Author

Pushkar Bisht

Pin Parvati Pass

As a trekker, I have been asking myself this question – When can we resume trek after COVID-19? And I know just like me there will be many trekkers who will be asking the same question. We have been locked for over 2 months now but the situation doesn’t seem to get any better.

 But, the question still remains unanswered. 

When I can trek again after COVID 19?

If I look at the current situation and go as per the logic, then I would say October. Again, that’s an assumptive answer because we know, trekking is dependent upon the below factors.  

First of all, the main reason will be the decrease in the number of new coronavirus cases. Currently, as of May 30, 2020, we have a total of 174,020 cases. And, on average for the month of May, we have more than 4500 new cases coming in a single day. Hence, the treks won’t be opened by the government unless we have a drastic decrease in the number of new cases, maybe 200-300 in one day for the whole country.

The number of cases from March to this day has been increasing at an increasing pace. India as a country has reached this number in about two and a half months. So now, about the same or more amount of time will be required to get these numbers to 200-300 in a day. Or worse, it can even take a longer time. 

Here is a graph which shows the increase in the number of cases on a daily basis in India.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

Secondly, it is a fact that most of the trekkers who come to the Himalayas are from the South part of India. As per Indiahikes, which is one of the leading trekking companies in India, claims to have maximum trekkers from Bangalore followed by Mumbai. With that in mind, these trekkers will need air travel so that they can travel to the base camp. 

Here is a chart from Indiahikes 

Source : Indiahikes
Source : Indiahikes

Third and most importantly will you be ready to travel? We all know that the majority of us will not make any plans for atleast a month or two after the lockdown is over. The fear of getting infected will stay in our minds for some time because of the fact that we know there is no cure yet.

Should You Start Booking For Treks From October?

The answer to this question will actually depend upon you. As from recent updates, many trekking companies like Indiahikes have opened their treks from September onwards. You will find the dates available between September and December. In case you have booked your treks for the month of July/August with Indiahikes, then they have asked to wait. They haven’t called off the treks yet. And if there is any possibility, they said they will run it safely.

They have also reduced the cancellation period for the July/August treks to 10 days before the start of the trek. So whether you cancel now or 10 days prior to the start of the trek, the cancellation policy remains the same. 

But in case you are someone who plans to do alone or with your own group, then certainly you have the advantage to skip planning for now. If everything works out well, then you can easily plan any trek even a month before. However, I would suggest to go for easy to moderate treks for this year and avoid any expeditions or difficult treks. 

Here are some of the treks which you can consider:

  1. Prashar Lake
  2. Brahmatal 
  3. Chopta Chandrashila
  4. Buran Ghati
  5. Har Ki Dun
  6. Nag Tibba
  7. Dayara Bugyal
  8. Kedartal
  9. Rupin Pass
  10. Valley of Flowers
  11. Triund
  12. Indrahar Pass

Read my detailed guide/experience on Triund trek and Indrahar Pass trek

What precautions you should take for treks after COVID-19?

When it comes to trekking it is clear that maintaining a social distance is very difficult. Why? Because you can still ask the trekkers to maintain some distance while walking but at night they share the same tents. If not, then this way they have to carry their own tents which is not possible for everyone. 

Moreover, the trekkers go to the basecamp in a shared vehicle and even eat together. If you isolate them then I don’t think they will enjoy trekking. Plus, no one can run the COVID-19 test before and after the trek is completed. It is cumbersome and expensive. 

So let me give you some tips/precautions which you should take.

  • Bring your own gears. As simple as it sounds. Make it a habit to carry your own gears like shoes, pants, jackets, cutlery, bed sheet, sleeping mat, and sleeping bags. This would avoid the chances of any kind of infection. These are your basic needs and also lightweight. I would personally suggest buying these because if you are a trekker then you need them always. 
  • Avoid renting any equipment/gears. You will never know whether the gear you are renting has been sanitized or for that matter even cleaned. Many companies will follow the proper hygiene process while renting out these gears but we cannot be 100% sure on that. And I personally don’t like to rent.
  • Carry ample amounts of sanitizer and other hygienic products.  Yes, the trekking company will definitely give you the sanitization facilities but really it’s better if you take your own. 
  • Check for your body temperature before heading out for trekking. If you feel it’s above normal, prefer to stay at home. 
  • Consult with your doctor before planning a trek. This is something we should always do but I know we don’t. But this time take some time out and get the consultation.

Conclusion

Having said before that this is an assumptive answer. You will be able to get a better answer as we move closer to October. But one thing is for sure even if the trek starts from October, then also they will not resume the whole hog. It will start slowly and increase towards the end of the year. I can say that if the trek resumes from October then we can expect a good number of trekkers from the start of next year. 

Nevertheless, let’s hope this coronavirus ends soon and we can be back to our normal life of trekking. Till then stay safe and stay at home. 

See you in the mountains soon!!!

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SICILY

Do you know how much revenue Sicily has lost because of the novel epidemic? Sicily has lost £1 billion ($1.08 million) in revenue from tourism after they closed the door on March 10, 2020? But they have already started thinking to entice tourists to return after the coronavirus. The proposed plan would cost them £50 million. But they hope to recover it as tourists return once the restrictions on lockdown will ease out. 

The Proposed Plan announced by Sicily includes:

  • They will pay half of the visitor’s flight ticket cost.
  • A third of your hotel expenses will also be covered.
  • Free tickets for museums and archaeological sites.

The tourism industry contributes 13% to the GDP of Italy and with these borders closed, it is certainly hampering the economy. They are keen to welcome tourists once the pandemic is over. Non-essential travel is currently banned but we are assuming after the ease in lockdown laws from next week will allow some movement within regions but definitely no tourists.  Let’s see when the borders are opened and maybe Sicily can be on top of your list.  

Read: Travel Experts travel may not be normal until 2023

How do I get it?

To take advantage of this plan, as soon as the country reopens its borders and businesses you need to visit Visit Sicily website. And the vouchers for flights and accommodation will be available there. As if right now there is no set date. But Italy has announced that from May 4, they will reopen restaurants for takeaway service and manufacturing and construction sectors. 

Hence, we can say that Autumn would be the prime time to visit, pandemic pending. Here is a small guide that might come in handy if you are planning to visit the island.

Reason to consider Sicily in you bucket list

There are many reasons why you need to consider Sicily in your bucket list. But before getting into that, let’s talk a little bit about Sicily Island. 

About Sicily 

I am sure you all have heard about Italy but the majority of you wouldn’t have heard about Sicily. Sicily or Sicilia (in Italian) is the largest and most populated island in the Mediterranean Sea. The capital of Sicily is Palermo (does it sound familiar now). The island forms an autonomous region of Italy which means they have the right/power of self-government. Sicily has a rich and unique culture in regards to art, music, cuisine, literature, and architecture. 

Sicily, Italy (Credit - Pixabay)
Sicily, Italy (Credit – Pixabay)

Fun Facts About Sicily

  1. Sicily island is surrounded by three seas namely the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Ionian Sea.
  2. Mount Etna in Sicily is the tallest and most active volcano in the world. It is 10,900 feet tall.
  3. The Sicily island has been ruled by many ancient civilizations including the Romans, Vandals, and Ostrogoths, Islam, and Byzantine. 
  4. More than four-fifths of the land in Sicily is hills and mountains
  5. The total population of the island is 5 million people
  6. Sicily is home to the largest opera house in Italy (in Palermo)
  7. Sicilians speak many languages which include French, German, Arabic, and Romanian. 
  8. The ‘Mafia’ or ‘ Cosa Nostra’ originated in Sicily in the 19th century.
  9. A paradise for foodies with authentic Sicilian pizza, cannoli hails, and wine.
  10. Sicily boasts 6 World Heritage Sites because of its rich historical, cultural, and natural diversities. 

a) Archaeological Area of Agrigento
b) Villa Romana del Casale
c) Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)
d) Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
e) Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica
f) Mount Etna

Selinunte Temple (Credit - Pixabay)
Selinunte Temple (Credit – Pixabay)

Ashlyn Cahill who is an avid traveler from Chicago, Illinois says “My favorite place in Sicily is Solanto, Italy which is near Palermo. It has perfect weather, but more a laid back beach town if you want to be close to Palermo but not in the city. I’d say Solanto is a cute little quiet beach town if you’re looking for the true Italy. There are gorgeous beaches without the crowds and you can take day trips to gorgeous secret islands. And you have to eat one of these bad boys – ‘Ice Cream in a bun’. I had one for breakfast like every day.

Ustica Island (Credit - Ashlyn Cahill)
Ustica Island (Credit – Ashlyn Cahill)

Sicily Travel Guide

Frederick II, King of Sicily, once said: “I don’t envy God’s paradise, because I’m well satisfied to live in Sicily”. Sicily island offers its tourists with white sandy beaches along its pristine coastline. It has plenty of heritage sites that are rich in history and culture and a great place for foodies. 

Places to Visit in Sicily

Below are some places which you should have on your list while visiting the island. Here are the top ten best places in the region to visit. 

  1. Palermo – The capital of Sicily. The place is a spot for cultures and street markets. Experience different cultures in one style. And spend your evening at the beach.
  2. Taormina – One of the most beautiful places to visit in the world with an extensive view of the sea and the mountains. The Greek theater, the Taormina Filmfest, and Taormina Arte are something which one should not miss. 
  3. Ragusa Ibla – The city is home to several stunning palaces and churches. 
  4. Scala Dei Turchi – The most beautiful beaches all over Sicily because it’s on a white cliff located along the stretch of the sea which makes you feel like you are in wonderland.
  5. Noto – Known for its baroque architecture with stunning churches and palaces. 
  6. Lampedusa – Famous for its beaches, hiking trails, and scuba diving. Also for the island of the rabbits. 
  7. Aeolian Islands – These are 7 islands, each offering its own distinct atmosphere, charm, and hospitality. Amazing beaches, and two active volcanoes. 
  8. Syracuse – Famous for rich Greek and Roman history, culture, and architecture. Birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. 
  9. Agrigento – Famous for the Valley of the Temples which is the world’s biggest archaeological park. A great example of Greece art and architecture. 
  10. San Vito Lo Capo – Famous for its couscous festival held over 10 days each September. Also known for its beautiful beaches, archaeological sites, and a nature reserve – the Zingaro Reserve.

 

Taormina City (Credit - Pixabay)
Taormina City (Credit – Pixabay)

Apart from these, Sicily boasts 6 World Heritage Sites, which are:

  1. Archaeological Area of Agrigento
  2. Villa Romana del Casale 
  3. Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)
  4. Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
  5. Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica
  6. Mount Etna
Mount Etna (Credit - Pixabay)
Mount Etna (Credit – Pixabay)

Things to do in Sicily 

The island has so much to offer to every traveler. From the beaches to the mountains, from the history to the food and from architecture to the national parks. And I agree that these diversities tend to attract more tourists. No wonder tourism is an important factor in terms of GDP for Italy. I have tried to include some best things to which you can overlook if you are visiting Sicily.

  1. Since the island has numerous beaches here are some of the beaches which you can definitely explore.
  • San Vito Lo Capo
  • Cala Rossa – in Favignana
  • The Rabbit Island – in Lampedusa
  • Scala dei Turchi – in Realmonte
  • Isola Bella – in Taormina
  • Calamosche – between Vendicari and Noto
  • Beach of Mondello – near Palermo
  • Isola Delle Correnti – Portopalo

2. You can take the excursion by boat in the Islands of the Aeolian Archipelago or in the Aegadian Islands, or along the coast of Pantelleria or Lampedusa.  

3. Trekking lovers can hike along many panoramic trails or on the slopes of smoldering volcanoes. Some of the famous hiking spots are-

  • Aeolian Islands – Stromboli and Vulcano
  • Mount Etna (highest volcano in Europe with an altitude of 3,350 meters)
  • Cammino Ibleo

4. For other adventure lovers, you can take part in off-road tours or take the cable car which will take you up to 2,500 meters. 

5 If you are looking for something on foot or going horse-riding, then these are for you-

  • Peloritani and Nebrodi mountain range
  • Madonie Park
  • Alcamo Nature Reserve or the necropolis of Pantalica

6. You can follow a cultural and food itinerary and enjoy the history, nature, and local taste. This can be covered by car or bicycle along with one of the thirteen Strade del vino e dei Sapori. You can also visit family-run wineries. 

7. Sicily also has an ancient thermal tradition. You can enjoy thermal baths and mud therapy in Segesta. You can also experience the natural bath on the alley of Vulcano Island or the free bath at Lake Specchio di Venere (Mirror of Venus). 

8. If you are traveling with kids then you can do these things – 

  • Attend a Pupi show (puppets show) at the Teatro Dei Pupi in Syracuse.
  • Also you can attend the puppet show at the Teatro Carlo Magno and Teatro dell’Opera dei Pupi in Palermo.
  • Visit Etnaland – biggest amusement park in southern Italy which is in Belpasso, Catania
  • There are two more, one is Scivolandia in Cammarata and another is Acquaaprk Conte in Sommatino.
Palermo City (Credit - Pixabay)
Palermo City (Credit – Pixabay)

9. There are many events and festivals which takes place in Sicily – 

  • Carnival of Acireale (most famous in Italy)
  • Infiorata of Corpus Domini in Noto
  • Palio dei Normanni (Palio of the Romans) in Piazza Armerina (12,13 and 14 August every year)
  • Ballo dei diavoli ( The devil’s dance) in Prizzi, province of Palermo (connected to the Easter celebration)
  • Festival of Saint Rosalia in Palermo – most important religious festival (every year in July)
  • Festival of Saint Agatha in Catania – religious festival (3 to 5 February, 12 February and 17 August every year)
  • Taormina Film Fest in Taormina ( between June and July)
  • Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento (early March)
  • Festa Degli Aquiloni in San Vito Lo Capo – kite festival (May)
  • Cous Cous Fest – couscous festival with concerts & shows (late September)
Kite Festival ( Credit - Pixabay)
Kite Festival ( Credit – Pixabay )

Read how to plan your first trip post-pandemic?

