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For love or for god: Why Indians travel

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An Indian family spends time at the Shangumugham beach on the Arabian Sea coast in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala state, India, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Indians’ favourite travel destinations vary according to what they are seeking: religion or romance.

Up to 97% of Indian respondents in a recent survey said they’d travel within the country for their spiritual needs. Yet four in 10 were most likely to choose foreign destinations for their honeymoons.

The survey was conducted by online travel agent MakeMyTrip between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 and covered 3,000 respondents, all of whom had travelled within the previous six months.

Overseas destinations closer to home are especially a hit among Indian newly-weds. Four out of the top five destinations for honeymooners were countries in southeast Asia, with Indonesia leading the pack.

When Indians travel within the country, one trend is consistent: They are drawn to the same types of locations, irrespective of the nature of their holiday. Beaches and hills topped the list, catching the fancy of approximately a third of all vacationers.

(The survey results for some categories tally less than 100% as the respondents either skipped some questions or chose the “others” category. In some cases, they exceed 100% because they picked multiple answers.)

What to do

Vacations are a prized novelty here, with Indians willing to give up almost anything, from sex to the internet, for them. Yet, when they holiday, it is hardly about relaxing and lounging around.

People love to be out and about when on a trip with their family or friends. “City tour and shopping are the most preferred activities across domestic and international locations. However, visit to (an) amusement park and boat rides (cruises/yachts/ferries) seem to be a little high on priority among international travelers,” the survey said.

Three in four travelers exploring new destinations and over 60% of honeymooners, too, chose city tours as their most preferred activity.

Adventure travelers who looked beyond sightseeing and shopping, ranked water sports as a favourite. Among those going abroad, aquatic activities were even more popular, with a larger share picking water sports and scuba diving.

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