2017 a calendar year to travel – with recommendations

25 January  |  Miscellaneous

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One look at your calendar for the year 2017 should take all your workday worries away. Flush with long weekends, this is the perfect year to set out to travel the world!

January
14th – 15th and 26th -29th

With crowds emptying, airfare getting cheap, and many places around the globe still enjoying beautiful weather, January is the perfect time for a trip. The weather is near perfect in places such as Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Bali. A quick visit to the Dubai Shopping Festival, which goes on until the 28th, is also a good idea.

If international travel is not what you’re looking for in this month, how about catching the Camel Festival in Bikaner, Rajasthan or a short trip to the picturesque village of Fatehpur Sikri. Down south, you could plan a quick getaway in one of the Bandipur resorts or the resorts in Masinagudi. A trip to a homestay in Masinagudi promises a memorable experience too.

February
24th – 26th

This long weekend is perfect to head to Agra for the Taj Mahotsav

March
11th – 13th (Holi) and 25th- 28th (Ugadi)

Going up to Rishikesh for some white water rafting and the yoga festival is a wonderful way of spending the long weekends of this month. Alternatively, you could head down to Sri Lanka for some surfing lessons which would be a dream in the near perfect weather conditions March brings.

April
1st – 4th (Ram Navami), 13th – 16th (includes Baisakhi, Good Friday, Easter) and 29th- 1st (May day)

With three weekends to choose from, this month is perfect to let loose and head out. Visit the city of the Golden Temple, Amritsar for Baisakhi, or Mahabaleshwar for the strawberry festival. If International destinations are what you are looking for, Tokyo beckons with its cherry blossoms and motorcycle lovers may head to Phuket for the bike week and festival.

June
24th – 26th (Ramzan Eid)

This month is a good time to head to Hyderabad for an authentic Ramzan experience. If you would rather go on an adventure holiday, head to Dharamsala for a weekend of trekking and camping.

August
12th – 20th (includes Janmashtami, Independence Day, Parsi New Year and two days of leave) and 25th – 27th (Ganesh Chaturthi)

With the long holiday offered in August, international trips are a must-do. Heading to Tanzania for a nature holiday or to Wales for un-crowded beaches and white sand, or to Salzburg for the Salzburg festival is a perfect way to celebrate this extended holiday smack right in the middle of the year. However if you want to keep the trip closer to home, a weeks’ trek of Ladakh or heading up to Coonoor for cheese making make for an ideal vacation itinerary.

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September
29th – 2nd October (Includes Ayudha Puja, Vijaya Dashmi and Gandhi Jayanthi)

Add a few days leave, and head to Bhutan for the Thimpu festival or down south to Snorkel at Andaman and Nicobar. September offers the perfect opportunity for a quick stress-busting holiday.

October
5th – 8th (includes Valmiki Jayanthi and one day leave) and 14th – 22nd (includes Dhanteras, Diwali, Bhai Dooj and two days leave.)

Munich for Oktober fest should be at the top of any holiday planned for this month. Going down to Sydney for some relaxing summer beach time, or to New York to experience The Fall is also a great option.

Closer to home, this season is perfect to head up to Gangtok for unobstructed views of Kanchenjunga, or to Rajasthan for an authentic Diwali experience.

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Image Source – sreestours.com

December
1st -3rd (Eid-E-Milad) and 23rd- 25th (Christmas)

Nagaland comes to life in December for the hornbill festival. Experience the unique food and unspoilt beauty of Nagaland, or head to Manali for a quick picturesque family get-away. However, the top pick of the season is Goa which beckons with beach parties and a plethora of other peak time activities.

End the year in style at Lakshadweep or Maldives

If due to other factors, you can’t get yourself to plan out these trips, a quick trip to Nandi Hills Bangalore will provide for some much-needed fresh air and much needed break from the stress of day to day life.

