Ultimate Guide to choosing the perfect travel destination during COVID-19
Updated: Aug 30
Coronavirus has surely changed how we think about life and how we think about traveling in today’s world but traveling will never really stop and our will to explore new places and culture will never diminish. The virus has somewhat started to decrease its spread and new ways to tackle and prevent its outreach has also come into effect. How we travel will surely change and is changing with new rules and regulations to maintain social distancing.
Many states have started accepting tourists from other states. Though traveling will be restricted to the domestic circuit, it will help a lot of states to revive their economy as their main source of income was from tourism. Most of the leisurely travel will now be restricted to road travel by personal cars, buses, or caravans, this means, states that are nearby to each other will see a sharp rise in the tourists flocking in.
Many states in India depend on domestic as well as international tourism for their major share of revenue collection. These states have lost a chunk of their revenue due to the Coronavirus and in a bid to make sure that they survive this pandemic, they are opening up borders to some tourists with some states having strict restrictions and some lenient. This blog has everything you’ll need to know about top tourist states in India and how they are tackling against Coronavirus to provide Tourism.
1. Tamil Nadu
3. Uttar Pradesh
9. Himachal Pradesh
1. Tamil Nadu
The most visited state in India by both Indians and International tourists, Tamil Nadu is famous for the Indian heritage it has to showcase and has the most remarkable temples in the country dating back to 1000 years. The living tradition of culturally relevant music, dance, and art forms makes it a perfect destination for many tourists wanting to explore the roots of India and getting a sense of spirituality.
Traveling to Tamil Nadu:
The state of Tamil Nadu has been affected adversely by the coronavirus pandemic. With almost 4 lakh cases and 7,000 deaths, it has recorded the second-highest number of cases in all of the Indian states, staying behind Maharashtra. The state of Tamil Nadu has made it mandatory for anyone trying to come in the state to have an e-pass issued by the local government for tracking each and every tourist that sets foot in the state. They say it will help them keep a record of how these people are affecting the situation of the pandemic and can take future decisions accordingly.
Traveling from Tamil Nadu:
If you’re living in Tamil Nadu and planning to travel to a different state for an excursion, the safest destination by road, for now, would be Kerala. Kerala has recorded around 60,000 cases till now and the graph has been moving slowly there. Kerala has made it mandatory to have a COVID-19 negative test, a minimum stay of 3 days, and booking of accommodation beforehand to enter the state of you’re a tourist. These are fairly easy if you’re will to trave is really strong.
Other states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are seeing a steep incline and can be less safe than Kerala.
Check out Kuntala Banarjee’s blog on top places to worship in Tamil Nadu to get a better idea for a spiritual trip.
The second-most visited state by foreign visitors coming to India, Maharashtra is famous for having the mesmerizing mountain ranges on one side and the serene coastline on the other. Tourists flourish the state of Maharashtra for its century-old temples, the picturesque western ghats by the side, ancient and rich in heritage forts and palaces, the calming ambiance of the sea, and to witness the industrial advances made in our country.
Traveling to Maharashtra:
Maharashtra has had the majority of the effect of this novel Coronavirus. With over 7 lakhs individuals being affected by the virus and more than 23 thousand deaths, the state was in a state of helplessness at one point. There is still a mandatory e-pass requirement to travel to the state of Maharashtra but it will be lifted by the start of September 1, 2020. The central government had eased the restrictions but the state had stayed with the mandate of e-pass to keep a track of the cases in the state.
Traveling from Maharashtra:
The safest place to visit if you’re living in Maharashtra would be Goa. Goa has recorded around 15,000 cases in total and the rate of increase is fairly low. For individuals to enter Goa, they need to present their COVID-19 status to the state, in the form of negative COVID test, or go a 14-day home quarantine routine, or they can also opt for a COVID test at the point of entry into the state. Goa government has made it easy for tourists to enter the state.
