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How to enjoy your family vacation even when you are on a budget

by Vidya Sury January 27, 2017 15 comments
Enjoy your Family vacation even when on a budget Vidya Sury

‘Adventure awaits’

That phrase sends a tingle up my spine. And if you spend any time on social media (d’uh!) you must have seen it popping up with a few ads, for good measure. Then, of course, it becomes mandatory to take a quick fantasy vacation “just to see what is there”. No harm looking , right? If you enjoy travel, you have a growing wish list of favorite destinations. The only thing stopping you from booking those tickets, is the high price. What a spoiler!

Yet, with summer vacation around the corner—yes, the final exams will finish in March, followed by almost three months of summer holidays—it would be really nice to take a break and go on a family vacation. But there is also the thought of those heavy expenses looming overhead, when the new academic year begins in June.

Now is the time to start planning, stop envying all those vacation pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and figure out the best way to make it happen, and make some memories of your own!


But first, lets look at the “why”

Why should you go on a family vacation?

Because it is fun to get away from the routine and breathe.

With hectic lives being the order of the day, for both parents and children, it isn’t always possible to spend as much time together as we’d like to. So yes, most families make it a point to eat together, but connecting at the dinner table alone is not enough.

There are weekends, of course; but if you are anything like our family, you’re busy getting ready for the week ahead and promise yourself that when the next weekend comes, you’ll definitely plan something. A wonderful thought that takes its own sweet time to convert into action.

Truth is, your family and you need a change of place to forget about the daily chores and routine and stress, at least for a short while.

Imagine taking off to a destination you always wanted to visit. What a breather, right? Whether you are the sort that prefers an adventurous holiday or want to just sit back and relax, the idea is to spend time together, rejoicing in each other’s company.

India has no dearth of exotic locations to explore with family. Last year, with this very thought in mind, we sat down to discuss possibilities. Since Sury had a conference coming up in Goa, we saw it as a nice chance to go along and spend 2-3 days together. We started looking at OYO Budget hotels in Goa.

I’ve stayed in three OYO hotels and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The website itself has enough filters to narrow it down to exactly what one wants, and more often than not, you end up with an almost premium room at budget rates. In addition, they offer standardized facilities, like free Wi-Fi, power backup, comfortable bed, complimentary breakfast, etc., without charging you a fortune, making them a great choice.

In fact, OYO, which is India’s largest branded network of hotels, offers economical stay options without compromising on room facilities, with standardized and affordable accommodation.

For us, that took care of the budget side of it, because obstacle to vacations is the exorbitant cost of accommodation. Here is what we learned to do, to enjoy our family vacation on a budget.

How to enjoy your family vacation even when you are on a budget

Book a hotel that provides standard amenities in your budget

I remember, during one of our trips, we made the mistake of booking a special tourist package that explicitly mentioned three star accommodations, including names of the hotels. However, reality was different.  They offered a rather poor alternative and our family vacation turned out to be a dreadful experience in terms of stay, since we had no choice but to take a room on the third floor, with no elevator.

Basic amenities like hot water were unavailable and the beds . . . the less said the better. We couldn’t wait to get away! Looking for another place on our own was not an option as it was late at night in a strange place—so we just stuck it out. We decided that next time, we’d plan our own itinerary and stay options, since choice of hotel matters a lot.

Luckily, one can book a nice budget hotel that treats you like a guest. We see OYO Rooms as the ideal choice of those in terms of budget and quality of stay. It is interesting how OYO Rooms work. There are thousands of hotels registered at OYO Rooms across the country. So while looking for hotels on the OYO website, one can go through the amenities section of different hotels to zero in on the best stay option.

When I went to Calcutta last year in December, that’s exactly what I did. I looked for a decent hotel that was not only comfortable, but also reasonably priced, and close to my place of work. Which brings me to the next point.

Look for hotels that are located close to major attractions of a tourist place

A vacation obviously means the joy of exploring all the major attractions. Imagine booking a hotel that’s far off and you have to spend half your time travelling back and forth! You can avoid the stress and strain, and of course, save money by booking a hotel that is close to major attractions, and with easy access to transportation. When I booked my hotel with OYO Rooms, I was able to filter choices by distance from my preferred locations. I also looked for restaurants, markets and other interesting spots, and I must say it was good value for money.

Make use of discount coupons

One of the best things today is the sheer competition in the hospitality sector, with the customer emerging winner, what with lucrative discounts and offers. You’ll agree that discounts are like added benefits, so why let them go unused? Different discount options can save a significant amount of money with hotel bookings, which is good, especially for those on a budget.

Book a hotel in advance to avoid peak time rush

If you are planning your vacation to a tourist place in peak time, it is best to make your hotel booking well in advance, since peak time demand is high, and it becomes difficult to get the hotel of your choice, and within your budget. When you plan ahead, you enjoy both availability and more options.

So, rather than giving up on the idea of a family vacation because of the cost, it is better to plan ahead, and book your accommodation within your budget. Once that is done, the only thing left to do is pack up and go, enjoy quality time with your family, even if it is for a couple of days. I am already busy exploring places to go, as April is just around the corner and I want to beat the rush by making plans.

