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Affordable Euro Trip

Many of us have a Euro trip on our bucket list. However, because of the prohibitive expenses involved, we put the trip off for the next year. Sadly however, the next year seldom comes. Worry not!

We have illustrated here 20 tips on how you can make your dream Euro trip affordable while realising all your expectations out of the tour. What’s more, we are also giving 18 directives on ensuring that your trip is smooth while avoiding some common mistakes. What’s with the numbers 20 and 18, you might ask? Well, these are strategic because we really want the year 2018 to be the one when you finally embark on your Euro trip!

20 tips to save money

  1. Low-cost accommodation

The biggest secret in travel today is luxury hostels. These are hostels where the focus is on creating guest experiences and they are definitely cheaper than star hotels.

  1. Co-shared living spaces

You must check Airbnb when visiting Europe. It has a fantastic range of places to stay and offers great value. What’s more, if you’re new to Airbnb, on first-time sign up, you may get discounts too.

  1. Rail travel

If you’re travelling from London to Paris, Eurolines offers rates as little as £15 one-way. You can hop over to Eurostar to checkout their brand new SNAP fares where you can get cheap fares for advance bookings.

4. Hop-on hop-off bus services

Flixbus’ Interflix Euro bus pass  is probably the best deal in bus travel. Besides having good frequency on all key routes, the buses also offer free Wi-Fi and generous luggage allowances.

  1. Book in advance

Save queuing time for major European attractions by booking your activities in advance. Doing so also opens up the chance for you to get an instant online discount, which can be substantial savings if you are travelling in a group.

  1. Free walking tours

Several European destinations offer free walking tours. These are comprehensive, entertaining and relaxing and a good way to explore offbeat places.

  1. Time your trip

Don’t travel to Europe in the summers if you can avoid it. It is best to look at off-season instead. For instance, during winters, hotels can be discounted by upto 40 per cent so you can get a great deal.

  1. First things first

When first arriving in a new city in Europe, ensure that you stop by the tourism bureau for discounts, free maps and cost-free events. Plus, their information/advice will be trustworthy.

  1. All-exclusive pass

Quite a few European destinations offer an all-inclusive pass that gets you access to museums and also public transportation. If you are planning to pack in a number of visitor attractions, this pass can save you a lot of money.

  1. Feet on street

Walk as much as you can. This way, you’ll be able to remain fit, stand a chance to be greeted by something most unexpected and also spend quality time with your loved ones. Walking is free too!

11. Do as the locals do 

Join locals in restaurants and eateries during happy hours. You can also check out local sports matches which are often free or cheap.

  1. Save on roaming bills

Roaming charges and accessing the internet abroad is still prohibitively expensive and hence it is best to get yourself a local internet data-only SIM. Or you can buy a mobile Wi-Fi device that is relatively cheap too.

  1. Chug along

For pocket-friendly travel, you can try trains, especially the regional and local ones, that can be very cheap, especially in countries like Poland and Hungary. You can especially consider making longer connections by overnight train that can save you accommodation costs too.

  1. Pedal power

If you can, you must travel by a cycle. Travelling thus not only saves you money, it’s great for your health too. Plus, cyclists can match with gracious locals who are willing to accommodate them. The emphasis is on the exchange of experiences and cultures rather than of money.

  1. Fly with a low-cost airline

Thanks to the low-cost airline revolution, travelling across Europe is a lot cheaper. Even with hidden extras like paying for checking-in your luggage, prices are reasonable, especially over longer distances.

  1. Be money-wise

It is expensive to withdraw money abroad from an ATM. Not only will you get a poor exchange rate, you will also be charged a withdrawal fee. Hence, travellers’ cheque/card is the most optimum and secure way of carrying money.

  1. Avoid buying currency at the airport

If you can, you should avoid buying currency at the airport. It will be needlessly expensive. Hence, it is best to not put off your forex till the last minute.

