Travellers like Divya H N are looking forward to exploring the serene locales of Northeast Indiathis year.
They say travelling is like taking a journey into yourself. No one knows this better than the travellers themselves, who are busy charting out their itineraries for the coming months while the rest of the world is busy making resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead.
Says Divya H N, project manager of a biopharma company, "I believe that one should see their country first before going anywhere else. My destination for this year will be Northeast India, especially Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
Divya explains her modus operandi thus, "Once we decide the destination, we book tickets as soon as possible. We do many trips in a year so money is important. Accommodation is sorted next and it's usually close to places that we want to see so that we don't have to spend much on taxis and cabs. However, we ensure that the room has a good view."
Shrinidhi Hande, the associate manager at Accenture, has already planned out his travel calendar for the coming year. "I am planning to go to Cambodia this month, Myanmar in August, New Zealand in October and Gold Coast in November. I booked the tickets in 2017 with Air Asia so it was super cheap. I am looking to book some trips to Korea and Japan this year for travel in 2019."
Northeast India figures on the schedule of Mounika Pothineni as well, in the form of a bike trip to Arunachal Pradesh no less.
Apart from this, the founder of 'Gutsytribe' is also looking forward to organising a couple of international backpacking trips this year.
"People are more than willing to travel these days. It's not about the money, it's about the experiences. Even for occasions like New Year, people have stopped partying in cities and are looking for quick getaways. We organised a New Year camp at Sakleshpur and people came from as far as Gujarat," she says.
Asked about travel trends for the coming year, their opinions vary and converge. While Divya feels that the Middle East will attract many explorers in 2018 ("Places like Oman and Abu Dhabi are becoming popular. I think everyone is bored of seeing Europe"), Shrinidhi is rooting for places like Bali, Vietnam, Japan and Philippines.
"Thanks to the disruption caused by the volcano, Bali will be cheaper to visit in early 2018. Vietnam is a relatively unexplored territory by Indians while Japan has many unique experiences to offer like sumo wrestling, bullet trains, cherry blossoms and more. The Philippines is another affordable destination and many one-stop flights go to the various islands there now," he says.
Says Sharat Dhall, COO(B2C), 'Yatra.com', "The trend of frequent travelling by taking advantage of the long weekends will continue to grow. Be it a weekend break, destination wedding or a second honeymoon, individuals will be seeking out newer destinations and newer experiences. Travellers now want to get active, stay healthy and really immerse themselves in a destination."
"Wellness tourism is seeing a spurt. Travellers are also opting for a gastronomic holiday in Goa, Kerala, Lucknow, Thailand and Italy," he adds.
The online travel agency lists Norway, Jerusalem, Ireland, Iceland, Georgia, Peru and Tunisia among the international destinations to watch out for while Hampi, Alleppey, Gokarna, Munnar and Spiti Valley make it to the list of domestic favourites.
When it comes to travelling preferences, Shrinidhi expects the 'UDAAN' scheme to attract more flyers to smaller destinations in the country while Mounika sees people moving away from solo trips to group ones.
"Group discounts, economies of scale and more fun are some of the reasons why people are opting to travel in large groups now," she says.