Travel for Indians is no longer a luxury reserved for the privileged few. With a drastic drop in international flight fares and a growth in the backpacking culture, Indians have crossed oceans, and have travelled to as far as Antarctica, independently. Still, I often hear people say they cannot travel either because of a busy work schedule or different priorities altogether that hold them back. What is the point of anything if you cannot live the dreams you once had for yourself?
If travel is something your heart yearns for, make sure you have travelled freely and wildly, before you commit yourself to a life full of responsibilities. As Hugh Laurie's famous lines go — "There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now".
Here is a list of incredible travel experiences that you can have before you get slowed down by life:
Located deep in the Ecuadorian wilderness at Casa de Arbol, this swing hangs from a treehouse that was once used as an observation deck to study Mt. Tungurahua, an active volcano located nearby. Nobody knows who set up that swing on the treehouse, but it sure turned Baños, in Ecuador, into a traveller's hotspot. People from all over the world come to experience swinging over the magnificent canyon with an amazing view that literally feels like the end of the world. It takes around 30 to 40 minutes to reach Casa de Arbol from Baños city. Several hostels and hotel offer this tour that cost around $6 or ₹390.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares to Quito start from ₹86,028 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Quito from New Delhi to get the best price.
Best time to visit: June to October, when the temperature is warm with periodic showers
There is nothing more enchanting than taking a dip in the sea that sparkles like a billion stars at night. This dream-like phenomenon is caused by the bioluminescent plankton that often appears in warm coastal waters. You can observe it as the waves break around several beaches in Maldives where there is little to no light pollution. Vaadhoo Island here is a great place to spend a few hours while swimming in the sea of stars.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares to Male Island start from ₹10,493 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Male Island from Thiruvananthapuram to get the best price.
Best time to visit: November and April, when the weather is pleasant
If you are an adventurer and happen to be in Hawaii, then chances are that you will find yourself contemplating taking that trip up the legendary stairway to heaven. Also known as the Ha’iku Stairs located in O'ahu, these stairs were originally built in 1942 by the US Navy and were open for public only till 1987 after which they were deemed unsafe. There were several attempts to reopen the stairway in 2002 after repairs, but it never happened. This did not stop hikers from climbing up 3,922 stairs to enjoy one of the most breathtaking views of the world. Check out how this Tripoto wanderer did it!
Flight cost: Round-trip fares to Honolulu start from ₹38,612 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Honolulu from Kochi to get the best price.
Best time to visit: September to November, when both the temperature and hotel rates are reasonable in Hawaii
The Great Blue Hole is a giant submarine sinkhole located off the coast of Belize. Jacques Cousteau, the scuba diving legend, declared this place as one of the top 10 scuba diving sites in the world. Adventurers from all over the world come to dive in the crystal-clear water here and encounter several interesting species of fish that includes midnight parrotfish, Caribbean reef shark, bull shark, and hammerheads. You can book an expedition to the Great Blue Hole here.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares Belize City start from ₹1,38,781 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Belize City from New Delhi to get the best price.
Best time to visit: Belize is a year-round scuba destination and August through October has the warmest water temperatures.
Sharks are the most misunderstood creatures. They are not deadly or cruel as they are depicted in movies such as Jaws. Like any other animal, instances of sharks attacking humans without any provocation is extremely rare. You can observe these calm and magnificent creatures closely when you go for cage diving in False Bay, Cape Town. A cage diving expedition can be booked for ₹7,650 here.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares to Cape Town start from ₹36,447 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Cape Town from Mumbai to get the best price.
Best time to visit: From February to September when the water visibility is the clearest.
Yee Peng Festival is celebrated in Chiang Mai on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month every year. During this time, locals believe the rivers are filled to their fullest and the moon is at its brightest. This festival is celebrated by releasing the lantern that symbolises letting go of all ills and misfortunes in the previous year and making wishes for good fortune in the new year. The hundreds of lanterns floating in the sky are quite a sight and will remain etched in your memory forever.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares to Chiang Mai start from ₹10,887 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Chiang Mai from Kolkata to get the best price.
Best time to visit: Festival dates are decided just a month in advance and the probable date for 2018 is November 23.
Dinner in the Sky is one of the world's 10 most unusual restaurants. You will be served dinner cooked by some of the most renowned chefs from around the world at a height of 150feet in the air, while being suspended from a crane. Dinner in the Sky serves in about 45 countries and has operations in various cities, including Paris and Las Vegas. Malaysia is the only country in southeast Asia where you can experience dining in the sky.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares to Kuala Lumpur start from ₹4,129 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Kuala Lumpur from Tiruchirapalli to get the best price.
Best time to visit: Check the world schedule here.
Imagine walking inside a crystal-like turquoise cave made of ice! But why just imagine? Do it. You can experience this breathtaking natural ice cave on your trip to Iceland in winter. This cave is located within the Vatnajökull National Park in Skaftafell that is around 319km from the capital city of Reykjavík. It was discovered in 2005 and was formed by the rivers of melt-water. You can explore the caves on a guided tour starting from ₹11,348, which you can book here.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares to Reykjavik start from ₹39,138 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Reykjavik from Mumbai to get the best price.
Best time to visit: The ice cave season is from November to March.
Head to Victoria Falls during the drier months of the year when the flow of Zambezi River drops quite substantially to experience this ultimate infinity pool. During that time it is possible to walk along the lip of the falls from the Zambian side. Take a dip in the rock pool that has formed due to thousands of years of erosion right on the very edge of the immense waterfall to experience a crazy adrenaline rush.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares start from ₹56,092 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Victoria Falls from Mumbai to get the best price.
Best time to visit: May to October, as the temperature is mild with little to no rainfall.
The Rainbow Mountains are part of the Zhangye National Geopark located in Sunan and Linze counties within the prefecture-level city of Zhangye, in Gansu, China. The beautiful colours of the Rainbow Mountain are a result of deposits of sandstone and other minerals that occurred over 24 million years with wind, rain, and time contributing in the sculpting of its extraordinary shapes. You can check out this technicolour mountain on a day trip; book a tour for ₹8,460 here.
Flight cost: Round-trip fares start from ₹44,390 onwards. Book in advance and fly to Lanzhou from Bengaluru to get the best price.
Best time to visit: June to September when the weather is pleasant.