How to plan a plan a trip abroad

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Hey guys!

As many of you may already know, I AM GOING TO EUROPE for my graduation trip (I just got done with my Masters) in three days. I can proudly say that I planned the trip from beginning to end – from travel to accommodation to the itinerary ! Of course my parents were there to give in their inputs, approval and have funded it as well but this was my first international trip that I booked all on my own. Haha. The little joys. You can check out my little itinerary calendar that I made here.

So , now when it comes to planning the perfect trip, for any budget, there are a couple of steps that I follow and I thought I would share them with you. I think the first thing you need to come in mind is to be absolutely calm and collected. Organizing a trip is not easy by any means and it requires a lot of patience and time. But, all that said, it’s important to have FUN while you do so. I will take a second here to quote what my favorite letter note products say “ one life. keep it simple. Follow your dreams. Be curious. learn new things.”

The whole point about traveling is to widen your experience and to learn and see. So without further ado, brew your self a cup of tea, take out your notebook, and lets BEGIN!IMG_7380 (1)

 1. What is the Purpose and Budget of the trip?

The first question you need to ask your self before organizing any trip or holiday is  WHY do you want to go? Do you want to relax and maybe hit the beach? Do you want to explore and learn about cultures? Do you want to go on a treck? It is really important to narrow down the purpose of the location. Once that is done, figure out an approximate budget. Yes, it is not easy to do so before fixing a location and making bookings, but how will you fix a location if you don’t have a budget in hand? For example, if your budget for an accomodation is Rs.5000 per night- multiply it by the number of days you want to go for along with chalking down an approximate amount you would want to shell out on flights/train tickets. You may end up with a huge number which might be intimidating and hence the primary question of WHY you want to go comes into play.

2. Shortlist a location/multiple locations

Once you have a very vague idea about a budget and the type of trip you are looking for, shortlist the locations you want to visit. For example, we were sure that we want to do a trip that has a lot of good food, exploring cities, culture, history and so on. Hence, my family and I chose Turkey and Italy. I then realised that since I am going to be Europe, I could go ahead and visit my best friend in London post the family trip. Now, what is important to remember is that if you want a convenient budget friendly trip, keep a political map of the continent you want to visit and see what locations make sense together. There are certain combinations that usually workout well in terms of logistics – For example: Italy and Spain,  France and UK  or Germany , Austria and Belgium. It really doesn’t make since picking up locations like Mexico and Egypt in one trip. The amount of time and money you will spend on traveling would be ridiculous, to put it simply.

3. Travel Logistics

Now that you have the locations shortlisted, it’s time to figure out the travel plan. Take out your pen and notebook or open and excel sheet and begin jotting down combinations. Yes, this sounds painful but it can be fun too! I use the following websites to check out various flight trips and combinations

a) Clear trip

b) Make my trip 

c) Individual airline companies

Two things you should keep in mind while figuring out the tickets:

a) Theorder in which you visit the locations. This will affect the entire round trip price which is why its important to check out different flight combinations. For example: I am going to Turkey- Italy-UK- India as it most sense economically. The first leg of the trip, ie: INDIA- TURKEY- ITALY is via turkish airlines and the second leg, ie – ITALY-UK-INDIA is via British Airways. b) Rather than looking at individual flights from one destination to the other, it worked out MUCH cheaper to book “multi-location flights”

4. Visa

I wont go into too much detail when it comes to this step since to be very honest, my dad handled this part of the planning. Certain places have visa on arrival and others require an appointment. Make sure you give a good month to plan and get your visa sorted. Also ensure that you figure in the visa cost while estimating a budget since they can be expensive.