Maharashtra is in close proximity to Gujarat, Telangana, and Karnataka but the spread of the virus is not as controlled as that in Goa. They can be ideal tourist spots but one needs to be really cautious with traveling.
Here’s a mini-diary to travel in Mumbai by Parnashree, check it out to read about her awesome journey and recommendations.
3. Uttar Pradesh
When it comes to the most attractive place of interest in India, if not the world, the Taj Mahal will surely top the list. Along with the Taj Mahal, there a number of historically important sites in Uttar Pradesh along with numerous religiously significant temples and other pilgrimage sites. Holiest city of Varanasi that sees tourists flock in thousands every day is another important city in Uttar Pradesh along with Agra, Lucknow, etc.
Traveling to Uttar Pradesh:
The heartland of India is also not doing it in terms of the number of cases of coronavirus. It has seen a rise sharp in a few days taking the positive till to more than 2 lakhs but the authorities have managed to bring down the rise in a systematic manner. UP government has put a lockdown during weekends where entry of vehicles is restricted to people with pass otherwise, there are no restrictions as to enter the state from any border.
Traveling from Uttar Pradesh:
If you’re looking for a getaway near Uttar Pradesh, northernmost states are the best bet. Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh not only offer some of the most breathtaking views but are very safe from the novel virus and have eased up restrictions for tourists to enter the state. Uttarakhand however has stricter restrictions and rules to follow as compared to Himachal Pradesh. If you’re planning to visit Uttarakhand, you’ll have to stay for at least 5 days and have an e-pass with a corona negative test conducted within 72 hours. With Himachal Pradesh, the restrictions have been eased up to a stay of 2 days with an e-pass and a negative test conducted within 96 hours.
Being in the center of the country, Uttar Pradesh shares its borders with a lot of states. Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar, all have been adversely affected due to Coronavirus and might be a little risky to visit for a leisurely vacation.
Here’s a guide by Nicole Smith on how to plan a travel itinerary and experience to North India, it covers really insightful information for people wanting to visit India for the first time.
Known for its beautiful and fairly isolated beaches and the rich culture and diversity, Karnataka has always been a nature lover’s paradise and a tech savvy’s haven. Rich in protected monuments that have important heritage relevance and have been around for centuries now. Karnataka not only attracts tourists that love the heritage of India but also pilgrims that want to immerse themselves in the spirituality of Hindu temples. Karnataka drives almost 9% of all domestic tourism in India.
Traveling to Karnataka:
Karnataka is also another big victim of the novel coronavirus in India. With more than 3 lakhs population of Karnataka affected by the virus, Karnataka is suffering badly in terms of revenue generated through tourism. The restrictions in Karnataka had been strict until now but since the Indian central government’s decision to start unlocking the whole country came into effect, Karnataka brought down the mandatory home quarantine of 14 days to each traveler to only 14 days for those travelers that are symptomatic on arrival to the state.
Traveling from Karnataka:
A traveler from Karnataka should plan an experience to the state of Goa just like Maharashtra. Goa has been able to curb the menace of this virus to make sure that they are able to resume traveling and generate revenue through one of their main source that is tourism. Goa again has a need for a traveler to present their COVID-19 negative test, or go a 14-day home quarantine routine, or they can also opt for a COVID test at the point of entry into the state. Goa government has made it easy for tourists to enter the state.
Karnataka has a lot of states in proximity to it that attract a lot of tourists every year. Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, etc, are close for a traveler coming from Karnataka but since this virus is brought in by other countries and a lot of traffic to these states is coming from other countries, they have been affected a lot be the virus.
All you need to know about North Karnataka is in this guide by Svetlana. Do check it out when planning a trip down in the south.
Famous for its gigantic forts and palaces made by the Rajputs and the colorful setting of each city, the state of Rajasthan attracts almost 7% of international tourism in India. Rajasthan has so much of India’s heritage conserved in it that you’ll fall in love the moment you step foot in the state. The strong amalgamation of culture, history, folklore, festivals, and art, the learning and exploring in Rajasthan always brings in a sense of calmness while traveling.
