Weekend getaways: How Mumbaikars are taking quick trips to seek respite

16 November,2023 07:20 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Aakanksha Ahire

Weekend getaways are becoming increasingly popular among Mumbaikars. If you are planning for one, we have an expert and a few travel enthusiasts dropping ideas on how you can take a perfect short trip

Over the years, many Mumbaikars have begun to take vacations quite often. In photo: Priya Banerji (Left), Harsh Pandya (Right)

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Agree or not, taking respite has become every Mumbaikar's fundamental need. From working beyond work hours to spending the remaining free hours dealing with personal life issues, most city residents live with stress. According to online travel agency Expedia.com's 2014 Vacation Deprivation report, Mumbai was one of the most vacation-deprived cities in the country. The report also stated that Mumbaikars enjoyed working more instead of taking vacations.

However, over the years, many Mumbaikars have begun to take vacations quite often. Weekend getaways have gained momentum, especially among the young.
Pratik Mazumder, chief marketing officer, Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited reflects on the same. "In today's time, especially in a fast-paced and chaotic city like Mumbai, allocating time for oneself is not a luxury; it's a necessity for fostering a healthier and happier life."

According to him, Mumbaikars generally prefer to travel to nearby destinations such as Lonavala, Alibaug, Mahabaleshwar, Hatgad, etc. for a short vacation to seek a temporary escape from the urban chaos, especially during long weekends.

He says, "In recent times, there has been a notable transformation in India's tourism sector, witnessing a substantial shift towards the popularity of domestic travel and weekend getaways. Traditionally, international destinations held sway as the preferred choice for Indian tourists seeking novel experiences. However, the landscape has evolved, placing domestic travel at the forefront. The surge in domestic tourism and weekend retreats is remarkable, with projections indicating that 300 million individuals are expected to embark on domestic trips in 2023, and 100 million are anticipated to indulge in weekend getaways."

Mazumder further adds, "Several factors, including the rise in disposable income, more affordable air travel and other modes of transportation, heightened awareness of India's diverse tourism offerings, and the increased use of social media and online travel booking platforms, collectively contribute to this shifting trend. At Club Mahindra, we have witnessed high occupancy rates during long weekends and the festive season."

Mid-day Online also got in touch with a few city residents who share why they love taking vacations and how they plan their weekend getaways. The experiences they shared are a testament to the details offered by Mazumder.

Good food, sightseeing, maximum relaxation
Fatema Vagher, a copywriter by profession takes a vacation once every month. "Apart from helping me with stress, taking vacations gives me a chance to break away from the mundane routine. On my vacation, I love to explore new places. I find it enriching."

A typical weekend getaway for Fatema involves a short trip to any nearby hill station, playing board games and cards with friends, picturesque drives, sightseeing, exploring new food joints, relaxing and chilling. This helps the city residents to re-energise. Fatema loves to take trips with her husband. The couple's last short vacation was to Goa. "The experience was unforgettable because it was my first time visiting Goa. For a long time, I wanted to know what the hype about Goa was all about. I must say, the place is worth the hype. I had a great time," reminisces this traveller.

While Fameta loves to explore different destinations from time to time, her go-to for a quick weekend getaway is Lonavla. "It's just two hours away from Mumbai and we have a few friends who have their beautiful properties, so it just makes planning easier." The next stop for the Fatema is Pondicherry where she plans on celebrating New Year's Eve with her husband.

Less travel time, spontaneous plans and lots of family time

Priya Banerji with her family at Mahabaleshwar (Left), and Matheran (Right)

Borivali resident Priya Banerji, a corporate communications professional also breaks away from work to seek respite. "I love taking short breaks. I do it very often. It freshens my mind and acts as a great stress buster."

Priya loves taking these breaks with two of her best friends, her daughters. "My last vacation was just a couple of weeks ago to the verdant hills of Matheran. Being an eco-friendly hill station, Matheran permits vehicles only up to Dasturi Point or Aman Lodge, making it completely pollution-free. The air was fresh and pure. The weather was cool and pleasant. It was a refreshing break away from the concrete jungle, the pollution and the hustle and bustle of the city. The walk up the hill was filled with lush greenery, and beautiful sights, sounds and smells. I loved it thoroughly," says Priya.