5. Accommodation

I really enjoy this part of vacation planning : So now you have two options: You can either do some research online before going and be VERY adventurous and find those/any other accommodations that work for you when you arrive in that partiular city OR do all bookings in advance. I must admit that my family and I are definitely not a very adventurous lot when it comes to accommodation and  I personally cannot imagine not having a room reserved before han; but then whatever works for you! The whole hotel/apartment/hostel hunting can be lots of fun too if youre a group of friends who would be okay and in high spirits if you all don’t find a place that reaches your expectations last minute. Here too, the first question comes in to play- WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR TRIP? If the idea is to relax in a beach resort across the ocean, you would obviously want to book your self a lovely room with all the facilities you are looking for before hand. On the other hand,  if youre camping or backpacking, last minute hunting can work perfectly as well!

Since my family and I prefer doing bookings in advance: I use the following websites for thorough research and bookings:

a) Trip Advisor – I use this for anything and everything. Trip Adivisor can be very helpful if you feed in all the filters (Budget, location, preferences) and it will sort out the hotels for you according to those filters. I find this very, very helpful since the ranking is done not according the number of stars, but according to YOU

b) Booking.com – Booking.com is great for deals! It works exactly like trip advisor where you can find hotels using particular filters. It offers really good deals! It’s always best to check out deals on these sits and go out to the official website of the hotel and cross check the tarrif to ensure you are getting the best rate possible.

c) Air Bnb : I knew about Airbnb for a wile now but never really used it for a long time! It’s finally time since for my upcoming trip, I would be staying in Airbnb accommodations in Rome, Florence and London! The apartments are absolutely STUNNING  and I am positive there is everything for every budget.  One can get an entire apartment, a private room within an apartment or a shared room with other travelers!

6. Internal Logistics

This step may often be neglected though it is very, very important!. By internal logistics, I mean things like taking trains from one city to another. For example- taking a train from Rome to Florence. One has booked a flight from the home destination to Italy and it obviously doesn’t make sense taking internal flights within Italy, so what about the train tickets? Contrary to belief, these tickets do get sold out!! I didn’t consider buying these tickets earlier untill a day or two ago when I thought I should simply check them out to get an estimate and I was shocked to see that quite a few tickets for the peak hours were sold out! Keep in mind the season that youre going in. If you’re going to Europe, for example in June- IT IS PEAK TOURIST SEASON and hence booking internal transportation makes a lot of sense before hand! I would also suggest getting your self Oyster cards (For UK) that work for metro and buses or the Euro rail passes, incase that thats medium of transport you will be choosing (if in europe). It’s definitely more economical to have these passes in hand for local travel rather than constantly spending on individual tickets.

7. Day trips and Miscellaneous Tickets

If there is something that I truly hate, it has got to be ques. Most touristy places with historical sites, monuments and museums have ques that can be upto 2-3 hours long sometimes! Waiting in those ques is such waste of time when one could have chugging down a beer or a having a lovely glass of wine instead 😛 Hence, I  prefer booking all these miscellanous entry tickets in advance. Ofcourse this leaves less scope for random plans since the tickets are booked in advanced. However, in my opinion, if your accommodation is booked, and your travel tickets are booked, you don’t really have any escape from that city right? So why not make the most of it and chalk down a rough itinerary? Let me give you an example-  I am in Rome for 3 days so it makes more sense to book my ticket for the Colosseum for any of the three days. I chose any random day and took a morning slot for 10 am to get it out of the way. That will save me so much time and maybe even money! You can take these guided tours using Viator.com and I SWEAR by it! Viator also does day trips- So if you had a location or city in mind and you know you cannot stay there- why not arrange a day trip to that city? I am doing a day trip to Cinque Terre in Italy from Florence since I know staying there would be impossible. Using Viator, I have my transport to the location sorted! Best part? Unlike most  group “tours” this company lets you be alone for a good 2-3 hours or whatever time stipulated. So if you’re the type who hates group tours and likes being alone/with your family- this is for you!

8. Baggage and Clothing

This step is fairly obvious and yet again, comes down to the type of trip you are going for. If you’re going to one single destination, you get a huge leevway on the luggage youre carrying since you wouldn’t drag it along with you wherever you go. On the other hand, if you’re doing a multiple location trip like me,  carrying more than a small/medium bag + little sling/backback doesnt make sense! Also, check your tickets to see how much baggage you are allowed in the first place. This differs from flight to flight. For example. I am allowed 23 kgs (1 bag) from India to Turkey but only 15 kgs (1 bag) from Rome to London!