  1. Stay off-centre

In almost every major European city you can get significantly cheaper prices if you are willing to stay off the city’s centre. In addition to the peace and quiet, you can also get a chance to explore offbeat areas.

  1. Restrict restaurant meals 

Limit eating-out to once a day even as you should visit a gourmet restaurant for lunch when many restaurants offer great value in set menus and business lunches. In addition, food stalls around European cities are common and they are a great way to save money too.

  1. Shop locally

If you are shopping for articles/souvenirs to take back home, you should try the local supermarket or visit farmer’s markets and watch what the locals are buying to get the best deals.

18 ways to avoid common pitfalls

  1. Ensure passport validity

A valid passport is a prerequisite for travel to Europe. Moreover, travellers who have a valid passport should check the expiry date before they purchase any flight tickets as some countries can deny entry if your passport expires within 6-months of when you arrive.

  1. Organise your travel documents

Assemble all your travel documents properly, including bank statements that will need to be authenticated by your bank. You might be denied visas if you do not submit all the documents as required or if your documentation is incomplete.

  1. Apply for visas well in advance

It is important that you apply for your Schengen visa (for travel through Europe) well in time. While the application procedure takes 4-6 weeks, there is an element of unpredictability and hence proper planning is vital.

  1. Be certain of your trip dates

It is important to decide what time of the year you want to travel to Europe. You can start by planning your itinerary around dates and events. Weather is a major aspect that you should consider while planning.

  1. Start refining your list

Once you’ve done your research, it is crucial that you narrow down your ideal Europe trip list. Countries like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic feature some of the best experiences while being considerably cheaper than most countries in Western Europe.

  1. Carry valid licences

This would be especially relevant for those planning on renting a car while in Europe as a valid driver’s license is mandatory.

  1. Pack right

Temperatures in Europe can vary drastically and hence it is important to pack accordingly. It is also a good idea to carry an umbrella in your backpack at all times.

  1. Slow down

Remember that by trying to see everything, a lot of travellers fail to enjoy anything. Hence, ensure that you give yourself enough time to relax and avoid burnout.

  1. Be aware of travel time

Remember to account for travel time between European cities. Think about how much you’re actually going to want to see or do in a new city after travelling all day/night between destinations on your trip itinerary.

  1. Research flights to Europe

Plan for your flight and decide whether you want standard round-trip flights or one-way flights, which are usually more expensive.

  1. Map your route

Once you’ve decided on the destinations, you can determine the best route for your itinerary. Look at a map of Europe to avoid backtracking – it wastes both time and money.

  1. Always keep time in hand

If you plan everything down to the minute, even a slight delay could wreak havoc on your schedule. So it’s best to keep some time in hand.

  1. Use translation services

Rely on technology for translation services as you really do not want to face the challenge of getting lost in a region where they don’t speak your language.

  1. Pack light

If you pack heavy, you could end up paying the airline for oversized carriage. You also run the risk of having to lug your bag/s during the journey, which can be tiresome.

  1. Stay pocket-light

Never carry too much cash that runs the risk of getting lost/stolen. A preloaded multi-cash currency cardis by far one of the cheapest and easiest ways to handle money when travelling in Europe.

  1. Travel with some cash

Though staying pocket-light is good, do carry a reasonable amount of cash. A lot of cafes, restaurants, local markets, etc. do not accept plastic cards.

  1. Check the calendar

If you travel around certain dates to certain cities, you might find everything closed, which could be quite a damper to your plans. Hence, reconfirm the dates, especially if you have limited time per destination.

  1. Carry solid footwear

Though most European cities are pedestrian-friendly, it is always a great idea to wrap your feet around good footwear, especially if you are planning to walk a lot.

Europe is full of amazing places and experiences that you could travel for years and still feel like you’ve missed something essential. GD Assist, an experienced travel and tourism player, can meet all your Euro tour needs to provide you with curated experiences that you’re sure to cherish for a lifetime!