What to Eat in Sicily

As discussed before Sicily is a hotspot for the foodies. Some of their dishes are famous all over the world. So here are some of the dishes which you must try.

Famous Pasta Dishes

  • Pasta alla norma
  • Pasta con le sarde
  • Pesto alla trapanese
  • Busiate

Famous Fish Dishes

  • Sarde a beccafico
  • Polpette di alici
  • Swordfish alla siciliana
  • Falsomagro or bruciuluni

Famous Street Food Dishes

  • Pane e panelle
  • Crocche
  • Pane cunzato
  • Arancini
  • Granita with brioche
  • Sfincione 

Famous Deserts

  • Cannoli
  • Cassata
  • Almond paste sweets
  • Marzipan
  • Mattonella di Cioccolato con Fichi 

Famous Wines

  • Nero D’Avola
  • Etna Rosso
  • Etna Bianco
  • Alcamo
  • Moscato di Noto
  • Malvasia delle Lipari
  • Marsala
  • Zibibbo di Pantelleria

Honestly just like you, I was also not aware of Sicily island although I have heard about the city Palmero. But after discovering so much about the island I really feel like adding it to my list now. And once the epidemic is over, you can even get airline tickets for half the price and also concession on the hotels. Please let me know: What are your thoughts and comments on this?

Ashlyn Cahill who is an avid traveler from Chicago, Illinois says “I think Sicily is one of the last true authentic regions. Historically they get the least tourism, so the area is lush and full of raw culture, traditional foods, and locals eager to learn more why you traveled so far to see their home. I have made lifelong friends in Sicily, and it is due to Sicily’s rare authenticity.”

Here are some of the pictures clicked by travelers in Sicily.

Credit - Ashley Cahill
Credit – Ashley Cahill
Credit - Seehura
Credit – Seehura
Credit - seeladanse
Credit – seeladanseCRedit
Credit - Quasituttodiigiulia
Credit – Quasituttodiigiulia
Credit - Analuiphotography
Credit – Analuiphotography
Credit - sotodaywefound
Credit – sotodaywefound
Credit -solosicily
Credit -solosicily
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During the novel epidemic, many things have been temporarily suspended, and one of them is travel. We are asked to put a hold on travel plans and stay at home to stop the spread. Many travel experts have predicted that travel might not be normal until 2023. How true is that? Well, only time will tell. But again the pandemic will certainly end. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Hence, we need to hold tight for some time. But while we are at home we can definitely learn how to plan the trip post epidemic. Honestly, there will be many changes in the travel habit of every individual so we will discuss what things will change for your first trip post epidemic in the latter part of the article. 

The novel epidemic has impacted the world not only in terms of biological crises (the COVID-19 outbreak) but also with psychological crises like economic uncertainty, social distancing, and other issues. 

How to plan your first trip post epidemic?

I know the novel epidemic has put a hold on your summer plans but remember not all future travels are off the table. While we are asked to stay at home, simultaneously we can use this time and start planning that much-awaited trip you are waiting for. Let’s go through some of these tips below which can help you to understand how you can plan your first trip post epidemic. 

TIP 1# Be Flexible

You can use this time for trip planning, it will give you motivation as well as a distraction from the pandemic problems. But remember do not plan anything soon since there are high chances that the outbreak would cancel it. And in case this happens then you will stress yourself up. There are very high chances that even if the epidemic is over, you may want to keep staying home for a little longer. 

So my advice to you would be to plan your trip but be flexible. It simply means instead of thinking for summer or winter trips, think abiding like jump into 2021. The daydreaming about what you want to do is ideal but think a little long-term. Many travel companies are lenient about their cancellation policies and definitely, it can attract you as well but don’t just rush into things without giving it a second thought. 

We all are at that stage right now where the entire travel industry and travelers are at pause and this has never happened before. While you are searching and thinking about your next trip, consider what exactly you want out of this trip. 

TIP 2# Use Metasearch Engines

So if you really don’t have anything specific in mind but you are excited with just the thought of traveling, start using metasearch. These days metasearch has been commonly used all over the globe. Big giants like Skyscanner and Kayak will show you the cheapest flights in the world from your home airport at any given time. Below is the example of how you can search on Skyscanner, just put “Everywhere” in the destination and select the dates. The result will be shown and expanding the country will show the destinations/cities inside that. Therefore, make it easy for you to decide as per your budget. 

Skyscanner search results
Skyscanner search results

Now in case you are not even sure about the dates, Kayak will be the one which you can use for window-shopping for your travel needs. Here you can just put your home airport and in destination put “Anywhere” and on dates also you can opt for “Anytime, Any Duration ” and that’s it. The metasearch will show you the best option for you. 

Kayak search results
Kayak search results

Moreover you can also sign up for the fare alerts of different travel companies who can send you handpicked deals. You can use Bargainairticket and Scott’s Cheap Flights. Nevertheless, this is the era of social networks and what’s better than Instagram. You can follow By The Way on instagram for some travel guides. 

TIP 3# Get into details

The best way to plan is to actually to get into the details. Do your research beyond the basics. Read the books, watch movies/documentaries, learn about their culture and history. You can also use social networking sites like Instagram and get connected with some locals and interact with them. Find the places which are a must to visit and check some snapshots on Instagram. 

Always research about the destination
Always research about the destination

Konrad Waliszewski, CEO and co-founder of TripScout says “The trip-planning is an extension of the trip itself and it’s a great way to be entertained at home.” 

TIP 4# Organize 

Once you have the information gathered, the next step is to organize. Save the list of places to visit like restaurants, museums, tourist spots, etc on Google Maps. Also, you can download the map so it is available when you are not connected with the internet. If that does not work for you, keep it saved in ‘Notes’ on your phone or probably carry a diary. It is all up to you but this way can actually keep the trip organized. 

These were some of the basic tips about planning your first trip after the epidemic is over. You can follow these and make your travel plans and probably 2021 would be the right time to start traveling again. 

What things will change for your first trip post epidemic?

The COVID-19 has made every traveler standstill. But with the current situation, things seem to be a little off the hands. Surely, the travel will begin but when that is something which has become a mystery. But when the travel will begin then what changes are we expecting in that. Will the travel be carried out freely like before or will it be restricted? The answer to this question will be given once the epidemic will be over. But let’s see what things will change for your first trip post epidemic. We have done some research and these are the possibilities.

Domestic travel will boom

There is no second thought that domestic travel will be in the limelight again and will boom like never before. The coronavirus has affected almost every country on the planet. And ofcourse, the recovery rate will be different for every country. We all have read or heard that the Ministry of Tourism is asking travelers to travel domestically. Regardless even if the epidemic is over, people will certainly not start traveling internationally immediately. Because in case of any uncertainty they can come back easily. Hence many travel experts believe that for the next few months after the epidemic is over, people will likely choose Indian destinations. 

While the spread is increasing rapidly in major metro cities, we have seen how Goa has become corona free. Similarly, the famous Himalayan lands Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have under 50 reported cases (data as per MoHFW on April 27, 2020). While Ladakh, Meghalaya, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Manipur have even less than that. 

Not to forget Sikkim has been the only state in India that has not reported any coronavirus case till date. (As per the report, Sikkim will not allow any tourist to enter until October 2020)

Auli, Uttarakhand
Auli, Uttarakhand

Hygiene will be MUST

We cannot deny the fact that even when the epidemic will be over, people will tend to remain hygienic. And it clearly means that sanitization will come in the picture. You as a responsible traveler will look for your options which include hygiene. You will choose those destinations where you are confident that they are clean. Health, hygiene, and sanitization will become an integral part of your hotel accommodation. You would want your hotel staff/workers to follow strict guidelines when preparing your food or cleaning your room. Although, social distancing will be there in the picture until vaccination is found, says some travel experts. 

Sanitizer and mask
Sanitizer and mask

Hotel Brands will become a priority

When it comes to the accommodation, then certainly no one would compromise on the quality. Because of the fact that they need a clean, hygienic and sanitized place to stay. And we all know when these things come to mind then we have 4 stars and 5 stars hotels on our list. You will always want to book with brands you know and have trust in them. The location will also come to your priority while choosing the hotel because you really don’t want to use public transportation for your convenience. Choosing a hotel that is in a central/prime location and hygienic will have your vote. Digital payment will increase and digital check-in and check-out can come into function. 

Also, it is studied that people will now be more likely to rent/choose private houses, and villas when it comes to their weekend getaways. Hence, Airbnb will definitely experience high traffic. This time you are going to avoid those hostels, and homestays for a while. 

Lemon tree hotel reception lobby
Credit – Lemon Tree hotel

Increase in air tickets prices

Since the complete industry has been temporarily shut down and because of which the airlines have been in a complete loss. Moreover, airlines were asked to refund or issue credit for the previously booked flights. And this definitely will hit the price of your airline tickets. Plus, considering the social distancing will be followed and when you are on a flight it can be tricky. Well, the airlines will have to come up with some solutions. And this can mean that they might leave the middle seat vacant which again will result in a price hike of airfares. If let’s say airlines follow this then they will only have 65% seat inventory left with them for booking. 

Not only this, but airlines will also have to equip their aircraft and check-in counters at the airport with sanitizing wipes, contact-less infrared thermometers, surgical gloves, masks to their employees, etc. Airlines will also have to get their planes sanitized after every trip. 

Road trip will comeback

Road trips are one of my favorite things after trekking. Now that we have to maintain social distancing, it is very likely that people will prefer their own vehicles for short-distance trips. And some might even go for long ones too if you are too adventurous. But certainly, this works out well, road trips are fun when you have your favorite people around you and that amazing playlist on an open road. You can choose between your own vehicle or maybe your friend’s vehicle. 

You can also choose vehicles provided by car rental companies like Zoomcar, Myles and many others will have good chances to attract traffic. But at the same time, they will have to maintain hygiene, cleaning the car after every use, and providing customers with small sanitizer bottles/wipes. 

Zoomcar has already started with the promotion by offering sanitized cars and free rescheduling or a full refund.

Zoomcar offer
Zoomcar offer

Nature will dominate the luxury

Well, it is pretty much clear that nature is going to dominate all our travel plans. We all have been quarantined at home for months now and hence what we all are missing are those serene mountains or beaches or maybe both. And so do I. It is very clear that once the restrictions are going to end, people will look towards secluded places of natural beauty. We all want to experience those snow-capped almighty Himalayas, lush green forest, calm waves in the sea, gorgeous beaches and so much more. 

And nothing is better than to witness the raw beauty of nature. With people going to secluded places, the local state tourism will rise and which actually will benefit the local people. We all at the moment are actually craving for traveling but again please be a responsible traveler.   

Somewhere in Himachal Pradesh
Somewhere in Himachal Pradesh

Luxury will become affordable

The economy has slowed down because of the coronavirus resulting in crashing the stock market. Already millions of jobs are on the verge, empty hotel rooms, aircraft are grounded and so much more. Just like we will think about how we should spend our money by making our priorities. Likewise, the travel industry will think how they can provide the best value/best services to the customers. Now, this can directly relate to the hotel who will be offering luxury accommodation/services to you at affordable prices. Many services like free breakfast, airport pick up and drop, spa, etc can come in handy with your booking and that too without paying anything extra. 

A resort in the Maldives
A resort in the Maldives

Flexible benefits

The travel industry has really been lenient on their cancellation rules and regulations and it is expected that they will continue to do the same for some time even after the restrictions are over. How can this be useful to you? Well, it is very simple, if in case you are making any booking, you can easily postpone it, cancel it or get a refund. However, I am sure the relaxation won’t be given on refund cases and we will have to wait on this from the airlines only. Moreover, if you hold any loyalty programs with the airlines/hotels/card companies then that might also extend. So you can use these benefits for longer now. 

Under the Marriott Bonvey program, it has been already announced that they will extend their members’ existing statuses from 2019 till Feb 2022 and the points won’t expire until Feb 2021.  

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During the past few weeks, human activities have been minimized because of the fact that people are quarantined. And with that, there have certainly been some good things which have happened. We can see the earth is healing but what could happen if the lockdown stays longer. To be precise we are not focusing here on the economy, businesses, or health sector but what we are concerned here is about the Earth. 

With the lockdown being declared from almost every other country in the world has resulted in a number of incidents wherein we can say that the earth is healing. And that too at a good pace but for how long? That’s the question.

We have clearly noticed that the air is cleaner and so does the water as compared to before. And this hasn’t happened in years. This lockdown has brought a certain amount of beauty with it which was wrapped in air, noise, and water pollution. 

Here are a few signs of healing: 

Clean Air

According to NASA, the air pollution over north India has dropped to 20 years low during the lockdown. With the industries being shut, vehicles off the road and no air travel have led to a drop in the pollution level worldwide. Similar to north India, the same drop in air pollution has been seen in Los Angeles as well. The city has not experienced this quality of air since 1980. The same can be witnessed in Europe, China, Columbia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. 

In the case of India, Delhi and Mumbai can literally breathe now. The air quality of these cities has been so pathetic majorly Delhi as the city has been in limelight for years about the same. But thanks to the lockdown which led Delhi people to feel the clean air after two decades. 

