Local travel has risen to the forefront as it remains an easier, safer, and often more sustainable travel option as a result of the pandemic. Staying closer to home continues to retain its importance on the travel agenda as research by Booking.com reveals that more than half (59 per cent) of Indian travellers are planning to travel within their own country, with 43 per cent want to visit places of interest they normally overlook and 50 per cent look to take the time to appreciate the natural beauty of India.
The travel platform shares some tips on how to be a tourist, as travellers demonstrate enthusiasm to explore and experience incredible India with a fresh outlook.
Book a unique place to stay
Boutique stays continue to trend with Indians, as 74 per cent of travellers plan to stay in a unique accommodation for their next trip. Alternative accommodation listings (homes, holiday homes, villas, beach homes, boathouses, etc.) have seen growth in demand last year in the pandemic. While travelling domestically, you can experience the destination uniquely by booking alternative accommodations (for example tree houses) that will complement the destination and enhance the experience it has to offer.
Indulge in a wellness destination
Escapism has always been crucial for travellers. Close to half (47 per cent) of Indian travellers are seeking simple, relaxing trips to get away from it all. If you are looking to get pampered for the day or stay for a wellness weekend and experience pure bliss on your next trip, you should head to Varkala. Varkala is one of the top three most endorsed destinations for wellness by Indian travellers on Booking.com. This town located along the coast of Kerala, with palm-covered red cliffs and golden beaches, instills a sense of calmness for you to unwind. You will find several wellness studios, and ashrams throughout the destination, including on the beach, where you can spot several impromptu classes being organized. The destination's hot springs are believed to provide mineral water that has medicinal properties, which add to its wellness appeal. Varkala has also become popular for the growing 'Naturopathy' practised in several of its Ayurvedic centres. So you can add Ayurvedic massages to your to-do list to de-stress your mind and body.
Visit lesser-known markets
India is full of charming markets you should visit at least once. Skip the beaten track and discover the hidden gems and authenticity of India by travelling to not-so-known markets often overlooked by tourists and coveted by locals. West Bengal is home to several lesser-explored wonders. But one of the unexplored gems you could consider is Mandarmani, a seaside village offering captivating views of rural Bengal. Along the way, you will find plenty of local markets that trade in fish, cashew nuts, vegetables and oils. Some of these markets include Digha Mohana, Radhamoni and Ramnagar fish market. While in Mandarmani you can also make your way to Mandarmani beach and indulge in authentic seaside Bengali cuisine and photography. And if you are looking for some adventure, you can also explore jet ski rides, banana boat rides and parachute rides along the beach.
Travel through time and shop vintage
Step back in time with a visit to this vintage shopping district in India and get a glimpse of its fashion and style through the decades. With its great value, rare finds and the possibility to uncover the hidden tales of the past, you never know what you may discover. Jew Town in Kerala is a narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and the Paradesi Synagogue famous for its antiques. If vintage interests you, then you will find abundance in the antique shops on this popular street. The artefacts you will come across date back to the colonial period in the relic shops. Even the houses in the area are inspired by medieval Portuguese-style architecture.
Discover secret gardens
Embrace yourself in the tranquillity of India's hidden gardens and green spaces. Have a picnic in the park or simply uncover its lesser-known beauty with a stroll to indulge in the most enchanting pathways in this oasis. Aaraku Valley in Andhra Pradesh is an unexplored cove of biodiversity, full of captivating flora and fauna. Padmapuram Gardens, located 2.5 km from Aaraku Valley is 26 acres of natural beauty that dates back to World War II. The rose gardens and jackfruit trees in this place are among the most visited spots. The entire garden can be explored in a special train operated by the place. And if you wish to spend a night among all the plants, you can book a stay in the hanging cottages in this botanical garden.
And finally, act like a tourist
Visit the local Welcome/Information Center, take a city pamphlet from the hotel lobby, embrace a bit of history and culture and join a museum tour, take silly photos of yourself in front of tourist spots, eat at a popular restaurant, and visit the most well-known attractions that people travel the world to see.