GET, SET, GO

GET, SET, GO

American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality, the late Anthony Bourdain, had once said, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” 

Well, great journeys are always life-altering experiences and one must head outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature, start new conversations, make friends, and string together beautiful memories.      

Travel lets you take a break from everyday life and helps you see the world with a whole new perspective. When you are exposed to a new culture, food, people, language, history, art, geographical territory,  it works as meditation. It makes you more positive, strong-willed, liberal, compassionate — in a nutshell, a better version of yourself.  

In recent times, due to greater purchasing power of people, international trips have become more accessible and people’s passion to ‘know’ and ‘see’ the world with their own eyes has given birth to many new travel patterns and trends. Instagram is proof! 

Today, a millennial visiting the Taj Mahal will not think of just taking a tour of the monument and clicking a picture in the iconic pose of ‘touching’ the top of the minaret. S/he will perhaps think of ways of preserving the monument or keeping it clean. 

Travel is no longer only about doing touristy things and staying in fancy hotels.  It’s also about experiencing local cultures and food, taking up adventure activities, doing organic farming, driving around unfamiliar terrain and even opting for a wellness resort. We tell you what new journeys you can embark on in 2019.  

VALUE FOR MONEY
If you are planning a vacation  abroad, you may have to revise your plans several times because the depreciation of the rupee is likely to increase your travel costs. So the best thing to do is to choose short haul destinations. 

Balu Ramachandran, head of air and distribution, Cleartrip, says, “The continuing depreciation of the Indian rupee against the dollar has made short haul destinations hotspots for leisure travellers. Dubai is the most favoured international destination for Puneites ahead of others by a wide margin. Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Kathmandu and Colombo are the next favoured destinations in the international circuit.”

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Although offbeat destinations have been a craze for quite sometime now, in the coming year, this trend will see a huge jump. Dinesh Kumar Kotha, co-founder and CEO, Confirmtkt, an online train discovery and booking platform, lists off-beat destinations that will become domestic hotspots in 2019.

Majuli, Assam
Champaner, Gujarat —  nearest station Vadodara
Tirthan Valley, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu
Maravanthe, Karnataka
Lonar, Maharashtra
Talasari Beach, Odisha
Papi Kondalu, Telangana
Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand
Santiniketan, West Bengal

GET ADVENTUROUS
Millennials capture most of the space on your Instagram and Facebook feeds with their travel pictures, however,  2019 will see a surge in the number of senior citizens going for adventure holidays to get an adrenaline rush. 

Aditya Loomba, joint managing director, Eco Rent a Car, a luxury car rental company, feels that with so much happening around, turning old is not limited to staying within the four walls with a pair of glasses and the newspaper or just chitchatting with a friend for that matter. “There is much more that one can explore. You can always think of adventure activities which are specifically meant for senior citizens and are not very difficult to follow,” he says.  

Loomba says in the year 2019, people will be seen enjoying themselves in the golden period of their lives. As they say, old age is your second childhood, so do not give a second thought, but just jump into it. He lists a number of destinations and activities that senior citizens are likely to explore: 

WILDLIFE SAFARI
Jim Corbett National Park is one of the few best getaways that one must explore to bring out their adventurous side. A jungle safari and a visit to Corbett Waterfalls will help you make memories for a lifetime. Further, if you like visiting  temples and like to invest time in history, a visit to Garjia Temple and Corbett Museum is a must.

CAMPING AT RIVER SIDE
Khouduang Waterfalls in Manipur is a must visit as you can camp under the stars by the banks of Barak River. One can’t afford to miss the euphoric moments to enjoy the view of concave cut-outs of rocks, created by the massive flow of white water. It’s a delightful opportunity to break away and breathe in the lap of Mother Nature. 

BALLOON RIDE
Oh yes! You read it write... hot air balloon ride! Imagine, you are on this ride and you can literally feel the meaning of being on top of the world. There are many places across India like Pushkar in Rajasthan; Kamshet near Lonavala in Maharashtra; Damdama Lake in Delhi/ Haryana; Karnataka; and Goa where one can try this ride. The only requirement is that you should be over 4 ft tall, with enough stamina to remain standing throughout the ride. Smooth gliding journey through the sky is certainly worth the experience!

KEEPING IT PRIVATE
The hustle-bustle of urban life is making travellers yearn for private vacations, giving rise to the trend of private villas and holiday homes, and this fad is only going to grow in 2019. Amit Damani, co-founder of Vista Rooms, feels that a vacation is always a time to unwind and reconnect with family and friends. An exclusive and private setting allows for such intimate interactions to happen effortlessly, hence the growing trend of villas. 

