4 Reasons Why Sustainable Travel Is the Need of the Hour

Ecotourism is sustainable tourism; and, it is the need of the hour. Hence, more and more international hotel chains, attraction providers and tour operators are practicing being environmentally responsible. Sustainable tourism is the ideal norm to move toward because it is friendly on three fronts – environmentally, economically and socio-culturally. Let’s walk you through this in-depth…

1. Preservation 
Sustainable tourism helps preserve the natural and built environment, ensuring areas and resources can be used by future generation. Sustainable tourism is about thinking long-term.

2. Diversity:
Sustainable tourism encourages positive developments, especially cultural exchange and preserving local traditions. India is so diverse when it comes to cultures represented that sustainable tourism helps promote our cultural richness and celebrate it at all levels. It also aids with education surrounding diversity and creating a dialogue between different communities – it fosters awareness and greater understanding.

3. Win-Win Scenario:
Not only does sustainable tourism help preserve the environment and tradition while also being cost-effective, it also helps involve local populations in the tourism industry, creating a win-win situation where locals get jobs and visitors get more authentic travel experiences.

4. Millenial Appeal:
The millenial generation, which has immense buying power, is a generation which is socially conscious and they make choices regarding whom to travel with based on several factors, including ethical business practices. Organizations that practice sustainable tourism are likely to appeal to this market.

~Amanda Sodhi

Featured image source: puretravel.com

Uncover India Through Road Trips – 4 Reasons Why!

Not only is India huge, it is extremely rich and diverse when it comes to geography and cultures represented. One of the best ways to uncover India is through road trips, and here are four reasons why –

1. Excellent Connectivity:
India has many excellent road trip routes, that allow you to cover multiple cities and regions in one go, whether it be an expedition throughout the North East, North India from Delhi to Punjab to Himachal, Delhi to Rajasthan, around South India, or along the Konkan-Maharashtrian route. Regardless of whether you have a lot of time or are looking for a quick weekend road trip, the possibilities of routes are endless!

2. Enriching & Interactive:
Road trips allow you to interact with locals and learn about their tradition and customs, adding a whole other dimension to your journey. Furthermore, you get to cover territory hands-on, which isn’t possible through a quick flight. The bottom line – road trips are an enriching and rewarding experience.

3. Don’t Miss Out:
Unlike flights, traveling by road allows you to stop and take notice of change in scenery throughout India’s diverse geography. You don’t have to miss out on the smaller and finer details of traveling, because you are in full control when you decide to hit the road.

4. Adventures of a Lifetime:
Most importantly, road trips are an excellent way to experience adventure and to build memories to last a lifetime and that fuel umpteen stories to share for years to come. Live life like an explorer – hit the road!

~ Amanda Sodhi

(Featured image source: india.com)

Busy With Work? 5 Tips for Efficient Travel 

With more and more people working overtime and work responsibilities often including extensive travel, sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming. Here are five useful tips to make traveling efficient for busy professionals!

1. An App A Day Keeps Stress Away 
Use apps to make travel stress-free, whether it be to book hotels and air tickets, or to keep tabs of all your reservations and itineraries. It is much easier to access everything on-the-go from one mobile device, rather than sifting through multiple sources. Needless to say, regardless of whether you book through an app or not, avoid layovers and connecting flights to ensure no time is wasted through delays while commuting.

2. Your Luggage Should Be Your Precious 
Yes, we had to pull the “My Precious” reference, but, it is true – carrying luggage on-board helps minimize risk of it getting lost and also a long wait time at the baggage carousel. However, IF you must check-in your luggage, label it as “fragile,” so people take extra precaution in handling it, and also because it is more likely your luggage will be returned quickly.

3. Mix Work With Pleasure
If you are out for a business trip, try to extend your stay by a few days to explore local surroundings – this is a cost-effective way to travel, so go ahead and morph your business trip into a vacation at the end. Also, keep a list of friends and potential work contacts to network with during your stay – combine work and leisure.