Let 2018 be the year when you ticked Euro off your visit list and at GD Assist, we’ll help you to do just that!

So, call GD Assist today.

Hotline: 16457; +8801617666888. Email: gdal@green-delta.com

Website:  gdassist.com

All You Need to Know About Medical Tourism in India

German. French. Polish. English. Dutch. Chinese. Bangladeshi. Thai. African… You might be tempted to think that these are the various languages of the world. However, you’d be surprised to know that a typical large Indian hospital is a medical sanctuary of patients coming from all of these nationalities and more as they draw benefit from the significant medical value that India has to offer.

It has been estimated that one in three foreign patients in India is from Bangladesh, representing the highest pool of patients from abroad in India. The number of Bangladeshi patients visiting India for medical treatment purposes has grown sharply from 0.5 million in 2008 to as many as 1.13 million in 2015. Hence, this post is a valuable information bank for patients and their families visiting India, enabling them to understand the medical benefits offered by the country and derive the maximum benefit out of their visit.

India: A holistic medical value destination

Over the years, India has emerged as a world-class destination for medical value travel, pivoted on the three most essential factors that a patient seeks:

  • World-class hospital infrastructure
  • Acclaimed medical specialists and
  • Costs that are one-fifth to one-tenth of the prevalent costs

This, in brief, is the holistic medical and healthcare proposition offered by India. From the range of procedural and treatment options, quality of healing and curative therapies and skilled manpower to perform any medical procedure with minimal waiting period, the list of benefits of travelling for medical treatment to India are many, projecting the country as one of the world’s most preferred medical value destinations offering successful and seamless healthcare solutions. With such a comprehensive offering, the patient can be assured of being in safe and secure hands.

India, by virtue of adoption of cutting-edge technology, is focused on universalizing healthcare for patients, making medical procedures and therapies both accessible as well as affordable.

India: Robust and user-friendly healthcare facilities

India’s top-notch healthcare system is as good as the best in the world. The country sustains a robust accreditation system with a large number of accredited facilities – 275 such facilities are present in the country that match global healthcare infrastructure. India has 22 Joint Commission International (JCI)-accredited hospitals and compares well with other countries in Asia. This set of approved hospitals in India can provide cure and care at par or above global standards, ensuring what is the most important for a patient – peace-of-mind.

India’s world-class, globally-accredited and user-friendly healthcare facilities provide a warm and empathetic environment for patients to recover and heal.

India: At the forefront of medical technology

India is renowned for offering state-of-the-art medical technology to support diagnostics and other medical procedures that are employed by specialists. All recognized hospitals have invested comprehensively in operative, supportive as well as restorative technologies and processes. Complicated heart surgeries, cancer care and surgeries, neuro and even general surgeries, obstetrics and gynecology, nephrology, pediatrics and pediatric surgery, vascular surgery and plastic / reconstructive surgery, among others, all require high-end technology that is available in India, facilitating continual improvement in outcomes, minimizing complications, enabling faster recovery and reducing the length of hospital stay, which together have an overall impact on reducing costs. Moreover, advancements in robotic surgeries, radiation surgery or radio therapies with cyberknife stereotactic options, IMRT / IGRT, transplant support systems, advanced neuro and spinal options are all available in India. Additionally, medical specialists and other professionals are continually pushing the frontiers of medicine to extend patient propositions, ensuring that the healthcare practice in India remains at the cutting-edge of value.

India is at the confluence of holistic medical management practices on the one hand and the availability of acclaimed specialists on the other, representing the perfect value proposition for patients.