6 ways a traveler can practice sustainable tourism

25 January  |  Listicles

sustainable tourism

The concept of eco-tourism is gaining popularity very quickly among the travellers of today. From students to families who are taking off on holidays spanning days or weeks, the focus today is the “take only pictures, leave only footprints” approach. A good way to respect the lands that you visit while taking in all that it has to offer is by following some of these principles listed below:

  1. Save Water: While showering and washing up are essentials, you can always take shorter showers and make sure you turn the water off while shaving or brushing your teeth. Try and re-use your towel and bed linen if they are not soiled and avoid giving your clothes for the laundry at the hotel since they usually run a separate batch for each guests’ load of clothes.
  2. Save Energy: Staying at a hotel, we may assume that the hassle of the electricity is on the hotel, but we can play our part in conserving even this energy. Switch the lights off when you don’t need them, clean up your room yourself so it doesn’t warrant the need for expensive and energy-consuming cleaning appliances and make sure you’re taking every effort to save electricity.
  3. Volunteer your time: A way of giving back to the community that you choose to make your home for however short or long a stay, volunteering will help you learn a lot more while paying back the locals for their time and effort. Also consider whether volunteering your time will actually help those around you, as there is no shame in donating money to a good cause.
  4. Shop locally: Find produce, gifts, souvenirs and more from local shops that will give you more authentic merchandise to take back home. If you’re looking for staying options, see if the home of a local is available to you, and eat at the local shops where you get the best meals for a fraction of the cost.
  5. Take local transport: Instead of flying short distances, take the time to travel by local transport such as buses, trains and alternative methods which will allow you to experience the geography of the area first-hand while offering you the added advantage of reducing your carbon footprint.
  6. Minimize your waste: Instead of new plastic bags for each item that you purchase, try and carry along your own cloth bags to carry your day’s shopping. Eat and drink at the local cafes and fill up water in your own reusable water bottle. For a more seasoned traveller, a water sterilization tool may be a good investment to make for all your future travels.

Sustainable tourism isn’t just about minimizing your effect on the environment. It has to do with supporting and nurturing the local communities and bringing economic tourism to the locals instead of large corporations that exploit local resources. If we all take these small steps towards more eco-friendly tourism, the world doesn’t need to be destroyed in the process of us learning more about it.

Beach v Hill station

19 January  |  Miscellaneous

The hot summer months amount to peak travel season, creating a sharp divide in travellers regarding a preferred location. While some choose to relax in snowy hill stations, others decide to relax while sipping pina colada and watching the waves roll by on the beach. So which of these is the better option of the two?

The answer to this question depends entirely on what you want to do and what type of traveller you are. If what you are looking some quiet alone time either by yourself or with your family, then the hill stations are perfect for you. Offering various outdoor activities such as rock climbing, river rafting, trekking to name a few, hill stations these days are anything but boring. Adventure activities, like hiking trekking and rock climbing, and picturesque views ensure a memorable vacation.

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If you are looking for a hill-station to visit on your next break, think beyond the usual options of Shimla, Darjeeling, Kodaikanal, Munnar, Wayanad, Coorg, Mount Abu, Nainital, Shillong and Lonavala. Head to lesser known yet exotic locations including Almora in the Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand, Matheran in Maharashtra, McLeodganj in the Dauladhar Range of Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh a few among the many gems hidden away in the mountain ranges of India. Resorts hotels and comfortable home-stays make it easy to find a destination which suits your mood as well as your budget

Other good options for hill stations down south are Biligirirangan Hills, Malai Mahadeshwara Hills, Ooty, and Coonoor, all of which are conveniently accessible from Bandipur resorts. Nestled in the foothills of Ooty, Masinagudi is a popular destination too. There are numerous options for resorts in Masinagudi. If you are looking for a unique experience, chose from the homestays in Masinagudi, for a truly local flavour. If you are severely constrained for time, a quick trip to Nandi Hills Bangalore will provide for some much needed fresh air a peaceful hill-retreat.

While there are numerous options available for those who like vacationing in hill stations, beachcombers have several treats in store too. Head to one of the many beaches in Goa, explore Gods own country Kerala or head to Maharashtra for pristine beaches and delicious seafood. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands offer many more options for your next beach vacation.

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Research indicates that your choice of location for a holiday provides an insight into the kind of person you are. While introverts prefer to retreat to mountains for solitude, extroverts prefer to head to beaches which are more crowded and vibrant. What better way to find out what your zone is than by visiting both! Watch the waves roll in to wash your footprints off the sand, or enjoy the adrenaline rush as you rappel down a mountainside at one of the many holiday locations in India. Take some time off from a busy schedule to discover yourself on your dream vacation.