4. Be Efficient
Setup an out-of-office assistant when required while traveling, so all professional contacts know whom to get in touch with when you are unavailable. Select hotels where there is free WiFi, so you can complete work efficiently. Expect delays, so multitask by finishing pending work while en-route, or read that book you always wanted to but had no time for, or pay those pending bills when you have time to kill. After landing, if you do not have a pick-up arranged prior to arrival, go ahead and book an Uber (or, it’s local equivalent) while exiting the airport, so it arrives by the time you are out of the airport.

5. Stay Healthy
An unhealthy professional is seldom a productive professional. Make sure you get enough rest before flying out so you can stay on top of your work game once you land. Keep a first-aid kit and important medication handy. Try to carry a meal and healthy snacks, to avoid consuming junk food and falling ill. Also, stay hydrated as much as you can.

~Amanda Sodhi

Featured image source: iaig.net

5 Hiking Tips to Make Your Experience Stress-Free 

A good ol’ hike can be tons of fun – getting up close and personal with nature, being adventurous and exploring unseen locations is a thrilling experience. But, there are a few do’s and don’ts one should be mindful of when planning a hiking trip, especially if you’re a newbie, to make the whole experience stress-free.

1. Flock Together
If you have never been on a hiking trip before, it is highly recommended to go with a group. You will learn the ins and outs from your peers and will have fun socializing with other who also love being out and about in nature. Also, hiking in a group is safer, and you can even think of adding a campout to your hiking expedition for added thrills.

2. Know Your Comfort Zone
While it is good to push yourself in most life situations, do not push yourself out of your comfort zone when hiking if you are a beginner. This ALSO holds true if you have any health-related conditions which could cause serious issues on an extreme difficulty level hike. Hiking is supposed to be enjoyable, not boot-camp.

3. Layer It Up
Firstly, check the weather forecast before you set off to hike. Accordingly, wear layered clothing, especially if there is a possibility of weather fluctuating throughout the trip. Long-sleeves are useful in most situations, because it aids with safety during mosquito season. Make sure you carry any weather-related essentials, if you are expecting cold weather, rain or extreme sunlight. Also, avoid cotton and denim – if you get wet, this could result in hypothermia given the nature of cotton as a fabric. lastly, carry an extra change of clothing, including extra socks, and wear comfortable shoes that support your ankles and provide sufficient grip.

source: camping.lovetoknow.com
source: camping.lovetoknow.com

4. Travel Light, But Be Thorough 
It is important to travel light because you don’t want to get exhausted while hiking uphill because you have an overstuffed bag. At the same time, you need to be thorough in your packing to avoid missing out on any essentials. It is recommended you carry belongings in a waterproof bag with sufficient storage compartments and keep the following handy: plastic bags, pocket knife, lighter/matches, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, extra socks, flashlight, batteries, emergency food and water supply, pepper spray, bug spray, whistle, first aid kit, phone power bank, toilet kit, hand sanitizer and emergency contact info.

5. Safe, Not Sorry 
While hiking, make sure you practice various safety measures, such as pacing yourself so you don’t get exhausted quickly, taking enough breaks to recharge yourself, staying hydrated to avoid falling ill and not touching unknown plants and animals. Start on time, because a late start will cause a late return, and unknown areas become difficult to navigate post-sunset. Most importantly, make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you are expected to return, in case of an emergency.

~Blog Written By: Amanda Sodhi
Featured Image Source: drinkoxigen.com

5 Facts About Maharashtra That Will Get You Packing Your Bags NOW!

You made it to our Web site, so no doubt, you must be a travel buff (or will soon turn into one we hope!). But, we bet you had no idea about how incredible Maharashtra is as a travel spot, even though it happens to be the fourth most visited state by domestic tourists in our nation. Forget all about the hype about chowpatty, Bollywood celebrities and vada-paav – we’ve got some fun facts about Maharashtra that are going to knock your socks off and have you packing your bags right this instant. Read away and hit the road!

