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My stint at a travel industry opened me to lots of obscure places that are abundant in natural wealth, have some historic importance or natural attractions or are best suited for some adventure sports. In many cases these places offer a much-needed respite from the cacophony of the city life with its calm, serene atmosphere, thus inviting tourists to explore them. And one such destination I would like to visit in 2014 is – Gopalpur-on-Sea. Renowned as the best beach resort in Orissa by seasoned travellers, Gopalpur-on-Sea is a pretty laidback seaport village, situated at a distance of some 180 kms from Bhubhaneswar with a charm of its own. Away from the hustle-bustle of the other temple towns of Orissa, Gopalpur on Sea promises a break that I have been craving for long now.

Anyway, another thing that I learnt there was that we Indians love to travel with all our paraphernalia, which at most of the times if not required. Hence I decided to follow the advice of some travel experts and this is what I have inferred from their experiences.

Keep basics to basics

Easy to advice but difficult to follow if you are confused about what constitutes basic. Generally basics would mean essential items of clothing, along with some first aid medicines and some prescribed medicines (if you are taking any), one pair of good walking shoes and one dressy shoes. However, in most cases if you check the travel sites, you will find that there is a section what to pack for your easy reference.

Invest in a good guide map

Though we are surrounded with technology at every step these days I still feel that one should carry a good old traditional map, in case one gets lost and there are network problems. It might happen in the remote villages and obscure places in India, so be prepared and do invest in a good guide map for easy reference.

Book your flights well in advance

If you are planning to visit any place that does not have a direct flight from your area’s airport and you will be taking a connecting flight. Ensure there is ample enough difference between the two flights. In case your first flight got delayed you won’t be worried about missing your connecting flight and if you are on time. You will be having some time in hand to explore the nearby local attractions and then board your flight.

Car rentals and hires

Travelling smart means that you cover every possible angle of your travel and that includes your transportation from airport to the destination. Find out if there is any facility of renting a car from the airport or you need to pre-book it from the travelling website from where you booked your tickets. Ideally it will be better if you get it booked from the website from where you booked your ticket because then they will give you reasonable rates and you won’t have to haggle with the drivers the first thing you land at the airport.

Book your hotels well in advance

Just like your flights it is always advisable to make your hotel reservations well in advance and then before leaving for your home just ensure that your bookings stand. You don’t want to land in a soup after reaching at your destination by realising that there are no reservations under your name.

Check out the festival dates

Another important thing to keep in mind is about the festival dates that will be coinciding with your travel plans. In case there are some festivals that are specific to that area then do a thorough research on them so that you are aware about the celebrations and can participate in them with a local enthusiasm.  

Other than this if you really want to travel smart then get your bookings done through a trusted website and that is Skyscanner. Using data from Skyscanner you can see the cost of flights to a convenient airport, select the flights, check prices in real time and book with the airline.