Taxis, shopping and the so called ‘points’ or spots – they all are so indispensable part of any vacation tour. Yet, while budgeting for the tour expenses, they are often under-calculated. And the budgeting can go for a toss if the vacation tour happens to be in the overly commercialized stations of Mahabaleshwar and Lonavala. In my recent tour to these places, I discovered a gamut of hidden charges which adds up to the cost. Here are few:
- The Taxi Timelines: Taxis are the major contributor to the unplanned expenditure. Usually, the taxis at the tourist places charge money as per the package. For example, in Mahabaleshwar they have 5 packages, with 6-8 points in each package. Each package has a fix time duration too. The problem is that the time duration is so thin that it is virtually impossible to cover all the points under that package. And what happens in case one overshoots the time? One has to pay the penalty, which is highly arbitrary and negotiable. There are two things to understand, one, that in vacation we do not care about the time and two, that in vacation we do not care to fight and get disturbed. So eventually, we end up paying more than the worth.
- The Rides and Entry Fees: The second hidden cost which is difficult to calculate is the entry fees of the spots. Only after coming out from the spot, we realise that it was not that worth. Then there are the horse rides and the camel rides, the boating and the bungee jumping, and the many unplanned games, and they all add up to the cost. It is not the cost, but it is the exorbitant amount being charged for these items which is taxing. We know that we are being fooled but we are so helpless that we let it go.
- The Syndicate: With most of the people booking their hotels online, the taxi driver -hotel syndicate has really been shaken. But this time I discovered new syndicates. If you want to buy something, say the famous chikki of lonavala or strawberry of mahabaleshwar, and you request the taxi driver to stop at a particular place, he will not do so. He will take you to the shop of his choice. And then you might see him gulping a bowl of cream or getting a box of chikki from the shopkeeper. And to whom will the shopkeeper add this cost? Definitely to you!!
So, the next time when you make the budget for your tour, you may add up extra 10-15% to the budgeted cost for these hidden expenses. But remember, any amount of hidden cost is worth if you choose the right company 🙂 I chose right and for me the hidden costs were damn worth. After all, in vacations all I care for is the company.