The Indian traveller has turned preferential; chasing authentic experiences is a genuine travel goal. The personal holiday planner is into curating itineraries and customising experiences. It could mean clinking a champagne flute with a travel companion at dusk on an island resort; or a wildlife chase of the 5 national parks and sanctuaries at Madhya Pradesh, an Arctic cruise and much more. The traveller is no long hesitant when it comes to splurging on feeling special while travelling. From little touches like a personal monogrammed pillow on the luxurious bed in the suite, to meals made with individual preferences, posh destination honeymoons, more Indian travellers are choosing to go niche. The bottom line is curated, special making for a singular, unforgettable experience.
Champagne on the Bosphorus
Board a private yacht on the jetty of the luxurious Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul, member of the Leading Hotels of the World , where you can spend an afternoon sailing on the Bosphorus, downing champagne and enjoying some delicious food, served up by your very own yacht crew.
2. Experiential Encounters
Hello, traveller, goodbye tourist. While the tourism economy works on the sheer numbers of holidaymakers of all kinds, India has seen the rise of travellers seeking experiences grow. This pack is hungry for experiences from the local to the outlandish. Not for them a regular ‘Hymn for the weekend.’ Chasing ‘Falling off the map’ destinations and choosing off beat locations are gaining ground. Road trips, biker trails, adventure programmes are getting their fan boys. Stay-ins with a local family, earth resorts in spice forests, the quaint and charming, the quirky and edgy are gaining ground.
Riaan’s Pick: Himalayan Bike Rides
While on the subject of road trips. I recently did one of the most breathtakingly beautiful bike trips in my life. Guests at the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove can enjoy the surrounding Himalayas on a Royal Enfield and this can make for a unique experience of riding along mountain roads, soaking up the views.
3. Ladies Only
The Indian woman has largely been accompanied on her travels, usually by a male family member or with her family. The new Indian woman is perfectly comfortable with the idea of solo travel. Girls’ trips are also increasing in popularity. A mushrooming of women’s only travel companies is testimony that more and more Indian women want to taste independence minus the company of males. The groups may be educated and financially secure women but women from 20s to their 60s are bonding over shared interests to travel abroad and within India. Besides the curated experiences these women travel in their own gender groups due to an age-old problem the Indian woman battles: safety.
Sisterhood sojourns Breakfast at Tiffany’s
A curated uber-luxe shopping experience, at the new St. Regis Macao, which you and your girls can book for the morning. Sip on champagne and enjoy a gourmet breakfast as the staff at Tiffany & Co. in Macau showcase their collection for you.
4. Culinary Travels
Indians have woken up to the joys of multi cuisine and are seeking new culinary adventures. Cooking and eating are part of travel experiences. From going on a local market trip to check out local fresh and authentic produce or messing your hands at a cooking programme to make an authentic local meal, Indians are open to eating differently. Proof of this is the rise of culinary trails and people travelling in order to sample good food. It could be a Michelin starred restaurant in France or a local heritage cuisine in Karaikudi in South India.
At the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle, Sri Lanka, guests are for a unique culinary experience. Shop for spices with the chef, choose your fish from the day’s catch on the beach and then even cook a traditional Sri Lankan meal with the guidance of a chef. Bon Appétit!
5. Tech Traveller & Travel Apps
The popularity of smart phones, gadgets and mobile apps are proof that Indians have embraced tech for travelling. Wi-fi in public places like restaurants, cafes, hotels and why, even The Taj Mahal, are proof of the connected world. The rise of the pack of digital nomads in the West points to how digital technology has changed travel. The traveller and travel blogger can move geographically but remain in touch with his local port, with mobile apps and connectivity and information and aid possible all the time.
Latest from Lonely Planet The Guides is a new, free city guide mobile app, the perefect travel companion on the road or to plan a trip, available for both iOs and Android. That said, most Lonely Planet titles are now available on the Kindle device and also on Kindle Unlimited.
Inputs by S Seshadri, General Manager & Director
Lonely Planet India