SaffronStays X Series

With an increasing number of travellers preferring homestays that offer a closed environment, unlike a resort or hotel, SaffronStays launched the X Series. A curated list of homes that can easily accommodate 15+ people, they have options in Alibaug, Pune, Mahabaleshwar and Goa. Highlights include swimming pools, home theatres and stunning views. Starting at ₹75,000 per night (all meals included). Details:

Project TraVival

NotOnMap and Help Tourism are putting together a series of 150+ training videos in over 18 regional languages, aimed at helping stakeholders of rural tourism. The 12 modules will cover topics like sustainability, hygiene and best business practices for homestays, and ties into NotOnMap’s ‘Live like local’ motto, giving tourists options for experiential travel to places like Goa, Kerala and the North East. Details:

Virtual Nagaland

The 21st Hornbill Festival — spread across 10 days, with 16 Naga tribes celebrating their culture through song, dance, craft and food — has gone virtual. Calling it a ‘symbolic gesture’ to keep the spirit of the festival alive, the organisers are relying on archival material to keep the programming engaging. That means no bhut jolokia eating contest! Catch the last day (yes, it’s halved too) on NDTV 24×7 (12.30 pm) and on @hornbillfestivalnagaland

Your 2020 travel tracker

Adventure at sea

Fresh Fins, Hanif Mohammed Q’s lockdown venture to get fish home delivered, now has a new addition. With his ocean adventure club, Southfin, based in Kovalam, Chennai, he aims to get children and adults engaged in outdoor, ocean-specific activities: sport fishing, surfing, diving, kayaking, whale watching, turtle walks, and more. Bookings will start next week. 9696089696

One night at SRK’s

Get a peek into the King of Bollywood’s luxurious lifestyle courtesy Airbnb’s campaign, Home With Open Arms. Participate to win a night at his South Delhi home – designed by wife Gauri Khan – on February 13, 2021. Winners will enjoy a lavish meal of the actor’s favorite foods, a movie marathon, and receive personalised keepsakes from the family as souvenirs. Details:

Your 2020 travel tracker

Kolkata street view

Yes, the tourists are coming back, but do we really need to throng the streets? Try a virtual tour to discover the secrets of Kolkata. Immersive Trails, co-founded by archaeologist Tathagata Neogi, is offering walks such as Chowringhee Architecture Trail, Victorian Calcutta Trail, and our favourite, the Murder and Mayhem Trail — exploring the crimes that rocked White Town and Black Town in the late 18th century. ₹500++, on

Come visit, get a coupon

It’s winter, the snow’s falling and the hills of Mussoorie and Nainital have never looked more enticing. And now the Uttarakhand Tourism Department is doing its bit to ensure that people visit. Everyone who registers on the Dehradun Smart City portal will receive a ₹1,000 ‘Tourist Incentive Coupon’ or 25% off per day (whichever is less) for a three-day stay in a hotel or homestay. Details:

Maldives, with the stars

The Maldives was among the first to welcome back tourists, reopening borders in July. The rich and famous were quick to make a beeline for the naturally social-distanced island resorts. Want to enjoy uninterrupted sea views while sipping on wine? Follow Katrina Kaif and Varun Dhawan to Soneva Fushi. Need a spot of adventure? Do like Rakul Preet Singh and snorkel with white sharks at Lux South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas. A negative Covid-19 test on arrival (taken within 96 hours of departure) is all it takes to get your passport stamped

Your 2020 travel tracker

A home for a Euro

To save Italy’s depopulated areas from turning into ghost towns, the government is attracting buyers to snap up homes at jaw-dropping prices. The mayor of Calabria’s €1 house (40-50 sq ft) scheme might sound like an attractive proposition, but buyers are required to pay an annual €250 policy insurance fee until the home is renovated (has to be done within three years) and will be fined if they fail to do so. As per reports, other towns selling €1 homes require a deposit of up to €5,000 (₹4,16,000) and buyers will have to forfeit if they cannot meet the three-year target.

Treat your toys in Tokyo

Natsumi Clinic in Tokyo offers everything from eye surgery to hair transplants — for your stuffed toys! Started by entrepreneur Natsumi Hakozaki, they specialise in restoring old toys. Each stage of the ‘treatment’ is documented (with photos posted online) and the process can take up to 10 days (costing anywhere between ₹7,000 and ₹3,50,000). The clinic has received ‘patients’ from far-flung Hong Kong, France and Britain, with many often waiting up to a year for a reservation. Now, with the Air Bubble Agreement between Indian and Japan — where registration of passengers with the Indian embassy is no longer be required — you can fly your scruffy teddy for some TLC. Details:

Your 2020 travel tracker

The bus to London

If flights are off the cards for you, Gurgaon-based Adventures Overland has a new way to get you on that overseas holiday. Come May, you can be part of a 70-day bus ride from New Delhi to London that covers 18 countries across six continents. The organisers have received over 2,000 inquiries but ‘the current bus can carry only 20 travellers so we might pilot two buses and increase the numbers to 40’, says an executive. Travellers are required to take the Covid-19 test and masks are mandatory. Every morning, temperature and oxygen level checks will be done too. On reaching London, the bus will embark on its journey back home on the same route. <NO> The Delhi to London leg from May 2 to July 10 is priced at ₹16,53,750 per person.

Your 2020 travel tracker

Tina Fey hosts The Best of Broadway

Cast members from several Broadway productions — including Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Chicago, Jersey Boys, Mean Girls, and Rent — are all set to take over the streets of Manhattan as part of a Broadway fundraiser, One Night Only: The Best of Broadway. The two-hour special to be hosted by actor Tina Fey will also feature performances by Kelly Clarkson, Brett Eldredge and Patti LaBelle. Donations during the show will go towards Broadway Cares. On December 10 at 6.30 am.