“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things,” said writer. Henry Miller, and an active holiday -one that presents a travel destination in an offbeat, movement-laden way-is sure to help you get there. Dr Rajat Chauhan, who specialises in sports medicine, agrees. “They help us connect with ourselves,” he says. when you go off the regular tourist circuit, you experience a place very differently. Think white-water rafting in Croatia, walking through orchards and vineyards in Austria’s Danube Valley, skiing in Gulmarg or cycling across Vietnam. “When you explore a city on foot or perspective,” adds Chauhan, who says that most of his holidays are structured this ways
Going off the beaten track, literally as well as figuratively, is getting increasingly popular, with more people opting for holidays that offer adventure, nature and an overall immersive experience. Throw in the fact that they are great for your health and waistline (holiday gluttony is burnt away by the activity), besides helping build real connections (far from the madding crowd and phone networks).Here is why you should try them out with your family and friends this summer.
It allows the kids the opportunity to go solo with rigorous, organised activity
When siddharth and suhaan Bakshi were as young as 11 and 9, respectively, (they are now 16 and 14), their parents looked up youreka, a company that takes kids (ages-9-17 years) on camping trips in groups, Having been to Seetlakhet and Rishikesh, the boys feel the camps are fun because. “No parents!” The reason they work is that kids aren’t allowed screens, are out of touch with their parents for the duration of the trip (5-10 days) and have a set of planned activities daily that they need to perform, depending on the camp and age group: rappelling, rock climbing, hiking. Kids may spend a night out in the wild, looking for berries , cooking food, and understanding outdoor survival. “It’s an exercise for parents in letting go and for kids to get an experience of what it means to be away from the city, and from the usual family-holiday comforts: room service, a swimming pool easy transport'” says Rinnie Bakshi, mother to the boys
or simply enjoy some family athleisure time
Poojan Kapur Sharma and her family (husband and two sons, aged 13 and 17 years) have spent the last eight years or more going to Goa every summer for upto a month. Initially, they’d take an apartment , but over the last few years, they have stayed at a friend’s homestay, Olaulim Backyards, where the pool and lack of TV keep the families outdoors and off screens . “We live locals, cycling, buying vegetables from the markets, fishing, swimming and getting into mud fights in the backwaters, “says Sharma. Initially, the children asked to be taken to explore new places, but now they like it too. In fact, last year, when they went to Thailand instead, the boys missed Goa and the spread-out pace of activity. When three generations of the family are together though, they go closer home, to the hills, at Tirthan. “We don’t stay in five-star properties. It’s always the same -we pick a homestay so we experience. ” she says, speaking of how gentle walks and easy treks all form a part of the experience.
It gives you freedom form pre-planned tour packages
Sangeeta Uchil, who has two children, aged 18 and 11, says that the agency-planned tours they went on every year, “used to make us unhappy as the agenda was very set.” She started looking for what was out there and discovered the Bengaluru-based Active Holiday Company. “They suggested a Central Europe Tour, Which had five days of hiking, ” she says while the company helped with the booking and scheduling, it was hugely customised so, “We could do our own thing – sit down, relax, lounge by the river,” she says, adding that despite that, it was very safe , as the organising team was, “a call away”
That was last year. This year, family plans to “stitch together three existing tours. including a tulip trip of the Netherlands and a city tour of Munich and Berlin. “We are hyper as a family, and can’t sit back and have people pointing out sites. ” she laughs, adding that her children really look forward to their holidays now. “I don’t think either of them will go back to package tour ever again.