After a two-year-long lull, domestic travel is finally picking up. Ahead of the holidays and the long weekend preceding Independence Day, travel companies are seeing a 2x surge in bookings. 

Monsoon is the time when usually people prefer weekend getaways. Given that August has the highest number of long weekends, people seem to be making the most of it. 

“Raksha Bandhan being a school holiday / optional holiday for companies and Independence day following immediately on Monday, customers are making the best use of this extended weekend — our internal data indicating a 2x surge in demand,” Daniel D’Souza, President & Country Head - Holidays, SOTC Travel.

EaseMyTrip, too, is witnessing a strong forward booking trend for the Raksha Bandhan – Independence Day long weekend. People are utilising it for getaways to unwind and enjoy with their loved ones, Rikant Pittie, Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip explained, adding that the top five destinations where EaseMyTrip is seeing heavy bookings are Goa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Coorg, and Kerala, all thanks to the monsoon.

This is translating into heavy hotel bookings to near-by getaways. According to Oyo’s recent report, over 50 per cent of its respondents were to take a monsoon trip outside city-limits.

Prahlad Krishnamurthi, Chief Business Officer, Cleartrip, observed that the current quantum of hotel bookings for the upcoming long weekend shows pent-up demand, with a 15 per cent spike in bookings for leisure destinations such as Lonavala, Udaipur, Ooty, and Pondicherry.

“Consumer travel sentiment towards leisure travel, continues to remain strong and is expected to grow further in the coming months. Consumers have opened their wallets for this long weekend (13-15th August period). We are seeing a 2x spike in premium (> ₹10,000 per room) bookings specifically for this weekend,” he said .

Often, weekend trips are for tight of pocket travellers. In this case, hostels, too, have witnessed an uptick in destinations like Goa, Udaipur, Munnar and Coorg, with bookings almost at 100 per cent, said Pallavi Agarwal, Founder & CEO, goSTOPS. 

Meanwhile, destinations like Rishikesh, Manali, Palampur, Naggar, Kasar Devi, and Nainital are showing similar trends as previous months, she said.

However, “the delayed monsoon and resulting landslides could be playing a dampener for the hill destinations. Several factors are at play in planning a weekend gateway — leaves, work-load, matching schedules with friends and family and sometimes just waiting for the right time,” she noted. 

In this case, people are also opting for leisure destinations like Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Assam to explore the wilderness of India’s leading national parks like Sasan Gir, Ranthambore, Keoladeo, and Kaziranga, according to SOTC’s data.