Delhi skyline in 2018 and 2020
Delhi skyline in 2018 and 2020
Kolkata
Air quality improved in Kolkata

Read: Experts say travel may not be ‘normal’ until 2023, even post-coronavirus

Holy River is clean

Our holy river Ganga was severely polluted despite the fact that it is considered sacred and various rejuvenation plans are executed. With the industries being shut down and the ghats are not being used for bathing the quality of water has increased. The water of famous ghat Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar is now declared fit for drinking. Moreover, in Varanasi as well the water quality has improved by 40-50%. 

The Holy River Ganga
The Holy River Ganga

Foam free Yamuna

Another sign, when the river Yamuna was featured on Instagram by a photojournalist of Indian express as foam-free. The photo showed the before and after effect of lockdown. One picture was taken during Chhath Puja when the devotees used to take a dip in the toxic and filthy water, covered with foam. And the second picture showed the transformation of the river after the lockdown. Surely, the industries have shut down and because of which there is no industrial waste which is dispersed in the water. It looks like a month lockdown has benefitted the river Yamuna more than what any other cleanup mission could not do in years.

Yamuna River
Yamuna River


Almighty Himalayas are visible 

The last time the almighty Himalayas were spotted from Jalandhar city in Punjab was 30 years ago. But the sheer beauty of the Himalayas has been spotted again in the early month of April. The residents were able to see the Dhauladhar ranges which are over 200kms away in Himachal Pradesh right from their terrace/balcony. How was this possible? Well, the answer is pretty simple, it’s all because of the clean air or less air pollution…. No wonder what would happen if pollution reduces more. Can we see some more of the Himalayas from our own terrace?

Dhauladhar Range visible from Jalandhar, Punjab
Dhauladhar Range visible from Jalandhar, Punjab


Earth is shaking less

Researchers at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels believe that there has been a drop in seismic noise (the hum of vibrations in the planet’s crust). And the reason is the result of the shut down of transport networks and other human activities. They believe that this could allow detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity. 

Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Washington DC – If the lockdown is continued for longer then the city-based detectors around the world might be better at detecting the location of the earthquake aftershocks. He added, “You’ll get a signal with less noise on top, allowing you to squeeze a little more information out of those events.”

Marine life is recovering

Now that lockdown has restricted human activities and so the hotels and restaurants have been closed. Although, it has still not proven whether the coronavirus pandemic originated in the wet market of Wuhan or not. But this has definitely slammed the global demand for seafood. And as a result of which, marine life is recovering again. While there have been no exact numbers or data but with the presence of marine life being spotted, we can say that a change is underway. 

Dolphins spotted near Marine Drive and Malabar Hills in Mumbai
Dolphins spotted near Marine Drive and Malabar Hills in Mumbai


Benefits to Wildlife 

With the humans quarantined inside their houses, the wildlife has been stepped out. There have been instances of peacocks in Mumbai, dolphins in the ocean, birds chirping in the morning, and much more. It is clear that wildlife is taking advantage of the lack of human presence and having some fun. Many other countries have witnessed the same thing as Goats spotted in Wales, ducks in Paris, and lions resting on roads in South Africa (Orpen Rest Camp).

Moreover, the lockdown has also resulted in a spotlight over wildlife trade. WCS recommended that we should stop all wildlife trades for human consumption and closing any such markets.   

A view of Cannaught Place, Delhi
A view of Cannaught Place, Delhi


Juhu Beach, Mumbai
Juhu Beach, Mumbai

Conclusion

To conclude, the earth is definitely having a great time during the lockdown because of the coronavirus. And it is actually benefiting the humans. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the fact that the virus has created some great issues globally and the only solution to fight is a lockdown. Although, the way the earth is healing is actually very fast. And even when the lockdown is over we need to take some or other measures to avoid polluting our only planet. The Earth is already healing but what happens in case the lockdown stays longer, I am sure if this happens we can definitely add some more points to the list. Also, there will be a decrease in the level of pollution – air, water, noise, and soil. And this would result in more healing to the earth. 

We can certainly raise the economy, chill out on weekends, go out for movies, or travel wherever we want but not at the cost of our own lives. This is a novel epidemic and right now the best thing to do is to stay home and stay safe. Follow all the methods like washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing, use a mask where required, and only step out if necessary. 

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Trekking meaning in hindi – ट्रैकिंग एक प्रकार के मनोरंजन के अंतर्गत ही आता है जिसमे जाने वाले को अद्भुत आनंद की प्राप्ति होती है. वास्तविक रूप से ट्रैकिंग का अर्थ है लंबी-लंबी दूरी की पैदल यात्रा करना. अर्थात ट्रैकिंग में जाने वाले व्यक्ति को लंबी दूरी की पैदल यात्रा करनी होती है जिसमे 02 दिन से लेकर 1 महीने तक का समय लग जाता है. इन ट्रैक्स के दौरान बड़े-बड़े विशाल पर्वतों पर चढ़ना, दुर्गम पहाड़ियाँ, हिम ग्लेशियर व नदी व नालो को रस्सी व् अन्य साधनों द्वारा पार करना होता है व किसी शांत व प्राकृतिक सौंदर्य से हरी भरी जगह पर टेंट आदि लगाकर रहना होता है.

Trekking Meaning In English

ट्रैकिंग पर जाने के लिए व्यक्ति को मानसिक व शारीरिक रूप से मजबूत होना जरूरी होता है क्योंकि हिमालय पर्वतों व उच्च ऊंचाई पर जाने में ऑक्सीज़न की कमी व अन्य दिक्कते महसूस होने लगती है जिस कारण मनुष्य की शारीरिक व मानसिक मजबूती की आवश्यक्ता होती है. अन्यथा ऊपरी वातावरण में कोई आवाजाही व मेडिकल का उचित प्रबन्ध न होने के कारण ट्रैकिंग पर जाने वालो के लिए जान का जोखिम भी हो सकता है. 

ऊंचाई वाले कुछ ट्रैक्स ऐसे होते है जिस पर जाने में मनुष्य को अधिक परिश्रम की आवश्यक्ता नहीं होती है तथा व्यक्ति आसानी से इस ट्रैक्स पर आ-जा सकता है. ये ट्रैक मुख्यतः 1 दिन से 7 दिन की अवधि तक के होते है जो छोटे ट्रैक्स की श्रेणी में आते है. परन्तु कुछ ट्रैक्स काफी कठिन, दुर्गम तथा उच्च ऊंचाई वाले होते है जिस पर मनुष्य बिना किसी ट्रैंनिंग वगैरह के नहीं जा सकता, अपितु इन ट्रैक्स पर जाने के लिए व्यक्तियों को ख़ास प्रकार की ट्रैंनिंग की आवश्यक्ता होती है जो लगभग 1 माह तक की हो सकती है. उच्च हिमालयी क्षेत्र व दुर्गम पहाड़ियों पर बिना किसी ट्रैंनिंग के जाना ट्रैकर्स के लिए भी परेशानी खड़ी कर सकता है. इस कारण व्यक्तियों को इन ट्रैक्स पर जाने हेतु ट्रेंनिंग की परम आवस्यकता होती है.

इन ट्रैक्स पर जाकर व्यक्ति को असीम आनंद की प्राप्ति होने के साथ साथ प्रकर्ति व पहाड़ो के बीच कुछ दिन रहने का भी अवसर मिलता है. जहाँ पर व्यक्ति बिना किसी शोर-शराबे के कुछ दिन प्रकर्ति के बीच शान्ति में बिता सकता है. पर्वतो व हिमालय की उच्च चोटियों में मनुष्य ईश्वर द्धारा प्रदान की गई प्राकर्तिक खूबसूरती तथा बर्फ से ढके पहाड़ो के साथ ही सूर्योदय का भी आनंद ले सकता है. प्रातः काल की पहली रोशनी जब इन बर्फ ढके पहाड़ो के बीच गिरती है तो ये पहाड़ ऐसे दिखाई देते है मानो किसी ने इन पहाड़ो पर सोना बिखेर दिया हो. ये खूबसूरत पहाड़ उस समय सोने की तरह चमकने लगते है, जिनकी खूबसूरती ट्रैकर्स को भी मन्त्रमुघ्द कर देती है. 

ट्रैकिंग को मुख्यतः दो प्रकार से बाटा जा सकता है जिसमे (types of trekking)

  • एक को टी हॉउस ट्रैकिंग या  लॉज ट्रैकिंग
  • दूसरे को कैम्पिंग ट्रैकिंग या आर्गनाइज्ड ट्रैकिंग

टी हॉउस ट्रैकिंग तथा लॉज ट्रैकिंग (Teahouse Trekking / Lodge Trekking): 

टी हॉउस ट्रैकिंग एक प्रकार की आरामदायक ट्रैकिंग के अन्तर्गत आता है. इसमें ट्रैकर्स किसी जगह पर होटल, लॉज या प्राकर्तिक रूप से बनी हुई जगह आदि में रूक कर विश्राम कर सकता है व वहाँ के रहन-सहन के अनुसार वहाँ बने हुए मेनू के अनुसार भोजन इत्यादि भी कर सकता है. इस प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग में ट्रैकर्स की समय के साथ-साथ पैसो की भी काफी बचत होती है. इस प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग में आप अपने सामान को ले जाने के लिए कुली की भी व्यवस्था कर सकते है जो आपके सामान को आपके रहने की जगह तक ले जाने में मदद करता है.

इस प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग मुख्यतः हिमालय ट्रैकिंग के दौरान हर की दून, चन्द्रशिला ट्रैक, पिण्डारी ग्लेशियर, फूलो की घाटी, अन्नपूर्णा बेस कैंप और नेपाल में एवरेस्ट बेस कैंप में उपलब्ध है. वही होम स्टे भी इसी प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग के अंतर्गत आने वाला एक अन्य विकल्प है. होम स्टे के दौरान भी आपको टी हॉउस के समान ही सुविधाएं मिल जाती है. होम स्टे के दौरान आप जहाँ पर रुके हुए है वही से आपकी भोजन आदि की व्यवस्था हो जाती है.  

कैम्पिंग ट्रैकिंग या आर्गनाइज्ड ट्रैकिंग (Camping Trekking / Full Organized Trekking): 

यह ट्रैकिंग की मुख्य श्रेणी है इस प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग में जाते समय आपको सभी प्रकार की जरूरी चीजों को अपने साथ ले जाना होता है, जिसमे पोर्टर, गाइड, कुक के साथ साथ स्लीपिंग मैट, टेंट, स्लीपिंग बैग, किचन टेंट आदि चीजे साथ ले जानी होती है. इस प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग किसी अन्य प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग से महँगी पड़ती है क्योकि इसमें आपको सभी चीजों को खरीदने या किराये पर लेने की जरूरत होती है. इन चीजों में प्रयोग होने वाली चीजे भी काफी महंगी आती है परन्तु इस प्रकार के ट्रैक में ट्रैकर्स को काफी आनंद आता है तथा किसी भी प्रकार की भीड़ भाड़ से दूर एकांत में प्रकर्ति की खूबसूरत वादियों के बीच टेंट लगाकर रहने का भी अनुभव प्राप्त होता है.

भारत में ज्यादातर ट्रैक इसी श्रेणी में आते है जिस में आप दिन भर ट्रैक करते है तथा शाम के समय एक जगह रूककर कुली टेंट वगैरह लगाकर आपके लिए भोजन की व्यवस्था करते है. रात्रि विश्राम कर अगले दिन नाश्ता कर अपने ट्रैक की शुरुवात करते है. आप इन ट्रैक्स पर किये जाने वाले नाश्ता व भोजन को ट्रैक पर जाने से पूर्व ही तय कर सकते है व उनकी कच्ची सामग्री साथ में ले जा सकते है. इस प्रकार की कैम्पिंग ट्रैकिंग के अन्तर्गत पिन पार्वती ट्रैक, रूपिन पास ट्रैक, इंद्रहार ट्रैक जैसे ट्रैक आते है.   

अब ट्रैकिंग पर ले जाने वाले समूहों ने दो अन्य प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग की श्रेणियाँ को इन में जोड़ दिया है जिस में लॉन्ग डेज ट्रैकिंग व शार्ट डेज ट्रैकिंग आते है. इन दोनों प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग में मुख्य अंतर समय की अवधि का रहता है.

7 दिन या उससे अधिक की ट्रैकिंग लॉन्ग डेज ट्रैकिंग के अंतर्गत आती है तथा 7 दिन से कम की ट्रैकिंग शार्ट डेज ट्रैकिंग के अंतर्गत आती है. इन दोनों प्रकार की ट्रैकिंग के बीच अन्य कोई विशेष अंतर नहीं होता है. 

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Greenland

I am sure you have heard about this beautiful island called “Greenland” and must have seen those Northern Lights in many landscapes. It is the world’s largest island and attracts many adventure tourists and wanderers for an exhilarating getaway. Greenland received 75,553 tourists in 2016 and expected to increase it to 90,000 by 2027. So after the novel epidemic is over would you pick Greenland to be your next travel destination?

The main tourist activities in Greenland are sailing tours among icebergs, dog sledding tours, ice cap treks, wildlife spotting (including whale watching), iceberg watching, and hiking trips to the mainly Norse ruins. The island has much more to offer than you can imagine. 

Greenland
Greenland

Now many of you might be wondering whether Greenland is a country or not a country? Well If you ask in Denmark or Greenland, Greenland is a country. Why? Because Greenland is autonomous and not a member of the EU like Denmark. Autonomous means defense and foreign affairs are Danish responsibility.

Health care, including how to handle the Corona crisis is the sole responsibility of the Greenlandic Government. Denmark contributes two-thirds of Greenland’s budget revenue and rest comes out of fishing. The total population in Greenland is only 57,000.

Greenland against COVID-19

Greenland has become one and the only country to have all the cases recovered from the novel epidemic. There were 11 positive cases found and now there are no active cases. The cases came from the capital city, Nuuk. 