10 international destinations Indians visit the most

19 January  |  Listicles

indians visit most

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Planning your next international holiday and unsure where to go? See the top 10 international destinations visited by Indians the most to help you make your decision. From sightseeing to shopping to sports and relaxation, these destinations offer you the best of any kind of holiday that you are looking for. Start travelling now!

  1. Singapore: Known for its safety, Singapore is one of the most popular destinations for all sorts of travellers. From some of the best New Year celebrations to a rich heritage and history, Singapore has something to offer every traveller.
  2. Seychelles: A hidden gem in the Indian Ocean, this island is slowly gaining popularity among visitors from India. With its exquisite beaches and variety of activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, etc, Seychelles is among the best beaches to visit in 2017.
  3. Bangkok: From cheap shopping to some of the best islands with picturesque views, Thailand has a lot of secrets that Indians are slowly beginning to discover. Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the land, take in a show and then eat some street food that will titillate your senses!
  4. Cambodia: Its rich and turbulent history makes Cambodia a very interesting place to visit – from the Angkor Wat to the Killing Fields and more. Learn about Cambodia’s past and then end your day at the local pub areas while tasting some delicious local cuisine!
  5. Dubai: Besides just the rich folks and the skyscrapers everywhere, Dubai is filled with souk areas that are rich in spices, the desert safari and historical districts that will keep you entertained all day long. The city has food options for every eater and stay options for every type of traveller too!
  6. Switzerland: What you saw in every Bollywood movie in the 90’s about Switzerland was probably true! With gorgeous snow-capped mountains and some interesting chocolates, Switzerland is the place to visit this year.
  7. Mauritius: A popular honeymoon destination, Mauritius has exotic spas, sparkling waters and a whole set of water-sports for you and your beau! Choose to stay with the locals for a more authentic experience and don’t miss the fresh seafood here.
  8. Malaysia: A country that offers the best of both worlds – from the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur to the resort island of Langkawi – Malaysia is perfect for a family of travellers looking for a variety of things on a holiday. Take in a day at the beach and finish off by participating in the happening nightlife.
  9. Paris: Countless books and movies have taught us that Paris is the city of love, and we would be amiss if we didn’t experience this city at least once in our lives. From iconic monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc De Triomphe to the lesser known treasures of the city, Paris will always be a popular travel destination for Indians.
  10. New York: The city of dreams is a favourite amongst Indian travellers whether it is to catch a Broadway show, go ice skating at Rockefeller centre or see the Empire State Building.

Make this year one you look forward to by booking a holiday in advance and experiencing new people and places.

How to travel for free- Crowd-funded travel

11 January  |  Miscellaneous

Imagine a world where your dream of travelling was supported by funds that were not even your own. Once a distant possibility, it has today become the most sought after means of fulfilling one’s ambition of travelling the world. Although only gaining popularity now, it has been a concept that has been used by the likes of Christopher Columbus, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Albeit funded by the government, since the taxpayers are the ones who have funded these trips, this bit of trivia should work to put you more at ease about asking people to fund your trip.

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Image Source – abcnews.com

Through the means of crowd-funded travel, travellers usually create and submit their travel campaigns for expeditions that are either extraordinary or have a humanitarian aspect. These projects then await backing by inspired people or sponsors looking for marketing opportunities and brand awareness.

The following are a few websites you can check out to get you started on your campaign:

  • Go Fund Me: specialises in funding personal events, especially supporting illnesses and disaster relief, but it also handles travel
  • FundAnything: Lets you crowd fund your hopes and dreams
  • Crowd Rise: Creative projects, birthdays, run/walks, volunteer; they are all ways in which you may justify your travel
  • Trevolta.com: a website created solely to fund travels

A few things to keep in mind before starting your campaign are:

  • Research, research, research: Study cases where people have successfully raised funds and find out how they went about it. Make sure your idea is original and at least as compelling as the ones that have been successfully funded. If the project is interesting, word-of-mouth will catapult the project to success.
  • Study failures just as seriously as you study successes: Examine failures so you don’t repeat their errors. Find out where the projects went wrong, and try to find means of improvement that could be implemented into your campaign.
  • Invest time and money: As almost all successful businessmen will tell you, you need to spend money to raise money. You also have to devote significant time to make your project happen. If you don’t, then it will show, and you will have wasted your time and effort. landscape-1457524382-backpacker