Think about carrying that bags from airports, stations, cabs and so on! Also, if you would taking a cab from airports to the hotel- just cause you have too many bags, you may have to take a bigger car (more expensive) even if you are just 2-3 passengers. LOOK UP THE WEATHER, and pack in layers. I am going for 19 days but I am packing for 7 days since I know, I will get my clothes to the laundrey atleast once. The idea is to enjoy your self and be comfertable. If wearing heels and dolling up makes you happy – go for it! Just be prepared and always in keep in mind that you should be comfy no matter what!

 

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I really hope this post has inspired you to pick up your bags and just go!

Letter Note kindly sent me these products and I am ever so thankful. I have ALWAYS been a fan of their stationary and honestly sometimes we need a little reminder in our lives to just have fun and live each day as it comes. All these products are simply tokens to remind us that. I truly LOVE the quotes on the products and if you know me, you know I have stuff from there DO EPIC SHIT collection as well! If you’re in Delhi, check out their store in Hauz Khas Village and we can be besties 🙂

His-Her featuring Radhika Agrawal


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Hey guys,

This is my favorite time of the year! I absolutely love the holiday season for the amazing food, winter fashion and of course, CHRISTMAS! Since I am pursuing my Masters Degree, I do get “winter holidays” and trust me, I cherish them each and every year! This is the time of the year I really get to express my style and the outfit I have styled here speaks it out easily. As I have mentioned in every single fashion post of mine, comfort for me is the most important aspect when I style my outfits. The boyfriend jeans and boyfriend blazer helped me achieve that. To add a feminine touch to the outfit I wore a  stunning statement necklace and ring by Radhika Agrawal. As soon as I put this jewellwery on the outfit completely transformed itself to a perfect balance of androgynous- chic.The jewellery is now the core of the outfit rather than just accessory. You can buy them here !

Outfit Details: Blazer, Booties, Jeans- Forever 21, White Sweater- Zara

Hope you like this outfit! Theres a giveaway too so make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the post 🙂

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You can win this stunning Radhika Agrawal necklace this Christmas! Here’s what you have to do:

1. Follow @melangeofmusings (me) & @radhikasagrawal
2.Post a picture of an outfit showing us how you would style this necklace. You could do any of the following:

A) A picture of you wearing the outfit
B) An outfit created on Polyvrore (www.polyvore.com)
C) Garments from your closet styling an outfit around this necklace
3. It has to be a new picture. If you already have an outfit uploaded on Instagram, please re-uplaod the picture and follow the other rules.

4. USE THE HASHTAG #ChristmasMMxRA
5. Mention @melangeofmusings and @radhikasagrawal in each entry

6. You can enter as many times as you like. Each new outfit you post will be counted as a new entry

7. Contest is open all across India

8. Contest ends on 21.12.2014 , 9 pm. Winner will be announced on 22.12.2014

[CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED]

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For the love of Old School

Hey guys,

If you know me by now, there’s one thing that I absolutely cannot forego and thats comfort. By comfort  I dont simply mean comfortable clothing, but also the little things that keep us in a happy place. Ever since I was a kid, I would go to the Delhi Gymkhana Club and Delhi Golf Club with my parents every weekend and sometimes more often. There’s something about these clubs that lets me eat my cup of tea, yummy chicken sandwiches or even the endless array of sumptuous food {Sunday buffets YUM} without feeling guilty. Both these clubs being a century or less old are quaint and magnificient at the same time. Whether it may be the formal winter lunches, the simple relaxed tea hour or the crazy thursday/saturday nights, I can see my self spending hours there and not keeping any track of time {#truegrannyatheart}

Recently, Madhavi and I decided to visit the Delhi Gymkhana Club {a good place to go when the pocket is a little light}. Though we couldn’t make it for the lunch hour, we decided to sit down in the lawns have some tea with ‘snacks’ {Ofcourse!}. We ordered two cups of tea, my favorite- chicken sandwiches and one portion of cheese balls. Now, we cant go wrong with the former too, but if you’ve had the cheese balls then you know they exemplify addiction+weirdness in a whole. Though they taste strange, you can’t just more than one. Maybe its only me, but I have always felt that way since I can remember.