Traveling to Rajasthan:
The land of kings has been doing well as compared to other states that attract tourism in India. With less than 75,000 cases in total in the state, the state of Rajasthan has had its borders open for a long time now and had allowed tourism to flourish in the state. A lot of travel enthusiasts have started going out of their houses to Rajasthan by taking necessary safety precautions and ensuring that where they travel, that place is safe too.
Traveling from Rajasthan:
Travelers from Rajasthan should not really go out of the state for exploration but if they really need to, then North India would be the best to find some peace amidst the nationwide tensions due to the pandemic. Northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand should be the go-to places for Rajasthani residents. Uttarakhand has a requirement to produce negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior, an e-pass to travel and a minimum stay of 5 days, whereas, Himachal Pradesh has eased the laws to allow a COVID-19 test taken 96 hours prior to entry, 2 days of mandatory stay and an e-pass that is really easy to obtain.
Madhya Pradesh being close to Rajasthan can be another destination for traveling with just over 50,000 cases. The state of Gujarat though has not faired well, the state has witnessed more than 90,000 cases and will not be that ideal of a destination.
A travel to guide to the whole of Rajasthan must have been an amazing experience, check out the same by Campbell and Alya during their journey in the land of kings/
Kerala rightly known as god’s own country is famous for the secluded beaches, greenery all around the land, the backdrop of misty hill stations, majestic waterfalls, and exotic wildlife it attracts a number of tourists looking for a relaxing time and to retreat themselves from the monotony of life. A number of off-beat places that bring a sense of serenity will be sure to calm your nerves and free you off all your stress.
Traveling to Kerala:
The situation in Kerala is under control considering the fact that Kerala was the first state to record a case of the virus and started the lockdown fairly early. With only 64,000 cases till now, Kerala has allowed travelers to have a short stay in the state with a mandatory COVID-19 negative test report. All you would need to visit Kerala would an e-pass with your information of traveling and a negative report, and you’re good to go.
Traveling from Kerala:
It would not be advisable for travelers in Kerala to go somewhere else for leisurely purposes. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the immediate neighbors and both of these states have a high case count as compared to Kerala itself. There are a number of resorts in Kerala to chill and relax and that’s how you should spend your vacation away from home.
When we think of Kerala, Munnar is the place to visit. Check out this account by Diana Lesko to read her experience and guide to Munnar
Synonyms with the party capital of India. Goa has the prettiest white sand beaches, succulent Goan seafood, world heritage sites, and showcases the catholic culture in India with full power. Also called a hippie paradise for travelers looking to party hard and a haven for travelers looking for peace too for the different types of beaches it has to offer. Goa attracts a lot of travelers during the new years’ time but the shacks and cafes are evergreen and the seafood is always worth a try.
Traveling to Goa:
Goa has recorded around 15,000 cases in total and the rate of increase is fairly low. For individuals to enter Goa, they need to present their COVID-19 status to the state, in the form of negative COVID test, or go a 14-day home quarantine routine, or they can also opt for a COVID test at the point of entry into the state. Goa government has made it easy for tourists to enter the state.
Traveling from Goa:
For a traveler to travel outside Goa would not be the ideal thing to do. To be honest, there is nothing more a traveler would want that they could not get in Goa. Perfect quiet beaches, food worth dying for, resorts and accommodations, and a nightlife that is not comparable to any other place in India, there is nothing else you should go. Goa is in only close proximity to Karnataka and Maharashtra that have been affected a lot by the virus.
Here’s a blog on planning the perfect travel experience to Goa at a low cost by the backpacker south Asia.
The untouched natural beauty and a famous site for pilgrims all over the world. Uttarakhand provides a scintillating view of the mountain range and is the originating spot of Ganga and Yamuna, the two holy rivers of the Hindu religion. Home to the Char Dhams, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. Thousands of tourists visit Uttarakhand annually to pay homage to the Char Dhams.