At the moment the whole world is practicing a complete lockdown, likewise, Greenland closed all the borders and those who wish to travel in or out will need special attention. We can see their efforts against coronavirus. 

According to the report “A grim history of deadly epidemics brought to Greenland in the 18th and 19th century by European colonizers has fueled fears that the coronavirus, if not checked, will fast reach the many small outlying villages, thereby creating urgent and impossible demands for emergency air transport and intensive care in Greenland’s small hospitals.”

Fun Facts about Greenland 

World’s Largest Island

Greenland is the world’s largest island by area. The total area is 2.16 million square kilometers. And almost 80% of the area is covered by an ice cap. Nevertheless, it is one of the least densely populated countries in the world.

Greenland was once green

Greenland was actually very green when Erik The Red called it “Greenland” in a hope that the name would attract settlers. But scientists believe the island was quite green about 2.5 million years ago.

Autonomous Country

The island is an autonomous country. It means defense and foreign affairs are taken care of by Denmark. Also, Denmark contributes two-thirds of Greenland’s budget revenue. Although, geographically speaking Greenland is a part of the North American continent. 

Multilingual Nation

Greenland is a multilingual nation since the majority of the population speaks both Greenlandic (mainly Kalaallisut) and Danish. “Kayaking” and “igloo” are the Greenlandic words that have been adopted directly by other languages.

No roads

Greenland has no roads. The main transportation relies on boats and air traffic. Also, you can travel on snowmobiles and dogsleds. Many people have a misconception of movies and believe there are roads across Greenland. They have roads but within the towns. 

3 World Heritage Sites

The island owns 3 World Heritage Sites namely Sermeq Kujalleq, Kujataa, and the Aasivissuit-Nipisat. Sermeq Kujalleq is one of the most active and most visited glaciers in the world. Kujataa is a subarctic farming landscape. And last but not the least, Aasivissuit–Nipisat is an Inuit hunting ground located inside the Arctic Circle.

Easy to find hot springs

Hot springs are said to be reminiscent of Iceland but Greenland offers many natural hot springs. On the island of Uunartoq, you’ll find springs that are warm enough to bathe in.

Midnight Sun

During your visit to Greenland, you can experience the midnight sun. Sounds bizarre? But, it’s true. Every year the sun does not set from May 25th to July 25th and remains visible throughout the day and day.  You’ll find locals out basking in the sun or enjoying a barbecue out in nature.

Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun

Vibrant capital city 

The vibrant capital city of Greenland is Nuuk. The city is home to more than 18,000 residents which is one-quarter of the total population. It is the biggest and most cosmopolitan city packed with cafes, fashion boutiques and museums. If you are visiting make sure to visit the National Museum of Greenland, the Katuaq Cultural House as well as the Nuuk Art Museum.

No direct flights

You can only fly to Greenland from Iceland or Denmark. And yes it is true. There are no direct flights from the USA or Europe. The major airports of Greenland are Kangerlussuaq Airport (SFJ) and Narsarsuaq Airport (UAK). They have their own regional airline, Air Greenland.

Air Greenland
Air Greenland

Fishing and Food

The entire country is majorly dependent on Fishing for their food. And also fishing is a major industry to contribute to the revenue. Although they do not export any meat, it is consumed locally. Also, each area is given a certain quota of whales, seals and fish to avoid overfishing. 

Where to stay?

When it comes to stay in Greenland then you are actually on limited choices. Greenland does not have any 5 star hotels, 4 star is the maximum which you will get and plus the prices will be sky-high. Hence, if you are someone who is more of a luxury traveler then you might have only limited choice. And for backpackers, you have budgeted hotels along with hostels, and bread and breakfast. Nevertheless, if you have your tent then you can actually camp anywhere in Greenland although you will definitely need to take care of some precautions. You can opt for Airbnb as well, they can offer you with some good apartments or houses for rent. 

Another thing which will be expensive is the internet. You will actually have to pay extra in order to use the Wi-Fi in some hotels. Make sure you check prior to making any booking. So you have all these different sites from where you can easily find your stay like TripAdvisor, booking.com, agoda.com, bargainairticket, etc so we will not be going into that. Rather I would like to share the unique places where you can stay in Greenland, now these can be hotels, igloos, cottages or private cottages. The main reason behind picking these to make your experience in Greenland worth. 

So let’s get started –

Ilimanaq, North Greenland

In the Ilimanaq lodge you can relax in a bungalow. The cottages are equipped with solar panels that provide energy for electricity. The cottage is a two-level construction and has comfortable furniture and a private bathroom and toilet. On the ground floor, you have a pull-out sofa and on the top level, you can either have a double bed or twin beds. You get a panoramic view of whales and floating icebergs because of the large window section facade towards the sea. You can get the view from both the floors. Whales regularly come close, just like the icebergs pass by outside.

Credit - TripAdvisor
Credit – TripAdvisor

East Greenland Arctic Safari

Now we have the deluxe camping experience in a unique way. The luxurious safari-style camp is in East Greenland right by the Ice Sheet. The camp is created by Natural Habitat Adventures so that the guests can experience a unique nature with modern conveniences. You will be staying in the wilderness with a fascinating view of ice sheets and whales. You can explore the fjords and islands on boat excursions or do kayaking too. The camp can accommodate a maximum of 12 travelers. And the package includes the travel to and fro from Keflavik International Airport. It will be one hell of an experience and that is for sure. 

Credit - Natural Habitat Adventures
Credit – Natural Habitat Adventures

Ilulissat, North Greenland

Ever wondered how it feels to live in an Igloo? Well, it is time to experience the igloo. Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat offers a comfortable and less icy version of the igloo since they have made these igloos of aluminum. Each igloo can accommodate 2 people and is outfitted with fur-covered beds, TV, bathroom, and heat (to keep you warm during winters). The experience of spending a night in an igloo may sound perfect for adventurous travelers. You won’t be encased in snow and ice although you will sleep close to the water’s edge overlooking the breathtaking icebergs. You can book it between May and October. 

Credit - Lonelyplanet
Credit – Lonelyplanet

Sisimiut and Kangerlussuaq, Arctic Circle

The Arctic circle is a long 200 kilometers trail that is used for hiking. Along the complete arctic circle there are 10 huts that are placed. These huts can provide you safety from brisk weather and also an opportunity to meet other hikers. These huts are available for free and can be used on a first-come-first-served basis. Although, many hikers go for a mixture of camping and sleeping in huts. 

Credit - Visitgreenland
Credit – Visitgreenland

Here are the 10 spots: 

Hundesø

Katiffik

Canoe Center

Ikkattooq

Eqalugaarniarfik

Nerumaq

Innajuattoq I

Innajuattoq II (The Lake House)

Kangerluarsuk Tulleq Syd

Kangerluarsuk Tulleq Nord

Ilulissat, North Greenland

The Glacier Lodge Eqi was the world’s first one to be in the list of unique lodges in Greenland. The lodge is located 80 kilometers north of Ilulissat. The Glacier Lodge offers three kinds categories to the travelers – Comfort, Standard, and Budget. There are 15 cottages in total and a cafe – Cafe Victor. The comfort lodges are equipped with solar panels to provide electricity. The other two, standard and budget will have no electricity. Also, comfort huts are the only ones which are offered with a private bathroom and toilet, the standard and budget category have shared bathrooms and toilets. Despite these most lodges offer panoramic views of the glacier calving

Credit - Visitgreenland
Credit – Visitgreenland

Igaliku, South Greenland

Igaliku is a beautiful village in South Greenland with a mere population of under 30 people. It is known for its green pastures, sheep farms, stone houses, and Norse heritage. You can experience some good hikes and the culture of the village. The Igaliku Country hotel offers you a cosy and comfortable stay and local cuisine in the cafe. The hotel is open from May to September. The hotel has 8 double rooms and 6 cabins with separate toilet and bathroom facilities in the corridor and a service cabin respectively. 

Credit - TripAdvisor
Credit – TripAdvisor

Qaqortoq, South Greenland to Ilulissat, North Greenland

Sarfaq Ittuk is a coastal ferry and is a primary mode of transportation in between west coast communities of Qaqortoq in the south to Ilulissat in the north. This will be the perfect stay for those who are adventurous and willing to travel the original way. The ferry offers you various facilities like accommodation, cafe, entertainment and much more. The accommodation in the ferry is of two types – Cabins and Couchettes (bunk beds/dormitories). You also get to experience some good local cuisine on the ferry from Cafe Sarfaq. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During your time in the open ocean, you can also get to experience some cinema/entertainment systems in the ferry itself. And they do have internet (ofcourse it is paid) and playroom for the young one. 

Credit -  Arctic Umiaq Line
Credit – Arctic Umiaq Line

Nuuk, Capital region

Last but not least we have the capital city on my list. The Inuk hostel is located within a walking distance from downtown Nuuk with a magnificent view of the Nuuk Fjord. The hostel has 4 cottages and one large common Cafe Inuk and a garden. These cottages are inspired by traditional Greenlandic turf huts, just with homely touches of sheep furs and seal skins. The hostel provides free Wi-Fi and free parking space. But you will get a shared bathroom and toilet. 

Credit - Booking.com
Credit – Booking.com

Kangerlussaq, Destination Arctic Circle

Nothing is better than enjoying the night in a tent on the ice. Camp Ice Cap is the one that gives you the experience to camp and wakes up with a view of the Greenland ice sheet. You can go for the 2-day/1-night in the wilderness with a fascinating view of glaciers and nobody else around except your companions. Speaking of facts, there are only 2 ice sheets which exist in the world, one in Antarctica and the other in Greenland. But only Greenland has the upper hand because this is the only place in Greenland where you can literally drive to the ice sheet. Nevertheless, you can also experience the midnight sun or the Northern lights too which ofcourse will depend on the time of your visit. 

Camping in ice
Camping in ice

Tourist spots?

Greenland is majorly covered with icebergs and glaciers and becomes the most impressive attraction for tourists. They are the highlight of the country and actually contribute to the eternal beauty of the island. The island is located between the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and this makes the bewitch phenomena of Midnight sun and the Northern lights. The capital city of Greenland, Nuuk is the one with the highest population of around 18,000 people. 

Nevertheless, Greenland does let you experience the breathtaking serene beauty of green mountains with crystal clear skies, and who would mind those hot springs and the pure and clean air. And not to forget the wildlife which exists both on sea and land, polar bears, whales, reindeer, sea eagles, seals and much more. 

Here is a list of my top-rated tourist attractions:

Greenland National Museum

The Greenland National Museum is in the capital city of Greenland, Nuuk. And it is a must to visit the destination for any tourists. The museum holds a collection of hunting equipment, carvings and kayaks. Nevertheless, the museum also hosts regular exhibitions of geology and the arts. Among the many attractions, there is the largest and oldest skin boat, traditional clothes worn by the Greenlanders, mummies from the Northwest part of the country, etc. The museum has preserved 500-year-old mummies of women and children discovered in 1978. 

Katuaq Cultural Centre

The Katuaq cultural center was constructed in 1997 after a coalition between the Nuuk Municipal Centre, Nordic Council of Ministers, and the Greenland Home Rule Government. The center is one of the top places to visit in Katuaq. The building structure is an ode to the charismatic northern lights, icebergs and the effect of light in the snow. The center looks like a magnificent piano. It contains two auditoriums. The bigger auditorium can seat more than a thousand people and is, thus, used for showing films or plays and hosting concerts or conferences. The smaller auditorium can accommodate 508 people. You will find art displays, cinema shows, and a cafeteria. 

Arctic Circle Trail

The Arctic circle trail is around a 200 km long hiking trail which connects Kangerlussuaq with the village of Sisimiut. The hiking trail takes about 8-10 days to cover the route, crossing through narrow valleys, hills, and ice caps, etc. This is one of the most adventurous tourist spots and plus it’s very challenging. Any hiking lover enthusiast would definitely love to spend the time on this trail. 

Read about Trekking Shoes, Trekking Jackets, and Trekking Pants.

Northeast Greenland National Park

The Greenland National Park was established in 1947 and is the world’s largest national park. The national park covers an area of 972,000 square kilometers which is nearly the combined size of France and Spain. The park is home to several diverse species of marine and terrestrial fauna like polar bears, walruses, musk oxen, arctic fox, bearded seal, arctic hare, ringed al, harp seal and more. Nevertheless, the park also shelters several bird species namely barnacle goose, common eider, gyrfalcon, raven, etc. And for thousands of years, various Inuit cultures have lived here and survived. 

Uunartoq Hot Spring

Greenland is full of hot springs but only one on the island of Uunartoq where the temperature is perfect for bathing. In this hot spring, you will find yourself surrounded by icebergs and stunning mountain peaks wherein your whole body will be relaxing and so does your mind. Uunartoq is a short boat ride from the town of Ilulissat. There are thousands of springs in Greenland, most notably on Disko Island.

Qaqortoq Museum

Qaqortoq is a rock-bound fishing village of brightly painted houses which was built in 1804. The building was once the Julianehåb colony manager’s house. The museum displays artifacts from the Dorset, Thule and Norse cultures. On the top floor of the museum, there are two reconstructed rooms named as “Blue Room” and “Red Room,” where the explorer Knud Rasmussen and aviator Charles Lindbergh stayed respectively. 

Tasiilaq, East Greenland

Tasiilaq is the largest town in East Greenland with about 2,000 residents. The town lies on the island of Ammassalik and the town is surrounded by pristine scenery of mountains and bisected by a small river. The Flower Valley, which is a popular place for short or long hikes is just behind the town. The popular activities are skiing trips and dog-sled tours can be experienced during winters. In summer, activities include hiking, climbing, helicopter rides over the ice sheet and glaciers, sea kayaking between icebergs on the fjord, whale watching, and fishing. 

