On the road again

On the road again
Saint Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page’. As the journey into a new year starts, travel enthusiasts in the city are busy planning out their itinerary for the next weekend or that eagerly awaited long break after a couple of months. With new hopes and new beginnings come the new travel trends that these travellers can look forward to and block their days for; aiming for a suitable escape away from the crowd.

Though the percentage of people travelling domestically is always slightly higher because of the appeal and easy commute, international travels have also become incredibly common from the past couple of years. Chandrashekhar, Director, ‘Travel Unbounded’, says that the travel industry is looking forward to a good growth this year. “With a hope that tax sops would be announced, thereby increasing the liquidity of people to spend on travel and leisure, this year looks great for travelling. In the last two years, there is an increase in the ‘off-the-shelf’ kind of travel, which is likely to continue this year too. We have seen an increase in the number of younger generation wanting to explore the world.” says Chandrashekhar.

He says budget travelling is picking up a lot, especially among the young IT crowd, as well as backpacking trips. With the offers that airlines come up with and the affordable lodging provided by Airbnb and other homestays, travelling has become more convenient and inexpensive. “Along with domestic places like Wayanad (for backpackers), Uttrakhand (for bikers), Rajasthan and other lesser known places, many people are seen enquiring about countries like Malaysia, Maldives, Burma this year,” adds Chandrashekar.

Of the opinion that destinations like Europe still continue to be on a traveller’s bucket list is Gauri Jayaram, Founder and CEO of ‘Active Holiday Company’. She believes that as first timers, people always look for places which are close by to India. “Vietnam, Cambodia and even Thailand are the common destinations that first timers can look forward to,” says Gauri.

She points out that it takes a long time for a travel trend to change. However, people visit old places but with newer perspectives and hope for experiences by adding more outdoor activities on their list. “Today, people are becoming more experience conscious; they want to spend time doing things that help them create memories. This is giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘bucketlist’ — it has become more of ‘what I have done’ rather than ‘where I have been’,” Gauri adds.

For this year, she says first-timers can also look forward to Krabi or a trek to Annapurna, while the experienced travellers can sail towards Croatia, run the marathon in Israel or visit the Inka trek in Peru. One of the most evergreen experience among travel enthusiasts is cycling in Tuscany.

“I believe travelling is a reflection of social changes. People in India have become more adventurous and active, they are doing everything to push their own limits and these reflect on their trips as well,” says Gauri.

Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings Ltd, says, “This year is going to see more of experiential travel. Glamping (a style of camping in mobile luxury camps) is growing in popularity. ‘The Ultimate Travelling Camp’ is the first of its kind to offer these services in India and is located in Ladakh, Nubra and Kohima. These seasonal camps will become a trend in 2017.”

Apart from that, he highlights that group holidays, especially while travelling overseas, are getting popular, as these help travellers in cutting down on a lot of expenses. Adding that people between the age of 25 and 45 are the most common travellers, he says, “While the younger generation prefers hard adventure like underwater diving, older groups like a more relaxed holiday with something like driving around the destination. There is a more immersive experience that travellers are looking for, where they combine visiting destinations and trying out the local cuisine as well. This is a trend which is also becoming popular,” adds Karan.

Though not a very popular concept, cruising is also something that travellers can look forward to this year. Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing says, “This offers a new opportunity for travellers across the world. It involves a completely different aspect to one’s travel plans. However many people think cruise ships can be an expensive affair, which is not really true. Cruising offers a composite rate and is great for large family holidays.”

She highlights that the number of people opting for cruise holidays is increasing but they travel to places only closer to home. Singapore, The Mediterranean Sea, Alaska, The Caribbean and Bahamas are some of the most popular destinations when it comes to cruise travels. “It is a positive thing that people today want to experiment and experience with different things. And with cruising, the destination is travelling with you and one can experience the life on both land and onboard,” adds Ratna.
 
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