All posts filed under: Travel Tips

What I Pack For My Travels

The ease and convenience of any backpacking trip depends on what you’re carrying in your backpack. It is important to carry everything necessary, yet not going over the limit. I remember the first time I left home for a few months long journey, my backpack looked like a 70L bin-bag. Obviously, overwhelmed with the idea of long term travel, I had no idea what I was doing, and shoved in everything that I thought can be of use. This is one of the common mistakes that newbie backpackers do, and I was no different. Now, after years of travelling, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned it is – Travel Light! And that’s pretty much the mantra I use while packing for a journey. Take as little as possible, perhaps half the clothes and other things you think you will need… and you’ll realise that it was the best thing you did. I take only what is necessary, and if I really need something, I buy it on the way. It’s not hard to find …

Fear of Unknown. How To Deal With It As A Solo Traveller

The most common reply I get every time I talk to someone about my nomadic lifestyle is that they wish they could do it too. People tell me about their solo travel dreams, and share the fantasies of being a solo backpacker somewhere in Amsterdam, then they come up with common excuses as to why they can’t realise them: They fear they will feel bored alone. They fear it’s not safer for them as a woman. They fear their parents won’t allow. Fear. It’s what keeps us from living our dreams and doing what we’d always wanted to do. I remember when I’d initially decided to quit my job to travel (& I’m not asking you to do so), I was equally scared, as I was while leaving for my first ever indefinite backpacking trip to Bhutan. And two years later, even today, as I plan a trip, or worse, find myself standing behind the exit door of my home in New Delhi, or inside a railway station in another city, I feel no less scared …

How To Find A Cheap Flight Ticket

This world would be a much better place if we could just travel anywhere we wanted, by road! If there’s one thing that makes travelling abroad difficult – especially for the budget travellers like me – it is the expensive flight tickets. I mean look at it this way: you fly from New Delhi to Bangkok, for a week, and end up spending more money on your flights than on everything else put together. It’s therefore more important to find the hidden cheap airfares than finding the right destination to travel, or the right place to stay. Because if a flight is too expensive for you to afford, you aren’t going anywhere. But thankfully the odds are not all against you. Every day, airlines around the world release thousands of killer deals – from mistakenly published cheap fares to intentionally provided slashed prices. Yes, cheap fares are out there, if only you know how to find them. And today I am going to help you master how to find a cheap flight. These are the …

How To Choose The Best Travel Backpack

Over the past few years, my mode of transport has fluctuated between flights, buses, overnight trains, hitchhiking, motor-bike trips, walking, you name it. And this has forced me to change my travel backpack quite a few times – sometimes because I was unsatisfied with the product, and sometime because it no longer served my needs well. When it comes to travelling I’m totally okay to adjust with the situation. I can sleep at an airport, travel in a rickety bus, and eat at someplace disgusting. But while buying the travel gear, or more importantly a backpack, I make no compromises. A proper gear makes your travel easier, and helps you feel more confident. Hence, no compromises. But I wasn’t like that always! I remember the first time I bought a backpack (some 5 or 6 years ago), I bought it without a single thought. It had no padded straps, no hand rest, no waterproofing, and it was only a top loader. What’s worse is that it came with no warranty (I’ll tell you why warranty …

How I Deal With Language Barrier While Travelling

I remember when I was leaving for my first solo trip I was more doubtful than ever. I couldn’t decide a thing. I thought I was unprepared. I was scared and I feared I won’t be able to survive for long. And such fears are only natural. Travelling alone for the first time can be doubtful. It forces us to overthink. Would it be safe? Would the journey be interesting? What would people think? People have all kind of doubts. Last week, a reader asked me on Facebook if his language can make his solo travelling in North of India, tough. He belonged from the South. In his words “Is language a barrier for travelling? I was planning to travel the north of India next year but I don’t know Hindi. Can it be a problem? PS: I am travelling solo!” “PS I am travelling solo” — his message ended with the most important consideration! A solo traveller is always scared of a new language, not until he has experienced a few solo journeys before. I …

