Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tourism in the 80s

The "unspoilt destination" tourism thought sent me on a trip down memory lane.

In the 80s, we as a family ended up touring quite a few places. Places as far apart as Calcutta, Delhi, Trivandrum and quite a few places in between. Most of these journeys were low economy journeys. (Flight, what was that?) If at all, one way used to be by AC, but even that was a luxury. We simply chose a time when the weather was bearable. In the train journeys we had enough food to account for a potential delay (which was quite common on many routes) - outside food was a luxury if at all. Poor mom did much of the kitchen work and dad did much of the coolie work of carrying luggage. All internal transport within a city was by bus and a few by rickshaw. (We went to great extent to avoid night time bus travel - my dad believed it was not safe since drivers could drive under the influence of alcohol.)

But beyond all this, now that I think of it, we never worried about food or accommodation. The common factor? Home stays. No, not in the way it is known now - we used to stay at relatives houses. So, our tourism destinations simply moved to wherever our relatives went, so hotels were out of question. We could always cook our own food at a relatives place and since everybody pitched in, it was made easy for the relatives as well. Likewise, our home in Bombay had a constant stream of visitors who wanted to see the city. They stayed with us, in our flat that was, quite small, but (and Naresh would be proud to hear this) we had a big heart (as did the others) and so it went. Some relatives doubled up as guides (and I have guided many a relative across Bombay), some took it as an opportunity to see their own city. Each of the places I listed above (and quite a few I did not list) was a stay at a relatives place. Indeed, we visited Munnar in the 80s which was a completely unknown destination courtesy a distant relative who worked in Tata Tea - and got permission to go inside the tea factory as well. So, within those limited budgets, we managed very well. Travel and hotels typically are the biggest expense and if you can avoid that you get more bang for the buck. The overall footprint of our tours was quite small because we relied on existing infrastructure. As families became nuclear, houses became smaller (and potentially hearts too) it became infra dig to ask a relative if we could stay over for a couple of nights.

But, the next time you are planning on a trip, this could be an option - recycled from the past...Also it is probably a great time to travel - prices are dropping, crowds are less.

1 comment:

Kavi said...

I missed the low air fare prices due to an evening of laziness. The next day morning the prices were upthere !

Huh !