By Hita Prakash and Nisha Singh
"Travelling - It leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller." - Ibn Batuta
It’s Ho Ho Ho...Holidays!
Bangalore: It is that time of the year when everything around feels merry. Christmas is all about love, peace, and hope. During this season of joy, gift- giving and, of course, holidays, people have travel plans centred around experiencing the festive spirit in places both familiar and far-off.
How amazing does it sound to wake up in a new place dressed up in lights and twinkling Christmas trees!
From Bali to Balur
So, what are the popular destinations for the winter break?
International travel includes destinations such as Dubai, where the shopping festival is scheduled from December 26, 2019 to February 1, 2020. Bali, is another favourite amongst Indian travellers to experience the rich culture and pristine beaches of this ‘Paradise Island’. Though Europe is usually considered too cold to visit during the winter months, in recent times, there have been many enthusiasts heading to places closer to the north pole to witness “Aurora borealis” or the Northern Lights, a spectacle of natural light display across the Scandinavian sky.
Bangalore is also home to many expatriates, who eagerly wait for the festive season. “My wife's family is from Switzerland so we often spend Christmas up in a chalet in the Alps. It is a yearly tradition to meet, while the kids go skiing, I can often be found warming up with a hot toddy in the mountain cafes by the slopes,” says Michael Holland, Chief Executive Officer, Embassy Office Parks and a European expat.
The Rann Utsav is happening in Gujarat from October 26, 2019, to February 23, 2020, a carnival of music, dance, and the beauty of the White Rann. The north- eastern states such as Assam, Meghalaya, and Nagaland are slowly gaining popularity and recognition as a must-visit destination on many adventure lovers’ bucket-list. Closer home, Kerala and Goa, the states with rich Christmas and New Year traditions, have always been a favourite for families as well as the young backpacking travellers.
Within Karnataka there is now a resurgence in homestays, coffee estates, and B&Bs (bed and breakfast) across the Western Ghat districts of Chikmagalur (Balur is a popular coffee estate that offers plantation ‘’stays’’), Coorg, Sakleshpur and Mangalore. Most people from Bangalore relish the comfort of home in secluded coffee estates, just a few hours’ drive from the city.
The travel industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country and as we get closer to Christmas and New Year, the number of people spending on exploring places has snowballed. This naturally has led to an increase in the number of flights, trains, and buses catering to the demands of the travellers, both domestic and international.
December 22, 23, and 26, will be the busiest days in the skies and at the airports during this season and fewer holiday travellers choose to fly on Christmas eve and Christmas Day, which are the lightest year-end travel days.
Planning these vacations
How easy or difficult is it to plan such vacations?
The information available on the Internet is substantial. Travel bloggers have advice on the minutest details from the moment one decides to make a journey. The various travel apps available with a click of a button include websites for only women travellers, and multiple travel agencies across the city to help people plan, choose, and arrange the holidays according to the budget of the customer making travelling a hassle-free process.
Popular travel destinations:
• Prague (Czech Republic)
• South Korea
• Moscow (Russia)
• Himachal Pradesh
• Karnataka – Gokarna, Karwar, and Kabini