The first criteria to plan a budget holiday in Andaman is to detail out the individual expenses involved in flight fares, hotel bookings, sightseeing, transportation etc. based on a standardized itinerary. Flight fares comprise a major chunk of budget and it is better to get booked beforehand as soon as dates of travel are decided. Finalize the itinerary and rest of the plans as the days pass by. Using public transportation as much as possible during the entire stay of the trip help cutting down budget. Also, while booking flights, you can opt for time slots such as very early in the morning or late flights which offer cheaper rates. This keeps the cost low and value high.
Get cab arranged for pick and drop only if you do not have any idea or information about availing public transport. There are some useful points to remember while planning itinerary. More information can be gathered via the various Andaman tourism sites.
Cheap flight booking to Port Blair
Port Blair is directly connected to a few major cities such as Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore etc. From various other cities, it is generally connecting flight. Flight expense peaks during festive season. Opt for some steal deals by booking way in advance. Travel portals have tie-ups with airlines that allow them to block a handful of seats. Checking with various travel sites for package deals makes sense. If possible, wait and closely monitor sale offers and book tickets in advance at lower rates.
Hotel booking in Andaman
There are a plethora of decent budget hotel in Andaman. The tariff of hotel stay depends on the time of travel or the season being travelled, hotel type, location and demand. The Havelock hotels are more expensive compared to Port Blair hotels. Split your itinerary to make Havelock stay minimum. Better to keep your base at Port Blair. Also, plan your stay at Havelock or Neil Islands in the middle of the itinerary to avoid last minute cancellation of ferry services for coming back to Port Blair. This will ensure you do not miss your return flight home.
Local transportation options in Port Blair, Andamans
Taxi Service, hired cabs: Taxis are expensive in Andaman. One reason might be Uber or Ola do not operate in Port Blair yet and the taxi operators work with an overpriced and fixed deal. Distance and time of hired cabs or taxis are calculated from garage to garage, and not between the pickup and drop point. There is a considerable increase in taxi fares in peak seasons.
Reasonable auto fares in Port Blair: Autos run in Port Blair at reasonable rates. You can also note down the names of auto drivers just in case you need a particular pick or drop and if you have developed a rapport with any particular driver.
City buses: If you can collect exact or near-accurate information about the local bus services operating in a particular island, and if you can afford to spend some time, you can cut down on your transport costs. But there are a few and far between buses operating in the islands other than Port Blair.
Boat and ferry rides: A vacation in Andaman involves island hopping and thus boats are a major mode of transportation. Boat services operate with fixed charges on a per person basis. The private ferry services transferring tourists from Port Blair to Havelock or Neil Island are comparatively faster and more expensive that the government boats which are a lot cheaper but takes considerably more time. From Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex, there are boats operating at regular intervals at specific timings connecting Port Blair to the other enigmatic islands around such as Ross Island, North Bay and Viper Island at fixed rates per person.
Bike rentals and self-drive cars: Two-wheelers are offered on rentals from specific points. Bikes and scooters available on rent give you more flexibility of transport and are definitely cheaper. But bikes and scooters will only be limited to a particular island. Self-drive cars rental agencies are not available in Andamans as of now.
Helicopter Shuttle services in Andamans: In case you get overtly adventurous and is ready to splurge money on a thrilling helicopter ride, you can opt for one, at exorbitant rate though. Government operated helicopter services commute between Port Blair and Havelock and also connect few other main islands. The rides even though expensive offers scintillating bird-eye view of the blue oceans and the green islands below. You can even get further adventurous and book a helicopter entirely for yourself at a rate of about 1.1 lakh per hour.
Budgeting your adventure activities
- Scuba Diving:There are several scuba diving agencies operating on the various main islands. Scuba diving offered at North Bay is closer to Port Blair and is cheaper but this destination is a lot more crowded. Deep sea diving being operated off the coast of Havelock Island is more expensive but the locale is indeed much more exotic with still more fascinating marine creatures abounding the coral reefs. Dive and sea walk at North Bay to get cheaper rates.
- Island Hopping:Boats connect various islands with regular ferry services and operate at fixed timings with fixed fares. Tickets are available at the jetties. The boat have fixed departure timings and hence the time they allot for you to explore the island and return to boat is usually limited. In case you need more time for a relaxed photography or for exploring the islands, you need to negotiate and bargain for extra time.
- Jet ski ride: The rides have more or less standard rates. You might get better bargains during off-season visits.
Duration of Andaman Tour
The duration of stay is directly proportional to expenses. The more the number of days of stay, the larger is the amount spent. Select and prioritise the destinations of visit. And plan your stay to maximum utilize the best of Andaman tourism.