Last week I attended a special travel workshop by Ansoo Gupta in association with the US Consulate, Mumbai where she briefed and discussed about the National Parks of USA. Jeffery Ellis, press officer at the consulate briefed about #DekhoAmerica campaign which they have started sometime back on their social media channels as a way to attract more tourists from India to go to USA. Since the time I have been to the USA last year I have not stop appreciating and talking about that country whenever possible. I was really impressed b y a lot of things and I look forward to visiting there again soon.
Ansoo has always been like an ambassador of travelling since she holds these travel workshops where she shares her experiences and also shares the tips & tricks of smart travelling. During her presentation here too she showed some amazing photos of various national parks and few videos which were definitely very convincing for most of us to visit few of the parks soon.
Birthday is an ideal reason or excuse to go for a holiday and if the whole family can go together nothing like it. Pratham’s birthday is 11th October and this year it happens to be a Saturday which all the more pushes you to make a plan – may be a weekend getaway with the family.
So I sat down and thought of few options for the ideal location and ended by zeroing onto to GOA – the party place of India. With just 1 hour flight from Mumbai it serves as the best place for spending quality time with family and also rejuvenating yourself. I generally use Skyscanner for my travel plans and this time was no exception. The good part about Skyscanner is that it serves like a One Stop Shop for all travel needs – air, hotel, car and buses bookings all at one place. There are other sites also but time and again Skyscanner has been the most reasonable and cheaper as compared to its nearest competitors.
I also thought that Pratham’s 4th birthday would be ideal if his both sets of grandparents also can join in and we can plan a bigger family getaway – Pratham,Mumma,Papa,Dadaji,Dadi,Nanu,Nani,Bhua & Masi. For any travel plan 2 major things are tickets & hotel. For Air Tickets I had few options but quite reasonable and suited our timings too as you see below –
Time and Price suited us so freezed it. Fare totalling around 48k approximately for 8 adults and 1 child round trip.
Next was hotel and I am an ardent fan of Club Carlson so my first priority is always them. As i looked for hotels there were quite many options few better and few lower than what i was looking for.
Quite a decent price it showed for 4 rooms on double occupancy basis and totaling to Rs.45k approx for 8 adults.
The trip looked quite good and with family it will be an awesome one surely. The budget, airline timings and fare, hotel choice and prices, etc was under control and looks quite good. 2 nights and 3 days with comfortable flight timings gives a good amount of time to relax, roam around, enjoy the property and place and makes the stay comfortable. I believe in fast and good trip planning within budget and without wasting much time and all this is possible with Skyscanner and thats why it is the preferred travel site for me.
All in all a perfect weekend getaway to celebrate Pratham’s 4th birthday and make it memorable.
Bloggers were flown from Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur etc into Goa on Saturday 26th July, 2014. When we landed at Goa Airport there was a special desk where we were asked to confirm our names with the list they had and then all of us were taken to The Zuri White Sands resort. In the bus there was bag with water, juice and a snack kept on every seat which marked the beginning of extreme care and courtesy which we were to experience for the next 2 days.
On Arrival the hotel staff did a traditional welcome to all guests with a Tilak. There was a special desk of Tata Motors & BlogAdda for check in. The rooms were all pre-alloted to bloggers on a double sharing basis. After getting the room key with hotel welcome letter and hotel map we were given a bag from Tata Motors which had a t-shirt, badge and welcome letter. Post that we got personalized badges from BlogAdda which were quite nice (they have ended up being wonderful memorabilia) . Post that we all had some time to take lunch at the hotel restaurant and take some rest in respective rooms. As I arrived in my room there was a bag from blogadda which had a nice white t-shirt from them now.
At 5pm we were asked to assemble at the Unicorn Hall of the hotel by BlogAdda where they gave a brief up on the agenda and made a small presentation. Post this was the time for High Tea and some networking with some awesome bloggers coming from all across India. I must admit it was great meeting people who I have either followed on twitter or on instagram and exchange views. I tried being a good listener and soak up all I can from most of them. Also exciting wasto see few new bloggers who showed some amazing zeal and energy while mixing with the experienced ones.
It is summer vacation time in India in the months of May & June so we planned a trip to the USA – me, Kinnary & Pratham. We had flights via Abu Dhabi since we were flying with Etihad Airways.
It was quite a smooth process at the Abu Dhabi International airport for our departure and we there well in time so we cleared the Passport control with immigration and then security check very quickly. At the immigration counter the officer asked for all 3 passports together and also for the original visa copies and then he stamped all of them loudly, generally that’s how most of them do everywhere. We heard about 6 bangs and we were given out passports to go ahead.
Since we had lot of time before boarding and luckily there was a play zone close to our departure gate we sat there and Pratham started playing. I generally have a habit of checking the stamps what these immigration officers put. I find it funny the way and place they put the stamps – any direction and place on any page they feel like. So i started checking our passports and found the stamps on mine and Pratham’s passport but couldn’t find it on Kinnary’s . I was surprised and checked it atleast 5 times before giving it to her to check but the result same. We also checked the old booklet which is attached to our new passport because of a valid USA visa but still couldn’t find. So we decided that better I go and check on this with the concerned people.
On my way back came security check and I explained them the matter, so the officer there said very casually not to worry since in their record everything is clear and done. But I said what if I need to show it in India when I land after few hours so he said to go and check with the immigration officer. When I explained the matter to the immigration officer ( person had changed in the meantime ) , he called a colleague from inside and asked him to check. The officer came out and checked everything twice before accepting that the stamp was actually missing and so he put the stamp.
When we landed in India I asked the immigration officer at the Mumbai International Airport the outcome of the missing stamp, so he said there are 2 options – one you go back from here to the country you came from and get the stamp or two go to jail !!! I was zapped to hear that and asked him few details so he said if an officer checks and finds the stamp missing it is a serious offence and cannot be pardoned.
Generally I have never seen any of these officers checking the stamps but what if one fine day someone checks it. But when we departed from USA there was no stamp put on our passports because I guess they don’t put it only which confuses me a little on this. So I am honestly not very aware of the outcomes of such situations and would definitely love to hear from people who know about this or may be concerned authority or frequent flyers.