Whoever said that vacations are expensive, was wrong. Flights can be a major chunk of the expenditure, so let’s take care of that first. Here is a list of 5 awesome holiday destinations, all of which are just a cheap flight away!
There’s no place in the world more addictive than Goa. There’s so much to explore even after you’re done with the popular beaches of Baga, Calangute and Anjuna, and night markets in North Goa. If you’re looking for places less travelled, hit the Arossim, Utorda and Majorda beaches in South Goa, and take a walk on the broken bridge—it’s thrilling and scary at the same time! Don’t forget to visit the churches in Panjim—Basilica of Bom Jesus is an architectural gem, and Sé de Santa Catarina is the largest church in Old Goa. Take a walk across old Goa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site to discover its many treasures just waiting to be unravelled. Meet some locals and start a conversation about the haunted houses in Goa, and you’ll be surprised as to how many actually exist. Don’t forget to sample the world famous Goan sausages and the seafood, especially Calamari.
Fares: Starting INR 3,429* from Delhi and INR 3,156* from Ahmedabad
Our very own ‘City of Gods’, Varanasi is not just for the religious and spiritual but also for the open- minded. One of the oldest cities in the world, Varanasi is everything you imagine India to be. Whether you’re a believer or not, a visit to the Bhairav Mandir, Vishwanath and Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple will leave you enchanted. Go for the evening aarti at Dasaswamedh Ghat—it’s an experience like no other. For those searching for historical trivia, head to Ramnagar Fort, or take a day tour to Sarnath Temple to see the tallest Buddha statue and the Archeological Survey of India Museum. To explore the city and its many mysteries, book a 3-hour sunrise boat tour along the holy Ganges, or set off on a 3-hour walking tour of the city and along the ghats.
Fares: Starting INR 2,108* from Delhi
Jaipur is the jewel of Rajasthan. Easily accessible with a slew of budget hotels to choose from, Jaipur is a favourite destination among budget travellers. Revel in the beauty and the architecture of Hawa Mahal and while you’re there, find your way to Pandit ki Kulfi for a sweet ending. Another unmissable place to visit in Jaipur is the Amer Fort. Its size, magnitude and views are going to bowl you over. Don’t forget to visit the Jaigarh Fort museum right below it. For a taste of the royal heritage of Jaipur, head to City Palace, the opulent 18th-century palace of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, a part of which has been converted to a museum. For shopping enthusiasts, Jaipur is a haven of precious and semi-precious gemstone jewellery, as well as vegetable-dyed block printed clothes and bed linen. Don’t miss picking up a dyed scarf in ‘leheriya’ pattern. Foodies can enjoy Rajasthani dishes like Dal Baati Churma, Pyaz Kachori, Mirchi Pakoda, Makhaniya Lassi and more.
Fares: Starting INR 2,546* from Mumbai
Bagdogra, a quaint little town located in the Siliguri district of West Bengal, is the gateway to Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Gangtok and Pelling. This town is usually a transit point for Darjeeling or Sikkim, but it can be a very rewarding holiday destination in itself! Famous for its serene environment, tea plantations and state-organised festivals on the banks of River Teesta, the city offers scenic views of the eastern Himalayan range. River rafting, trekking, mountaineering and camping are some of the activities that you can indulge in, here. You can also visit the Salugara Monastery founded by the Tibetan Lama, Kalu Rinpoche. Thousands of people visit the city, only to witness the 110 feet tall stupa, beautiful relics and idols in the monastery.
Fares: Starting INR 2,651* from Delhi
Capital of ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala, Kochi surely packs a punch. You can swim at the palm-fringed Cherai Beach at low tide, or just hang around to watch the sunset. History buffs, take a heritage walk around Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. A visit to the Kochi Fort will leave you thrilled. Munambam Beach in Vypeen Island is a hidden treasure for those who like to escape the crowds. If you’re a shopaholic and on a budget, you’ll love to spend an afternoon at the LuLu Mall, Asia’s biggest and incidentally the cheapest! Don’t forget to try Malabari cuisine and eat as much seafood as you can.
Fares: Starting INR 1,448* from Bengaluru