Eqi Glacier

It is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations/spots to visit in Greenland. The main reason is because of the ice breaking off of Eqi Glacier. You can hire a boat or go with a tour operator, and they will take you close enough to experience this amazing event. The fishing boats in which the tours are offered, pass through the cold water right into the shadow of the glacier for you to witness the collision of ice and water.

Knud Rasmussens Museum

The museum is located in Ilulissat in the memory and contribution of Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen. And this is how the museum also got its name. It is also his birthplace. The museum was built in 1917, inspired by the style of English cottages. The name of the architect was Helge Bojsen-Møller. 

‘Church Of Our Saviour’ Or Nuuk Cathedral

This church is a prominent site where most of the population gathers to celebrate National Day and other festivals. The church was consecrated in 1849. The church is painted red which makes its structure simple yet endearing. There is a bronze statue of the organist Jonathan Petersen in front of the church. And on the hill overlooking the church is a Statue of Hans Egede.

Viking Ruins

Viking ruins or the remnants of Eric the Red’s thousand-year-old Norse colonies are among the most famous things to see in South Greenland. It is estimated that around 5,000 Norsemen used to live throughout Greenland. A visit to the ruins is an amazing journey back in the time of these hardy hunter-gatherers. There are several Viking ruins found in the region including the Hvalsey Fjord Church, which is the oldest in Greenland and highly recommended and Brattahlid near the town of Qassiarsuk (20 minutes’ boat ride from Narsarsuaq international airport).

Things to do?

Greenland as a country and island has so much to offer to all the tourists. It has loads of activities for travelers to get a complete vacation experience. You can book a few of the below-mentioned activities beforehand as well on Viator and Bargainairticket. Here is my top list which you might enjoy. 

Ilulissat Ice-fjord

Now this experience tops the list and is also Greenland’s most visited area. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. This amazing berg-strewn section of coast in Disko Bay is where huge glaciers calve, which means icebergs break off from the glaciers and float out into the coastal waters. You can say this is the perfect tourist spot and if you are lucky enough, you can witness this awe-inspiring natural spectacle.

The Ilulissat Icefjord is stretched 40kms from the Greenland ice cap to Disko Bay. Almost 20 billion tonnes of icebergs get passed out of the fjord each year after they’ve melted. You can hire a boat to watch the glaciers calve or hire a helicopter to get an aerial view. 

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

Till now we all have seen those amazing landscapes where the sky is filled with lights like pink, green, yellow, blue, violet, and occasionally orange and white. Well, that’s called the Northern Lights and that being said Greenland is the best place to witness. This is one of the biggest light shows on earth and guess what nature offers it for free. Anyone visited Greenland should never miss this event. 

Usually, the best time to witness Aurora Borealis is between September to April.  These Northern lights are visible across Greenland to provide the best view. It is a must-watch.

Qaqortoq – South

Ittoqqortoormiit – East

Kangerlussuaq – West 

Exploring by Boat and Ferries

Since water travel is most favorable if you want to commute and explore the city. There are many tour operators who can offer you different sorts of experiences, starting from a short afternoon cruise to a multi-day cruise. The mighty walls of ice are actually more visible from the sea and therefore boats and ferries become a good option. The small or short trips are operated by Sarfaq Ittuk which is the local transport also. Moreover, you can also see waterfalls and wildlife too. 

Dog Sledding and Snowmobile Tours

In Greenland, dogs have been used for centuries now and there are about 15,000 sled dogs. Frankly speaking, dog sledding is a part of the transport systems and as well as used for hunting during winters. It is again one of the experiences that every tourist enjoys when he or she pays the visit. The same goes for snowmobile tours as well. They are also in demand and there are numerous tour operators who can offer these trips according to your budget. 

Some of the popular destinations to explore are  Disko Bay, Tasiusaq fjord, Qaanaaq, and Thule.

Walking on the Ice Cap from Kangerlussuaq

Kangerlussuaq is a favorite spot for hiking the 200 kilometers Arctic Circle Trail and it also has the closest access to the Greenland ice sheet. Kangerlussuaq is a small town with a population of around 500 people and the above two are the main reasons for tourists to visit the town. It is one of the few places where the ice caps can be reached without a helicopter. This experience is totally different, you can book a half-day tour to the ice sheet and walk on its surface. 

Sugarloaf Mountain is another one where you can walk on the ice cap and it is usually preferred by hikers looking for something shorter and easy. 

Whale Watching Tour

Not bragging but whale watching is one of the top things which is done by tourists in Greenland. You can experience an up-close encounter with whales. June and July are the best months for cruising and whale watching since most of the fjords melts by May. These tours are operated by Greenland Adventures and Disko Line and depart from Qeqertarsuaq, Nuuk, and Aasiaat.

Skiing Adventure

When there is snow, it calls for skiing. And what’s better than around 80% of the country covered in ice. I bet even if you have done skiing before anywhere in the world, the experience in Greenland tends to have a slight edge. The most popular skiing route in Greenland is Eternity Fjord. There are many other routes too but this one tops our list. Some other locations for skiing are Maniitsoq, Kulusuk, Kuummiut, Nuuk, and Sisimiut.

Kayaking

Do you know that the word Kayaking is taken from Greenlandic? Yes, it is true. It is said to be the oldest mode of traveling introduced in Greenland to commute for daily mode. Even to date, many Inuits use it. And it is a very common activity among travelers and is accessible from any part of the country. The Blue River is the most spectacular point for kayaking. The river originates from Petermann Glacier.  

Cold Water Diving

Sounds a little odd? Well, it is but this is one of the adventure things to do in Greenland. Under the guidance of PADI OWA certified divers, you can experience the underwater dive. With the crystal clear water, you can see the different species in the sea like catfish, whales, lumpsuckers, etc. And you know what, you can actually go close to the iceberg and explore the shipwrecks. Isn’t that cool? It is actually best to witness the island between September to April. Nature will definitely surprise you.

    

How safe is Greenland? 

While Greenland is much more wild and remote than any other tourist destination, it still stands out quite tourist-friendly. Also, It is easier to travel and there is more or less no crime. You can walk around everywhere at any time but ofcourse not during the dark. 

Make sure you carry extra cash to cover up any uninterrupted or delay in transportation services because of the weather. It can be harsh sometimes. There are no roads or railway systems so you will majorly rely on air and sea travel in order to go from one city to another.

You will require a special permit from the Ministry of Domestic Affairs, Nature and Environment of Greenland to explore glaciers, mountains or the National Park in northeast Greenland. Always travel with a tour guide if going remote. 

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As per the latest update, COVID19 has impacted over 210 countries so far and nothing concrete is developed to control the epidemic. Thus, it is not only impacting the country’s health but also hitting on the economy very badly. As a matter of fact, many business models have been impacted and ‘travel’ is one of them. Looking at the spread, it can be said that travel may not become normal until 2023 even post-coronavirus. 

The airlines and the travel agencies have staggered across the globe with the impact of the epidemic. But the real question is, how many of them will be able to survive the slowdown? How long will it take for them to recover?  And when the industry will recover? Right now, there is no model to draw definite answers to these questions. But, everybody is keen to find them. There is no modern tech to draw these answers.

However, it is believed that the travel industry might not get the same traffic as it was receiving in 2019 until 2023. 

Airport

According to global travel specialists Atmosphere Research Group, that recovery timeline will slowly stretch out for two full years after COVID-19 is declared as being “under control”. Nevertheless, the recovery will be a gradual return instead of a fast bounce-back. And will be majorly led by domestic travel. 

Keeping in mind that the recovery will be a slow process, airlines have started to build their networks.  And majorly focusing on the international front. They have a strategic focus on capacity, beginning with key routes to favor fuel-efficient aircraft like Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. 

girl waiting at the airport

What is the estimated recovery time?

As stated, travel may not be normal until 2023 even post-coronavirus. Even then we cannot conclude that there will be a specific timeframe within which travel will become back to normal. So how do we define what is the estimated recovery time for the industry? First of all, we all will have to assume that COVID-19 is declared as under control towards the end of the year. But as said, the recovery will be slow, hence we divide the time into 4 phases.

6-9 Months: 

So keeping in mind that the “under control” situation of the epidemic is towards the end of the year which means that the first 6-9 months will take us into mid of 2021. So the first 6-9 months of post-coronavirus travel will see a few traveling out. Now as per Atmosphere Research Group, they are termed as ‘tiptoe travelers’.

Basically, this group will consist of travelers going out for personal or leisure-based trips. Although, it is expected that there will be some business travelers too during this period. This group will be better educated and from the highest income groups, suggests the Atmosphere. They can be described as ‘first to fly’ or ‘cabin fever escapees’. Their major focus will be on domestic travel while some will long-range international travel.  

8-16 Months:

Now till this phase, we might land up in mid-2022. The Atmosphere predicts that this group will be termed as ‘pioneers’. And this group will be led by business travelers majorly. Nevertheless, the group will also include mid-to high-tier frequent flyers, with a household income of US$125k and higher. This group will be traveling mainly on international flights.

12-18 Months:

By now, many will start following the trend and will join the rush. The phase is expected to take place around late 2022. Now, this will be the time when the travel industry will experience a ‘near-normal volume of travelers’. And this phase will experience bookings for the first class and business class. By late 2022, the travel is likely to get back to normal or atleast close to the old normal. 

16-24 Months: 

After the COVID-19 is considered under control ( if the COVID-19 is under control by the end of this year), then it will be the time for leisure travelers. They will be the ones who will return and that’s when the industry will reach 80-90% of pre-virus leisure volume. In simple terms, by the end of 2022, the travel industry is expected to receive 80-90% of its traffic volume which was before the virus. 

people at airport

Atmosphere expects that after 24+ months (2023), travel will be “at or above pre-virus traffic”.  As if right now, we can only hope that the epidemic gets under control by the end of this year so the recovery can start. It is clear that the virus has impacted the travel industry and the recovery period is too long. There are chances that many might not be able to survive or keep up with the pandemic led slowdown. 

Irrespective of the nature of the business, the virus has impacted many others too. During the epidemic, the best we all can do is to stay home and stop the spread so that the situation can be controlled as soon as possible. 

Also, read about how much compensation you can get by knowing about your Air Passenger Rights.

Read Lufthansa retires Airbus A380s, Boeing 747s

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Garib Kalyan Yojana

New Delhi, March 26, 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced some measures to deal with the economic distress caused due to coronavirus. The country is already facing complete lockdown at the moment which is making the situation tough for daily wage earners. The finance minister also tweeted about the announcement of an economic relief package of 1.7 lakh crore by the government on her twitter account. 

relief fund

The 21-day complete lockdown announced by PM Narendra Modi will definitely affect the revenue of many companies. Also will hit them hard. Many companies have revised downfall in their Q4 economic growth projections. And also estimated downfall in the growth estimates for next fiscal year FY 2021.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that the Centre is supporting various state governments in relief for the poor. 

The announcement of the economic relief package worth 1.7 lakh crore by government is made under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana. It will bring relief to the urban and rural poor, migrant workers and women in the bottom of the socio-economic grade. 

Also the finance minister had already announced some measures on Tuesday that included extension of tax deadlines. Also easing the minimum balance norms for savings accounts. Plus increasing threshold of insolvency filing to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh. 

What is PM Garib Kalyan Scheme:

PM Garib Kalyan Scheme will entail Rs 1.7 lakh crore (Economic Relief Package)

  • It will include both cash transfer and food security.
  • Also it will provide insurance cover worth Rs 50 lakh for sanitation workers, ASHA workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics in case they need it as they are on the frontlines of the corona battle.
  • Over and above 5kg of rice/wheat, another 5 kg per person is specified free to around 80 crore people through PDS. Besides, one kg of preferred and region specific choice of pulse will also be given.

D K Agaarwal – President PHD Chamber said – “The inclusion of extra Anna in the existing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, keeping in view the regional preferences and the essential nutrition intake, is highly appreciated.” Also he said, this will go a long way in maintaining the nutrition of the poor and also restrain a situation of panic in the current times.

Benefits Of The Economic Relief Fund – PM Garib Kalyan Yojana

Farmers: First instalment of Rs 2,000 of PM Kisan will be given in the first week of April. 8.69 cr farmers will get immediate benefit out of it.

MNREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act): Increase in wage rate from Rs 182 to Rs 202 amounting to an increase of Rs 2000 per worker. And it will benefit 5 crore people.

Old Age/Widows: Ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 for next three months available in two instalments. It will benefit 3 crore widows and senior citizens.

Women Jan Dhan Account Holders: Ex gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months. This will benefit 20 crore women.

Women Ujjawala Scheme Beneficiaries: For 3 months, free cylinders. Will benefit 8.3 crore BPL families.

Women Self Help Groups: Under the Deen Dayal National Livelihood Mission, collateral free loan will be given up to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier. Impact on 7 crore holders through 63 lakh SHGs.

Organised sector: Government of India will pay the EPF contribution. It will include both of the employer and the employee put together 24% for next three months. This is for those establishments with up to 100 employees, 90% of them earning less than Rs 15,000.

For the organised sector: EPFO regulation will be amended so that workers can draw up to 75% for their contingency expenditure non-refundable advance or three months of wages in advance whichever is less. This will benefit 4.8 cr workers.

Construction Workers: The State government has been directed to use the welfare fund for building & construction labourers which has around Rs 31,000 crore to help those who are facing economic disruption because of the lockdown.

District mineral fund: States will use this fund to supplement and augment all kind of medical testing and screening activities.

relief package
relief package
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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The outbreak of COVID-19 has spread globally affecting over 190 countries, thousands are infected and others dead. The number for recoveries is still not upto the mark. Also there have been complete lockdowns and curfews have been announced all over the world, no wonder the situation is quite stressful.  

