Aurora borealis at Mount Kirkjufell Iceland
For many Bengalureans, tried-and-tested destinations no longer hold allure. They are looking for off-beat locations and interesting curation.
Gourmet and wine tours are among those in favour this season, according to a tour operator.
"The traveller today is looking at local experiences," says Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings.
"A number of travellers shop around at the local markets for fresh produce and engage with the local chef, who explains the various ingredients going into the cuisine," he says.
He also talks about a spike in demand for adventure, or what he calls "soft adventure."
On his list, popular domestic destinations are Kashmir, Andamans, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Vishakapatnam while international ones are France, Switzerland and Germany.
Those keen on travelling to nearby destinations opt for Singapore, Thailand and Macau, he says.
But is there anything for the budget traveller? "Yes. They can travel to Europe for under a lakh. That says it all," he explains.
Bargains and deals are on offer from every corner. "We have always emphasised community travel and only-women trips. We have Croatia, Italy and Greece, great favourites with Bengalureans. People are also interested in our self-driving and motorcycle trips, so we have the Scotland self-drive adventure and bike trips from India to Bangkok and Nepal to Tibet," says Vikram Ahuja, founder, Byond Travel.
Also on the list are the Everest Base camp trip for adventure lovers and the Maasai Mara camp for wildlife enthusiasts.
"Among other countries, Turkey is always a place of interest in summer. We are also organising the Cherry Blossom Trail in Japan and we have had four groups already signing up for it. The experience-based 'Conquering Kilimanjaro' has always seen great participation," says Vikram.
As far as domestic travel is concerned, they are promoting Ladakh and Spiti Valley.
Unusual toursCroatia, Serbia, Turkey, Greece Self-drive in Scotland and NepalCherry-blossom trail in Japan
What's your destination?Iceland: Thomas Cook offers five-night, six-day tours to Iceland for Rs 73,000 (flights not included). TripAdvisor has found a 34 per cent increase in Indians looking to travel to Iceland. September to March is the best season to visit the country, it says.Thailand: Packages on Makemytrip start at Rs 29,000. If you prefer Europe, packages start at Rs 61,000.East Europe: SOTC offers a 10-night, 11-day Glimpses of East Europe package covering Prague, Vienna and Budapest at Rs 1.5 lakh.Hong Kong: Thomas Cook offers a package with a cruise to Japan for Rs 1.15 lakh. Other packages it is promoting are Thailand (Rs 29,200), Sri Lanka (Rs 31,500) and Bali (Rs 43,600).