For our TravelHer series, we spoke to Prachi Buchar, a journalist with over 15 years of experience across television and print. She is a Deputy Editor at India Today. She edits a bunch of supplements for the India Today group, is a traveller without a cause, digs Michelin meals and street food equally, and has a pulse on the best in luxury.
Buchar, an avid traveller, speaks to SheThePeople.TV on how she picks her destinations, being a confident solo woman traveller and also shares her secret travelling hacks.
Q. A picture is worth a thousand words to the young globe-trotters of today. How has that changed travel?
A. In some sense it has made the world accessible to people who cannot afford to travel or have other constraints. It allows them to live vicariously and indulge in some armchair travel. At the same time, the desperation to capture a moment for posterity on social media also leads to a dulling of senses as one forgets to focus on the travel and is instead focused on getting that perfect selfie, so in some sense social media is a twin-edged sword.
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Q. What kind of traveller are you – and how do you pick your destinations?
A. I travel for work, pleasure, solitude, with family, without family, sometimes choosing luxury, at others, authentic, immersive experiences that don’t hinge on how expensive a hotel or a meal is. When travelling on work, the destination is picked for me. When I travel for pleasure, it is almost always a place that I have not visited before, so I can add to my favourites. I also love travelling back to the same places again as each trip brings with it new experiences depending on what I am seeking.
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Q. To what extent is the new generation fuelled by wanderlust and prioritizes personally enriching experiences over material possessions?
A. I think there are two kinds of people in this generation; those who seek personally enriching experiences irrespective of whether they have money for material buys and others who have gone through the material buys and are looking to bolster their lives by indulging in unique travel.
I travel for work, pleasure, solitude, with family, without family, sometimes choosing luxury, at others, authentic, immersive experiences that don’t hinge on how expensive a hotel/ meal is – Prachi Buchar
Q. What this means is that destinations today need to think about hinge on how out how to accommodate social media in their marketing strategy… how do you see this trend?
A. I think destinations/ restaurants/ hotels need to be clear about who their target audience is. Very often, influencers on social media may not work well for them because you may have 80k Instagram followers but only 100 of them may be able to afford the kind of experience you are putting out on social media. Not all influencers work; marketers need to be aware of that.
Q. As a solo woman traveller, what’s the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?
A. That not all online reviews are trustworthy and most properties are far from what their images make them out to be (this is especially true of mid-range hotels).
Not all influencers work; marketers need to be aware of that – Prachi Buchar
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Q. Do you feel the need to deflect the attention from being a woman traveller? Or that could be location specific? We would like to know your thoughts.
A. Women travellers today are confident even when travelling solo and there is a growing space for them in the travel market. I never feel the need to deflect attention from myself just because I am a woman.. unless I was travelling to a region that generally treated women travellers differently.
Q. Prachi Buchar’s secret travelling hacks
- Book flights 40 days in advance… you usually get the best fare.
- No matter where you are going, carry a box of trail mix/ dried fruits as you sometimes need that pick me up when you are stuck somewhere.
- Pack a foldable bag inside your suitcase that you can dump all your shopping into and carry as hand luggage if need be.
- If you are on a long trip but won’t have access to a washing machine, use panty liners!
Q. Three travelling trends on an uptick till 2020?
- Immersive travel where local experiences rule as do homestays.
- Travel for wellness.
- Sustainable travel–eco-lodges/ safari vacations/ stay at hotels where they bottle their own water etc. Also Read: Heard of Gjogv? Shubha Bhandari Takes You To An Edge Of The World