1. Getting Fort-y

According to Maharashtra Tourism, Maharashtra has the most number of forts in India compared to any other state – yep, over 350 to be precise, with 20 of them being sea forts. Bet you didn’t know that!

2. Wide Open

Maharashtra is one of the top border states, with easy access to a wide variety of states with diverse geography, including Goa, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.

ajanta

3. UNESCO Champion

There are 35 World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO in India, out of which Maharashtra has the most (four!) – these include Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The Western Ghats (also known as the Sahyadri mountains) are also noted as World Heritage Sites, as well as one of the world’s ten hottest biodiversity hotspots – four of the thirty-nine properties that comprise the Western Ghats are actually in Maharashtra.

source: youthconnect.in
source: youthconnect.in

4. Rare, Mysterious Sights

Maharashtra is home to two very rare sights – Lonar Lake and Shani Shingnapur. Lonar Lake is a saltwater lake said to have been created by a meteor hitting the Earth – how cool is that! Shani Shingnapur is a unique village in which none of the homes or shops have doors, due to a rumor that anyone who has a door or locks it will be cursed; turns out there hasn’t been any theft reported. Incredible!

5. Variety Is the Spice of Travel!

Maharashtra is among one of the top spots when it comes to variety of hill stations AND religious spots – Igatpuri, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Matheran, Karjat, Khandala, Lavasa, Lonavala, Amboli, Chikhaldara,Jawhar, Panhala, Toranmal; if you love the hills, you’ll be quite pleased hill hopping here. And, if you’ve got a strong spiritual side, you’re in luck, too – Shirdi, Tuljabhavani Temple, Gajanan Maharaj Temple, Mahakalkshmi Temple, Haji Ali Dargah, Mount Mary Church, Parvati Temples, Osho Ashram, Huzur Sahib Nanded…the list of possible pilgrimage sites goes on and on!

Pretty neat, right? Maharashtra sure has a ton to offer everyone, whether it be hill stations to trek through, waterbodies to laze around at, caves to explore and religious sites to soul search at. If you want to tread the geographically rich terrain of Maharashtra, you might just love our Canvassing the Caves and Craters of Maharashtra package!

~ Amanda Sodhi

Six Times Western Filmmakers Went Rajasthan Bound

There is something very magical about Rajasthan. Extravagant palaces that carry tales as mesmerizing as its architecture, towering forts that have witnessed numerous battles and victories, limitless sand dunes so many caravans have treaded and intriguing tales that invoke much curiosity and amazement; at some point, everyone has certainly been drawn to this region. After all, it is ever-so-rich in terms of its culture and geography, which dates back to ancient times. And, guess what? Even Hollywood, Australian and European filmmakers haven’t been able to resist paying homage to this colorful and exotic Indian state through films. Here are six well-known films from the West that were shot in our very own enchanting and regal Rajasthan –

1. The Darjeeling Limited

This 2007 comedy-drama features an eclectic mix of actors including our very own Irrfan Khan in a cameo role, and was shot primarily in Jodhpur. The Himalaya scenes were surprisingly shot, guess where? – Udaipur!

source: wikipedia.org
source: wikipedia.org

2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Based on the novel These Foolish Things, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was shot extensively in Jaipur and Udaipur at locations such as City Palace, Tripola Bazar, Kanota Fort and the Step Well near Amer Fort.

source: licdn.com
source: licdn.com

3. The Dark Knight Rises

Which Batman fan doesn’t love The Dark Knight Rises? This epic finale to the Batman trilogy has several scenes, including the scenes with the prison pit, which were filmed in Jodhpur. This film put Mehrangarh Fort on the global filming map. Apparently Christopher Nolan and his team went nuts shooting in the 120 degree heat, though, but boy was it worth it!