For this Borivali resident, last-minute weekend getaway plans give the added thrill to the whole vacation excitement. "Decisions are made in the spur of the moment or maybe a day or two in advance. Once our leaves are sanctioned and the necessary bookings are taken care of, we pack and leave the next day or preferably the previous night itself. This ensures that minimum time is spent on travelling and we make the most of the weekend."

Some of Priya's common and favourite weekend getaways involve Alibaug, Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, Karjat, Lonavala, and Igatplhouri. One of the key reasons why they are her favourite besides being pleasant is because they involve minimum travel.

Connecting with inner self, exploring new places and fun outdoor activities

Harsh Pandya at the Golden Temple

For Harsh Pandya going away for the weekend is all about connecting with his inner self. The 29-year-old plans weekend getaways twice a month. "I love spending time with myself and exploring places. I took my last vacation to Mathura, Vrindavan and Amritsar with two of my friends. Taking trips like these allows me to rejuvenate. What I love the most about travelling is that I also get to meet and connect with more people. I like to converse with them and get to know their stories. It helps me take my mind off from my stress."

Besides taking vacations to far-off places, this Matunga resident loves to relax at Lavasa, Matheran or Alibaug. Harsh is usually the one who plans most of the trips with friends. He says, "It does get difficult sometimes to plan a vacation suitable to everyone's schedules, but we manage. I make a plan and share the trip itinerary with my friends on WhatsApp group. They trust my organisational skills and know I won't disappoint them."

Harsh works as a head of production at TheYellowShutter, a production house. For him, weekends are all about rejuvenating, engaging in outdoor activities, and exploring some spiritual places. "I will soon be heading to Mahakaleshwar, Ujjain, for a great pilgrimage trip followed by a friend's wedding."

Places around Mumbai worth exploring during weekends
Whether you reside in Mumbai or elsewhere, if you are contemplating a weekend escape, seek out a serene location that offers all-encompassing amenities. Discover a nearby resort providing comfortable stays, delectable cuisine, and opportunities to explore new activities for every family member.

Mazumder of Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited shares a curated list of
five enchanting destinations, each renowned for its unique charm and attractions. Whether it's serene mountains or heritage sites, these havens offer a variety of activities.

Considered one of the best weekend getaways from Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar offers a much-needed relaxing retreat, where comfort meets scenic beauty. Trek, indulge in nature trails, have a picnic by the lake, or enjoy strawberry-plucking at nearby farms. Mahabaleshwar is one of the finest weekend getaways from Mumbai.

Daman and Diu
Escape the city chaos on weekend getaways from Mumbai with family and friends, embracing nature, history, and culture. Daman and Diu is one of the top beach weekend getaways from Mumbai, ideal for families who want to stay away from crowded areas and just enjoy the peace and quiet. Spend your mornings in the pool, afternoons at the spa, and evenings with a leisurely stroll. Accommodations at Daman and Diu resorts boast a range of amenities for a pleasant and comfortable stay.

Hatgad, Nashik
Not many people know about Hatgad, which makes it a unique choice for weekend getaways from Mumbai. The picturesque hill station of Hatgad is also home to the magnificent Saputara Lake. Families come to unwind and enjoy the feel of having come a little far outside the city since it is also close to Gujarat and Saputara. Sightseeing, heritage trails, ropeway rides and local dining experiences are some of the things to look forward to. Being a well-kept secret of Maharashtra, there are many gorgeous natural wonders to enjoy. Scenic viewpoints, gushing waterfalls, lush greenery and more.

With the iconic Swayambhu Ganpati and Rameshwar Temples in the area, Ganpatipule is an ideal choice to consider for weekend getaways from Mumbai for those who are in search of spiritual experiences. This destination makes for a great beach vacation for the soul. Spend the day at the beach as kids build sandcastles or spend the day visiting the ancient temples nearby. Make sure to pause for a moment and catch a stunning sunset at the beach or while lazing by the swimming pool in your resort. If you don't feel like leaving the resort, you can also indulge yourself in activities and enjoy while staying indoors.

While this is a common destination among all Mumbaikars, you can choose to try out new activities and plan novel experiences for yourself. Immerse yourself in tranquillity with yoga by the lake, explore hidden gems on a rented bicycle, or relax in the infinity pool of your resort. Adventure awaits with rope activities, ATV rides, safari, and more.

If you have been planning for a long weekend getaway, you now know which places to consider.

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