Here goes part 2 of our learning from our travel experiences. (go for Part 1)
- Check the weather before travel
Any destination would turn against you in adverse weather. The weather might be too hot, too cold or too wet/humid. The extreme conditions would hit hard on your experience of the place. The spot weather forecasts can also be wrong. So better plan the travel in a pleasant season as weather is likely to be more pleasant.
When did we learn? Our first Goa trip was planned on cusp of summer and we landed on the wrong side of the line. It was hot and it was humid. Just not the right weather for beach hopping.
- Hotels: Go luxury or boutique or homestay
Our experience with mid-range hotels hasn’t been great. We know that we would get the facilities what we pay for, so we are only talking about the basics. But we have either faced shabby service or bad food or in worse case both. So we try to stay at a high-end luxury hotel/resort on one end or a homestay/boutique property if running on a budget. And we have found quality of service to be much better value for money in these cases.
When did we learn? Well, this one has hit us multiple times. We just didn’t connect the dots till later. It was at Vizag, then at Warangal and at Ahmedabad. Bad service and bad food.
- Be flexible
You can’t just decide one plan and stick to it no matter what. Frankly, shit happens. So, be prepared to change and mend your plans with what you get. We have had carefully created itineraries which went for toss at the start of the day due to weather or other issues. We just improvised and chose the next best option available. It also means that you might not want to book every last thing before-hand.
When did we learn? We had planned to ride the Glacier express on our third day in Switzerland. But we missed the train from our village to Lucerne, which meant we couldn’t catch the connection. We couldn’t do much then. Next we went to Jungfrau and had the best time.
- Yes, there is something called ‘over planning’
Excess of anything is bad. The same goes for researching for your trip. Yes, it is always good to enquire before visiting any place. But then you shouldn’t go over board and study every little thing about your destination. That would take away the exploration quotient from your experiences.
When did we learn? We had researched so much about Hanoi attractions. We tried to follow all the identified spots but soon realized that it just wasn’t the right way. From then on we just kept our research as a fall back guide.
- Ask for what you need
People around the world are helpful (in general). So, when in doubt or have any problem, ask the next local or authority you find. Worst case they won’t know the solution but every other alternative is an upside. Either they would solve your problem or direct to someone who might. If there is one thing we have learned across travels it would be that asking is always better than keeping mum. If you want vegetarian food, ask. If you don’t know the way, ask. If you wonder there might be discount/availability, ask. Don’t know the language, you may still ask in sign.
When did we learn? So many instances where just asking helped us many times over, be it tickets to Mysuru Dasara, vegetarian delicacies in Vietnam, youth discounts in Europe etc.
- Don’t carry large quantity of ready-to-eat (for vegetarians). Explore local meals
This one is specifically for the pure vegetarians who believe they won’t get anything to eat away from home. But it’s simply not true. You just have to realize that other people eat as well! (Isn’t that an obvious statement?) When we were adventurous enough to try the local food with an open mind (cancelling any prejudices), we were pleasantly surprised to find loads of awesome options. Yes, do carry snacks and may be some of your favorite sinful treats, but go local for the meals.
When did we learn? We packed loads of ready-to-eat microwave food for our Vietnam trip. But the first time we tried Vietnamese soup, we knew we were not touching our stash for the whole trip. We had so much fun with an amazing new cuisine.
Do you have a story to tell about your travel experience? Drop in a comment or send us a mail. We will definitely reply. All the interesting tales will be published in a special feature.