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This summer, where and how are people travelling?

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Travelling to a new place in the summer (Tuscan) sun is really alluring, whether it’s for a picturesque burnout getaway or a leisurely stroll down European cobblestone walkways while sipping gelato. As we enter the height of summer, the majority of tourists are either already fleeing the oppressive heat for a more comfortable destination or are enjoying the wonderful excitement of booking their next trip when the weather starts to cool down. Regarding the latter, we have compiled some fascinating information from massive online travel agencies, forecasting some of the hottest trends that will be prevalent this summer.

Lodging: High-end homestays are becoming more popular

Homestays saw a significant increase in 2023, although an average price of between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 7,000 per night still accounts for around 45% of all bookings, as to MakeMyTrip’s Summer Travel Trends 2024 study. While inexpensive accommodations are still popular in this category, homestays and villas that offer guests a more immersive cultural experience are growing at the fastest rate for Indian tourists, with rates starting at ₹20,000 per night.

Since the biggest rise is being reported in the tariff category for nights tariffed between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000, this suggestive premiumization tendency is further reinforced.

Travel abroad: South Asian locations outperform some newcomers

Cities in Southeast Asia are drawing the greatest number of Indian visitors, with nations like Thailand and Sri Lanka offering visa-free entrance and more likely to follow. In a tribute to their dominance, Phuket, Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur topped MakeMyTrip’s “Top 10” (international) search and booking trend category. Search inquiries for newcomers are significantly increasing in Baku (Azerbaijan), Almaty (Kazakhstan), and Nagoya (Japan), which may be able to take some of the traffic away from more established towns.

Wellness: The popularity of Trantra retreats, Vedic psychology, and water-themed travel is growing

Significantly, 83% of travellers concur that being near water immediately promotes relaxation, and 38% of Indian travellers indicate a strong desire for water-themed travel experiences. One may readily foresee a spike in activities such as floating yoga, water sound baths, and snow meditation as travellers enjoy these water-centric experiences.

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Domestic destination: Srinagar and Udaipur trail behind Goa, which continues to wow both local and foreign tourists.

With the launch of MakeMyTrip, Goa’s standing as the top domestic travel destination in previous years is expected to hold steady. In terms of the biggest rise in searches between March and April 2023 and March and April 2024, Srinagar and Udaipur came in second and third, respectively. Goa meets all the requirements for a perfect summer vacation for Indian tourists, but its popularity with sundowners abroad was made clear by Pinterest’s summer travel report 2024, which showed a 270% increase in searches for “Goa nightlife.”

Highlighting Generation Z: Saving up their first salary for a vacation abroad and low-cost road trips with pals

Many members of the Gen Z generation are saving their first income for a trip overseas, even though cost has historically been a deciding issue for young travellers. According to Skyscanner, 81% of people decide to book their first international trip after accepting their first job offer or starting their first salary. Gen-Zers’ propensity “to forge deeper connections with friends through intimate, budget-friendly road trips” is another positive trend that Pinterest has identified. Searches for topics like “What do bring on a road trip” (+66%), “Places to go with friends list” (+50%), “Nature with friends” (+50%), and more are increasing.

Keeping Europe in mind: The EU entices Indian tourists by offering the chance to secure a two- to five-year visa.

EU countries are dominating summer plans, especially with the new possibility to secure a multi-entry Schenegan visa. Over 40% of Indian Gen Z tourists rank Europe’s dynamic cultures and ancient sites as their favourite vacation destination, according to Skyscanner. “Europe is a very desirable travel destination, and at Thomas Cook, we’ve seen a robust 30% increase in demand for summer 2024 travel.” The appeal of a multi-country journey is difficult to resist for Indians, who are traditional value seekers with just one Schengen visa, according to Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa – Thomas Cook (India) Limited.

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Bali in winter, Paris in April. How “bucket lists” for travel assist cancer patients in dealing with life and death

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Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman portray two prominent characters in the 2007 movie The Bucket List who refuse experimental therapy after learning they have terminal cancer. Rather, they go on a series of adventurous, high-energy trips abroad. The phrase “bucket list,” which refers to a list of goals or experiences you want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket” or pass away, has since gained popularity. You might read about the 100 Australian travel experiences on a bucket list or the seven cities you should see before you die.

However, there is a more sombre aspect to the concept of bucket lists. Remorse for things said or done wrong is one of the main causes of misery at the end of life. Therefore, making a bucket list might act as insurance against this regret.

When a life-limiting illness is diagnosed, the bucket list quest for experiences, memories, and significance takes on a life of its own.

In a research that was released last week, we conducted interviews with 54 cancer patients as well as 28 members of their social networks. Travel was a major item on the bucket lists of many.

Why is travel such a big deal?

There are several reasons why our conceptions of a “life well-lived” revolve so heavily around travel. Travel is frequently associated with significant life turning points, such as the young gap year, the Eat Pray Love (2010) film’s journey to self-discovery, or the archetypal “grey nomad” persona.

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Travel is important for reasons beyond the final destination or even the route taken. For several individuals, organising the trip is as crucial. A cancer diagnosis challenges a person’s feeling of agency over their life, making it difficult for them to design the trip of a lifetime or craft their own narrative.

The newly retired spouse of a cancer patient, Mark, informed us of their postponed holiday itinerary:

We’re just at that stage of life when we were planning to hop in the caravan, go on the big trip, and do all this kind of stuff, but right now, those plans are simply sitting on the shed’s blocks.

Others felt compelled to “tick things off” their bucket list as soon as they received a cancer diagnosis. Asha, a breast cancer patient, told us that although she had always been motivated to “get things done,” receiving the diagnosis made this worse:

As a result, I had to travel extensively and cross everything off my bucket list, which has somewhat turned my girlfriend off.

