From workcations to expedition for kids, they are looking beyond ticking items off the bucket list
It’s safe to say that millennials have a perpetual case of wanderlust. The young Indian traveller has evolved from cookie-cutter tours crammed with “touristy” sight seeing. They want more from their holidays than just Instagram-worthy pictures and Facebook check-ins. They want experiences over luxuries, purpose over presentation and stories over stringent itineraries. They want to put to work, leave a mark, get inspired and take away skills and stories.
Online travel company Make My Trip’s India Travel Report 2016 revealed that young Indians are the driving force behind the changing travel landscape, and about 66% of the total trips on the website were made by travellers in the age group 18-35 years. Travel entrepreneurs across the country echo the insight but reveal an underlying trend that promises to turn into a movement.
Nishchal Dua, founder of The Remote Life, a travel startup that offers a unique co-living experience, puts things into perspective. “Our parent’s idea of a good life was settling down in one place with a secure job and house. It’s the exact opposite for millennials. Millennials like to spend on experiences and learnings. We don’t want the big house or car. We don’t want to pay EMIs for the next 20 years. We would rather travel and enjoy life while we can,” he says.
With an insight that’s on point, Nishchal’s three-month old company devises wholesome experience where one can live, work and travel without compromising on that much-needed salary cheque. Giving “workcations” a whole new meaning, their first program is a three-month long stint across three South-East Asian countries where 30 travellers co-live, travel and work. A substantial transition from the stuffy seven-day international trip, it has, not surprisingly, garnered excitement from digital nomads and freelancers who need Wi-Fi as much as they need to explore the world.
Millennial parents too are approaching travel with a whole new perspective and agenda. Take Prachi Kagzi’s Little Passports, a travel company that combines learning and exploring for kids. “Millennial parents have adopted new ways to live as well as teach their kids. Many are working full-time with lesser time to spend alone with their kids, and moms today have a higher quest to make their children learn as compared to our predecessors,” she explains.
Her concept of immersive expeditions for kids resonates with young parents who believe there’s only so much one can learn from a textbook. Expect vacations that are age appropriate with activities like igloo making in Slovakia, stargazing in Rajkot, Understanding tea production in Guwahati and interacting with giant turtles in Mauritius.
As merely checking off places from a bucket list takes a backseat, the need for a take-away beyond a postcard or a memento, takes prominence. Travel plans have become more sensitive to the environment as well as the locals.
Take Spiti Ecosphere, a 15-year old social enterprise working towards conservation and development of Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, that almost organically glided into tourism with difference. “We link travel with volunteering to enable a holistic and sustainable development of this region as well as create livelihood for the locals” explains founder Ishita Khanna. Their Life as a Local tour is based entirely on a volunteering module where travellers spend a few days from the holiday, helping the community in remote mountain villages resolve a real problem.
From restoring stupas to building a drainage system or an artificial glacier to address water needs, a need-based issue is addressed and travellers collaborate with locals to find a definitive solution. She adds, “It’s a win-win. Activities like these lead to attitude changes not only in the traveller but also in the locals. The people of Spiti realise that complaining doesn’t solve problems and local art need to be revived. The traveller goes back home appreciating an in-depth one-on-one experiences and new relationships. And an understanding that nothing should be taken for granted.”
Looks like sun tans, jet lags, shopping sprees and “likes” are no longer the only proof of a holiday well spent. They have been gladly replaced by more permanent souvenirs like a sense of purpose, a repertoire of life-altering stories and new friends.
The writer is co-founder of The Short Staff – an editorial and content development studio, and lifestyle blogger at Slow Motion Thoughts.
SOURCE: DNA India