As per reports, On March 3, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reported a 3.4% mortality rate from COVID-19. Although, it is very difficult to determine the mortality rate for coronavirus. 

According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), a lockdown is not enough to eradicate coronavirus from the world. The situation demands to invest the lockdown time to find a cure for the virus.

tedro

Mr  Ghebreyesus said in a daily briefing, “To slow the spread of COVID-19, many countries introduced “lockdown” measures. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics. We call on all countries to use this time to attack the coronavirus. You have created a 2nd window of opportunity.”


He also added – “Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics.”

Tedros

Considering his statements, he urges to take the lockdowns as an opportunity to solve the problem. Nevertheless, his main concern is how the countries decide to use the lockdown time to stop the spread, since just staying indoors will not solve the problem. Also he said, “We call on all countries who have introduced so-called lockdown measures, to use this time to attack the virus. You have created a second window of opportunity, the question is how will you use it?”

“Aggressive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace is not only the best and fastest way out of extreme social and economic restrictions. But they’re also the best way to prevent them.” the WHO chief added.

It is pretty much clear that the chief believes that aggressive measures of testing and treating patients should come into play. And this is the only way we can be anywhere near to finding a cure for COVID-19.

Based on WHO’s Coronavirus daily reports

The total number infected cases – 478,341 

Total number of deaths – 21,524

The total number of recoveries –   115,665

And this still leaves 341,152 active cases globally.

Feature Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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New Delhi, The Home Ministry on Tuesday released detailed guidelines on the measures to be taken at the central and state level to contain the Covid-19 epidemic. The guidelines were issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announced three-week nationwide lockdown from midnight of March 24, 2020. He warned that if these 21 days are not observed as a lockdown, it will take India back 21 years. The lockdown is mandatory for the whole nation, which includes 32 states/UTs. 

The 32 states/ UTs that have been under full lockdown include: 

  1. Assam
  2. Andhra Pradesh
  3. Arunachal Pradesh
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Chandigarh
  7. Delhi
  8. Goa 
  9. Gujarat
  10. Himachal Pradesh
  11. Haryana
  12. Jammu Kashmir
  13. Jharkhand
  14. Kerala
  15. Karnataka
  16. Ladakh
  17. Maharashtra
  18. Meghalaya
  19. Mizoram
  20. Manipur
  21. Nagaland
  22. Punjab
  23. Rajasthan
  24. Sikkim
  25. Tripura
  26. Telangana
  27. Tamil Nadu
  28. Uttarakhand
  29. West Bengal
  30. Daman Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli
  31. Puducherry
  32. Andaman and Nicobar

Below are the phone numbers for the above states for any COVID-19 emergency: 

CM Kejriwal stated the need to observe social distancing and urged people to stay indoors at all costs. Both Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal clarified some of the pressing queries regarding the lockdown in the national capital. 

What is Complete Lockdown?

Complete Lockdown is meant to restrict movement of people and avoid the social gathering among the citizens. This would in turn break the chain of transmission of Coronavirus. The complete lockdown has been imposed on several cities across India. 

Pic Credit : Hindustan Times
Policemen stop and check ID cards of Commuters on the Gurgaon-Delhi border after lockdown in Gurgaon on Monday.
Pic Credit : Hindustan Times


The complete lockdown in India has been imposed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. In case of an outbreak of an epidemic, this act empowers the district administration to seal the borders of the district to check the spread of the disease. When a lockdown is announced, the movement of people is restricted and no person from outside is allowed to enter the area which is under lockdown.

Services that are considered essential and will remain open are:
  • Services related to health, food, water and power supply will remain available
  • Police, home guards, civil defense, disaster management, fire & emergency services and prisons.
  • Dairies, grocery shops, chemists and petrol pumps will remain open
  • Services like print and electronic media, telecom, internet and the post will remain open
  • All shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops , offices, godowns, weekly bazaar, etc. shall close their operations during this period.
  • Restaurants are allowed to provide takeaway and home delivery.
  • Persons associated with essential services will be allowed to go to their destinations during the lockdown.
  • DTC buses shall operate at not more than 25 per cent capacity to cater to personnel engaged in essential services. 
  • In case of a funeral, a congregation of not more than 20 people will be permitted. 
Restrictions:

Any congregation of more than 4 people is prohibited and punishable by law.

All construction activity is suspended.

All religious places are closed.

People have to stay home and can only come out for basic services in the vicinity of their residences while practicing social distancing.

Any person found violating this shall be prosecuted and punished with imprisonment or fine or both under the sections of the IPC as per the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. Read more.

Here are key takeaways for Delhi in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.

No shortage

Arvind Kejriwal said there is no need to panic and that there will be no shortage of essential commodities in the market. People should not resort to panic buying.

“After PM Modi’s speech, yesterday people started lining up at shops for essential services. I again appeal to people to not panic buying, I assure everyone that there will be no shortage of essential services,” the CM said.

“I assure every person of Delhi that there will be no reduction in the supply of essential items for the next 3 weeks. In this difficult time, your every need will be taken care of,” he had tweeted yesterday.

E-passes for essential service providers

“We will issue passes for those providing essential services, E-passes will be provided to those who need to open their shops and factories for these services,” Kejriwal said adding that grocery, medicines, medical services and other essential services and operations will continue uninterrupted for the citizens.

Arvind Kejriwal and Baijal had assured earlier today that no one will sleep hungry in the city during the lockdown. Delhi government will provide free meals at a ‘Rain Basera’ (shelter) on Baba Kharak Singh Marg. 

The e-Pass will be for grocery shops, milk plant workers and others. Kejriwal said once the e-passes are issued, one can open shops related to essential commodities.

“A helpline number will be activated for that in a few hours.”

Helpline number

Kejriwal said that the Delhi Police Commissioner has introduced a helpline number at his office. “If you face any difficulty you can call at this number. The number is: 011-23469536,” he said.

The chief minister said that a helpline number will be issued for those who need to get their e-passes made.

Although, MyGov has already launched a whatsapp helpline number to answer all your queries regarding the epidemic of COVID-19.

Directive to landlords

It has been said that a strict action will be taken against landlords and house owners who force doctors, paramedical staff, healthcare personnel to vacate their rented residences amid the outbreak. The move comes after receiving complaints from healthcare personnel and medical officials. “Such behaviour obstructs amounts to obstructing public servants in discharging their duties,” the order read.

Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also appealed to the landlords to be considerate for 1-2 months and accept rents in installments if the tenant cannot instantly make arrangements.

For those hit by lockdown

The complete lockdown is definitely bound to hit the daily-wage earners. Concerning this issue, Kejriwal on Tuesday made an announcement stating that the Delhi government will give Rs 5,000 to every construction worker in Delhi so that they can make a living.

Yesterday on March 24, 2020, CM Kejrival tweeted that in the last 24 hours there was no new case of Coronavirus which was registered. 

So let’s all take the lockdown solemnly because we have seen many instances on social media about people still not taking the epidemic seriously. It’s just a matter of 21 days and if we all can just stay at home, we will definitely be contributing our role in the fight against corona. Stay at home and don’t panic. I guess this is the least we can do to show our support to the government. Stay safe and avoid any kind of gathering. Afterall, we all have always wanted to work from home, and now that we are getting the opportunity, we are totally against it. 

In recent times, the number of cases are increasing in India and we really don’t want the same situation which is in Italy at the moment. If we all follow the lockdown, we can fight with COVID-19. 

The updated report of COVID-19 for India states: 

Total Cases – 562

New Cases – +26

Total Deaths – 10

Total Recovered – 40

Activa Cases – 512

The reports are taken from world meters

The Statewise Reports

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On March 20, 2020- The Government of India took another measure to clear queries about the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. But with more positive cases of COVID-19 the steps seem to be necessary and important. MyGov launched whatsapp number number for COVID-19. The whatsapp number is 9013151515. You just need to save the number in the contacts list and send a “Hi” message to this number to get a response for your query. The WhatsApp Chatbot is called MyGov Corona Helpdesk and is available to all Whatsapp users. The responses that this bot will generate will be automated, the idea being to clarify and provide correct information about most queries that people may have about this fast spreading illness.

The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) said in a tweet, “The Government has created WhatsApp Chatbot on Corona. It is called MyGov Corona Helpdesk. Just save on WhatsApp 9013151515 and you will get an automated response on queries related to Corona.”

Whatsapp # 9013151515

Referring to this, Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal tweeted, “Prepare, Don’t Panic: Government launches MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp for alerting citizens & disseminating information.”

Also couple of days before the government launched the helpline number for all states. The number for Delhi is 011-23978046, and toll-free number 1075. In case you have to clear any doubts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, you can email on email- ncov2019@gov.in.

Whatapp Helpline 9013151515

Below are the helpline numbers for other states too for the reference.

State Helpline NO

As of March 19, 2020, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of the Government of India has reported 171 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus infection in India. 

Yesterday on March 19, 2020 Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged citizens to not panic, avoid panic buying. Also he requested to remain indoors as much as possible and work from home. He has called for a Junta Curfew on Sunday, March 22, and requested citizens to not leave their homes between 7am and 9pm. Also asked the citizens to 

Globally, the Coronavirus confirmed infections have crossed the 244517 mark.

If planning to cancel upcoming traveling plans then read about airline waiver on change fee and cancellation due to coronavirus

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Learn About Your Air Passenger Rights?

There are millions of people who travel each year, but many of them are unaware about their air passenger rights to protect them. WorldTravelFeed will help you understand them and help you how you can file a claim and get compensation for flight delay or cancellation.

Air passenger rights involves laws that protects and supports the travelers. In case of any flight interruptions, they get compensated. 

Although the rights vary from country to country. In the United States, there are some laws that protects travelers in case of overbooked flights or any tarmac delay. But Europe’s EC 216 is more beneficial for travelers any day as it is more comprehensive and offers compensation for flight delay or cancellation in a range of situations. 

Clearly as a matter of fact, 85% of travelers are unaware about their air passenger rights. 

We Are Happy To Help

WorldTravelFeed is there for your help regarding any issues you face during your next air travel related to the air passenger rights. Airhelp is committed to serve the travel community with information regarding travelers rights. It is our mission to help travelers to get compensation for flight delay or cancellation. Apart from this, what’s more, Airhelp seeks to simplify specific legal statues that are on your side, so that you know what the laws do and how you can effectively approach a wide variety of flight disruptions beyond your control. Also we help people that experience flight delays, flight cancellations, denied boarding, baggage problems, and missed connections.

Individual countries abide by their individual air passengers rights. Few of these are namely Europe’s EC 261, the Montreal Convention, Brazil’s ANAC 400 and various US laws.

Airhelp says “So far, we’ve helped 16 million travelers and we also provide additional technological tools for travelers in their flight compensation quests”

Airhelp

Europe’s EC 261 

EC 261/2004 is a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council in EU law that favors the passengers. EC 261 establishes common rules and sets the minimum standards on financial compensation and assistance to passengers in the events of denied boarding, flight cancellations, long delay and downgrade. It holds airlines financially accountable when any air disruption is caused under the airline’s control. Any circumstances, which is outside the airline’s control is not included in air passenger rights. 

The law plays a vital role for passenger rights which is not limited to only European travelers. In short all the passengers departing from a European airport are covered under EC 261. Hence in some cases, passengers who are flying into Europe from other international destinations may be covered as well. In comparison to other laws, EC 261 is one of the most comprehensive.

To clarify the airlines are financially and legally responsible for the flight issues. However the compensation depends upon the flight destination and flight scenario. Under EC 261, in most cases you can get reimbursement of upto $700 per person. 

The scenarios covered under the EC 261 are:

However the amount of compensation which a passenger is entitled will depend upon many factors like distance traveled and amount of time you are delayed reaching your destination. 

EU Airline Compensation

Most routes within Europe and many international flights are covered under EC 261. If your flight departs from an airport in the EU, it’s covered. If your flight departs from elsewhere but your destination is in the EU, coverage depends on the airline ⎯ if it’s a European carrier, you’re covered.

Here’s a chart to understand it better : 

ITINERARY EU AIR CARRIERNON EU AIR CARRIER
From inside the EU to inside the EUCovered Covered
From inside the EU to outside the EUCoveredCovered
From outside the EU to inside the EUCoveredNot Covered
From outside the EU to outside the EUNot CoveredNot Covered

In some cases, disrupted flights outside the EU may be eligible under EC 261 if they connect to a covered flight that is with the same carrier and part of the same flight reservation (under one booking reference number).

What’s not Covered?

In case of any extraordinary circumstances which is outside the control of the airlines, will not be covered under the EC 261. And in such cases there is no compensation from the airlines. 

You will not be eligible for compensation if your delay was because of any of the below reasons. Although, the airlines should show that they have taken necessary measures to prevent the delay.

Extraordinary Circumstances
Strikes initiated by airport employees or air traffic control
Political unrest
Inclement Weather
Security Risk

Your rights under EC 261

Here are some of the passenger rights under EC 261 relating to your treatment.

Obligation to inform passengers for their rights

Above all the first and foremost right is to be informed about the content of EC 261. Therefore every airline is supposed to display information on air passenger rights at their check-in counters in every airport. Also you can read the actual text of EC 261 as well. 

Right to reimbursement or re-routing

In case if your delay exceeds 5 hours, you are entitled for a partial or full refund of your original cost of ticket with a return ticket to your point of departure, if needed. This will be in addition to compensation for your loss of time. 

Right to care

During any disruptions while you are waiting for the airlines to get back to you towards your destination, you’re entitled to a number of amenities, depending on your flight details.

