All posts filed under: Travel Tips

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 sometimes because it no longer served my needs well. When it comes to travelling I’m totally okay to adjust to 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 the …

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 was scared and I feared that I won’t be able to survive for long. Would it be safe? Would the journey be interesting? How would I make friends on the road? I had a million questions going through my mind. But out of all the doubt, one thing that bothered me the most was dealing with the language barrier!  Last week, a reader asked me on Facebook if the local languages can make his solo travelling in North of India tough. He belonged from the South. In his words “Is language a barrier to travelling? I was planning to travel the north of India next month 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 part! A solo traveller is always scared of a new language, not until he has experienced a few journeys. I remember I tried so hard …

Tips On How To Save Money On Travel Accommodation

Often when people ask about my few highlighted budget travel trips, 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. Inside 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. Though don’t take it literally, but what I am trying to convey here is that I always look for the best, and a budget deal, and that’s how I achieve my long-term travel goals. I avoid hotels and say no to luxury resorts (unless the trip is sponsored, of course). Moreover, when you barely stay in a hotel for most of the day – there is no point in paying a 10,000 Rupee bill and bleed unnecessary money. So I stick to the other side of the spectrum: I stay in hostels, dormitories, and …

Why I Travel Solo

“So when are we leaving? What days have you applied a leave for at your workplace?” I asked my friend Alok, with whom I was trying to partner up for a few-week-long motorbiking expedition in the 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 didn’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 self, and my actions spoke about my condition well. But now, after travelling for a few years, I know things 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 …

9 Ways To Travel Smarter And Cheaper

When I tell people that I’ve been travelling for the past two years, without having any source of steady income, they frown upon me, and ask, without sparing a second, “Then how do you fund your travels? You must be rich.” People think travelling is an expensive hobby. They think it is only possible to travel, and travel regularly if you either earn in an impressive figure, or your father was hopelessly wealthy. In my case, neither were true. Perhaps that’s why, when I’d initially told my friends, two years ago, that I am quitting my job to travel, they couldn’t believe me. A few asked if I’d won a lottery.  Sure travelling costs money. But if you do it the right way, you might not need much of it. For example, three weeks in Cambodia should take no more than USD 350. Similarly, two weeks in Thailand should be travelled in under USD 280. And then travelling cheap doesn’t mean living under bad conditions. If you go for local experiences or look for something beyond the traditional way …

The Dilemma Of Leaving Everything Behind And Travel

I remember when I left for the first ever grand solo adventure of my life, after quitting my job, I was feeling a bout of the jitters. Fear, excitement and curiosity – they all were playing their part. I had no idea what to expect. Which guidebook to follow. No one among my friends had ever done it before. In three words: I WAS CONFUSED. I grabbed myself from pondering over this inexperienced moment of past, yesterday, when I received a 700-word long email from one of my readers, mentioning that he has been holding on to a marketing job for the past 10 years, but now he wants to leave his career behind and travel. He wrote to me in search of some kind of assurance. But more than that, as I felt, he needed inspiration. Inspiration to let go, to break free, and experience the world of travel. To Travel Is To Find New Opportunities For me, long-term independent travel is like a holy grail. People who haven’t done it before, have absolutely …

How To Save Money For Travel: 4 Tips

People often ask me how I make my travel dreams possible. They assume that I am either lucky or independently wealthy. Well, to innocently admit it, I am not independently wealthy. Though you can call me a little lucky, for I’ve been travelling for almost two years now, and without having any steady source of income. But there’s more to it. Before anything,  here’s a little on how I afford my travel. If you’re considering travel more seriously and a little more frequently you need to be smart with your money – and that starts before you hit the road. Here are 4 proven, self-tested and effective ways to save money before you start travelling: 1. Avoid Eating Out Love your local restaurant? Well, that local restaurant loves your money. Avoid it. Restaurants and takeaways are a little too expensive nowadays, I get sticker shocker every time I get the bill. “You need how much for a meal?” I lose my heart as I hear the figure in reply. As an advantage, I know cooking, …