How to survive long-haul flights?

Flying economy for 10 hours can be one of the worst life experiences. Here are a few tips to survive long-haul flights.

1. Entertainment.  Your electronic gadgets can rescue you from boredom. Cram your iPad or laptop with your favorite flicks or TV series. If your eyes are too tired for a movie, you can listen to your favorite music. Stock up on paper and books on your e-readers (Kindle is my favorite). And don’t forget to charge up your electronic gadgets. Also, invest in a quality pair of headphones (one that is capable of cutting down ambient noise).

2. Get comfortable.  Boarding a 10-hour flight in executive wear is not a great idea. Change into a super comfortable outfit before you board the plane. A pair of cashmere socks may prevent your feet from getting cold (common for window seat aficionados).

3. Get some sleep.  Stay away from alcohol. It will only make your sleep worse on a long haul flight. Carry with you an eye mask, neck pillow and ear muffs. Ear muffs can keep you warm, cut down ambient noise and lull you to sleep.

4. Stay hydrated.  Purchase the largest bottle of water available before boarding the flight and have it refilled by the flight attendants during the flight. Hydration is everything. Try to avoid heavy foods as well – you are not burning many calories sitting 10 hours in a plane.

5. Board relatively rested.  Don’t count on a long-haul flight as a good place to catch up on sleep. It’s not. You will be on the plane long enough to get a few naps even if you are somewhat rested, and a good advice would be to take it when it comes. If your eyes start to droop, get out the eye masks and ear muffs, and go with it. If you throw away a solid two-hour nap on a few extra rounds of Angry Birds, you might well be angry at yourself later.

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Want to fly cheap?

1. Set a price in your mind: Flight prices are dynamic. They vary a lot. Have a clear idea of how much you are willing to pay for a particular flight. There are continuous and extreme fluctuations in airfares till booking closure. Predicting when when the airfare will be at its minimum is not possible. Once you find the fare that fits your budget, go ahead and book the ticket. Don’t wait for another day expecting to see a further drop in price. You might lose your opportunity.

2. Search on multiple online portals: Check multiple online portals to get the best price. Some portals offer certain discounts on an airfare that may not be offered by another portal.

3. Book on the official airlines website: It is always advisable to book on the airlines’ website unless flight engines offer huge discounts. This way, you may get a cheaper fare. This also helps you to save money deducted by external flight search engines in case of flight cancellation or reschedule.

4. Try and be flexible on your travel dates: Be flexible on your travel dates as much as possible. This always helps you to get cheap air tickets. You may get cheaper air tickets if your flight is on Tuesday or Wednesday.

5. Book early: Always book at least 2 to 3 months in advance before your date of departure. This is the best way to get the cheapest possible flights. You will never regret your decision.

Must-see places in Mumbai

1. Elephanta Island:

Elephanta_caves

Northeast of the Gateway of India in Mumbai Harbour, the rock-cut temples on Gharapuri, better known as Elephanta Island, are a Unesco World Heritage Site. Created between AD 450 and 750, the labyrinth of cave temples represent some of India’s most impressive temple carving. The Portuguese dubbed the island Elephanta because of a large stone elephant near the shore. This collapsed in 1814 and was moved by the British to Mumbai’s Jijamata Udyan. There’s a small museum on-site, with informative pictorial panels on the origin of the caves.

2. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya:

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Mumbai’s biggest and best museum displays a mix of exhibits from across India. The domed behemoth, an intriguing hodgepodge of Islamic, Hindu and British architecture, is a flamboyant Indo-Saracenic design by George Wittet (who also designed the Gateway of India).

Its vast collection includes impressive Hindu and Buddhist sculpture, terracotta figurines from the Indus Valley, Indian miniature paintings, porcelain and some particularly vicious-looking weaponry. Good information is provided in English, and audio guides are available in seven languages.

3. Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai:

tajhotel-1

Taj Mahal Palace is Mumbai’s most famous landmark. This stunning hotel is a fairy-tale blend of Islamic and Renaissance styles, and India’s second-most photographed monument. It was built in 1903 by the Parsi industrialist JN Tata, supposedly after he was refused entry to one of the European hotels on account of being ‘a native’.

Much more than an iconic building, the Taj’s history is intrinsically linked with the nation: it was the first hotel in India to employ women, the first to have electricity (and fans), and it also housed freedom-fighters (for no charge) during the struggle for independence.

4. Gateway of India:

gateway2

This bold basalt arch of colonial triumph faces out to Mumbai Harbour from the tip of Apollo Bunder. Incorporating Islamic styles of 16th-century Gujarat, it was built to commemorate the 1911 royal visit of King George V, but wasn’t completed until 1924. Ironically, the British builders of the gateway used it just 24 years later to parade the last British regiment as India marched towards independence.

These days, the gateway is a favourite gathering spot for locals and a top place for people-watching. Giant-balloon sellers, photographers, vendors making bhelpuri and touts rub shoulders with locals and tourists, creating all the hubbub of a bazaar. In March, they are joined by classical dancers and musicians who perform during the Elephanta Festival.

Boats depart from the gateway’s wharfs for Elephanta Island.

5. Marine Drive:

marine-drive-mumbai-india

Marine Drive arcs along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Girgaum Chowpatty and continues to the foot of Malabar Hill. It is extensively clean and tidy. Lined with flaking art deco apartments, it’s one of Mumbai’s most popular promenades and sunset-watching spots. Its twinkling night-time lights earned it the nickname ‘the Queen’s Necklace’. Hundreds gather on the promenade around Nariman Point in the early evening to snack and chat.

Please visit our official Travel Guide for more information on famous tourist spots in Mumbai.

Are You a Frequent Traveler? Learn How to Cut Expenses and Save Money for Travel!

Learn to cook – We all need to eat, but restaurants are getting quite expensive these days. To keep your food bill low, cook more often. You don’t need to be a whiz in the kitchen, either. There are a million and one cooking sites that will teach you how to cook fast and healthy meals – perfect for people without much time.

Quit smoking – Smoking kills not only you, but also your wallet. A pack per day costs Rs. 100 on an average. This amounts to Rs. 36, 500 per year. Even half that amount would still yield enough money to visit some exotic locations in India. If you don’t want to stop smoking for your health, do it for your trip.

Stop drinking – Alcohol is expensive. Cutting down the amount you drink is going to have a big impact on your budget. While this might not apply to everyone, those of you who are carefree might go out with your friends on the weekend. Cutting down the amount of alcohol you consume is considered low-hanging fruit – an easy way to save money.

Stop snacking – A snack here and there not only adds calories to your waistline, but also empties your wallet – another example of phantom expenses. We don’t think much of them because they cost so little, but they add up over time and eat into our savings. Eat fuller meals during lunch and dinner and avoid the snacks.

Ditch your landline – I honestly only know about 10 people these days who have anything other than a mobile phone. You don’t need both a mobile phone and a landline. Ditch your phone line and avoid doubling your phone expenses.