“This need for exclusivity, privacy, and novelty is driving new-age travellers to choose villas during their short vacations with their near and dear ones. These holiday homes can provide every amenity that a hotel can, like swimming pools, in-house theatres, gyms, courts for sports, steam rooms! All this, with the kind of privacy and informality that hotels cannot match,” says Damani. With an entirely private space available to them, guests have the option of choosing the kind of stay they want: from wild parties with fellow buccaneers to relaxing retreats that heal the body and mind.

Another factor driving the popularity of villas is the flexibility it offers its guests, which makes it particularly viable for groups comprising different age demographics. “Having access to the kitchen allows guests to choose whether they’d like an in-house chef to prepare the meal, order in, or themselves cook something delicious. A majority of villas are also pet-friendly and have more than sufficient space for the guests’ furry companions to play around in,” he adds.  

Villas are usually located in areas that are rich in natural beauty and local culture. “This is because most such properties are constructed as holiday homes by owners who want a beautiful place that they can escape to. With beautiful interiors and scenic landscapes all around, these villas are a delight for photo buffs too. Every house has its own story, which makes the stay more interesting and exploratory for the guests,” says Damani.

WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
In this age of social media, it is impossible not to get influenced by bloggers and Instagrammers. When it comes to travel too, travel bloggers across the globe have been predicting various travel and hospitality-related trends that will dominate 2019.  

Delhi-based traveller Zubin Ekka, who blogs on TripsyTrip Tales, says that today people not only travel to see places but they want to experience the gastronomical delights a destination has to offer. So you can expect culinary vacations to get popular. 

“Locally-produced ingredients and traditional methods of cooking appeal to many globetrotters. They don’t mind taking a flight to Kenya or foraying into the deepest corners of Nagaland to try their exotic dishes. In 2019, more and more people will travel to try various cuisines. They don’t just intend to eat what they try, but also study the cuisine of a place,” says Ekka. 

According to him, going local and living like a local will inspire travellers to move out of the comforts of their hotel rooms and go back to the simpler ways of living and connecting to the roots. Says Ekka, “Not just that, agro-tourism will continue to be a huge trend in 2019 where people will engage in farming and horticulture when they take a trip. Several resorts and farms have already been offering this service for quite sometime now.”  

If you ever envied The Kardashians staying on a floating villa in Bora Bora, it’s time you stayed in one. “2019 will be a year of experiences in travel and floating villas will be more accessible to many of us. Since beach destinations, and sun and sand are all-time favourite travel spots, many boutique resorts have started offering the services to some elite customers,” quips Swati Jain, a travel writer.   

Fitness and wellness will continue to be a craze in the coming year because a huge chunk of the population is obsessed about fitness and have become health freaks. “You’ll find people rushing to resorts that give them yoga classes, detox, meditation, ayurvedic treatments and spa facilities that offer healing. People don’t just want to travel, they want to use the time and money they spend on vacation to nurture themselves and heal, and take a step towards leading a healthy life. They are also taking up cycling, running, rowing etc to stay fit when they travel,” adds Jain who is also a certified yoga instructor.

A NEW FAD EVERY YEAR
Nishant Pitt, CEO of EaseMyTrip, is of the opinion that the travel industry is witnessing some significant and interesting changes every year. Pitt feels that exploring forgotten destinations, empowering women through travel, driving anti-consumerism and more cultural explorations are some of the top trends to watch out for in the coming year. Here are some of the trends that he forecasts: 

Staycations
The hectic schedule of people is making them look out for having a vacation that is limited to staying indoors at calm and lavish places where a few activities are available for releasing  stress. 

Set out during off-peak season
Off-peak season will not remain isolated anymore as travellers have understood this fact very well that there are several benefits of travelling during off-peak season. From cheap stay to better hospitality, and from more affordable flight tickets to fewer tourists, these advantages are going to appeal to lots of travellers. 

Doing experiments with taste buds
Food destinations have also started trending with the growth of celebrity chefs and quality cooking shows. So, such countries will be hot favourites of people where lots of experiments with food are done.

New and forgotten destinations
Some new destinations that you can discover in 2019 are Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Jordan, Kazakhstan and Hungary. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, being magical places with incredible architectures, are definitely going to attract travellers for wonderful experiences with great hospitality, amazing places to explore and ultimate shopping hubs. Zimbabwe has gained back its old appeal of being a premier safari destination and tourism attraction for adventurers. So, it is going to be a popular destination for year 2019. Being a safe land of old cities, Jordan is another gorgeous place that is gaining popularity rapidly. Beautiful sights, delicious food and the rich history all together attract travellers. Morocco is also becoming popular and will be a hot favourite in the coming years due to its location-wise versatility. Travellers can explore beaches, deserts, trekking locations, imperial cities and food.

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