On an ideal situation , especially if it was a Thursday, we would have stayed on and moved to the bar by 7 pm, but since time wasn’t really in our favour, we decided to stick to tea and conversations. However, we did manage to go to the bakery (within the club) and pack some bread! {granny moment again} Trust me when I tell you that it’s some of the yummiest bread, ever!

Moving on to the outfit, I kept it as classic as possible with a white midi dress and moccasins. What I loved about this look is it’s versatility.  With a couple of accessories and a bright lip, one could easily transform this look from day-to-night. Now that its getting a little chilly, I can also imagine my self adding a leather jacket {to make it a  little edgier} or adding a blazer to keep it formal! A midi dress such as this should definitely be on the list of top 10 must haves. The moccasins on the other hand need no introduction. Yet another classic pair, you just cannot go wrong with them. Though these particular pair arent everyone’s cup of tea cause of their androgynous element, I just cannot get enough of them.

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Details: Dress and Shoes- Zara, Rings- Forever 21, Bag- Found in mom’s closet.

Yellow feat Blue Print Coleccion

Hey guys,

Let me begin by saying that I am so sorry for not uploading a post on the blog for a while! Though I have a really fun Instagram contest featuring India Circus running right now  {YOU MUST ENTER!}, I really miss blogging, taking photographs and sharing my experiences with you all! Now that this haitus is over, I am finally back and here’s what I wore on Diwali!

Diwali at my house isn’t a large formal affair and as usual, I love being as comfortable as possible. Recently, I received this gorgeous yellow jacket from Blue Print Coleccion by Divya and Navya Niranjan   and as soon as I saw it, I knew my outfit has to be styled around this beauty. What I love about this piece is how versatile it is. I can see my self wearing it to college with a pair of ripped jeans and high tops and completely change the look! Blue Print Coleccion also has tons of other indo-western pieces that are perfect if you want to take a break from the overdone Anarkali.

Further, the next element of my outfit that I just had to wear were my floral print pants [Oh, so comfy]. Now that I had these two vibrant pieces, to balance them I chose this perfect off white Kurta that toned down things perfectly. I really this outfit gives your some inspiration to experiment a bit this season! By changing the cotton Kurta to a gorgeous silk one and adding heels, this outfit would be perfect for a casual Sangeet too.

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What I am wearing: Kurta – Suvasa, Jacket- Blue Print Coleccion, Pants- Zara (last season), Earings- Thrifted, On my lips- Sweet pink by Nyx

Travel with me feat BrownBoy

Hey everyone!

Today, I have something extremely exciting for you! If you have been following me on Facebook, you would have seen me talk about a contest that I would be posting on my blog: It’s finally here! {All the details would be at the end of the post }

I am constantly on the look out for comfortable yet chic outfits and recently, tshirts have been a big YES for me. I love wearing printed T-shirts which are perfect for summer since I can dress them up if I want to or simply lounge in them all day.

A while back I came across the website BrownBoy while online shopping (proven guilty). I instantly fell in love with every single item but what stood out the most for me was their New York Tshirt. The minute I saw it, I knew I had to have it in my closet.

brownboyfeatureThough I haven’t spent too much time in New York, there’s something about that city that makes me so happy each time I visit. This year (till now) has been extremely dull for me on the travel front but nonetheless, the wanderlust bug wouldn’t let go and all I can think about is planning my next trip. Whether it may be while I’m traveling or otherwise, the key element of all my outfits has to be comfort. For me personally, I don’t think I can enjoy my self doing whatever it is if I don’t feel comfortable in my skin.

