims coming to worship at the temples mixed in with a few tourists on route from the Khajuraho temples or Varanasi. There is a relatively lively main square in the centre of town next to the brightly painted Ram Raja temple which used to be a palace. This is still a working temple, but there are nearby abandoned structures that you can enter for a small fee and climb up to get a great view across town and the surrounding landscape.

So, after a very enjoyable couple of days in Orchha I was suitably refreshed and ready to hit the busy streets and ghats of Varanasi as I continued on my India travel plan.

Traveling With a Parrot

I have read quite a few articles about traveling with a parrot and found out that there are all sorts of opinions regarding this subject. What is interesting is that, somehow, all of them are true. And when I say that I speak from experience because I know what it means traveling with a parrot, as far as I’m concerned, a cockatoo and eight budgies to be more precise.

Once every two months I get to take my umbrella cockatoo, Oswald, as well as my eight budgies, “load” them in my car and go to my parents’ home, which is about 170 miles away from the city I live in. And you know what? Every bird has its own personality, some like to travel, others don’t. If he is out of his cage, my cockatoo, for example, is always in a good mood and just stays perched on my boyfriend’s shoulder (that’s his favorite spot), looks out the window and “makes his beard” as we call it. He is usually calm during the whole voyage. However, if we keep him in his cage and it gets dark outside, he becomes restless and starts screaming. He hates being in the dark while traveling by car. Therefore, we always keep him out of his cage when we drive by night and so we encounter no problems.

As for the budgies, they are the happiest in their cage, all together they are as active as usual, chirping all the time, socializing one with the other. Always imperturbable.

So, my honest opinion is that birds are like people, each of them with their own moods. Some of them love to travel while others hate it, whereas in certain cases they are just unwilling to go away from home. I am sure the most important thing is to get to know your pet birds, get to understand them and so you shouldn’t have any problems traveling with a parrot. One very important thing, if you take your parrot for a longer drive and let him stay out of his cage during the voyage, do not feed him right before leaving the house because he is likely to throw up all over the place and you surely don’t want that to happen.

Why Travel Agents & Tour Operators Need To Focus On Authentic Local Experiences To Stay Competitive

The major elements comprising the generic destination competitiveness model helps to identify the key success factors of destination marketing. Among the many approximate set of indicators used to determine destination competitiveness, local experiences is one of the key points. Elaborate empirical as well as conceptual research points out the relative strengths and weaknesses of different tourism destinations, which can then be used to study the impact of local experiences on the travelers and vice versa.

The discerning travelers of today’s world love exploring unique experiences each destination has to offer and go much beyond staying in the top suite of hotels. Choosing the best dining options and spas has otherwise become passe. No online portal can take you to the hidden nuggets of the destination except the native folks. So, to match up with the millennials’ definition of travel, you need to indulge with the locals which is way beyond any packaged holiday or cookie-cutter options.

Blurring the borders of traditional definition of travel
It’s important for Travel Agents to realize that selling travel is actually selling happiness. Imbuing travel goals based on interaction with local people makes travel more meaningful than ever. Authenticity, simplicity, and culture are the new watchwords driving the growth of the travel tourism sector internationally. The evolution of the whole new travel genre is based entirely on indulging in local experiences. It is not about the best luxury experience but the intrinsic local touch will definitely add magic to the holiday memory. Remember that the most valued luxury is experience.

Present-day culture travelers have moved beyond the familiar environs and revel in the experience in itself. Clearly enough, tourists that like to break the mold are more interactive with local residents. This paradigm shift has not however, completely caught up with everyone yet. The focus of investments still remains on the traditional tourism-related components.

To create a layered travel experience, the hospitality industry is gradually promoting themselves as the portals for the local community. Although that might not be a necessity but local experience will definitely give a competitive advantage.

Blending national culture and heritage into luxury travel tours need careful planning and is bound to enhance tourist’s experience. Getting certified from the government tourism policies which include inter-cultural education policy helps to makes the travel agents’ outset more impressive.

Counter homogenization of the travel experience is the new clause of the tourism authorities. Embracing local cultural tourism will have an impressive lasting impact on travelers with like-minded outlook. Traditional vertical distribution chains among the travel providers has given way to complex value chains and thus in this increasingly competitive marketplace, providers need to seize every opportunity for competitive advantage. Collaborative advantage through local and government partnership is thus a new norm. Local culture and society has become an essential part of tourism value chain. The integrated inter-relationships between travel and other socio-economic sectors are now conceived as a ‘value network’.

Promoting Local Cuisine
Sustainable tourism, which is tantamount to responsible tourism, has been a major concern in the travel industry for the past couple of years. Experiencing the local culture largely contours around the traditional gourmet industry. Trying traditional food completes the cultural experience of the place. Talking of the economic aspect, if you are eating at McDonald’s, instead of benefiting the local community, a major chunk of it leaves the local socio-economic circle. The international traveler’s gang consist majorly the Western tourists and without much doubt, the need for Western food is always higher than the local recipes.

While traveling for a single night’s stay, people might think it not important enough to connect to the local traditions. However, pennies in the pocket of the local cuisine industry help to uplift the local tourism industry on a larger picture. Walking into a McDonald’s or a KFC might fill your tummy but will neither add to the local tourism sector nor enhance your experience. For instance, Vietnamese pho is now a big pull for travelers in Vietnam and when in Costa Rica, do not miss gallo pinto. Building connections with the local folks is not always the only token you get in return but you actually help to build a perception about your nationality as a whole. A country’s heritage is strongly rooted within the memories of the local people and as the old folks say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!

Experiential travel – creating a deeper connect
The demand for ‘experiential travel’ is arguably the most significant as well as systematic trend in worldwide tourism. The term typically defines immersive, authentic, local, and more active travel trend. While some travel enthusiasts would like to argue that travel is inherently ‘experiential’ by nature and that the term is overused, the idea is to make it more mainstream. Travel consumer attitude has varied wildly when it comes to local tourism and it is its degree of definition varies widely how the overall trend is approached.

On a deeper emotional and more personal level, people want to travel better at the end of the day. Growing numbers of travelers shying away from the traditional packaged travel brochure is definitely a valid evidence of how local experiences matter for the new age travelers.

Going Social
Relying on technology and global networks of small and individual travel providers, travel brands are offering more connected experiences. Almost infinite online matrix of social media networks keep us connected no matter where we travel. But ironically enough these social networks are gradually isolating people in real life than helping them make closer to human connections. The online sharing portal pair travelers with the local citizen network and offer experience to travel like local.

With packaged tourism losing its appeal among modern day travelers digs the question of what exactly is authentic travel. Consumer data might reveal a section of these answers but tracking social media will give an organic result. For travel brands targeting specific niches, evaluating and adapting to the changing travel behavior is much important.

Tech tools
Undoubtedly, the most influential and dependable tech tool for millennials is the smartphone. Mobile phone location technology has made connection right. On niche apps, review-stuffed maps by Google etc. have made planning for set-piece events easier than ever before. The transparency of peer-to-peer accommodation and transportation services like Airbnb and BlaBlaCar add to the authenticity of the travel experiences and their reviews. The underbelly of a place can only be offered by the natives of the place and thus creates difference in the authenticity of the travel experience.

Large industry players have also chosen to go down to local level. The Instagrammable ideas and images of the less explored destinations is fun in itself. With a series of themed guides and commissioned travel advice by savvy locals has found intense popularity amongst the new age travelers. The aim is for travelers to get a genuine local experience of the destination. Travel Companies can do well to follow the adage – Think global, act local!