The Rise of Hobbidays: Unique and Mindful Travel Experiences in 2024

Discover the emerging trend of "Hobbidays." Travelers are seeking unique, immersive experiences that combine their hobbies with travel. Find out more here.
Imagine spending a week painting “en plein air” in the company of like-minded folks in Italy, learning to surf the waves at a picturesque beach in Kerala, immersing in the calming art of pottery at a mountain retreat in Himachal Pradesh or opting for a ski course in the posh and pristine French Alps. We often perceive travelling as packing our bags and getting away from the monotony of everyday life.However, when combined with a hobby, it can be an enriching experience.

The growing interest in “Hobbidays”’s predictions for 2024 indicate a dynamic shift in travel preferences, with a clear focus on unique, immersive, and mindful experiences. And why not? Travel, today, is highly experiential. “In a fast-paced world, where frequent holidays may be impractical, travellers are increasingly choosing to travel mindfully by pairing their time off from work with recreational activities that interest them. Moreover, with a plethora of information just a click away, they are exposed to the meaning of redefined travel,” says Aditya Baheti, Founder of Anopura, a boutique property nestled in Jaipur’s countryside. Anopura organises retreats appealing to various interest groups. Think yoga and meditation breaks, artist and writer’s retreats, bird-watching getaways, self-discovery vacations, photography retreats and more.

Annette Morris Art 7

Pic: Annette Morris instructing a group of urban sketchers
Annette Morris who runs urban sketching holidays in France says, “During the pandemic, many people started to explore new hobbies or revisit a long-lost craft. As a result, a whole new online industry emerged to cater for hobbyists and creators eager to learn new skills. Those new virtual communities and connections are now widely accessible and people can explore and access a vast array of creative and art experiences in real life that they may not have been aware of, or even considered, just a few years ago.” Hemant Mediratta, Founder and CEO of One Rep Global and a travel industry expert believes that there has been a shift in the mindset of travellers, especially among the Indian demographic, characterised by an increase in purchasing power. “With a surplus of disposable income, individuals are now more inclined to invest in experiences that resonate with their interests and passions. This transformation is further propelled by the ubiquitous influence of social media, serving as a dynamic platform for individuals to explore, share, and cultivate their hobbies,” adds Mediratta who strongly feels that the Hobbiday trend underscores a broader societal movement towards experiential travel, emphasising personal growth and engagement as integral components of the holiday experience.


In contrast to conventional sightseeing, Hobbidaying helps establish a profound connection with the destination. It surpasses the surface-level exploration of a city, offering a hands-on and immersive understanding of local culture and traditions. Actively participating in a hobby in a foreign locale forges a unique bond between the traveller and the destination, providing a more authentic encounter.

-Hemant Mediratta, Founder and CEO, One Rep Global

Hobbidayers are travellers with a purpose

Hemant Mediratta skiing in Courchevel1.

Pic: Hemant Mediratta skiing in Courchevel, France
Hobbidayers form a diverse group, each driven by unique motivations that draw them to this evolving trend. “For some, the therapeutic benefits associated with their chosen hobby take centre stage, emphasising mental health and stress relief. Another segment is guided by the principles of slow travel, seeking an immersive and deliberate exploration of destinations that fosters a profound connection with local cultures through hobby-aligned activities,” explains Mediratta. Morris who has also been working as a travel guide points out that those seeking a hobbiday are likely to be open-minded and keen to try new things and meet new, like-minded people. “Travelling can be a daunting experience, especially alone, but crossing the miles to join a group of people with a similar interest and passion is far less intimidating and can be a great confidence builder,” adds Morris.

Reclaim Yourself Retreats yoga teacher Adam Husler credit photographer Philip Suddick

Pic: Reclaim Yourself Retreats’ yoga teacher Adam Husler practicing the warrior pose
Mindfulness emerges as a common thread among Hobbidayers, finding solace and fulfilment in experiences that captivate their senses and promote a heightened sense of presence. People who live a busy or stressful lifestyle are increasingly aware of the value of being present. Jools Sampson, a retreat consultant and mentor who conducts yoga and meditation retreats across the world says, “We get people of all ages, shapes and sizes and everyone has different yoga experience, fitness levels and abilities. However, what most of them are looking for is “me time” and a chance to focus on themselves,” adds Sampson.

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Pic: Guilia Brina at Soul & Surf, Varkala
Italian assistant director and personal chef Giulia Brina who lives in Paris is glad to be able to globetrot with the aim to surf. “I always wanted to do something different; something that could make me feel alive. Going through some tough times made me want to travel to new places, to meet new people, new cultures, new worlds, new challenges and to no longer be scared of changes. I started travelling solo to various surfing locations and discovered the beauty of savouring every moment. Surfing takes me to incredible places that feel like home. Currently, I am baking and surfing at Soul & Surf in Varkala, Kerala and enjoying the process of bringing together my two passions. I am rediscovering myself with each passing day.”

