Andaman Island is a tropical haven drawing tourists from across the world. Replete with lush jungles, rich marine and avian life, pristine beaches and other interesting attractions, Andaman offers a refreshing break from the crowded, polluted and chaotic cityscapes and the bustle of routine life.
A visit to the Andaman Island during the peak tourist season understandably is not budget-friendly. From flight tickets and accommodation to transport and water sporting activity, prices tend to spike as local establishments gear up for brisk business. This definitely does not mean that Andaman is out-of-bounds for the budget traveler.
If you are on a tight budget but yearn to holiday in the Andaman Islands, you can still make it, provided you plan carefully and well-ahead to grab the best possible travel deals.
Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a budget trip to Andaman.
Book your flight in advance
Once you’ve decided to visit Andaman, keep a close tab on the airfares and discount deals so that you can quickly avail lucrative deals, even it means you may be booking your flight tickets several months before your planned holiday.
While there is always a possibility of significant last minute discounts, better not take a risk, unless you are traveling solo! If possible, consider traveling by ship for a unique, longer and relatively cheaper travel experience!
Scout for economy accommodations
The Andaman Islands have a great choice of both luxury and budget accommodations. It is but natural for accommodations to be upscale and pricey at Havelock Island, which is a honeymooner’s paradise. The ideal option would be to stay in Port Blair and visit the neighboring islands by taking a ferry or speed boat. You can also find budget accommodations on Neil Island as well. Opting for a room with just essential facilities is bound to cost less. You may also check out homestay options available at places away from the tourist hubs. When traveling with family, take care to ensure that accommodation is safe and easily accessible as well.
Opt for public transport
Whenever possible use public buses to get from one tourist attraction to another. While public transport may not be convenient if you are on a short visit, you can hire an auto or even a bike to explore the destination, especially in Port Blair.
Hiring a cab/taxi must be your last choice as it is the most expensive mode of transport that can burn a hole in your pocket. Auto fares comparatively are reasonable. Remember to note down the auto driver’s contact number as it is bound to be quite useful during your stay here.
Island hopping is an integral part of your visit and ferry/boat charges are unavoidable! Private ferries are costlier and faster than those operated by the State.
Steer clear of highly commercialized areas
As with any holiday destination, Andaman Islands to have their share of commercialized tourist spots and the serene, less crowded yet equally scenic locations that can leave you spellbound.
Hotels, restaurants, and shops in such places are usually pricey. While you may enjoy a stroll through these locales and visit tourist attractions of interest, avoid booking accommodations or shopping in such busy areas.
The Andaman Islands are known for shell artifacts both seashells and coconut shells! You could pick up a few novel mementos, some spices and probably shop for pearls at the Sagarika Emporium if you really must have a souvenir to remember your trip. Most of the other goods here are from India, and you are more likely to get a better deal when you shop for them back home.
Check out affordable Andaman tour packages
If you do not have the time or the resources to plan for a budget trip all by yourself, you can check out different short Andaman tour packages. These are reasonably priced, and some tour operators also make custom changes if you have any preferences.
With all arrangements such as flight tickets, accommodation, sightseeing and adventure activities taken care of and paid for before your trip, you are bound to spend quality time with your loved ones, simply enjoying the picturesque settings.
Planning your travel itinerary ahead of your visit not only frees up more time for you to explore the Andaman Islands but also work out the transportation/food and other incidental expenses in advance.
Researching for economical alternatives without compromising on the quality of the holiday experience is only possible when you allow yourself the time to find and compare your options.
There are quite a few attractions like the Cellular Jail, Sound and Light Show and water sports that attract a fee. Based on your travel preferences and interests as well as the duration of your trip, you could pick the ones that fit the bill.
Port Blair, Havelock Island and Neil Island top the typical travel itinerary. You could however include a visit to Jolly Buoy Island, Chidiya Tapu, Viper Island and Baratong Island as well.
Just in case you aren’t too fond of water sports, your expenses will be further limited. Do opt for a glass boat ride to observe the corals and marine life in a safe, dry and comfortable manner!
Vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is available at reasonable prices. There are several small restaurants that serve-up a delicious and filling meal to suit diverse tastes. You may not really splurge on food, unless you choose to enjoy fine-dining at one of the luxury hotels here.
If the travel budget really gets to you, you still have the option of making an offseason trip. The Islands are definitely less crowded and quieter; there are more chances of getting an accommodation of your choice at a preferred location/hotel and you are bound to enjoy offseason discounts on flight tickets and hotel reservations as well.
Budget travel or otherwise, allow yourself enough time to get back to Port Blair so that you don’t miss your return flight/ship as the local weather conditions are unpredictable!