The airline must provide you with: 

  • Firstly, meals and refreshments during the delay.
  • Secondly, access to communications, including two telephone calls, fax messages and emails.
  • Thirdly, if overnight accommodations are necessary, they must provide you with a hotel room and transportation to and from the airport.

The following chart explains when passengers become eligible for these:

Flight DetailsLength of Delay
All flights 1500km or less2 hours or more
Internal EU flights over 1500kms3 hours or more
Non-internal EU flights between 1500km and 3500km3 hours or more
Non-internal EU flights over 3500kms 4 hours or more
Upgrading or Downgrading

If you have booked a flight and then the airline offers you with an alternate flight where the class is lower then you are entitled to get a reimbursement between 30% and 75% of the original price you paid. On the other hand if you have booked a flight and offered an alternate flight in higher class, the airlines cannot charge you anything extra. 

Further Compensation

Passenger’s right to compensation under EC 261 does not affect your right to request further compensation. However, this will only apply in case any passenger has voluntarily surrendered their reservations. Thus the amount which you are supposed to receive under EC 261 may be deducted from whatever additional compensation you receive. 

EU 261 Claim

It should be noted that your passenger rights will expire eventually in case you do not file compensation for flight delay or cancellation . However, the time limit varies from one country to another. Please note that the country you claim in is not decided by your nationality, but by where the headquarter of the airlines, or what court has jurisdiction in cases concerning the airline. 

To sum up there is a handy chart below for your reference:

COUNTRYLIMITATION PERIOD
Austria3 years
Belgium1 year
Bulgaria5 years
Croatia3 years
Cyprus6 years
Czech Republic3 years
Denmark3 years
Estonia3 years
Finland3 years
France5 years
Germany*3 years
Greece5 years
Hungary5 years
Iceland2 years
Ireland6 years
Italy26 months
Latvia10 years
Lithuania10 years
Luxembourg10 years
MaltaNo limit
Netherlands2 years
Norway3 years
Poland1 year
Portugal3 years
Romania3 years
Slovakia2 years
Slovenia2 years
Spain5 years
Sweden2 months
Switzerland2 years
United Kingdom6 years

* For Germany, the limitation period expires the last day of the third year (for example, the limitation period for a flight on 25/2/2016 expires on 31/12/2019).

US Air Passenger Rights

What are US Air Passenger Rights?

The US laws in case of air passenger rights in case of flight delays or cancellation are not as extensive as European or International laws. The rights are limited to any passengers for denied boarding, tarmac delays or in case of luggage problems. 

Denied Boarding

In the United States, overbooking is pretty common with most of the airlines. If you are denied boarding or bumped off due to overbooking, you could be entitled to compensation of upto $1350. Read more on overbooked booking. There are strong laws in place governing your right to be compensated. 

Tarmac Delays

US laws do not address delayed flights in general, but there are laws concerning what happens if your flight is delayed on the tarmac. Read more about tarmac delays so you know your rights. 

Luggage Issues

Passengers are given a number of rights when it comes to banged-up, delayed and lost bags on US flights. More details on baggage compensation page.

Which Flights are Covered by US Regulations?

The denied boarding regulations apply to flights with US carriers originating in the United States while the tarmac delay regulations apply to flights departing from or flying to a US airport.

The laws regarding luggage problems deal with domestic flights with US carriers between US cities. And in case of international flights originating in the United States are covered by the Montreal Convention, in most cases.

Brazil’s ANAC 400

What are Air Passenger Rights in Brazil?

Air Passenger Rights in Brazil are important. Passengers have rights when they fly – and in case any disruption occurs, the laws are very clear on what care passengers should expect from the airlines. In case the airline fails to provide the care, you can get compensation for flight delay or cancellation of upto $1,300. 

Anyone flying in Brazil is protected by the legislation from Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC).

The laws related  to air passenger rights are known as ANAC Resolution Nº 400. These laws are set out for airlines to take care of their passengers in case of any flight disruption. The law offers air passengers a great deal of consideration, specifying what care airlines must provide, and when. And when the airline fails to care for their travelers, Brazil’s Consumer Code allows passengers to claim compensation.

Compensation for Flight Issues in Brazil

DisruptionsCompensation Amount
Flight DelayUpto $1300 per person
Flight CancellationUpto $1300 per person
Denied Boarding Upto $690 per person

Role of Airhelp – 
  • Your flight was cancelled at late notice – OR – Your flight was over 4 hours late arriving at your destination.
  • You were not adequately looked after by the airline.
  • Your flight landed or took off from a Brazilian airport.
  • The issue occurred on a flight within the last 5 years (2 years for international flights)

Explanation of Air Passenger Rights:

There are several rights which you are entitled to under Brazilian Law:

Right to information:

In case your flight is delayed at the airport the airline should let you know about it promptly. They need to inform you about the new departure time. Also, the airline must provide an update on the delayed departure time every 30 minutes. Upon request, the airline must provide you with a written explanation about the delay.

Right to care:

The airline must provide their passengers with material assistance if flight is delayed or cancelled . What care the passenger will get will depends on how long the passenger is waiting after their original departure time:

Over 1 hour: Passengers should get access to communication – for example, a telephone call or Wi-Fi access for emailing, etc.

Over 2 hours: Passengers must be provided with meals appropriate for the time of day. The airline may either provide food, or it can hand out meal vouchers to waiting passengers.

Over 4 hours: If the delay is 4 hours or more then passengers have 2 important rights.

  •  Reimbursement or rebooking – The airline must look to get you to your destination as soon as possible. 
  • Accommodation – If the airline cannot get you to your destination any sooner, they must provide you with suitable accommodation.

But the airlines will offer accommodation only for an overnight wait therefore if you have a 5-hour wait during the day, no accommodation will be offered. Airlines will also provide transfers to the accommodation. And in case you live in the city of departure the airline doesn’t have to offer you accommodation – but they must offer you the transfers to your home.

Right to reimbursement or rebooking:

When flights are delayed over 4 hours or are canceled, passengers have the right to choose from the following choices:

  • A ticket on another flight.
  • A refund of the fare – including airport taxes and fees.
  • A way of getting to their destination via other means – e.g. a bus ticket plus transfers.
Rights if the airline changes your flight:

Moreover sometimes, airlines may need to make changes to your flight. For example the departure time could be later, or your direct flight may get changed to a connecting flight. If this happens to you, ANAC 400 offers some protection and passenger get compensation for flight delay or cancellation.

The airline can make the following changes, so long as they let passengers know about the change at least 72 hours before the original departure time.

Flight TypeChange in time
Domestic flights+/- 30 minutes
International flights+/- 1 hour

If your flight changes by more than this, or if the airline does not inform you of a change more than 72 hours in advance, the airline must offer you either:

  • An alternative flight
  • A full refund

In case if you’re not advised about the flight change and turn up at the airport for your original departure time, the airline must rebook or reimburse you for the flight. In addition, they must take care of your food, drink, and accommodation where necessary.

Rights for passengers with additional needs:

Brazilian laws offer additional protections for air passengers who may require assistance.

Another ANAC resolution, Nº 280, covers the rights of air passengers with additional needs and offer more assistance when they fly:

  • Passengers aged 60 and over
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding passengers
  • Passengers accompanied by an infant (a child under 2)
  • Passengers with reduced mobility
  • Any passenger with a specific condition that limits their autonomy

The airline is required to offer these passengers appropriate care and assistance while they are at the airport and during the flight.

In the event of flight issues:

Passengers with additional needs, as defined above, have priority when flights are delayed or canceled.

In case the passengers are offered a new flight, passengers with additional needs will be reallocated first. And also they are offered with accommodation if there is a wait of 4 hours or more, even if there is no overnight wait.

Your rights if you’re denied boarding:

Brazilian laws act to discourage airlines from overbooking flights, which can lead to denied boardings.

In case your flight which has been overbooked, the airline will look for volunteers to give up their seat. These passengers must still be compensated – though, the passenger and airline are free to agree exactly what that compensation looks like.

In case no volunteers agree, airline can deny boarding to some passengers. These passengers are then offered an alternative flight, the care, and additional compensation. This compensation is set under ANAC 400 and is paid immediately.

Flight TypesCompensation amount (USD)Compensation amount (SDR*)
Domestic flights$345SDR 250
International flights$690SDR 500

*SDR = Special Drawing Rights. ANAC 400 lists all compensation amounts in SDR. The approximate USD amounts is calculated.

Please note: Sometimes airlines will ask you to sign a volunteer overbooking form. Don’t do that unless you voluntarily give up your seat. Ask instead to sign for involuntary denied boarding.

 

What situations are covered?

Likewise the situations which is covered under the Brazilian Law is wherein the flight disruption is out of the passenger’s control and passenger gets covered. Although there are extraordinary circumstances which are outside of the airline’s control.

For example, If you miss your flight because of flight delay or flight cancellation, the passenger is covered for the compensation however if you miss your flight or decide to take a later one, then these laws will not come into effect. 

If there is any delay because of bad weather or a strike by air traffic control will come under extraordinary circumstances and the airline will not provide the compensation but yes they will have to take care of the passengers as per the law. 

The one exception is, if the airline doesn’t provide the care during any extraordinary circumstances then the affected passengers can file a claim for compensation.

Which Flights are covered?

The air passenger rights under Brazilian law applies to the following flights:

  • Domestic flights within Brazil.
  • International flights that depart from a Brazilian airport.
  • International flights that arrive at a Brazilian airport.
  • Flights that connect via a Brazilian airport.
  • Any flight ticket which is issued in Brazil (even if the flight is operated abroad).

What is the time limit?

Yes, there is a time limit and that’s why it becomes important to be aware of your rights and what is the expiration date so you are able to file the claim. Here is the time limit:

Flight TypeTime Limit For Claim To Be Filed
Domestic Flights5 years
International Flights2 years

Things to remember in case your Brazil Flight is Disrupted:

  • Firstly, ask for the care you need – communication, food and drink, and accommodation.
  • Secondly, let the airline know if you require additional assistance.
  • Thirdly, keep hold of your flight boarding pass.
  • Also ask for a statement from the airline about the flight delay or cancellation.
  • Also keep any additional documentation the airline gives you regarding the disruption.
  • In fact take pictures of conditions at the gate and of any vouchers or assistance you are offered.
  • Also keep all receipts from the expenses you occur 
  • Record the names of the airline staff – particularly if they refuse your request for assistance.

The Montreal Convention 

What is the Montreal Convention?

The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty signed and adopted by over 130 countries around the world. It’s aim is to establish airline liability in case of flight delay and for damage or loss of baggage. Thus provide passenger compensation for flight delay or cancellation.

However, the treaty is not so comprehensive on flight disruptions as compared to EC 261. It offers passenger rights on international flights between the large number of nations that abide by the regulation. 

What Rights are covered by the Montreal Convention?

The 2003 Montreal Convention covers many air passenger rights like delays, flight cancellation or boarding denials. If you miss your booking because of any air travel issues, and you have to pay for an extra night at hotel or any other unforeseen expenses, you will get reimbursed. Above all you need to attach the proof of expenses and necessary documents of the booking. Always hold onto the receipts. 

The treaty also protects travelers in case of luggage issues, it can be damaged bags, delayed bags or lost baggage. But there are time restrictions to these, a damaged baggage claim needs to be submitted within 7 days, delayed baggage within 21 days. And in case of lost baggage, you have 2 years to file the claim. 

You can read the complete agreement here.

Which flights are covered by the Montreal Convention?

The Montreal Convention applies to international flights between nations that honor the regulation. The treaty is signed and approved by over 130 countries around the world. Few exceptions are like Sri Lanka and Vietnam. But the list keeps on changing as nations join in. 

The Montreal Convention apply if your departure and destination is within a single member nation, but only when there have been planned stopover in a different country. For example, imagine that you’re flying between cities in a member nation such as China with a stopover in India. Your flights are covered. But if you had a direct flight instead, with no stopover, it would not be an “international” flight and would not be covered.

Conclusion:

To sum up, if you have any disruptions during your travel caused by the airlines, most of the times you are eligible for the compensation/reimbursement. However, you can always check with Airhelp whether you qualify for the compensation for flight delay or cancellation or not. Alternatively, you can simply visit Airhelp.com and fill out the form with the required information and supported documents. Their legal experts will take care and if qualified you will get the compensation. Although, make sure you read the article above to understand whether you are in the category of claim or not. This will save their time and your time too. It is a great website and has been serving the traveler community since 2013. There are numerous legal achievements under their name, and they have also changed jurisdiction in several cases. 

The form on Airhelp will look like this. So you can start by filling out the form and check for your compensation amount. 

Airhelp
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Airline Waive Change & Cancellation Fee Due to Coronavirus

We have seen how contagious and harmful the COVID-19 is right from the outbreak. And with the increase in the number of infected people all around the globe, the condition has become worse. The complete market has gone hayway and has majorly impacted the travel industry and not to forget, customers are facing great losses. So the outbreak has led to the cancellation of many flights both domestic and international. As a result airline waive change & cancellation fee due to coronavirus

Obviously we can’t deny the fact that airlines are understanding the travelers problems and taking necessary actions to overcome the situation. As a result it gives a sigh of relief to the passengers. Many airlines around the globe have already changed their policies regarding cancellation, change, refund and rebooking of the tickets. 

Here are some of the updates which we have received from the airlines (within India) who have made changes to their policies. You must go through these and this will be useful to you.

Indigo Airlines

Indigo Airlines was the first airline to waive change & cancellation fee due to coronavirus.

As per the update – 
IndiGo Airlines waives-off change fees on existing and new domestic and international bookings made till March 31, 2020 

  • No change fees for flights already booked between March 12, 2020 – March 31, 2020 
  • Zero change fees for bookings made between March 12, 2020 – March 31, 2020

Fare difference if any will be applicable.

