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Archive for the ‘Vacation Diaries’ Category

I am a member of Sterling’s Ooty resort in Tamilnadu. And I am really happy I picked a timeshare plan with them a little over twenty years ago.

And as you can see, that is a long time in terms of my member relationship with Sterling. I have seen them grow, expand, modernize and widen their footprint in the country – and of course world wide as well through the exchange companies they are associated with.

Sterling was one of the early entrants in the timeshare space in India, and what you see evolving today is the result of a lot of groundwork done by them. In those days, timeshare was a concept that was new to India and lead players like Sterling did a good job of adapting a global trend to the travel and vacation needs of Indian prospects. The timeshare blueprint is largely the same, but the spinoffs were appealing to Indian customers such as me.

There’s more on this interview with Mr P. Ramakrishnan at this link >
World of Airda / July 2021


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I’ve been travelling ever since I moved to Mumbai, 13 years back. Initially it was locally, between states and once I got my passport, abroad. I sometimes travelled as part of my work, going to cover events and spending hours just in transit to reach remote locations. But, those trips gave me as much joy as a well-planned vacation in a cold, hilly town.

As a travel writer, I am often invited on sponsored trips and though hectic, they are still enjoyable. I often extend my stay in these places, so I can explore them my way. Now, as a freelance writer, I travel whenever I can (responsibilities permitting). I have savings that are in place mainly to fund my trips, because the INR is still very weak.  The advantage of being a freelance writer is you need just a stable internet connection and your laptop – and you can work from anywhere.

In this year, my goal is to explore my home (Goa) and discover all its hidden beauty.

There’s more on this story at this link >
World of Travel / July 2021

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This is an interview with “mobile” film maker from Mumbai, Shiva Prasad – in our Message of the Month section.

How can lay people on a vacation take better pictures using their mobile phones?

People love to capture their travel and adventure photos and look forward to preserving them as fond memories for the rest of their lives. That’s where the mobile phone comes in to capture beautiful imagery and footage on your vacation.

Many of the recently launched mobile phones have interesting creative presets such as slow motion videos, time-lapse (passage of time) giving you the ability to film in variable frame rates like 30 and 60 frames – and going right up to 970 frames on some phones. The latest Samsung Galaxy S 20 allows you to capture footage in true cinematic 24 frames in 8k resolution – the only mobile phone which offers this feature till date.

More on our interview with Shiva Prasad at this link >
Message of the Month Interview / May 2020

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This is an interview with James George from Dubai, in our Q&A section.

How hard does it become to take a break for a vacation?
My brother Joel and I look forward to the great outdoors, together – because I live and work in Dubai and he is based in Bangalore. Oftentimes, life gets in the way and the time we do eventually spend when we meet is with other family members at home. When I came down this time, he had planned this trip so we could spend some quality time together and really unwind. Naturally we wanted the quality of our destination to be enhanced by the locale of our stay.

But, taking a break isn’t easy – you need to align calendars and make concrete plans that you can stay with. I am glad we were able to make this trip in the beginning of February – before more than half of the world’s population went into lockdown due to Covid19. Since the experience is recent, I have fond memories at our resort in Virajpet, of the Club Mahindra experience.

More on our interview with James George at this link >
Q&A Interviews / May 2020

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In the last months of 2019, people looked at 2020 as the turnaround year for business and enterprise, building up to a year of strong consolidation. The anticipation was short-lived as Covid-19 literally took the world by storm. As we present this story, the world is no longer the same – but we always have tomorrow to look forward to. (We do.)

This month’s Q&A session reflects the thoughts, feelings and emotions of people who actually planned to go on vacation during March / April this year. With bookings made, all they needed to do was pack their bags.

However, these conversations also reflect an understanding of the current situation. People are overcoming their initial disappointment with responsible thinking.

More on this story at this link >
Q&A Interviews / April 2020

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What are your feelings like when you’re heading back home, after a really nice vacation?