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Dreams of travel included driving a caravan across the Nullarbor Plain, going whale watching in Queensland, seeing polar bears in the Arctic, and skiing in Switzerland.

Nadia, who was 38 years old when we met with her, stated that despite her health issues, travelling with her family had allowed her to create priceless memories and given her a sense of energy. Rather than waiting for retirement, she told us that receiving a cancer diagnosis had allowed her to live life to the fullest:

I believe that over the past three years, I have lived longer than many eighty-year-olds.

However, travel is costly.

Naturally, travel is costly. The billionaire status of Nicholson’s character in The Bucket List is not accidental.

Some of the folks we met with had completely depleted their funds because they thought they wouldn’t need to pay for retirement or elderly care. Others have fulfilled their lifelong ambitions through insurance settlements or charitable donations.

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However, not everyone is capable of doing this. Jim, a sixty-year-old man whose spouse was given a cancer diagnosis, informed us:

In fact, we recently purchased a new vehicle and have been discussing purchasing a new caravan. I must go to work, though. Though never mind, it would be lovely if there was a small money tree out back.

Not every person had pricey items on their bucket list. Some made the decision to buy a pet, start a new pastime, or spend more time with loved ones.

According to our research, creating plans to cross things off a list might help people feel hopeful about the future and in control of their lives. It was a means of regaining control over a condition that might make individuals feel helpless. Asha stated:

I refuse to let this illness rule me. I’m not going to do nothing except sit motionless. I’d want to take a trip.

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Something we’should have’ done?

Additionally, bucket lists are a sign of a larger society that prioritises production and ostentatious spending, even in the latter stages of life.

People have in fact informed us that flying may be costly, unpleasant, and exhausting—especially if they are simultaneously dealing with treatment-related symptoms and side effects. Travelling, though, seemed like something they “ought” to do.

Our findings revealed that travel can have profound significance. But living a life well doesn’t have to be ostentatious or daring. Discovering purpose in life is an incredibly personal process.

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Offbeat tracks: 8 strange train itineraries to sate your summertime wanderlust

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Explore India’s diverse tapestry on iconic train routes, showcasing Himalayan slopes and coastal vistas for a summer escape.

Train travel in India offers a unique and captivating experience, showcasing the diverse tapestry of the country. The rhythm of the rails sets the pace, allowing for simple pleasures like reading, enjoying chai, and enjoying laughter through card games. The journeys are filled with unique experiences and breathtaking sights.

redRail has curated a list of 8 stunning summer train journeys, each boasting scenic splendor. Pack your bags, book tickets, and embark on an unforgettable adventure where the journey becomes the destination, ensuring a relaxing pace and unforgettable experiences.

Top train routes to take this summer

The “Himalayan Queen” train journeys from Kalka to Shimla, a charming town with Victorian-era architecture and mountain air. The 5.5-hour journey offers horse-drawn carriage rides, colonial-era buildings, and breathtaking views, escaping the Delhi furnace.

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Siliguri to Darjeeling (7 hours) via the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway offers a UNESCO gem, emerald tea plantations, breathtaking Himalayan views, iconic architecture, fragrant Darjeeling tea, and cozy evenings by the fireplace.

The “Toy Train of the South” takes passengers on a 4.5-hour journey through emerald hills and verdant valleys to Ooty, known as the “Queen of the Hills,” where rolling hills, colonial charm, refreshing lakes, and delicious strawberries await.

The Mumbai to Goa train route offers a scenic escape from urban life, allowing passengers to enjoy the Arabian Sea’s rhythm and pristine beaches. Book early for this summer hotspot, as it’s a popular route.

Experience sensory overload on a 5.5-hour Western Ghats adventure from Hassan to Mangalore, surrounded by lush rainforests, waterfalls, and coffee plantations. Enjoy pristine beaches, delicious seafood, and the unique Tulu culture in Mangalore.

The journey from Bhubaneshwar to Brahmapur/Berhampur takes 3 hours and offers various train options. The journey takes you to Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest lagoon, where you can observe exotic birds, flamingos, and Irrawaddy dolphins.

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The Kanyakumari to Trivandrum coastal journey offers a scenic view of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Indian Ocean, culminating in Trivandrum, known for its historical backwaters, lush greenery, and delicious South Indian cuisine, making it an ideal summer getaway for sea enthusiasts.

Explore Rajasthan’s Rajput splendor on a 5–6 hour journey from Ajmer to Udaipur. Explore Aravalli hills, ancient forts, and vibrant villages. Visit Udaipur, known as the “City of Lakes,” with Lake Pichola, palaces, and bazaars for a summer escape.

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Kaziranga will temporarily halt jeep safaris and elephant rides from March 7-9 during Prime Minister Modi’s visit

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Jeep safari and elephant rides will be closed from March 7-9 due to PM Modi’s visit to Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam has led to the closure of the jeep safari and elephant ride from March 7 to 9.

The jeep safari and elephant ride in Kaziranga Range, Kohora, will be closed to visitors from March 7, 8, and 9, while the forenoon and elephant ride will be closed on March 8 and 9, according to Arun Vignesh, Divisional Forest Officer, Eastern Assam Wildlife Division.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the national park on March 8 and 9. He is expected to arrive at the park on March 8 evening and will stay at night

The jeep safari and elephant ride in Kaziranga Range, Kohora, will be closed to visitors from March 7, 8, and 9, while the forenoon and elephant ride will be closed on March 8 and 9, according to Arun Vignesh, Divisional Forest Officer, Eastern Assam Wildlife Division.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the national park on March 8 and 9, arriving in the evening and staying overnight.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to embark on a 2-day jungle safari in Kaziranga National Park, which was designated a national park in February 1974, and will celebrate its Golden Jubilee this year. Both jeep and elephant safaris are planned.

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