Check Out These Highlights of 2014!

With the promise of a new year just around the corner, here’s a brief roundup of this year.

 

 

WE LOVE IT!

 

 

Mission Mangalyaan

 

mangalyaan

 

ISRO did us proud! India’s Mission to Mars takes the cake of being the ultimate highlight of 2014! It lead to the world sitting up and taking notice of India’s potential.

 

 

NaMo NaMo!

 

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Shri Narendra Modi (by Bapty Seshasayee)

 

Starting from a landslide victory earlier this year, our 15th Prime Minister has made quite an impression not only in India, but across the world. And his social media savviness doesn’t hurt either. Boosting the tourism industry tops his agenda for a better India. He also announced lifetime visas for US citizens of Indian origin, and visa-on arrival for all US citizens and 42 other countries.

 

 

Paris Visa in 48 hours!

 

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Paris at Night (by Benh LIEU SONG)

 

Indians can now get their French visas within 48 hours from the coming year. France will also be launching a travel app called “Chalo Paris” to guide Indians visiting the country, with sections on vegetarian restaurants, translations, transport, excursions and getaways.

 

Airline News

 A lot has been happening on the airline front in India. Here are the top stories.

    • New airports proposed in tier 1 and tier 2 cities.

 

    • 9 airports will have visa-on-arrival facility for international tourists.

 

    • Air Asia began its operations this year.

 

    • Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture–Vistara Airlines, got its flying permit this month. Flight schedules will be announced shortly.

 

  • Emirates Airlines becomes the second international airline, after Singapore Airlines, to launch commercial flights in India with the Airbus A380.

 

Emirates Airlines Airbus A 380 (by Julian Herzog)

 

Flash Sales! Woot Woot!

2014 brought us many exciting deals on flights and travel packages. In case you missed those, here’s your last chance to grab some exciting LTC deals on ixigo this year. Hurry!

 

 

 Shreeshakti Express Brings Smiles to Many Faces

 

Launched this year in July, by the Modi government, Shreeshakti Express will now connect the Katra Valley to the rest of India. This means great news for Vaishno Devi devotees who can now get down directly in Katra, thereby significantly reducing the commuting time. The train will run along the 25 km long Udhampur-Katra corridor with a small stoppage at Chakrakhwal in between.

 

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The Vaishno Devi Shrine (by Abhishek Chandra)

 

 


And North-east on the Railway Map…Finally!

 

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Rail tracks (from pixabay)

 

The railway expansion in India’s north-east zone is finally gaining momentum. Remote states like Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh will soon enjoy better connectivity with the rest of the country.

 

 

Tawang is the New Goa!

 

Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is all set to become a mega tourist destination in the coming year.

 

Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Monastery (by Sandrog)

 

 

Speaking of Goa…

 

The party capital is taking all the right steps to becoming a world-class tourist destination. With the launch of the new and improved Goa international airport at Dabolim, the state is prepared to meet the surge in tourist traffic over the last few years. Additional facilities include lifeguards on every beach, more safety for women travellers, improved infrastructure, tourist jetties, MICE facilities and much much more.

 

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Butterfly Beach in Goa (from operatemytrip.com)

 

 

ixigo Hits the Viral Jackpot!

 

Ixigo’s Travel Hack Tips video went absolutely viral with around 5 million views! If you’ve still not seen it, here’s the link.

 

 


And we did it again! Check out these cool hotel hacks below!

 

 


 

Now Pigs Can Fly…On American Airlines!

 

That news about an American woman who carried a swine on a Connecticut flight, which by the way is legal in America, for “emotional support”. She was asked to get off the plane after the pig decided it didn’t quite like the company around, and the terrified passengers started screaming for help…or passing out from the stink.

 

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(from pixabay)

 

 

Coolest Passports Ever!

 

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Left: Normal light; Right: UV light

 

Norwegians passports contain a surprising feature which makes us go green with envy. The pages feature numerous minimalist interpretations of the Norway’s most striking landscapes, which instantly appear iridescent under the UV light used at security checks. The page showing Northern Lights is one of the best!

Indian passports could also use some revamping. Hint hint, if you get our drift, hint hint.

 

 


A Bizarre Travel Companion

 

We love this one for its crazy quotient! The distinctive looking Ostrich Pillow is a portable device that earnestly claims to allow short power naps anytime, anywhere. It has a hole where you put your head and a mouth hole to allow you to breathe. It has two side arm holes on top where you can stuff your hands if you wish to nap in a head down position.

 

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The Ostrich Pillow (from the official website)

 

 

Communicating on Social is More Fun!

 

We totally love the facebook stickers and the new emoticon on the block—the shruggie ¯_(ツ)_/¯, which has an impressively wide scope of usage, but more on that later.

 

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Shruggie emoji (from pixabay)

 

 

 

WE LOVE IT NOT!

 

Then there were things that didn’t give us too much pleasure this year

 

On the travel front

 

      • A nice vacation in the luxury trains in India costs nothing less than Rs 3 lakh.

 

    • Spice Jet got officially grounded.

 

    • The airline ticket that can buy a private suite in an Airbus 380 costs more than 14,000 euros (equivalent to more than Rs 11 lakh in Indian currency)

 

    • Turkey and Dubai will not allow visa on arrival for Indian passport holders. Indian tourists will now have to apply for an online visa prior to their trip.

 

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    The interior view of an Indian luxury train (Simon Pielow)

 

 

On the social front…

 

      • Selfies: Clicking selfies started small and was taken as an interesting concept. And then it caught on. And then it really caught on. And then it pretty much went downhill from there. Don’t get us wrong, we have come across some really awesome travel selfies. It’s just the incessant flooding of the internet with useless look-at-me-am-I-not-pretty selfies that we are complaining about.

 

      • Blue tick update on Whatsapp: Whatsapp is back again with a potent relationship destroyer. As if the “last seen” add-on wasn’t bad enough, the blue tick goes directly for the kill by letting the person on the other end know if you have read the message or not without a doubt.

 

    • whatsapp-main

 

  • Too many posts following the now old formula of 10 things that you face when you have , or 15 traits/signs of people who are , 18 things to do before you

 

 

That was all for our 2014 roundup. Let us know if you would like us to add anything more to this list. We wish you a very happy 2015!