By Avijit Das Patnaik.
Travel is not a luxury, it is a way of life – the best way to bond with family and realize your dreams of seeing the world. If you don’t agree to the above, then you probably aren’t making the right travel decisions, at the right time.
With airfares behaving like stock prices, currencies fluctuating wild and travel fares on the rise, it is a good time to travel four times a year – but to the RIGHT destination!
But then again, what is the right destination? For me, it’s one which will fit easiest into my pocket; fulfill dreams; give long lasting memories; above all, a place where my family and I can fly, shop, eat, roam and stay with little bother.
Despite the political turbulences around Turkey and Greece, I would still reccomend a visit now. Cause if it’s not now, it may be even further difficult in future.
Greece and Turkey are one of the best combo countries to tour – with varying cultures (old civilisation Christian nation vs liberal Muslim country) traditions, food and ravishing landscapes.
Here’s 5 reasons to visit Greece and Turkey soon:
1) Architecture & Food
Muslim countries have the most artistic architecture, deep rooted cultures, delicious food, economical stay and great shopping. And we Indians love Mughal architecture and aromatic biryani. After all, there is a reason that Middle Eastern cuisine outlets globally flourish – be it Shish kebab, Doner or even egg-plant variations – we just can’t get enough.
2) Cruise like Dil Dhadkne Do
Turkey and Greece have connectivity via cruises which are popular, economical and dreamy. The deep blue Aegean Sea will mesmerize you and willingly be the backdrop to your Titanic-pose pics for your Facebook page.
3) Save Some Moolah
The Euro is hitting an all-time low. At the time of writing this article, it was 1.54 SGD = 1 €, which is around 30% cheaper than what it was a few years ago. Greece is reeling under an economic crisis and hotel fares and local shopping prices are really low right now.
For whatever reasons, Muslim countries are slowly dropping off the tourism radar. The once favoured Egypt is no longer a top contender. Before Turkey completely goes off the radar, visit it now and keep the trump card up your sleeve (I can still proudly say I have toured Pakistan). Turkey used to rank amongst the safest countries of the world, but lately it’s bit worrying. The authorities are trying their best to keep the tourism revenue alive and it is too beautiful country to visit.
5) Of course – For The Beauty of These Places!
Santorini is where Hrithik & Katrina danced duet in recent Bollywood release “Bang Bang”. The white architecture, the narrow lanes, the cliff overlooking the deep blue ocean altogether make an ideal setting for a second honeymoon! Add to that the special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional that is Rhodes, the picturesque villages and vivid nightlife of Mykonos and the monuments and ancient art of Athens (including the Acropolis), and you’ll definitely fall short of time.
Once you have had your fill with Greece, sail over to Turkey for an entirely different experience – minarets, mosques and palaces in Istanbul, the unique landscape of Cappadocia and the travertine terraces of Pamukkale. This might easily be a trip where you get at least one lifelong memory every day.
Weather: September is the best month to be in these places. The mecury ranges from 15-25 deg, light woolens for kids, regular smart wear for adults and your glares to enjoy the magic.
Airfare: cheaptickets or skyscanner offer the best deals if booked now for Sepember.
Major Flight Route: Fly to Athens. and return from Istanbul to your home. In between check out Santorini/Mykonos, a cruise to Turkish shores, Antalya and Ankara. Depending on whether you spending 7-14 days, chart an itinerary.
Visa: Assumming you don’t have one, get a Schengen visa for Greece and with that you can get a visa for Turkey via their immigration website.
Cost: If you book flights and hotels/apartments early, then a 2-week vacation for a family of four should cost around 7-8K USD (as long as you fly economy and don’t stay in luxury resorts). The cost above is assuming you are flying from any major South Asian city.
Best Travel Agent: Yourself. Every family has specific requirements and depending on your preferences, you might want to make your itinerary history-heavy, local culture-heavy, kids’-excitement heavy or just strike a fine balance. Personally, as I have two small kids I like keeping the alternate days light to ensure that kids recover from previous day’s stress. Also, standard tours often make you go through certain museums, buildings, or stores you wish you had not wasted precious hours on. So get your family members to research the destination and choose sights to see, hotels to stay and chart the routes.
Start the bonding and excitement now!