Many Indians consider travel as a necessity. It is something that figures alongside their financial or career goals. And this trend has resulted in a growing tribe of travellers who are exploring the world in a style of their own. These are no ordinary travel. It doesn’t entail journey from point A to point B. But a nihilistic bucket list of places to see and experiences to discover in their lifetime. MetroPlus spoke to a cross section of passionate travellers from the city to understand what experiences they seek and how they plan their travel.
Siddharth Marupeddi, chief executive officer of Start AP, has travelled to 28 countries in a span of three years. After covering parts of Europe last year, this summer he has made elaborate plans to explore Asia. In the first leg, he will cover Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam and in the second leg, he will head to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taiwan. Travel, for Marupeddi, means a journey within, exploring oneself. Documenting every part of his travel in his Instagram page, Marupeddi ensures that his travel experiences are ‘the things to do’ in the spirit of ‘you only live once’. And for that, he feels travelling solo is a must. “When you travel solo, it gives me the flexibility to go with the flow, change my plans to include something new and bond with new friends,” he says. One evening during his Finland trip, he saw a Russian cruise ship in the bay and just decided to change the course of his tour on an impulse. “It was a St. Peter Line cruise that took me from Finland to Russia. This is the only way travellers can enter Russia without Visa. You can stay there for 72 hours with the Schengen Visa and return in the same cruise. That was a fabulous experience for me,” he remembers. While assimilating rich travel experiences is his aim, Marupeddi believes in affordable travel, making most of his bookings through online travel portals like Trivago and Booking.com to get the best possible deals. “Flight fares for summer travel to Asian destinations are quite affordable. You can get a return fare to Bali from Bangalore for as less as Rs 14,000 for the summer period,” he says. His recommendations for solo travellers: “One of the easiest ways to know the culture closely and steer away from the routine touristy spots is to be part of a pub crawl and allow the group to take you to some of the best watering holes of the place.”
This year Sumanth Behara, a food entrepreneur, has one resolution – to travel to a new place every month. “I have made a list of 12 destinations and all these trips will be special. The idea is to explore places in a different way, move to the countryside and breathe in the culture,” he says. After covering Mauritius and doing an impromptu solo trip to Varkala in Kerala, Behara plans to explore Sri Lanka in April. In every global tour, Behara trusts Airbnb, the home-sharing company, to offer an experience that the cookie-cutter concrete towers of hotels in central cities of any country can never give. “Imagine going to a foreign land and feeling at home! You get to experience the cuisine made by the locals and be a part of several cultural activities. The hosts are super helpful and give good insight into the local culture which you never get in hotels,” he adds. Behara has recently created a Facebook group called ‘Travel Enthusiasts of Vizag’ who share their unique experiences of travel, offer suggestions on cheaper ways of travel and the best places to explore food in a place.
A shoe-string budget
But travelling in a shoe-string budget is a different kind of art which requires intense research and planning. That is where Neelima Veeraghanta excels. An architect by profession, Veeraghanta covered Mussoorie, Rishikesh, Jim Corbett, Nainital and Delhi from Vizag within 12 days and all of this in a modest budget of Rs 15,500 that included accommodation, travel and a self-drive option. “I do my research well and look for hostels and bunk accommodations during my travels,” she says. While she hasn’t yet stepped out of the country yet, Veeraghanta feels there is a lot to explore in domestic circuit and myriad travel experiences to assimilate.
Next on her travel radar is the temples of Odisha.