source: denofgeek.com
source: denofgeek.com

4. Octopussy

All of you James Bond fans might recall the 1983 production, Octopussy which reaped $183.7 million at the box office off a budget of just $27.5 million – A huge chunk of the film was shot in Rajasthan as Bond follows Kamal Khan to his palace. Many scenes were shot in Udaipur at The Monsoon Palace, Lake Palace and Jag Mandir, as well as Shiv Niwas Paalce. And, it makes sense – Udaipur is completely picture-perfect for celluloid!

source: disneymoviesanywhere.com
source: disneymoviesanywhere.com

5. The Jungle Book (1994)

The Jungle Book went on to gross $43.2 million in theatres back in 1994, and we bet you probably didn’t know most of it was shot in Jodhpur and Mumbai. The fortress shown in the film is actually Meherangarh Fort, built way back in the 15th century!

source: lisimg.com
source: lisimg.com

6. Holy Smoke

The Kate Winslet 1999 Australian drama film Holy Smoke!, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, revolved around a spiritual awakening that happens on a trip to India. The team spent six days filming in Pushkar, and several scenes were also shot in Delhi.

Go ahead and revisit these six delightful films and let us know if you can spot each of the scenes shot in Rajasthan! And, if you want to explore these wonderful scenic locations that even filmmakers couldn’t resist incorporating into their projects, well look no further – you can hop on board our Best of RajasthanThe Desert Special Rajasthan and Supernatural Rajasthan packages.

~ Amanda Sodhi

 

Don’t Be That Type of Traveler – 8 Types of Travelers We Always Run Into!

It’s inevitable – we are bound to come across many interesting characters when travelling in groups. Often, we also end up running into the following types of irritating travellers that drive us up the wall with their antics. Read on!

It’s inevitable – we are bound to come across many interesting characters when traveling in groups. Often, we also end up running into the following eight types of irritating travelers that drive us up the wall with their antics. Read on!

freeloaders-source-kingofwallpapers-com
Image Source: kingofwallpapers.com

The Free Ka Maal Chindis

These people are easy to spot because they make no effort to cover up their love for freebees. Be it hotel soaps, toothbrushes, shampoos and towels or complimentary breakfasts, these people love anything with the word FREE!
talkative-source-compersnews-com
Image Source: compersnews.com

The Bak-Bak Masters

There is bound to be at least one person who is not only obnoxiously loud, but also overly enthusiastic about chatting away with everyone and anyone. Their conversations and booming voice can easily wake up anyone who is trying to catch a quick nap on a bus or in a train (imagine Jab We Met’s Geet!).

pda-source-dailymail-co-uk
Image Source: dailymail.co.uk

The PDA Lovebirds 

Often, you’ll come across lovebird couples who go overboard with PDAs. Their baby talk and Siamese-twins type body language will either make you cringe or turn away annoyed with embarrassment. But, nope, they could be least bothered by your discomfort!

always-late-source-gretchenrubin-com
Image Source: Gretchenrubin.com 

The Late Lateefs

These are the worst type of travelers – constantly late, they’ll always rain on any tour group’s parade. And, they have no shame if everyone is behind schedule due to their lack of punctuality!

photo-obsessed-source-techdigest-tv
Image Source: TechDigest.tv

The Picture Un-Perfects 

All of us have come across people who need help in clicking their (or their group’s) photos. But, some have a consistent habit of wanting others to click photos of them in every single possible place. And, they want you to patiently click a zillion photos of them while they pose in various styles and pout. Get a selfie stick dude!

complainers-source-allwidewallpapers-com
Image Source: AllWideWallpapers.com

The Complaint Boxes 

Some people can never be content. It can be quite a pain when you run into grumpy people on a trip who down everyone’s morale with their constant complaining about the hotels not being up to the mark, the food not being good enough, the itinerary not being well-planned out, the seats not being comfy enough. Yep, you got the point. They have nothing positive to say and can’t enjoy anything!

