Flashback to 1975: The vintage rotary dial phone blares in the dead of night in the drawing room of a home. The head of the family answers the call and after having a loud 10-minute conversation over the phone, he announces to family members that their ‘distantly’ close relatives are expected to visit them in two months’ time. That was a typical trunk call breaking the news of guest arrival. Cut to 2015: There’s a WhatsApp message alert on your smartphone flashing “@ airport”. And split seconds later, comes the next message, “c u @ resort in an hour”. Whoa! The idea and experience of vacationing has seen a sea change with the changing times. Just like our phones, furniture, clothes and many other aspects related to our lives, our travel and vacations have become more compact and compressed over the years. From planning to travelling and leisure activities, technology seems to have altered the way we holiday.
Let’s catch a glimpse of this interesting transformation of vacationing experience – then and now.
Then – It was all about annual school vacations, unused LTC (leave travel concession) of government employees, long-awaited pilgrimages and long-distance family visits. Travel was more of a once-in-a-year or sometimes, even a once-in-two-years event. So, it was only but natural that one would make the best of such occasional travels. For instance, a visit to dad’s cousins in Nainital also meant a Rishikesh yatra with parivaar!
Now – Unwinding and chilling out are the buzzword of this age. With hectic professional life and frantic working hours, denizens look for new avenues for weekend getaways. Voila! You have a host of travel planners offering you a wide selection of best holiday holiday packages. From Kerala Tour Package to Hong Kong Travel Packages, you have plenty of choices now.
Then – Metal trunks and massive suitcases loaded with clothes; tiffin carriers and snack boxes packed to capacity with salivating delicacies (enough to share with co-passengers!); bulky water cooling bottles; dad’s grooming pouch; mom’s shringar kit; Kodak reel camera neatly packed in its case for precious and thoughtful family photos… Well, that’s a mini-sweet home travelling along!!!
Now – A sleek strolley bag to trolley around, a backpack strapped to your shoulders and that’s about it! Who needs separate camera devices when life revolves around the all-in-one smartphones? But thankfully, not everyone thinks so. For the serious shutterbugs on the other hand, camera kit is all they wish to carry.
Choices of Transportation
Then – Air travel being exorbitantly costly, trains and sea voyages were the most popular means of transportation. Travel time being much longer than it is today, journeying was as eventful as the destination.
Now – Although Indian Railways still remains a popular choice of transport, air travel has emerged as a pocket-friendly option. However, what’s more interesting is better connectivity of locations today makes it possible to travel by a combination of means of transport. For instance, you can catch a flight to a city and from there take a sea cruise. Or for that matter, zoom ahead on the roads in the comfort of your own car on long drives! Haven’t we heard of ‘Mission Kanyakumari to Kashmir by Car’?
Leisure & Entertainment
Then – A pack of cards, board games, magazines and books were some of the must haves for journeys and even for vacationing. The idea of leisure and entertainment was a group activity, involving extended family and friends.
Now – Self-indulgence and self-exploration make the ‘alchemy of holidaying’ today. From pampering oneself at spas, shopping and fine dining to adventure sporting fun, it’s all about treating oneself to the best.
Idea of Socializing
Now – With nuclear families and DINK (double income no kids) couples, the ‘we’ size has shrunk to twos and threes. In fact, with parents and kids and couples having little time for each other on weekdays, vacations are times to ‘socialise’ with your better half and lil ones even as you stay connected with the world tweeting and WhatsApping!