Image Source – cosmouk

What about when your trip is a casual, fun trip? Though such trips are harder to gain funding for, if the trip is related to a major life event like a wedding or a graduation, rather than asking for gifts, you could ask people to consider pledging to your crowd funding campaign. You could also consider coming up with some interesting rewards or perks for contributors, like bringing home gifts from abroad or hosting a dinner when you get back where you cook authentic cuisine. If your trip is not related to such an event, you could try appealing to the emotions of prospective funders, in case your trip is something that you have not done before or something you would not be able to do without their support.

One of the biggest challenges you might face while embarking on your journey around the world on the magic carpet of crowd funding is the amount of planning involved. Start by organising trips to a few places close to home. Take your pick from the incredible array of Bandipur resorts or the resorts in Masinagudi. If you seek a unique experience, try homestays in Masinagudi or a quick adventure filled trip to Nandi Hills Bangalore. Organising short trips which are crowd funded will give you the experience and credibility to invite sponsors for your dream vacation!

5 reasons why team outings are important

11 January  |  Listicles

outings

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In a world that is focused on satisfying customers and clients, companies tend to forget their most valuable asset – their employees. Without the hard work of each and every individual in the company, work would never get done, clients wouldn’t be made happy and the company could not survive productively.

Joining a new team can be an intimidating task, and keeping a team together so that they work and function as one cohesive unit can be hard in the long run – which is why team outings and team building activities are so important. Here are some more reasons why:

  1. Better communication: Most teams have a hierarchical structure which involves a mix of new employees and a more tenured crowd. The flow of communication between the two is essential to keep processes in place, and a team building activity teaches each member how to communicate in the best way with each other. While some may have a more direct approach to communication, others may prefer more formal ways – and a team outing can teach you exactly this about each other.
  2. Promoting creativity: When you’re stuck in an office all day long and only have the daily routine to concentrate on, a day out with some fun activities is just what your employees need. From activities that make you think, to those that make you analyse and innovate, your creativity finally has a chance to flow when you’re at your next team outing. This will also encourage workplace collaboration as you will be required to innovate alongside your team.
  3. Identifying strengths and weaknesses: A team activity where you are required to showcase a set of skills will help you identify where your skills lie. Whether it indicates a strong communication method or a weak collaboration effort, it will show you exactly where you stand, in terms of your team and your organisation. This will help the team leverage everyone’s skills while working, and protecting each other’s weaknesses.
  4. Developing problem-solving skills: When posed with an activity that requires you to think beyond your core job, you will learn to come up with ideas and methods that will help you solve issues that you may not have faced before. You learn to equip yourself with skills that could help you, both professionally as well as personally.
  5. Providing learning opportunities: At a company outing, you will learn about the skills and talents of your colleagues that you may not have had the chance to experience before. From someone who may know a language you’ve always wanted to learn, to an expert in your field that you could discuss ideas with – you may just have the chance to meet and learn from some of the best in the business.

With Discovery Village, you now have the chance to organise your own Corporate Day Outing at the best venues and even better prices. Find ways to bond with your team, more than ever before, at some of the corporate resorts in Bangalore or try some of the best homestays in Masinagudi.

Life of a backpacker – a look into the mind of a serial traveller

05 January  |  Miscellaneous

All of us have at least one page that we follow or that one blog we just can’t get enough of where all the author seems to be doing is travel the world- a person who seems discontent with just staying home or settling down in one place. Is such a person someone who is addicted to travel, though?

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To qualify as an addiction, the inclination to travel needs to be an urge to take part in a common behaviour, and must necessarily entail the denial of the harmful effects of such conduct. Besides, it must involve the failure to change such behaviour. Strictly speaking, travel has none of these necessary conditions, and hence despite claims to the contrary, no one can be ‘addicted’ to travel. However, it can be a very dangerous obsession; one that people might be fiercely passionate about and find fulfilling.

Simply put, travel makes people happy. That person we all know who never seems to stay in one place is probably one of those who finds the need to be constantly stimulated by new experiences. Scientific evidence attempts to explain this by a particular chemical ‘kick’ that some people get from travel. This kick, in turn, fuels a sense of well-being and purposefulness in life. Travel can also be the result of an active pursuit of adrenaline-inducing activities.