Mr. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We understand that some passengers are concerned about committing to travel, given the current coronavirus issue. To take this anxiety away and make their travel hassle-free, we are waiving our normal change fees on all travel during the next two weeks and for all new bookings made in that period. This will enable our customers to book their flights at affordable fares, with the flexibility of rescheduling, without change fees, if needed. Whilst the corona virus is a very serious challenge for us all, we believe that measures such as this will help alleviate its effect on India’s travel.”

Air India

Air India was the second to rescue their customers.

The Airlines has decided to permit One Free Change for the passengers to postpone any international or domestic bookings made to/from areas with a risk of exposure.

Applicability:

  • All Existing Bookings with travel date till 30th April and New bookings booked till 31st March 2020.
  • Modifications allowed on all bookings till 72 hrs prior to departure.

Ticket Must be Reissued On or Before 31MAY 2020.

Other Information:

  • Change Fee will be waived for One Instance only – any subsequent changes will be subject to normal reissue fee. 
  • In case of non-availability of same fare level, difference of fare will be charged. 
  • Tickets can only be reissued by the agency that originally issued the ticket. 
  • In case of re-routing, applicable difference of fare will be charged. 

Spicejet

Spicejet has also taken measures to ease your travel.

As per the updated policy the airlines will not charge any change fees:

  • On existing bookings for travel between 12th and 31st March, 2020.
  • On new bookings for travel between 12th and 31st March, 2020.

Fare difference will apply. 

The Airline announced the update on twitter.

Go Air

Zero cancellation and rebooking fee offer can be availed if done up to 14 days before departure, GoAir said in the statement

GoAir said that they will not charge any fee on cancellation or rescheduling of tickets booked till April 30 amid the coronavirus scare.

This applies for all bookings made between March 8 and April 30 and for the travel period between March 8 and September 30.

The customer will have to pay the fare difference when rescheduling a flight.

“We looked at what could be going on in the consumer’s mind right now especially in the prevailing uncertain situation. It emerged that the freedom to reschedule flight tickets without any strings attached was the biggest concern,” Managing Director Jeh Wadia said.

Vistara

Because of the COVID-19, Air Vistara has waived cancellation and rescheduling charges for bookings made on or before March 1.

Fare difference will be applicable if any. 

Air Asia:

In general, the airline has not yet spoken about any waiver for change or cancellation of the flight but has mentioned about the refund. You can check out the list and see if you are falling under one of those.

Important Update came from Air Asia
Important Update came from Air Asia

As per the airlines – For those whose travel plans are affected by the restrictions or cancellations, below is the list of  refund categories related to Covid-19 which you can submit via AVA; 

  1. Flight to / from Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR & Macau SAR
  2. Covid-19 Voluntary Cancellation
  3. Nationals restricted to travel
  4. Japan Domestic Voluntary Cancellation
  5. AirAsia Cancelled my Flight

The chart is here

The above mentioned airlines have already press release and announced officially regarding the update in their policies. In short this has made this process hassle free for all travelers but as a traveler you definitely need to invest a bit of your time on these policies. Now with the change in the policies, make sure you take all the necessary precautions and travel safe. So such initiative deserves applause for the airlines who have come forward and waive change & cancellation fee due to coronavirus.

So make your plans accordingly. Please connect with us on our facebook page to tell us what you think about this. 

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Since the festival of colours, HOLI is around the corner and what makes it unique this year is the long weekend. So all the peeps get ready for some crazy experience this holi. Holi is witnessed as the craziest festivals of India which indulge everyone with paint and colours. Holi as a festival is not only gaining popularity among Indians but we have seen some drastic increase in foreign tourists as well. Many travelers are visiting India during Holi to witness this crazy war. 

Holi is one of the major festivals of India and celebrated across the four corners of India. The festival is linked with this tradition of colours. And the stories which relate to Holi are Holika Dahan and Radha-Krishan. Holika Dahan is actually lighting of bonfires and the ritual is symbolic of victory of good over evil. What’s the Story of Radha and Krishan- Krishna, who had a dark complexion was jealous of his beloved Radha’s extremely fair skin and in a mischievous mood, he applied color on Radha’s face as an expression of love. Holi is famous as Basant Utsav in rural India and gulal, abeer, bhang (edible mixture made from the buds, leaves, and flowers of marijuana plant) and pichkaris are synonymous with the festival.

That being a little discussed about the history, where you can celebrate the best Holi this year. Well Holi is best witnessed in Banaras, Mathura and Vrindavan. In these cities Holi is witnessed with a huge mob all around the city, covered with colours. Even the streets get painted with the gulal. But with the increase in the number of people who are willing to witness this supercool festival, Pushkar and Rishikesh are coming more into the limelight. Guess why? Well it’s simple because of the hippie culture and more foreign tourists in these cities. 

The festival here is different, the madness, the crowd, bhang and alcohol become the hype of the event. Although we won’t talk about the original cities where Holi is played from ancient times because you must have already witnessed it or probably read a lot and seen on television. What makes it interesting will be celebrating this year in Pushkar or Rishikesh. It will become your lifetime experience. 

Plus you got a whole weekend and then the next two days so cheers to this 4 day holiday. It will be no bloody Monday anymore rather it will turn out to be the coolest Monday. Let’s get ready for something which you haven’t experienced yet.

HOLI IN PUSHKAR

Pushkar, the hippie capital of Rajasthan, is a small and very pious city in Ajmer. Every year more than a million tourists visit the city for its temples, peaceful ambience, ghats, amazing cafes, Pushkar Mela and last but not the least the grand festival Holi. If you already have been to Pushkar then I am sure you can understand why I am giving the city such praises but if you haven’t visited yet, then this is your chance and trust me it will turn out to be one of your best memories. 

The festival party in Pushkar starts at 10 in the morning and continues till 5pm. The city gets transformed into some crazy badass club. Although alcohol is not served during this time (you can have your own, but keep to the amount where it can give you joy, I know it didn’t sound right with joy so let’s call it Suroor, better isn’t it?) Although you will find some crazy DJs playing trance and electro with hundreds of people dancing and painting each other gulaal. It will be like a Sunburn with colours. And imagine this crazy party going on and on for 7 hours, almost a complete shift in office. 

Yeah some of you might have been saying if there is NO ALCOHOL then what is there. So to all the alcoholics there is a solution, Bhang which will give you a pip. You can also call it special lassi or thandai. It is sold openly during Holi with a Government approved shops. No need to do car-o-bar now. 

What actually made celebrating Holi in Pushkar was Kapda Faad holi where the t-shirts of guys were torn apart and thrown to the winds. There is no exception to anyone, if you are a guy and entering the party then it is bound to happen. But this is only for men, WOMEN are safe and you will find several security guards and volunteers roaming to check on the event for women safety and alcohol or non-vegetarian consumption. Although a quick update, this event was banned by the government last year. So don’t get your hopes high because not sure if your t-shirt is getting torn this year and after which you can flaunt your masculine physique. Although there are some private parties too which you can certainly attend. Ofcourse, you will have to pay for those. 

PS: It’s a long weekend so you have time to explore the city and the amazing cafes if you arrive early like on Saturday or Sunday. Also you can plan to visit Jaipur and make a halt for the weekend and move ahead for the grand event. Moreover, Ajmer dargah is also nearby where you can pay your visit. 

HOLI IN RISHIKESH

Let’s move to Rishikesh, the yoga capital of India. Again there are no facts needed to show you all how many tourists visit Rishikesh, not only Indian tourists but foreigners too. So not only the tourist is driven just coz of some great cafes, or adventure sports but yoga is the biggest reason to draw foreign tourists to Rishikesh. The city is famous for river rafting, cafes, yoga retreats, camping, short hikes, waterfall, ashrams and much more to offer. Let’s talk about Holi now. So Rishikesh has been the trending city for Holi for the last few years and why not. It got so much to offer. Holi in Rishikesh starts from the night before Holi, the “Holika” is burnt at Laxman Jhula chowk, where people gather around the fire, and they sing and wish each other. And then on the next day, the same place is the venue for the Holi party. The chowk gets blasted with some crazy bollywood songs on loudspeakers and everyone is dancing and smearing others with colours. This makes the ambience fun and festive. Also you can look for some bhang or thandai but in Rishikesh it is not sold openly. You will definitely find it with ease but will have to approach in a little smarter way. The whole fun of being in Rishikesh is to experience the enthusiasm for this wonderful festival of colours, and the general camaraderie going around. 

There are private parties which are hosted by many people wherein you can get some great experience.

PS – You can plan ahead and visit Rishikesh early as it has so much more to offer. You can go rafting, eat at some cozy cafe, witness the ganga aarti, get indulged in Yoga, roam around the city on a bike or scooter, go for some day hikes, I mean the list has a good number of activities which you can do. Camping under the stars is something which you can do.  I know it has been so commercialized but definitely it has not lost its charm. 

Here’s the fun part, I have got a friend of mine who is hosting this supercool “NATURE FEST” event in Rishikesh. Let me roll out the details:

The event is Rang de Rishikesh

Celebrate this Holi with Camp Kailasha with ORGANIC COLOURS and ORGANIC FOOD. 

Experience the real madness in the foothills riverside middle of nature…a perfect setup for an exciting Holi experience. 

|| Event inclusions ||

  • DJ – Music in the daytime
  • Holi special drinks and food 
  • Special bonfire
  • Organic colours
  • Organic food
  • Water fountains 
  • Fun Games 
  • Riverside fun
  • Barbeque

All the activities in the camp include :-

  • Volleyball
  • Badminton
  • Bonfire
  • Riverside fun
  • Misc other activities

Includes all meals (breakfast – lunch – evening snacks – dinner) + (All the inhouse activities)

The event link is shared – https://www.facebook.com/events/2410582949052450/

The facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/campkailasha/

Below are some of the pictures taken from last year’s fest.

Last year Nature Fest
Last year Nature Fest
Last year Nature Fest
Last year Nature Fest
Camp Picture 1
Camp Picture 1
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Yes, it’s time to add Andaman and Nicobar Islands to our bucket list because guess what, Andaman and Nicobar Islands will soon get its first ever railway line. And no we are not kidding!!! If you too have dreams of enjoying a vacation in the much-loved islands and are planning to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands, traveling might soon get more convenient to this destination. 

Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been a famous destination among travelers for its scenic and antiquated beauty. But we have seen more craze in couples and honeymooners about these exotic islands for pristine beauty, calm seas and bounty nature. 

I know you all have started visualizing the scenic beauty through the window of your seat, so here’s everything you need to know about the dream rail route of all travelers.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT

The Indian government has given green signal to the 240 kms broad gauge railway tracks in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, connecting Port Blair and Diglipur. The link is expected to run parallel to the coast through a number of bridges and stations. This line will connect Port Blair with Diglipur, becoming the first railway line in the country to get the archipelago i.e the group of islands on the rail map. 

So if you are someone who suffers from sea-sickness then fret no more. You can now avoid those bumpy ferry rides, all thanks to the first railway line in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Currently, there are only two ways to reach Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands either by Air or by Sea. Port Blair and Diglipur are well connected by road and sea. The distance between Port Blair and Diglipur via the 350kms Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) takes nearly about 14 hours by bus while the ferry takes a whole day. But once the railway tracks are laid, the journey then will be covered in ONLY 3 HOURS.

WHAT’S THE COST OF THE PROJECT

The rail line will be built with Rs 2,413.68 crore with a negative rate of return on investment of -9.64 percent. Though a rail line is considered commercially viable if it is at least a positive of 12 percent yet Railways has approved the plan due to its “uniqueness and strategic importance”, as per documents reviewed by The Indian Express.

Planning and Finance directorates of Railways said that the project “is unique, away from the mainland, and has tourism potential.”

BENEFITS FOR TOURISM

It’s clear that the main agenda of the railway line is to boost tourism. Andaman already gives you a feel of an exotic foreign island while Port Blair and Diglipur are both great locations for a tropical vacation. If you visit there you won’t feel that you are in India. We really are super excited and super anxious about the rail route, and I just wish it starts soon.

As soon as the line is commissioned, tourism will see a jump from the current 4.5 lakh visitors a year to around 6 lakh a year, as per our estimates. So even though the railway survey shows a negative return, our assessment is otherwise. However, we have agreed to share the operational losses, if any,” Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jagdish Mukhi told The Indian Express.

The Ross and Smith islands are the major tourist attractions in Diglipur. “These are just two of the main attractions. Lakhs of tourists take great pains to reach there from Port Blair every year. With the railway line in place, that part essentially becomes a part of the capital, beneficial to tourists, local residents, and the defense forces,” said Mukhi. The region is also famous for its serene seaside experience at the Lamiya Bay Beach and the Kalipur Beach.

”If they get trains to our island, traveling will become much easier. Diglipur has about 40,000 people, so it will make the to-and-fro traveling much easier,” Tufan Kishen, a native of Port Blair was quoted as saying by International Business Times.

THE IMPORTANCE TO DEFENCE FORCES 

It’s very clear that the railway line of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will play a vital role in the defense forces also. As per the Railways’ Planning wing, the project can help build the strategic lines for Defence ministry like those in the border regions of the Northeast. In fact, the Finance arm can be taken up as a national project much like the famous Kashmir link. 

The Union Territory administration too pitched for the tourism potential of the rail line claiming it is of “immense strategic value” to the defense forces as Diglipur is only 300 km by sea from the southern coast of Myanmar.

Let us know who all are super excited to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands through the rail. And if you already have been to these exotic destinations, do share your experience with us.

HAPPY TRAVELING 

Pic Credit for Thumbnail image- Travel Earth

Pic Credit for Instagram images – andaman_nicobar

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