World-class medical experts and specialists

India’s hospitals with world-class facilities are complemented by skilled medical experts and specialists who work in tandem to provide the perfect healing touch to patients. The country possesses the largest pool of doctors and paramedics in South Asia, comprising as many as 1.2 million Allopathic doctors, 0.17 million dental surgeons and an army of over 2 million nurses. Many of the medical professionals in India have established their credentials around the world too. There are about 0.8 million formally-trained Ayurvedic doctors in the country. With a large number of doctors, there is a high level of competency and capability in the adoption of innovation and fresh treatment methods. India is also home to a number of other alternative medicine specialists who have expertise in techniques such as Sidha, Unani, Yoga, Acupuncture and Homeopathy, which are very popular among foreign patients. Such treatment opportunities give India the edge over competitors like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the UAE.

India’s medical history spans thousands of years through Ayurvedic and alternate medicine forms. With such a strong legacy, the country’s healthcare system is at the forefront of the vibrant and dynamic medical industry.

Treatment economics and affordability

What is one of the top factors that a patient chooses before deciding on procedures and treatments? It is the cost of the treatment. India’s unmatched offering of quality treatment at an affordable cost comprises an unbeatable advantage that no patient can ignore. This unique coming together of the highest quality and cost advantage represents unparalleled benefits when it comes to major treatments such as for leukemia, where the difference in cost is 10 to 20 times. For other treatments, it could be anything from one-fifth to one-tenth of what is normally charged in Western countries and as much as 80 to 90% of treatment costs in other South Asian medical destinations. Also consider the fact that a heart bypass procedure costs roughly US$140,000 without any insurance in the US. The same procedure, however, costs one-twentieth at any one of India’s leading surgery centres. Moreover, procedures such as hip and knee replacement, face lift and gastric bypass are far more affordable in India, including the cost of travel and accommodation, compared to the US, or even other countries in Asia.

India’s medical value advantage is derived from the fact that the estimated 600,000 people who come into the country from other nations know that they can regain their health at a fraction of the cost. India’s socialist orientation makes it a nation focused on the welfare and wellbeing of the world.

Minimal waiting period

Quick attention for surgeries and interventions are assured in India. Getting an appointment for bypass surgery or a planned angioplasty in certain countries can take almost 3-6 months. And there, these treatments are costly too. India’s minimal, in several cases even zero, waiting time for any procedure, be it heart surgery, kidney care, cancer treatment, neuro-spinal procedures, knee / hip / joint replacements or other orthopedic treatments, dental, cosmetic surgeries and bariatric and weight loss surgeries and programs, etc.

India’s accredited hospitals are simple to access with a phone call or via an email. After understanding the patient’s case history, a medical specialist and his team will be made available for all consultations, etc, providing seamless services for the patient to be finally enrolled into the hospital.

Feeling the pulse of empathy

For greater understanding between patients and healthcare personnel, the warmth and hospitality of Indian hospitals is a top factor in choosing India as the most preferred healthcare destination. Among the key medical destinations of the world, India has the highest percentage of people who are fluent in English. The sense of care and empathy radiated by the industry can come to represent a big advantage in helping the patient heal faster.

India’s medical fraternity is focused on getting you – the patient – back on your feet in the quickest possible time and with the highest care. In India, truly, the patient can get well sooner!

Logistical advantages

India has several airports located all across the country, making access relatively easy. Most international airlines connect the world to India, including the country’s national carrier. It is also relatively easy to get a visa to visit India with a large number of the country’s embassies and consulates located all over the globe. India has also simplified the medical visa application process with the result that medical visas are issued in most cases in about two days. Additionally, several major Indian airports offer e-visas for patients travelling for healthcare purposes. Once in India, getting a mobile phone connection is easy too with the availability of pre-paid SIM cards with minimal documentation. Most major mobile phone operators have a desk / kiosk just after the customs. SIM recharge and top-ups can also be easily done.

So if you are a patient or if you are a family member of a patient, now is the time to act. You can either browse through the Net for details on hospitals in India or get in touch with specialized companies with strong credentials who can provide integrated services for your visit to India, including travel, visas and other logistical arrangements, hospital selection and doctor appointments, etc.

Best of luck and here’s wishing the patient to get well sooner!