My Magical Companion

Image Source: Skyscanner

The first time I visited Sri Lanka, was on work and I was there for a very short duration. Yet, the beauty of that small country baffled me. I was put up at Colombo in a room facing the pristine clear ocean. I could see the clear sky and the blue water. The roads were well built and there was no speck of dirt at all. Yeah, coming from Bangalore, I was surprised to see such neat roads. The weather was calm and peaceful and it felt like a vacation even though I was there for business discussions. The best part about Sri Lanka is the currency. One Indian Rupee is approximately equal to 2.13 Sri Lankan Rupees. Yeah, more than double. The next best thing, is the food. Since India and Sri Lanka are neighboring countries, there is no much difference in the food. The spice and salt is accurate hence making everything almost edible. Why, my five star hotel even served dosas! And finally the bestest thing about Sri Lanka is that it just an hour and a half away from Bangalore. I mean I can get to Colombo earlier than I can to Delhi, from Bangalore.

Sadly my first stay there was limited to business and I could not explore the country. Ever since I returned from there, I have wanted to take my husband there and explore it together. Sri Lanka is mind blowingly beautiful in its own way! It is serene and pristine. My husband and I love nature and peace and I knew that we would have a wonderful time there. And since I have been speaking non-stop about the place since I returned, my husband agreed to take me there for my birthday this year! Awesome, ain't it? He left all the planning to me and I was thrilled. You see, I am an obsessive compulsive freak. To crazy extents. And if any aspect of my vacation goes haywire, I scream bloody murder. I was wondering where to begin my planning. With all the travel sites open in front of me, I struggled to blink or get something right. Some sites offered great package deals, but lacked something else. Other sites were too complex and I was losing my mind.

Just when I was about to call a travel agent to make a plan for me, all the tabs miraculously closed by themselves! I thought my laptop gave way, but a window suddenly popped open saying "Click here for a magical travel companion"! I was more than baffled and I was sure that this was some sort of spam. I ignored it at first, but it stayed on for five minutes smiling. I finally clicked on it and then suddenly everything lit up! Including my face.

My companion turned out to be Skyscanner! The site looked bright and nice with clear cut tabs. Like being almost hypnotized by the magical companion, I did not wait even for a second and went in straight for the first tab.

Flights

Image Source: Skyscanner

I searched for flights on the desired dates. A list of options were displayed. Finally, I booked 'Sri Lankan Airlines' for two and chose my seats. I paid Rs 29,738 (oh yes, for two of us. To and Fro!) and received the acknowledgement and the tickets. So now I had two return tickets from Bangalore to Sri Lanka.

Time for the next obvious tab.

Hotel

Image Source: Skyscanner

Since I had booked the flights, the dates were automatically saved by the site. It showed me a wide range of hotels. We only wanted the best. I had stayed in the Taj during my last visist. It was wonderful and so decided to book the same place again as I wanted hubby to have a wonderful experience too. Rs 45,237 sounded pretty decent for 4 days. I was already smiling in my head. Skyscanner allowed me to make a booking with a minimal advance of Rs 5000. I then received an acknowledgement saying that the remaining payment has to be made only on check-in.

A primary concern during travelling is the local transport. How to go about places? That is exactly why I love Goa. Just hire a bike and ride around everywhere. Booking a cab is always a hassle thanks to the exorbitant prices that they ask. I had no friends in Colombo too, to help. That is why my eyes opened wide when I saw the 'Car Hire' tab in Skyscanner. If this actually worked right, then this sure is a magical companion.

Car Hire

Image Source: Skyscanner
Image Source: Skyscanner

Again the saved dates automatically were displayed. This helps you save time and patience by not entering the same data again and again. I wanted to be picked up from the airport itself and dropped back there at the end of my vacation. I chose the pick up point and the time of pick up. In Skyscanner you even have an option to choose the drivers age! Where have you seen that before? You can choose different types of vehicles as well. Since there were only two of us, we just chose a simple compact car, a Mazda. The total price for 4 days was just Rs 12,296. I was amazed. In a click, the booking was done. I agreed to pay extra in case we exceeded the desired number of kilometers per day. Once the payment was made, I received an acknowledgment along with the driver details. It was as simple as that.

Image Source: Skyscanner

This site also has a help feature, which you can click and type any question for which you can find answers. It is like an interactive site in itself with all questions answered in the swipe of a wand! Magic indeed.

Since our visas were already ready, the only main things on my mind was the flight, hotel and transport. With that taken care of, I decided to make a list of places that I wanted to see there. After some research, I narrowed down to the below list of places.

~ Negombo
~ Bentota
~ Sigiriya
~ Kandy
~ Galle
~ Dambulla
~ Yala National Park
~ Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
~ Polonnaruwa

I am not exactly sure of the distance of each from our hotel, hence I plan to get there and talk to the hotel manager about how to get to these places. Based on the distance of each, I shall plan an itinerary for each day. I also made a mental note to inform the driver each day about the plan and make sure he is able to cover all the places.

Now for the budget. We were very clear that the maximum budget for this vacation was a lakh. I opened the calculator and jotted down the spending so far. Since the hotel served breakfast, we only had to spend for lunch, dinner and snacks. Considering that 1 INR=2.13 LKR, I decided that Rs 5000 is more than enough for food. Also, I added another Rs 5000 to the budget for other miscellaneous expenses like entry fees, camera fees etc.

Flights: 29,738
Hotel: 45,237
Car Hire: 12,296
Food: 5,000
Misc: 5,000

Total: 97,271. 

Wow, I still had an amount of Rs 2729 pending. I decided to use that for our cab fare from our house to the airport in Bangalore. And from the airport to home, once we we get back. Because you know, the airport is on the outskirts of the city. So this money would suffice for it! And that's it, it was all sorted out! An entire trip within the stipulated budget! I had done it. Yay!!! Thanks to Skyscanner, all the vital elements were taken care of. I finally had finished my planning and stretched out to relax with a cup of green tea.

Image Source: Skyscanner

Just before I could get up to leave, I saw something called 'Travel Features and News' on the site. I clicked on it and was taken to an awesome page that had a lot of articles on travel. It was like a dream come true for a travel enthusiast and a foodie like me. The articles varied from places to visit in a city, to the best food in a particular city. What to do in the destination and how to make the make the most of your travel. It was like a travel blog in itself. Mind blowing.

My journey with Skyscanner was truly a magical ride and my magical companion was super friendly and helpful! I sat back and let it do all the work for me. It was like a brilliant fantasy except that it was the truth and was unfolding in front of me. Thank you Skyscanner, I now look forward to a hassle free vacation!

This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at BlogAdda.com

10 comments:

  1. Wow! Great planning, Soumya!
    Had visited SL, but would love to go again :)
    Best wishes for the contest!

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    Replies
    1. I would love to go there again!

      Thank you Anita! :)

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  2. You have covered everything, Soumya! All you need now is to pack your bags and board the flight :) Good luck with the contest! I hope you win. How can they not give it to you? You haven't left out anything under the sun :)

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    Replies
    1. You are super kind my dear Aathira! :)

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  3. I just wish you get this dream trip Soumya :) :)

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  4. You wrote it all in such an interesting way.
    Good luck! :)

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  5. That's such an interesting way to plan a trip, Soumya :) I'm sure you'll enjoy Sri Lanka ;) All the best for the contest...

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