How To Find Cheap Accommodation When You Travel

Often when people ask me how I manage to travel so cheap, they point out the cost of accommodation and say it’s simply not possible. “You did a road trip to Spiti Valley, for 9 days, in under 5000 rupees? Where the hell did you sleep man? Under the stars?” – Yes that’s where I slept. In my tent. And under the stars. I save most of my money on travelling because of two reasons: I eat anything, and I sleep anywhere. Don’t take it literally, but the idea I am trying to convey is that I always look for a cheap deal, and that’s how I survive. I avoid hotels, and I say no to luxury resorts, because of how much they cost. Moreover when you barely be in for most of the day – there is no point in paying a 1000 Rupee bill, and bleed unnecessary money. So I stick to the other side of the spectrum: I stay in hostels, dormitories, tents and pretty much everywhere else which is pocket friendly. …

Why I Travel Solo

“So when are we leaving? What days have you applied for a leave, at your workplace?” I asked my friend Alok, with whom I was trying to partner up in a few-week long motorbike expedition in Himalayas. A long silence at his end was a clear invitation to realise that the deal is cancelled. “No man, the thing is I might not be coming along, something really urgent has come up,” he confessed, in his usual tone. This happened yesterday, and since last 24 hours, I’m constantly consoling him to reconsider, like a stubborn, innocent kid, trying to make him realise what he will miss, if he doesn’t come along. None of my friends wants to replace him either – everyone is busy with their work, sorting their lives in an ever systematic order. “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready” Henry David Thoreau And then I realised it’s the same pattern that has been repeating over the years. Though some people …

How To Travel Cheap During A Peak Travel Season

Last month when I was returning from my solo bike jounry to Spiti Valley, I decided to kill a few nights in the town of Vashish, near Manali, in Himachal Pradesh. Looking for a place to sleep, I went to my usual place, where I’d stayed for at least a dozen times before. I like its peaceful ambience and the location which allows you to sit almost at top of the sleepy town of Vashisth, overlooking the mountains. But as I enquired about the price for a room, out of courtesy, despite being very much familiar with it, I went a little flabbergasted. “No, just one bedroom” I repeated with all innocence, before the caretaker repeated, twice, the exact same figure. “It’s 1,200 Rupees a night sir”. The same room which I’d earlier – 3 months ago – owned for about 400 Rupees a night, was now available for a whopping 1,200 Rupees. Then I saw a group of teenagers, seemingly from New Delhi, and I realised that this is the time of the year when Vashisth gets its …

7 Things I’d Tell A New Traveler

Hope. Anxiety. And Excitement. Such emotions are inevitable, when you leave for the first ever grand adventures of your life. When I’d initially quit my job to travel, I had no idea what to expect. No one I knew had ever done it before. I was feeling a bout of jitters. To compensate my unpreparedness, I followed a few guidebooks and hoped for the best. I was an inexperienced and a hopeless wanderer, and my actions spoke about my condition well enough. But now, after travelling for a few years, I know better. And if I could sit my younger self, I’d give him this advice: Don’t Be Scared Walking off the beaten path and travelling places you’re not familiar with, might be a little scary, but you aren’t the first person doing so.  There is a well-worn travel trail and hundreds of online blogs and guidebooks to walk with you along the way. So don’t be scared. And if thousands of people can make their way around to the world, and to the place you’re going, …

Why I Quit My Job To Travel

Last week, I took a wee trip to Rishikesh – the land of sadhus and of many people’s spiritual rebirth. I have a personal affection, some attachment to this place. This is where I once spent two months, practicing meditation and taking spiritual lessons. But this time, my arrival was accompanied by a sense of unexpected realization. I wondered, as I grabbed myself walking along its frenzied, confused walkways, that how lucky I am to experience places like Rishikesh again and again. And yet, it is never the climax of my trip. It is always the beginning. “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls” Anais Nin It has been more than two years now, since I quit my job and started travelling, yet I never shared here why and how it all happened. It would be nice to say that I wanted to understand myself, and find my inner consciousness, but frankly speaking, it’s not true. The only part which is true is that I’ve had enough living the same boring 9 …