New Delhi: With an extended weekend ahead starting Saturday, followed by Sunday and Republic Day Monday, many people are making plans to enjoy the 'mini vacation'.
According to travel companies, there has been a surge of around 20 percent in the number of people going on a holiday this weekend as compared to a normal weekend.
"The hustle and bustle of urban life seems to be driving Indians to take frequent, short vacations to recharge their batteries. People are travelling using different modes of transport as well, with self driven road trips becoming extremely popular," Sharat Dhall, Yatra.com president told reporters.
He said another reason for Delhiites to go on a short trip is to avoid problems caused by the enhanced security measures in the national capital due to US president Barack Obama's visit.
Following instructions by the home ministry ahead of Obama's visit, several central Delhi areas have been closed to the general public.
"The upcoming Republic Day weekend has seen a huge surge in hotel bookings at destinations close to the metros, with a number of these being sold out already," Dhall said.
The travel companies stated that 39 percent of the travellers are willing to travel beyond 400 km on a long weekend trip, whereas 27 percent prefer to stay within a 200 km area.
Talking about the travellers' budget for the short trips, Prabhat Jha of Kolkata-based Milli travels said: "Budget travel options are the most in demand with 42 percent visitors opting for destinations that cost less than Rs 6,000 per person for a weekend of leisure."
"Some 8.8 percent of the travellers are fine with trips costing Rs 21,000 or more per person," he told IANS.
Sanjay Bhasin, CEO, goibibo.com, said there is always a spurt in bookings when there is an extended weekend.
"However, during national holidays our numbers jump twice-thrice from a normal weekend. A whopping 48 percent of the bookings for this weekend will be made in this week itself. This shows that Indians are still not able to plan their holidays well in advance and end up making booking arrangements closer to the travel date," he told IANS.
To make the process easier Goibibo is also running a promotion of flat 65 percent off on select hotel bookings across India, valid till Jan 24.
"Those who booked their tickets and lodging before are at an advantage, otherwise right now the fares have gone up by five-six times," Rajan Sehgal, chairperson, Travels Agents Association of India (Northern Region), said.
Talking about air fares, he said the prices have increased and the airlines are charging Rs. 15,000-Rs. 20,000 one way even from Delhi to Jaipur, though the flying time is just half an hour and the ticket normally costs Rs. 3,000-Rs. 4,000.