How often do you go on vacation? Would love to hear it in the comments.

Don’t skip your family vacation just because you are on a budget!

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Rajlakshmi January 30, 2017 at 6:49 am

I have mostly used bookings. com to book most of my travel accommodation. OYO seems to be new service… I have seen some of OYO rooms in bookings as well. They look pretty nice and are at a good price too.
Rajlakshmi recently posted…Hiking – National Pass Trail, Australia

Vidya Sury February 7, 2017 at 12:06 am

I have stayed in a few of their hotels, Raj. They’re good. In fact, when I went to Kolkata, someone from the OYO team actually came by to ask if everything was fine. And they constantly bombard with discounts, which is great. Worth a try!
Vidya Sury recently posted…A memorable luxury stay experience at Novotel Ahmedabad

Vishal January 30, 2017 at 8:39 am

Pragmatic post, Vidya. Enjoyed reading it.

I have 2 questions: 1.) Are hotels beside local attractions more expensive than the ones a little far away?
2.) How can we find valid coupon codes online? I’ve tried finding discount coupon codes but they’re generally invalid.

Vidya Sury January 30, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Thanks Vishal! A1. It depends on the type of hotel itself. Possibly some are higher priced if the local attraction is a premium spot. So far, in our experience I’ve found that OYO generally chooses easily accessible hotels in their network. A2. Invariably, the OYO website itself gives you the applicable offers. I subscribe to their updates and get a load of it almost on a daily basis. I have not had much experience with coupons sites, other than the offers via online wallets such as PayTM or via my bank’s newsletters.
Vidya Sury recently posted…ICSI A Beacon of Hope for Those Trying for a Second Baby

Nabanita Dhar January 30, 2017 at 9:23 am

I usually have no patience in searching for the ideal travel deal so that job has been outsourced to S and he does the sorting. We don’t take that many vacations because I’m always worried about spending too much. Also, that I’m a reluctant traveler makes it even more convenient for me to hide under those excuses 😉 As a child, we would go for a holiday every year. Sometimes I do miss those days. But we are planning to travel more just for M.
Nabanita Dhar recently posted…#WorkingWomen | Women – The Future Of Employment

Vidya Sury February 7, 2017 at 12:07 am

That’s a wonderful thought, Naba. Children enjoy travel and seem to grow up after each trip, even though they hardly remember travel during the early years. I think it is well worth it, though!
Vidya Sury recently posted…A memorable luxury stay experience at Novotel Ahmedabad

Sulekha January 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm

I love going for family vacations. My organizational skills leave a lot to desire ☺. Last year I tried making an effort and had a great holiday thanks to advance planning. This year I have started my research for a perfect getaway, hope to enjoy it too. Great tips, Vidya.

Vidya Sury February 7, 2017 at 12:09 am

Planning goes a long way in terms of a comfortable vacation, Sulekha! Most of our trips have been last minute ideas but luckily, they’ve all turned out just fine. I wish you a very happy getaway, when you make it! Hugs! I loved your book review today (Jerry Pinto’s book)
Vidya Sury recently posted…A memorable luxury stay experience at Novotel Ahmedabad

Birgit February 1, 2017 at 8:26 am

I love what you wrote here because so many people think they need to spend a lot when they go away. I also believe many don’t go anywhere then when they can’t spend an arm and a leg. We always go somewhere even if we can’t afford much. The last few years we have gone to Quebec to visit my hubby’s aunt and uncle who live right on the Richelieu river. It doesn’t cost much but we have such a great time to just get away. One needs to recharge the batteries. I always find to go to a bookstore and look at the travel books and sit back and have fun investigating what works best for you. Some love staying in a hostel while others want a more typical hotel. Whatever you want, have fun planning.
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NEHA JAIN February 1, 2017 at 4:56 pm

That’s some great tips, mam. Would keep in mind while booking for our next trip.

Vidya Sury February 7, 2017 at 12:14 am

Thank you Neha!
Vidya Sury recently posted…A memorable luxury stay experience at Novotel Ahmedabad

Soumya February 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Vacation on a budget? This is music to my ears 🙂

I love traveling and we try to keep the budget as limited as possible. The idea is to have fun and create memories, not go bankrupt.

Loved the post!
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Ramya Abhinand February 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Family vacations are indeed important. To take that much needed break and bond with kids. We do atleast one a year… And working out a budget trying to squeeze in as much as possible. . Last year we did try Oyo in goa and loved the experience.
Ramya Abhinand recently posted…Working with Influencer Marketing Platforms

Ranjini S February 13, 2017 at 11:45 pm

I don’t go on vacation very often though I always think about going for one. Barely once a year to a nearby place, that is it. We are planning one this year. Fingers crossed. 🙂 I have stayed in oyo rooms and truly, they provide what they promise at affordable prices 🙂
By the way, your blog is a cozy place. loved it 🙂

Vidya Sury February 13, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Thank you for your kind words, Ranjini! We used to do that–go to nearby places, because we always find that we end up never seeing the obvious places in the city we live in! We’ve lived in six cities so far 🙂 I admire you for getting to know your area! Wishing you a wonderful vacation this year!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Destination Dreamhome at #PrestigeGlenwood #Powerof3


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