Pick a hobbiday that suits your interest

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Pic: Participants immersed in moulding clay at Dharamkot Studio, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Participating in a hobby while on the move creates enduring memories of personal accomplishment and skill development. For example, crafting a Nepali woodwork artefact with one’s own hands in the heart of Nepal would transcend the boundaries of a typical travel encounter, with the memory of creating a meaningful artefact. Sadaiv Ranjan, Founder of Dharamkot Studio says that most retreats are usually organised around one residential experience – pottery, painting etc – and packaged with other activities that enhance the main experience. “For example, during our pottery retreats, we give enough free time so that people go for yoga, nature walks etc. The idea is to create community spaces where people can come and create art and socialise with other people. A lot of brainstorming and research is involved in planning these itineraries,” adds Ranjan.

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Pic: A group of passionate sketchers at the Annette Morris Art Retreat
Urban sketching holidays are quite popular among art lovers. “Urban Sketching is an activity that helps you not just slow down but also explore and learn about the places you visit and the lives of the people living there. It’s also incredibly absorbing and mindful so it has a strong appeal to people looking for a slow travel experience and ways to immerse themselves in somewhere new,” explains Morris who offers both fully-guided all-inclusive tours as well as sketching experiences that give flexibility.

Reclaim Yourself Yoga Retreats

Pic: A group of conscious travellers performing yoga with Reclaim Yourself Retreats
On the other hand, Sampson’s retreats combine the joy of wellness travel with sustainable tourism. “Over the last 25 years, I have been designing life-affirming trips in extraordinary locations like Japan, and Mongolia and hidden gems in Nordic countries. I work with world-class yoga and meditation teachers and our guests sleep in luxury lodges, remote cabins and designer treehouses while enjoying amazing adventures like kayaking around tropical islands, big hikes in remote wild places, husky sledging in the Arctic Circle, horse riding in the wilderness, whale watching in remote fjords and snowshoeing under the Northern Lights. What underpins all of what we do is the transformational experience of helping every individual feel physically and mentally better than when they arrived,” says Sampson.

All-inclusive vs pick-and-mix itineraries

The essence of Hobbidays lies in their all-inclusive nature, encompassing the entire spectrum of travel, accommodation, and curated activities. This comprehensive approach guarantees a holistic and hassle-free immersion in a hobby. Sampson’s wellness adventures include accommodation for all days, meals, yoga, meditation and most of the activities. “We sometimes leave some additional activities as optional so that people have the choice to keep exploring and pack more or simply unwind in between yoga sessions. Certainly, these trips aren’t cheap and people are happy to spend money on a carefully crafted holiday experience,” she says.


Pic: Delish meals at Soul & Surf, a surf and yoga retreat in Varkala, Kerala
While the inclusive experience works very well for busy executives or those who may be reluctant to travel alone, DIY holidays could turn out cheaper and offer more freedom. “People can ‘pick and mix’ their itineraries and accommodations according to their budget and personal schedules. This gives them the option to select one or many experiences that appeal to them. A bonus is often the fact that the teacher or retreat provider is usually local and can share fascinating insights into the lifestyle and the culture that a visiting guide is very unlikely to know,” says Morris.
Hobbidays are here to stay


Pic: For those keen on cycling to discover a new destination, Blive offers ebike tours in various cities across India
Undoubtedly, travelling with a deliberate focus on pursuing a cherished hobby or embracing a new one elevates the entire travel experience, turning it into a profoundly enriching and personalised journey. According to Sampson, it adds an extra layer to any trip; there is a purpose for going somewhere and a sense of wanting to learn and achieve something. “This is such a positive mindset to have when planning your holiday, and then once you are there, the feeling of doing something well and enjoying the process is so good for the mind, body and soul,” adds Sa.
The ascent of the Hobbiday trend in 2024 is not a fleeting moment but rather a substantial transformation in travel preferences. “Anticipated to grow significantly, this trend mirrors a paradigm shift in the way travellers approach their journeys. Following the global upheaval caused by the pandemic, individuals have reassessed their priorities, placing a heightened value on meaningful and purposeful activities during their vacations. Hobbidays meets this demand by seamlessly integrating hobbies into travel itineraries, presenting a distinctive fusion of recreation and skill enhancement,” says Mediratta.
Hobbidaying is healthy if it involves conversations, and opening of the heart and the soul with new people and in new environments. This is when learning becomes meaningful. However, one must remember that it gives joy only minus an obsessive desire to compete. Also, picking a travel partner with shared interests is key. Alternatively, go solo. –

Harish Shetty, psychiatrist


– Inspires deeper connection with the destination
– Helps develop new skills, openness, acceptance and curiosity
– Builds creative confidence
– Helps discover one’s strengths and weaknesses
– Enables one to celebrate the here and now
-Leads to personal growth and well-being
– Encourages one to build new friendships and connections with like-minded people around the world
– Imparts a profound sense of accomplishment and a deeper understanding of self

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