A good vacation rejuvenates me as nothing else does. No spa, no mall can come close to the feeling of absolute contentment I feel when I am away from the city and when I am one with nature. Of course, the moment I touch city limits after a good holiday, it’s a sinking feeling. The stress sets in immediately, and I know that until my next vacation I have to wake up to the sounds of incessant honking and traffic – rather than the melodious bird sounds and the pollution-free air that I miss so much. I call it the holiday hangover, and the only ‘fix’ that can help me get over it is another holiday. Most of the times, I cannot wait to simply pack my bags, load the camera, and leave.

 

Q&A: In conversation with Travel Blogger Shama Ahmed

More on this story at the link below >
Q&A – May 2019

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Jayashree Bhat works as a Senior Manager, Data Management, at Syneos Health Limited. Currently single, she enjoys travelling and connecting with new people. On a vacation she particularly likes to understand and experience the culture, the customs and local flavors – yes, that combo can make things really special for her.

Jayashree has a Club Mahindra membership that she picked up in 2014, and over these five years she has criss-crossed the country on several vacations – some of them outside of the timeshare platform as well.

Along with her friends, Jayashree has been to some really exotic locations such as Ladakh, Saputara/Hatgad, Odisha, Tadoba-Pench, Egypt and Bandhavgadh. According to her, these vacations largely happened because her friends were doing all the planning and coordination – all she had to do was pack her bags and join the gang.

For the AIRDA content team, it was really interesting chatting with Jayashree, because here was someone who looked at travel as an interesting learning experience.

Talking to Jayashree Bhat of Mumbai
More on this story at the link below >
Q&A – March 2019

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Hooma & Sudeep are the founders of Travel Jaunts, a travel company based out of Bangalore. They are travellers, bloggers, photographers and tour organizers. This young couple loves to travel family-in-tow, at the slightest opportunity life provides, to create and build an exciting bank of memories. They have been traveling for the last 14 years – extensively within India, and to over 25 countries across the globe.

From a background perspective, both Hooma and Sudeep are management graduates. Hooma has worked in Banking & Insurance, and has managed an online art gallery before starting Travel Jaunts. Sudeep works with Dell as India Sales Director.

We talk to this young couple about their travel interests and the travel opportunities they offer through Travel Jaunts.

More on this story at the link below >
Q&A – November 2018

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Over the last few months, we have featured some of the country’s best-known travel writers. These are people who venture into uncharted territories to tell a story – a story that’s untold. They do this through a narrative that takes us right there – right in the middle of it.

And unlike most of us who take a break from work, these travel writers take their breaks from travel to be with family and friends.

While their life and lifestyle sounds interesting, things can be difficult – because you’re always on the move. For some people, sunrise could be at one location and sunset, in a totally different geography. But they still do it, with unbridled enthusiasm that fuels every step, every mile, and every journey that they undertake.

B. S. Rathor
Advisor & Member – Executive Committee

More on this story at the link below >
Message of the Month – September 2018

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Do you think families with young children should do sanctuary tours?
It is useful to take children out on a safari, as it rolls out lessons on a whole new world out there, and the need to protect it. They get to learn about animal behavior and natural habitat. They learn the importance of patience and discipline. They could also learn about conserving nature and protecting our national reserves. Personally, I think this should also open people’s eyes to the sanctity of wildlife. If your children see an elephant in the wild, they should be alarmed at the prospect of “converting it into a tourist vehicle” for revenue and profits.

Having said that, I must say that it is not advisable to take children below six years, for more than one reason. For one thing, a three-hour-long safari can be extremely tiring – it can also be scary in terms of jungle noises and sounds. (It can also be difficult to expect them to be orderly and quiet – just not possible.)

On a recent safari, I saw a family with a baby, barely five months old. It was 40 degrees Celsius and extremely dusty – uncomfortable even for adults. I just cannot understand how people can be so irresponsible.

In conversation with travel writer, Chittra M.
More on this story at the link below >
Q&A – September 2018

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