Tick polar ice off the bucket list

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A surprising 68% of Indian travellers prefer not to opt for traditional hotel accommodation for their travel in 2019, against a global average of 37%. That means two-thirds of Indian travellers are opting for home-stays, boutique B&Bs, tree houses, boats and such over chain hotels, a survey by travel engine Booking.com has shown.

What’s driving that choice? A variety of reasons, it seems. For 65% Indians, living like locals is key to their travel experience, enabling them to see parts of a destination they wouldn’t otherwise. About 67% opt for home-style accommodation because that allows them to travel within a budget, getting the most value for their money. For many, it is both these reasons, as well as the fact that unique accommodation allows them to be trendsetters, and different from the crowd. Nearly 66% of Indians said that was one consideration, against a global average of 26%.


National Geographic Expeditions is now offering trips for Indian travellers. The USP of the expeditions is their unique access to places and people, and the insight shared by National Geographic experts, photographers and guides.

According to Gary Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners, the trips give Indian travellers an opportunity to observe lions in the Serengeti with a wildlife biologist or shoot images in Italy alongside a National Geographic photographer. “Our National Geographic experts offer enriching expedition experiences through fascinating presentations and informal discussions. The customized trips will now be available to discerning Indian travellers in local currency with completely localized fulfilment and servicing,” he says. Money spent on the expeditions supports the National Geographic Society’s mission of exploration, research and education (Natgeoexpeditions.in).


With the general election coming up soon, Thomas Cook India is trying to inspire voters to make the trip home with special discounts. The Election Commission had identified a migrating population, moving from villages and small towns to cities in search of jobs, as one of the key reasons for low voter turnouts in 2014. As a incentive, the travel company is offering 1,000 off on round-trip air tickets as part of its Ghar Jao Vote Karo campaign, up till 19 May.

There’s also a post-voting holiday discount of 3,000 on domestic and 5,000 off on international group tours for voters who visit a Thomas Cook retail outlet and show their inked fingers. This offer is valid for two months after the elections, till 19 July. “This is our small way of encouraging citizens to exercise their vote,” says Abraham Alapatt, president and group head, marketing.


Wondering how to stay cool this summer, both in real life and on social media? Here’s an idea.

Having whetted their Polar travel chops with two seasons in Antarctica, Q Experiences is offering Indian travellers a cruise to the ice floes of the Arctic, at Spitsbergen, at 80 degrees north.

Set to depart on 16 June, the cruise is the stuff bucket-list trips are made of, with a sleek and luxurious yacht, meals crafted under the supervision of Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, and opportunities to walk with Polar bears or see the Northern Lights. Passengers will get personalized lists on the clothing and gear they will need—integral to having a good experience in extreme weather (Theqexperiences.com; 7.9 lakh per head).

—Compiled by Neha Dara

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