Traveling to Uttarakhand:
Uttarakhand’s one of the major sources of revenue has been tourism. The fact that no tourists have been coming in at the time of peak tourist season had affected the states working drastically. For a traveler to come in the state, they’ll need to have a COVID-19 test done 72 hours within their travel, with an e-pass that gives them permission to enter the state and have to stay for a minimum of 5 days.
Traveling from Uttarakhand:
For Uttarakhand travelers, the neighboring Himachal Pradesh state would be the best destination for tourism, considering the fact that Himachal Pradesh has fewer cases and restrictions to enter the state have been reduced for allowing passengers to visit the state for tourism.
Danish made a great list of 5 things to do in Kanatal in his blog. Do check it out when visiting Uttarakhand.
9. Himachal Pradesh
Also known as the Land of Gods, sharing its borders with Tibet, it is rich in the Tibetan culture having a large number of historically important monasteries and McleodGanj being the home of the Dalai Lama. Himachal Pradesh is frequently visited by tourists from all over India for its amazing adventure activities and scenic landscapes.
Traveling to Himachal Pradesh:
Himachal Pradesh is also famous for tourism in the North of India and has always been the go-to getaway destination for tourists wanting peace and serenity. Himachal Pradesh recently announced restrictions to be reduced to promote tourism in times of Coronavirus to generate employment to those that had been affected the most by this untimely pandemic. Now, a tourist can visit the state by showing a COVID-19 negative test done in 96 hours, a minimum stay of 2 days, and an e-pass that can be issued fairly easily.
Traveling from Himachal Pradesh:
Being a close neighbor to Uttarakhand and sharing borders with the same, it would be an ideal destination for travelers from Himachal Pradesh but considering the fact that Uttarakhand has some major restrictions in place for a traveler coming from another state, it might not be advisable to go out of the state.
Check out this unique blog on Sharchi, a village in the Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh by Shubham Mansingka. A beautiful place to visit during COVID-19.
The capital of India, Delhi attracts a lot of tourists due to its rich heritage on one side and the cosmopolitan city on one side. Historical monuments with narrow lanes having amazing street food to huge skyscrapers with well-made roads and all the modern cafes and outlets, Delhi has it all for the modern traveler.
Traveling to Delhi:
Entering Delhi is fairly simple and there are not any restrictions per se for a traveler coming by road to Delhi. As a way to resume not just traveling but to resume operations for most of the work that goes around too. Tourist spots and other destinations are still closed to maintain social distancing but cafes and restaurants have opened up for all.
Traveling from Delhi:
Travelers from Delhi have a number of options to choose from when it comes to traveling to other states by road. The ideal location considering the cases and restrictions would be Rajasthan as there is no prior permission needed to enter the state but since Himachal Pradesh has reduced their requirements, that can be another ideal destination considering the weather.
Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are in close proximity to Delhi too but Uttarakhand has somewhat stricter restrictions and Uttar Pradesh has a lot of cases and would not be that safe to travel.
Here is Sophie's blog on how to spend 24 hours in Delhi. Do check it out and more of her travel journey in India.
COVID-19 has made sure that we change the way we see travel and the future of travel will never be the same. We not only need to travel safely now but travel responsibly, by traveling recklessly, we not only put ourselves at risk but people around us too. We need to identify the places that are not just ideal for our wanderlust but also that are safe to travel and explore while taking complete safety precautions.
Travel for a few months to come will be restricted to domestic traveling that too mostly by roads as that is the safest option for any individual. Considering the fact that India’s road network is vast and people are dying to travel, travel by Caravans is a great option for travelers from any state. Caravans do not just provide a means of transportation, Caravans have kitchens, beds, washrooms to make sure that travelers can travel anywhere safely without the need of getting out at all.