know-it-all-option-1-source-quotesgram-com
Image Source: QuotesGram.com

The Know-It-All Snobs

There is bound to be at least one show off in a tour group who likes to one-up everyone, including the tour guide, trying to prove they’re the biggest travel junkie who knows it all and is a pro at everything. Give it a rest, buddy!

pranoid-option-2-source-bigalmanack-com
Image Source: BigalManack.com

The Paranoid Phattus

Eternally scared, there are bound to be highly phattu people in every travel group, skeptical of trying anything that involves the r-word: RISK! These worry warts are quick to say no at any given opportunity.

Let us know what your most irritating travel experience is, and tag a friend below who you know is guilty of one of these habits!

~ Amanda Sodhi

Like the Adrenaline Rush? Check Out the Best Places in India for Adventure Sports!

Some of us are pure adrenaline junkies ready to go to any extent for some thrills. Just the idea of adventure gets us excited. If you happen to have a daredevil streak in you, we are sure adventure sports are certainly on your bucket list. In case you are wondering how and where to get started, we’ve compiled a handy list of the best locations in India best to various adventure sports. On your mark. Get set. Go!

Some of us are pure adrenaline junkies ready to go to any extent for some thrills. Just the idea of adventure gets us excited. If you happen to have a daredevil streak in you, we are sure adventure sports are certainly on your bucket list. In case you are wondering how and where to get started, we’ve compiled a handy list of the best locations in India best to various adventure sports. On your mark. Get set. Go!

Paragliding & Skiing

paragliding-1526135

Image Source: HotelMonaLisa.in

Whether it be skiing down slippery slopes or flying freely like a bird amidst scenic skies, Manali is an excellent place to experience both activities, even if you are a beginner.

Hard-Core Skiing

skiing-source-adventureworlds-in

Image Source: AdventureWorlds.in

Set in the Himalayan mountains of Uttarakhand, Auli is hands down the best place in India for all things skiing related, including for pros! And, of course, the magical view of snow-capped mountains is breathtaking.

Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

sucba-diving-source-rltgo-com

Image Source: Rltgo.com

Many people added scuba diving and snorkeling to their bucket lists and dosti lists after Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara released. Well, if underwater activities catch your fancy, Andaman Islands is where you need to head to pronto. You’ll love the wide variety of water sports you can take part in there, ranging from scuba diving and snorkeling to parasailing and undersea walking. Another excellent destination for scuba diving and snorkeling is the highly underrated Lakshadweep Islands.

Hot Air Ballooning

hot-air-balloon-source-adventurehoney-com

Image Source: AdventureHoney.com

There is something regal and relaxing about watching everything from a distance in a hot air balloon – Jaipur is one of the first few cities in India to introduce this wondrous experience, and of course, there are many other amazing sights and activities to take part in across all of Rajasthan!

Surfing

surfing_a_wave-other

If you’re a beach bum at heart and the waves tug at your heart, then you might just enjoy surfing, and THE place to experience it is none other than Gokarna. Of course, Gokarna is a fantastic tourist destination beyond water sports, too, with a bustling hippie lifestyle scene, as well.

Dune Bashing

dune-bashing-source-rajasthantourismbuzz-wordpress-com

Image Source: RajasthanTourismBuzz.wordpress.com

No need to head all the way to Dubai to bash dunes, we’ve got a much closer option for you – Jaisalmer! And, while you’re there you might as well also experience other activities like camel riding and visiting haunted spots spread across Rajasthan.

Trekking

trekking-source-peakadventure-tumblr-com

Image Source: PeakAdventure.Tumblr.com

The Himalayas are an excellent destination for trekking enthusiasts, with options for both beginners and seasoned pros. Alternatively, you can also check out Arunachal Pradesh, which is also equally as stunning as a backdrop.

So, where do you plan on heading to next and which adventure sport are you going to dare to try? Comment below and let us know!

~Amanda Sodhi