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Helping you plan a holiday

Anand Parthasarathy


Bangalore: The Internet offers a plethora of resources to help Indians book online hotels or travel by air or rail. But for many families the question is: where to go and what to see? With Christmas and New Year school vacations round the corner, they will appreciate the ‘one-stop’ features offered by an Internet resource hailed as “one of the best travel sites anywhere in the world” in an independent survey of Indian web sites. It is also arguably the largest web resource aimed at Indians.

The portal, www.HolidayIQ.com offers unbiased information because it is not tied to any group of hotels, airlines or other travel agencies. It is a well organised resource that tries to provide information about holiday opportunities — resorts, camping destinations, weekend break possibilities, pilgrimage places, historic sites, etc.

In addition to linking the user to the official travel guides for the chosen destination and offering a set of useful maps, HolidayIQ provides a real feedback of experiences — good, bad or ugly — of people just like you, which means no hype, no hard sell.

While the database covers over 7,000 hotels in India, the site is one of the few catering for budget-conscious families. With over 300 home-stay options offered all over the country. One can register to download useful planners such as guides to wildlife sanctuaries or checklists for family holidaying.

Holiday portal

The resource has been created by the Bangalore-based travel enthusiasts Hari Nair and Vinu Krishnan, who gave up senior positions as corporate consultants to start the holiday portal. “We would like users to think of us as an Indian Lonely Planet” Mr. Nair told The Hindu on Saturday, referring to the Australian portal and publisher who is trusted worldwide as an unbiased travel adviser. In the 18 months or so since the resource has been available, it has seen interesting trends emerge in Indian middle class travel. The top destinations remain Goa, Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, in that order, but interestingly more and more travellers come from the secondary towns, not just from the big metros. And canny families increasingly combine pilgrimage with visits to nearby tourist places.

Travel abroad

Feedback at the site tells the founders that travel lust is also beckoning Indians to destinations abroad — and they plan to widen the scope of HolidayIQ to foreign destinations favoured by desi tourists as well.

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