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Physically Distant, Socially Connected- Are Private Homestays the Wildcard Post Corona?

This year, to create ‘Picture Perfect’ memories of our travel stories has seemed to be tad bit difficult. International holidays have surely been on the hold. Scepticism in people to venture out, take a flight, stay in a hotel etc. has just been increasing as the days go by. But again a break is something everyone requires. In fact, the increasing work pressure (although people are working from home) has been stressful too.

Amidst this lockdown we’ve noticed a sudden emergence of a concept of ‘work-cation’ which in turn has increased the demand of domestic travel. Which means you just take off to a city/townaway from your home, for weeks or months and work from there. A place full of beaches or may be a hill-station, depending what one is really looking for. All one needs is a decent WiFi and a sturdy well-furnished house.

Hence one can either opt for an apartment or a villa or a nice farm-stay at an offbeat rural area. Just something to get out from the hustle bustle of the city one lives in, to something which is much more calm, soothing and a pace which one wants in their day to day life.

Given the current situation that we are in, social distancing is one of the major norms that one wants to follow. Which would be easily available at a homestay, rather than opting for a hotel. This would just mean, avoiding crowd and engaging with lesser people.

Homestays would actually give you the opportunity of activities like gardening, planting or just as simple as living in the midst of greenery and nature, breathing fresh air at the least. This is something most of us look for in a normal lives but being in an urban setting, it’s a difficult situation to have it all.

Staff at homestays are well trained to follow the norms like, wearing gloves, a PPE suit, having as much as less contact with the people, sanitizing the place. When it’s a big setup these things can get lost in the interim and that is something that the guest fear, for e.g. has the room been sanitized before we walked in or even have the bedsheets been changed? These small things have shifted the mindset of the people to actually look for homestays instead of hotels.

Another important amenity people usually look for is a private pool. As the pool is private, you know it’s just used by the ones living in that house. Staff is trained well to clean and maintain it on a regular basis.  It’s difficult to maintain the social distancing norms if the pool is a common one. And above all it is something to look forward to, to take a dip in your own pool after a long day at work. Again the question arises is this possible in my day to day life? And the answer is no. Hence these vacation homes you can say, can be your dream home to be in.

Road trips are going to be the next big thing,especially for the ones who love driving. But also for the ones who don’t like driving but want to be in contact with less people this works the best. Yes, with the Indian roads it can be a bit of a challenge but safety and hygiene is one of the crucial points one keeps in mind. Taking a flight or a train sometimes can be very over whelming, by just seeing hundreds of people sporting a mask or in a PPE suit. The fear that has this seat been sanitized? Can I sit on it? What if the person next to me coughs! Should I worry? The brain just begins to think just the unwanted when it really doesn’t need to. Anxiety steps in. So the other best option is make it a road trip to wherever you want to go. A car with known people gives a sense of safety and security.

Paul Coelho states “if you think adventure is dangerous, try routine , its lethal”. Yes to get away from the routine, homestays and road trips are the new normal. Travel should not stop for anyone.

By Varun Arora, CEO and Co-Founder of Ekostay, a homestay venture.

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