According to Shrinidhi Hande, it can now take several years for international travel to return to normal.
Would you like to travel abroad? Then prepare for big changes before you start planning. Indians in particular are known for their love of traveling abroad. By the time the coronavirus pandemic hit the travel industry, it is known that more Indians have traveled on vacation than ever before. The Indian traveller’s love for new places and cultural experiences also paved the way for travel blogs and travel literature to increasingly come into the spotlight.
As Alex Garland’s famous words come to mind in ‘The Beach’: “Tourists went on vacation while travelers did something else. You traveled. “
Think of some of the happiest travel moments of your life and these words will evoke a feeling of heartwarming nostalgia amid sepia-colored moments that stay shiny in the eye of the mind.
One of the early travel bloggers in India and now a self-published author, Shrinidhi hands shares honest insights with Financial Express Online Swapna Raghu Sanand about the big changes that all travelers now have to adjust to. He also talks at length about his experiences in self-publishing and the challenges and travels of a travel writer.
International travel: get ready for big changes
According to Shrinidhi Hande, it can now take several years for international travel to return to normal. In fact, he cites various factors such as quarantine rules, visa rules, medical tests, the risk of being denied boarding due to symptoms, etc. These are areas of concern that can be classified as serious concerns for international travelers.
“Tourism associations, airlines and governments will face many challenges in balancing tourism income with the risk of an outbreak,” added Shrinidhi Hande.
The author emphasizes how technology is driving more Indians to travel and why Japan is a must-see. He believes that low-budget travel is possible if you are given the right information at the planning stage.
Travel books change perspective as we get older. What made you start writing a travel book when so many blogs, including your own cover Global and Desi, travel in detail?
The internet is overloaded with information. There are thousands of blogs, websites that offer travel information, but finding accurate, useful, and truthful information is like finding a needle in a haystack.
I believe there is still a need for well-curated and concise books that serve a specific purpose and have all the relevant information in one place. Most of the online content has also been written with commercial motives to sell you.
I have decided to put together a book that will serve the personal interests of a budget traveler and help them understand the real picture and options available so that they can make an informed decision about their trip.
Why did you publish your travel book yourself?
I’ve been evaluating other options – reaching out to popular publishers. However, it is difficult for first-time authors to turn to a tier 1 publisher. The wait is too long as you will have a long pipeline. Less popular publishers are easier to get hold of and print, but don’t have heavy online or offline distribution.
NotionPress’ Xpress publishing platform seemed like the best option. I have full control of the content and they have good online support – books are sold on Amazon, Flipkart and their website. So far this has been a good experience overall.
Can you share the pros and cons of self-publishing in favor of first-time authors?
Regarding mistakes and pitfalls, it is important to do multiple proofreadings and not to make mistakes. This happens when you are very excited.
There will be some restrictions on the design. You need to decide whether to tackle these limitations or go for professional help.
With so many self-published authors, many bookstores may not take your book seriously and will not accept it at all.
Be ready to do all of the marketing yourself. Per book, self-publishing is a little expensive compared to traditional publishing, which prints hundreds of copies in bulk.
What are the facets of global travel that are unique and more relevant to Indians today?
Global travel is much easier today than it was a few decades ago. Thanks to technology, we can plan our trips all by ourselves and explore destinations we’ve never been to and whose language we may not even know.
Although it was my first time in Colombia and Panama without knowing the local language, it only took me a few minutes to figure out how to take buses around town and get to my hostel, saving me $ 50 to $ 100 in taxi fare.
Language translation apps also came to my aid in China.
How did your book capture these aspects?
My book contains many tips on how to help your readers get on their international trips without complications and on a shoestring budget.
A country that you think every Indian should visit? Which country would it be and why?
Japan. The reasons are:
Trust: There are hundreds of glass-covered vending machines on the street and nobody is breaking in! Everyone pays and takes goods.
Respect: A ticket inspector bows when boarding and alighting as a sign of respect for an empty compartment of a train.
Timing: Keep the time required up to the last second.
Dubai and Singapore should also be visited to understand how rigorous law enforcement is.
Indeed, European and American cities teach us a lot about empathy, caring for others, following the rules (standing in line, etc.), and taking good care of public property.
As an avid traveler, what do you think India can do better to make a traveler’s experience leaner and more authentic?
Travelers need clear information – is there water in the falls, is the place open today, can I get there by public transport, and so on.
While there is a lot of general information on the Internet, practical information is difficult to find. Often times, the local police force closes a tourist attraction site because of a problem such as a person who committed suicide at the site.
Now a traveler may have traveled 150km to visit this place and has to go back as they had no idea before starting. Let’s not forget that our public transportation system is quite unreliable. These simple aspects make the difference between a fruitful vacation and wasted time.
Of course, we also need better infrastructure and better facilities in tourist places – good roads, toilets, changing rooms, affordable local transport and so on.
Other big changes that you can now expect as a frequent traveler?
Domestic travel will be the new focus. Road trips instead of trains / flights. Vacation travel is also hard hit due to job losses and wage cuts or changed priorities, as people today would rather save up for a crisis than avoidable travel.
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