The outfit that I have worn here defines my perfect ‘Travel in a city’ outfit. This is exactly what I would wear while exploring town all day. The t-shirt is really casual but I absolutely love the font and of course the text itself. On the other hand, the skirt adds the glam element on the outfit. Initially I wasn’t too confident about the length of this skirt, however, it falls beautifully and even though it’s sheer, the slip attached is of the perfect length. I usually never wear heels but these flatforms are perfect to add some height in spite of being as comfortable as wearing fat sandals.

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Outfit details: New York T-shirt – BrownBoy , Flatforms – Clarks, Sheer Skirt – Sher Singh (Myntra.com), Belt- From mom’s closet, attached midi rings – Forever21, Watch- Michael Kors Rose Gold Runway Edition, Specs- Thrifted from new york! (By Madhavi Singh!)

I really hope you liked this post! All the credit goes to Madhavi Singh from conceptualizing to photography! She’s brilliant, isn’t she? 🙂

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THE GIVEAWAY

Now coming to the fun bit! BrownBoy and Melange of Musings has come together to bring to you a super fun contest!

Since this New York Tshirt reminds me of my favorite city (New York!) and brings a smile to my face each time I put it on, we want YOU to take a photograph one something/someone that reminds you of your favorite city! Whether it may be a picture of bhel puri reminding you of Bombay or Fish and Chips reminding you of London!

Upload the picture on INSTAGRAM and simply do the following:

1. FOLLOW @melangeofmusings and @brownonyou

2. TAG @melangeofmusings @brownonyou in the photograph you upload

3. TAG ATLEAST 2 friends on the same photo you upload

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH TO UPLOAD, DONT WORRY! YOU CAN USE A PHOTOGRAPH THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN UPLOADED ON INSTAGRAM! If you think that’s appropriate and reminds you of your favorite city, simply go ahead and tag 2 friends, tag us and follow us! 🙂

This contest is open till Next Monday (28th of July, 5 pm)

The prize: The NEW YORK TSHIRT! {that I’m wearing in this post}

{Open all across India}

What are you waiting for? Let the fun begin!

Phantasmogoria

Phantasmagoria:  fantazməˈgɔːrɪə,-ˈgɒrɪə : a sequence of real or imaginary images like that seen in a dream. Shahpurjat offers numerous moments to experience the same with its splash of art in every nook and corner of the urban village. To compliment these colours I decided to go ahead with a monochromatic outfit and break the myth : Black is not for the summer. I wore printed pajama pants (absolutely love this style) to create a casual day look which works well in the Delhi heat.

The art behind me is by Mattia Lullini and its absolutely fabulous.

photo 3To add some colour to the outfit, I wore a  pastels statement necklace from Faballey that instantly lifted the look making the outfit easily wearable from day to night. Finally, I added the wedges to tie the look together and give me a little extra height.The outfit details: Top – M&S, Pants – Forever21, Wedges – Zara, Necklace- Faballey.comphoto 2

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photo 2One of the nicest stores in Shahpur Jat is definitely the The Wishing Chair which houses a little cafe called the Mad Teapot. I had heard so much about this store and FINALLY ended up going recently.This cafe cum store, tucked into the village is extremely charming and looks straight out of a fairy tale. I absolutely love everything that’s for sale, whether it may be the lights, stationary or simply the girly room decor. They also sell the items online which is extremely convenient if  you don’t want to step out in the heat. However, the little comfy cafe makes a perfect pitstop while shopping or walking through Shahpurjat exploring the art.

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3My favorite element of Shahpurjat is hands down the street art which has added such dynamism to the urban village. Each painted wall tells us a story and takes us into the lives of the artist. All the work is a part of the festival St. Art Delhi that took place a couple of months ago. If you haven’t walked through the entire village and checked out the work, you really must! Here are some of my favorites:

By: Ranjit Dahiya
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By: Sé Cordeiro2

All outfit photographs are taken by: Madhavi Singh