The obvious pro associated with travel is the ability to experience and understand various cultures and environments. It affords people the opportunity to make friends from different walks of life and gain a practical perspective that one would be hard-pressed to find while staying in just one place. Getting out of one’s comfort zone is often emotionally rewarding and a healthy means of stress-busting. Travel also often frees a person from the feeling of judgement that he feels in his day-to-day life.

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Image Source – stepin.de

The downside of this behaviour is that it is believed that such a person will never truly be fully satisfied. He will always be anxious as to where to go next and what to do. It is a time-consuming process that has the potential to take over one’s life. Another con would be the difficulty in finding jobs, as the resumes of those bitten by the travel bug seem to be scattered, and employers see the lack of ability to hold a job for an extended period as a red flag in the hiring process. This, in turn, results in the absence of financial security of a travel addict. There is often a sense of emotional immaturity that is associated with such pleasure-seeking personalities which immediately results in a significant dating red flag. Finally, the feeling of disconnect one feels from friends and family could work as a major con in the life of a travel addict.
As long as you’re not travelling for all the wrong reasons such as avoiding responsibilities, family or other emotional issues, why not travel?! Carpe diem! The world is your oyster! Get started on your journey around the world with small trips close to home. Take your pick from the many locations located at a driving distance from Bangalore such as Bandipur resorts or the resorts in Masinagudi. Besides hotels and resorts homestays in Masinagudi offer a unique experience too. A quick trip to a picturesque and adventure filled location such as Nandi Hills Bangalore is the perfect place to start your journey.

5 most extreme adventure sports for adventure junkies

05 January  |  Listicles

adventure sports

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Does the thought of jumping off a tower or rafting your way through turbid waters excite you? Does adrenaline course through your blood when you hear stories of scuba adventures and base jumping? Here are 5 of the most extreme adventure sports known to man, for all you adventure junkies!

  1. Base Jumping: BASE, which is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth is essentially hurling yourself off a standing structure of great height with just a parachute in tow. Combined with the intense speed and the height from which you jumping, this is one of the most dangerous extreme sports with a much lower mortality rate than most others. Similar to skydiving, but with a much lesser reaction time if your parachute fails, BASE jumping is legal in very few countries.
  2. Heli-skiing: True to its name, this extreme sport involves a helicopter and skiing as you jump off it, onto a ski slope. While you do have the options of skiing or snowboarding when you jump off the helicopter, the danger lies in the unknown with this sport – a weather change or an avalanche, for example, could throw even the most experienced skiers off course. As with each of these, you need a considerable amount of experience before attempting this sport.
  3. Free Soloing: Rock climbing is a tough sport in itself, but when you get rid of all the harnesses and safety nets that you may have, you have free soloing. A sport that requires immense concentration and strength, as a majority of the work is centered around balancing on your toes and fingertips, free soloing is not one to be taken lightly. You’re unprotected among cliffs where falling to your death is just a matter of one tiny slip-up, which makes this another in the list of extreme sports that you require a lot of practice before attempting.
  4. Creeking: Steep, low-volume white water calls for a mixture between canoeing and kayaking. Dangers associated with this extreme sport include getting trapped underwater and smashing into rocks. This form of whitewater navigation calls for specialized equipment and some reconnaissance before attempting to navigate the turbid waters. It is considered the most dangerous extreme sport today.
  5. Wing-suit flying: Always wanted to feel like your favorite superhero, gliding through the air with your cape flying behind you? Well, wing-suit flying is probably the closest that you can get to this! A special jumpsuit created for just this purpose (the wing suit), increases your area and enables you to navigate through the air while you’re wearing this suit. You do also take along a parachute since the suit does not give you sufficient lift to land safely.

While these are some of the most dangerous extreme sports today, there are more such as scuba diving, cave diving, bull riding etc that are very popular among adventure junkies. Many have also taken to performance adventure sports such as extreme ironing – taking along an iron board and box and pressing your clothes on some awesome cliffs!

Extreme adventure sports may not be for everyone, but the great thing is that there are varying degrees of some of them that you can try out, just for that little burst of adrenaline!