Meet Nidhi Thakur, Lakshmi Sarath, Lavanya Singhal and Surbhi Tiwari – four women who have one passion in common. Travel. While Nidhi has quit her job to travel – and write about it – Lavanya and Surbhi juggle travel with their normal daily lives. Lakshmi is a media professional, a traveller, travel writer , blogger and photographer.
Onmanorama asked these three busy ladies five questions and these are what they had to say. And trust us, these tips are valid every single day. First, the questions.
1) Are you an impulsive traveller or do you plan a trip in advance? Do you travel solo or in groups? What is your preference?
2) What is that one thing which made you love travel?
3) If you travel solo what are the safety concerns?
4) How do you pack your bag? Are you a fashionista on the move or a backpacker with the bare essentials?
5) What is that absolutely essential thing you will have in your bag when you travel?
Nidhi Thakur prefers to travel solo and she calls herself a city girl in the mountains. She quit her job to travel - and was the only Indian who was selected by Kerala Tourism for the Kerala Blog Express. Here's what she has to say
'When I started traveling initially, I wasn't as impulsive or confident as I am now. Today I don't think twice before taking my backpack and catching a bus to any place. I prefer not planning in advance because there are some surprise elements that make the journey even more enjoyable. I travel solo.
I think it was the sense of freedom that I cherished the most. When you're traveling alone, you're your own boss, you're free of any questions or not concerned about any judgments. Also, I have come to realize that no amount of books can teach you what travel can, that empowers me to keep going!
The basics - always stay connected to your peers, keep a spare phone handy, a Swiss knife /pepper spray in your pocket, dress appropriately depending on which place you're traveling to, don't wander out late in the nights.
When it comes to packing my bags am a mix of both. A backpacker with bare essentials, but you will always find that I am party ready. I never forget to pack a good number of fashionable clothes for the unplanned adventures!
A book, a Swiss knife and a USB battery charger are the most essential things I would carry. '
Nidhi Thakur blogs at Untravel.in
Lavanya Singhal juggles a number of roles in her everyday life - from managing her home, work and travel when time permits. Lavanya's tips
It gives me an adrenaline rush to stuff a backpack with stuff early in the morning and vanish into the thin air. Earlier, I used to meticulously plan my trips, have multiple back up plans and check all documents multiple times. That used to give me a sense of confidence. With time and experience, now I just need the basic travel documents in place and am good to go.
It is fun to travel in groups, but only if I know them personally. At times, travelling alone makes you feel liberated. I love that feeling. You discover your capabilities and understand the world better. Having lived in Delhi, it was an awesome feeling to be walking down the streets of Taipei all alone well past midnight.
The experience of meeting new people, learning new cultures, traditions and acquiring new vocabulary. No school can teach you all that. You instantly recognize maps, flags and you understand movies better. More than that, you understand yourself better.
I have a list - aggressive men, there are chances that people can try to fool you, over charging in the name of safety and the most difficult part, convincing family that I would be safe.
I like to travel light. You never know when you might have to lug your baggage around! That said, no one stops you from packing smartly as well as light. A fashionista need not depend on men for muscle power!
I always carry the following things when I am travelling - Tickets/passport/visa/hotel papers etc ( and a copy of those), Travel charger/adaptor, Emergency contact numbers written on a fluorescent paper, extra photos, driver’s license, hidden money bag, toilet paper, hygiene products, thread and needle, toothbrush, first aid kit, flashlight, phone, camera, USB with key, mosquito repellent.
Lavanya Singhal runs Naturelounge
Surbhi Tiwari works to earn money for her next trip. She loves to travel solo and here is her take on travelling across the country.
I am more of an impulsive traveler - but I do plan basic logistics before leaving - stay, tickets etc. I make sure that I stay in safe places.
I do most of my travel on a budget – and I have stayed in gurudwaras or Buddhist monasteries. They are economic and safe places for a solo female traveller to put up. Another safe place is backpacker hostel( jugadu at Amritsar, zostel in different cities ) Make sure as a female solo traveller in India you are dressed up properly - it's not about being stupidly bold or raging the wrong end of feminism to the world. It is about being smart, respectful and understanding cultures - for example if you are going to Goa, take all your summer beach shorts and dresses but if your destination is Banaras, it is proper to wear kurta or jeans and a top. Don't talk a lot to strangers and brag about your solo travel. Try to merge into the crowd without attracting too much of attention to yourself. This, applies to any part of the world you may travel to – not just within India. Try to avoid boarding private cabs during the night – government buses or other public transport is the better option. Make sure that you keep your money in different places. Don't horde them in one place.
I prefer to travel light, just a bag. But I make sure that I take essentials like Kajal, first aid, flip flops, scarves, small packs of moisturizer, sunscreen, glares. The one thing I just need to have is a book and a travel dairy, and I prefer the old-fashioned hardbound books to all the gadgets for this.
Surbhi Tiwari blogs about here trips here
Lakshmi Sarath, after 15 years of sitting beside a desk in several media organizations, decided to travel and see the world. She has been to five continents and over 25 countries - her tips
I am an impulsive traveller but sometimes I plan a bit in advance. I do all kinds of travel - solo, groups, organised trips.
What I love about travel is the fact that you discover something new in every trip - people, place, cultures.
Whenever I travel solo, I try to blend in and be conscious of my surroundings. If am abroad, I ensure that my drinks or my baggage is not left unattended and I make sure there is some good vibe around in the crowds
I am basically a functional traveller and most of the things are essentials. A good perfume is sometimes what you need to just feel good.
To read Lakshmi Sarath's blog click here