Busting myths about Active Holidays

Active holidays are holidays build around Nature-Centric offbeat locations and soft adventure / activities such as overnight camping, walking, trekking, rafting, bird watching, fishing, camp fire and barbecue

Covid-19 is making all of us re-visit how we travel. It may seem safer and more responsible to be around nature, away touristy and crowded areas, while on a holiday.  That makes Active Holidays more relevant now than ever for all travellers.

Active Holidays has been around 15 years (Its been 11 years since I had my first one). Over the years there are many travellers who have turned to Active Holidays after being tired of touristy pursuits. For the would be first time active holiday travellers, let me bust some myths here.

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Uncomfortable Camping

Any mental image of camping with shared toilets, basic meals and complete lack of comfort can be put to rest. You stay in cottage style accommodation or Swiss Tents with attached bathrooms with shower and western WC. These are no way less stylish than a boutique hotel. Some of these active holiday retreats e.g. Banjara Retreat, Sangla, are even listed in the list for ‘501 Places to visit before you die’ and are visited by travellers from world over.

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Tough and Tiring

Soft adventure can test your fitness but walks, hikes and physical activity undertaken are tailored to suit your fitness levels. Such lodges and retreats are set at scenic locales and you have an option to just sit, read a book, admire nature or simply just unwind.

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Need to have a group to enjoy

Even a couple or a nuclear family are easily able to enjoy an active holiday. Unlike a hotel / resort stay, active holidays incorporates a lot of opportunities to interact with other guests while pursuing activities (such as walks) or over a drink on an evening bonfire. 

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Too new to try out

Active holiday retreats, even though has received attention more recently, it has been around for over 15 years. Snow Leopard, Banjara Retreats and Himalayan Eco Lodges are few of the pioneers in active holiday retreat segment. You may be surprised that these and many more of them have perfected guest experience and continue to enjoy very high reviews for wide range of travellers. 

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Cheaper than any Premium holiday

Active holidays typically involve comforts at remote, lesser known locations and it comes at a price. However most active holiday stays are all inclusive and locations have very little option to spend on shopping or extras, so eventually you end up spending marginally lesser overall than a premium holiday.

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Safety concern

All activities are conducted by certified professionals using very high quality (often imported) equipment. Safety precautions, are communicated in advance and accident rate is nil. In case of minor sprains etc. there is first aid and doctor on call available everywhere.

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Takes too long to travel

Deeper you go better is the beauty and the overall experience. However, it does not mean that there are no easily accessible Active Holiday destinations / retreats. e.g. There are number of active holidays retreats within 2 hours drive from Dehradun Airport.

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Kids will get Bored

Active holidays have been the most popular with families with kids between 6 – 15 years. Kids have a schedule filled with activities (often ending with post dinner campfire) and have many other kids around to enjoy with. Parents are often left to enjoy their own solitude. For Urban kids these are very refreshing opportunities to explore outdoors and appreciate nature in its purest form (alongwith some cultural and cuisine elements as well).

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Not for experienced adventure seeker

Most active holiday options are often base points for treks and expeditions around the area. Therefore those looking for a tough adventure may also consider alongwith their family. e.g. Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh, you have an option to trek ranging from a day trek to eight nights in the adjoining Great Himalayan National Park, while some members of your group enjoy an easy paced riverside holiday.

Not for Sophisticated Travellers

Most travellers opting for active holiday destinations are ones that are travellers who have extensively travelled to regular tourist destinations and are looking for a unique experience. These are also travellers who actively travel to International destinations, do wildlife holidays and prefer spending some time around Nature (often with teenage or adult kids) on an active holiday. Rustic ambience, simple comforts, warm hospitality, genuine interactions and authentic cuisine combines to offer an experiential character that has made active holiday destinations a sought after option for sophisticated travellers.  

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Not Covid-Ready

Active holiday retreats were some of the earliest practitioners of responsible travel, zero plastic, zero waste and local sourcing / Fresh cooking. International travellers were the first patrons of these retreats before they became popular with Indian travellers. Therefore these retreats are used to maintaining high stardards of food safety, hygiene and overall upkeep. These areas have been Covid-free and it is the urban travellers that pose a greater threat to their health and Safety. 

Summary

Active holiday is a holiday around offbeat destinations and some activities. Idea here is to be around pristine nature and get rejuvenated while you interact with like-minded Individuals / families. There are enough opportunities for you to relax, unwind, enjoy private moments with your loved ones or just “do nothing” alongwith some adventure, activities and exploration. Active holiday is where the idea is to explore, experience and get rejuvenated. 

I have been driving Nivalink forward for 20 years now and travelling across India constantly. My first active holiday happened in year 2009 and eversince have been a big fan. Do write to me on vashiniraj@gmail.com or ask@nivalink.co.in for more ideas and recommendations. Me and my team would be delighted to help you plan an amazing getaway / Holiday once Covid-19 is behind us.

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