HYDERABAD: Today is April 1 and that means a quick reminder that we have just nine months left in 2021 and for travel lovers, that means nine long weekends left this year out of the 15. Most youngsters are frustrated that they almost did not travel for one year and are keen to compensate it this summer at least.
Interestingly, the talk of the second wave of Covid- 19 doesn’t seem to faze these youngsters who are on a YOLO (you only live once) mode. With a mask and sanitiser, they are ready to hop on the travel bandwagon clutching their backpacks. But what are travel companies saying about this? There is a new wave of informal travel happening on social media.
We talk to a few such to find out how many Hyderabadi youngsters are travelling, to where and how often? Nagasai Varagani, who runs a travel group called Packourbagshyd says that they have been organising budget trips from Hyderabad for the last six months to places such as Coorg, Kerala, Manali, Ooty, Ladakh and Megalaya. “Keeping the Covid-19 restrictions in mind, we organise trips limited to 13 people including a trip organiser.
In March 2021 alone, we booked 159 members across four weekends from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with 13 in each trip.” Although the government has assured there is no lockdown in the near future, travellers frequently ask Sai what the plan is if there is a sudden lockdown. Says Sai, “Yes, we have been getting queries about bookings and refund for the last two weeks. We have assured them complete refund. But until things are official, we will be conducting weekend trips as usual. We have about 50 queries a month for these trips and almost all of them also confirm.” They organise trips starting from `4,300 which includes train, local air-conditioned transport and beach camping.
Raj Kiran Badugu, founder of Backpackers and City Freaks in Hyderabad, also said they have conducted 16 trips in March 2020. “We limit the numbers to 15 per trip and it gets filled by Thursday. Except for the April 1 weekend, we are booked for the upcoming weekends this month,” he adds. Coorg and Shimla are popular destinations with Hyderabadi youth. The demographic is typically between the age group of 23- 35, mostly single or a group of friends. These groups keep things simple. They give shoutouts on social media and accept payments online via Google Pay and they share the ticket details, maps, locations, itineraries etc on WhatsApp.
Usha Tummala, an architectturned- travel blogger who shares her travelogues under the name TravelKarmas in Instagram and a veteran traveller who has visited 23 countries so far, says she misses travel. “At a personal level, there is a lot of anxiety in general. Yes, I have used this time to travel virtually. We save money and that is where we are meant to be. A desire to be outdoors and lead the nomadic life. Packing and leaving to explore a new destination is a way of life. I always believe that one lifetime is not enough to experience the beauty and wonders of my country, India. So rich and varied in landscape, the culture that it gets exciting at every new town/ city that you traverse. I made a modest compilation of about 111 places in India that could help in making travel plans in the post -Covid19 world.”
USHA RECOMMENDS THE FOLLOWING TO FELLOW HYDERABADIS WHO WANT TO TRAVEL SMART:
- Start by visiting places within one’s domicile state. The challenges are less or limited when you actually choose self-drive to these places within the home state.
- Select secluded places by the river/seaside for those long walks, having food that you missed and overall a relaxed weekend travel. This the ’Goa state of mind’ - watching the sunset into the deep horizon, low-key yet beautiful.
- Choose homestays, boutique hotels, Indian based resorts to help boost the economy.
- Carry tents and take permission to camp and stay under the stars. Those who can afford it should look at campers as travel investment. one can examine the size vs cost or even hire them on short trips with family.
- When international travel is restored, carry a Covid-19 negative certificate and be ready to be quarantined from one week to two weeks at your own cost. It is better if the travel insurance plan covers and includes treatment in the country of travel.
- 28 states in India and 197 countries in the world means different rules and restrictions. Find infor on official websites before making that trip.
Despite the Covid-19 second wave around, intrepid young travellers from Hyderabad are heading to offbeat destinations in India. Local backpacking and budget travel groups say they are booked till April end and foresee no drop in travel anytime now
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi email@example.com @mkalanidhi