Personal,  Travel Tips

My way of traveling – personal Do’s and Don’ts

If you’ve read my “About me” page or followed me on Facebook, Instagram, or  Twitter,  you’re already familiar with my way of traveling, to some extent. For those who are not aware, I’m a busy mom of four wonderful kids, an earning member of the family, and a homemaker who manages a home without any help (in India it’s common to hire maids, nannies, cooks, gardeners and so on). And yet I travel and run this site and social media channels. Phew! I’m not saying this to brag, but to assure you that things are possible no matter what.

You only have to stay true to your dreams and set your priorities right. If I can travel in my situation, everyone can. But this is not a practical guide on how to travel when you have too many obligations and too little time or money. It’s just a personal kind of post that sheds some light on my style of traveling and personal dos and dont’s on a trip.

For one thing, I travel much less than I would like to and than it looks like. There are lots of exciting updates on my Facebook page, and people keep asking me how I can arrange so many trips for myself. In reality, there aren’t so many. I usually make one trip per month, sometimes two trips. All on all, it comes to around three to six days a month. My husband stays at home with kids and takes very good care of them, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my family for longer periods of time.

That’s why I do a lot of research to make the most of a short trip. From choosing a travel destination to budget, means of transportation and places to visit – it all takes lots of careful planning. Before a trip, I usually devour related articles on my favorite travel blogs – apart from sharing some really useful tips, they never fail to inspire me.

You may also like: My sources of travel inspiration

Sometimes we travel as a family, but these are also very short trips – I’m not keen on extensive traveling with small kids. It is my personal choice, but I know people who travel with their little ones nonstop and enjoy this kind of lifestyle. It obviously works for them, but I know for sure I would have been miserable under similar circumstances. Usually, we either take day trips with kids or explore around Mumbai. Visiting Eelephanta Island, for example,  is one of their favorite city adventures.

All my trips are low budget – I reach my destination by sleeper trains and never stay in luxurious hotels or eat in expensive restaurants. As for sleeper trains, it’s not only about the cost – they are usually more fun and authentic, and they don’t freeze you to death like in air-conditioned compartments.

Suggested read: Mini Guide to the Indian Train Classes

I never hitchhike or couchsurf. Would any woman in her right mind do that in India? But to be honest, I wouldn’t do that in any country. The thing is, I’m a hopeless introvert, and interacting with a stranger who does me a favour is not my idea of time well spent. It doesn’t mean I don’t talk to locals and other travelers. I do. This rickshaw driver in Junagadh, for example, introduced me to his family and showed off with his newborn daughter!

But it’s important for me to have an option to be on my own if I choose so. 

I equally love beautiful nature spots and architecture masterpieces, but if I have to choose, my priorities lie with architecture. I guess I’m more of an urban traveler. The most  impressive architectural sights I was lucky to explore in India include Bibi ka Maqbara, Rani ki Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell), the Prag Mahal, the Charminar, Modhera Sun Temple, Mahabat Maqbara and so many more!

Bibi Ka-Maqbara
Beautiful Bibi Ka-Maqbara
Being an inquisitive visitor of the Mahabat Mqbara in Junagadh 🙂
Rani Ki Vav Patan Gujarat best places
Rani Ki Vav in Patan – what a sight to behold

I don’t prioritize food when traveling. Yes, local cuisines are a fine way to get to know different cultures, but I don’t hesitate to skip meals if I have something more interesting to do. A quick sandwich and a cup of tea is fine with me. But when its a dedicated food tour, I don’t mind pleasing my taste buds 😉

I take a lot of pictures when traveling. I mean, A LOT. And this is one of the reasons why I love traveling solo – no one makes an unhappy face when I circle around a temple taking 1001th photo of its stone carvings 🙂 Apart from sights, I take pictures of bus schedules, notice boards, menus, and other “technical” things for future trips reports and city guides on this blog. 

Travel blogger at work in Champaner-Pavagadh archaeological park

I adore museums and make it a rule to visit at least one museum in every new city. Some of the most interesting museums I’ve visited in India include:

Heritage Museum in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Mumbai)

Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad

National Museum in New Delhi

CSMVS (former Prince of Wales Museum)

Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery

I walk a lot when traveling, that’s why a pair of good walking shoes is a must. I wander along the streets, climb all the way up an ancient fort, or explore a local market.

Jodhpur photo spacious rickshaws
A pair of comfortable walking shoes is a must

Both independent travel and organized tours are fine with me. I don’t mind listening to a knowledgeable tour guide who is really passionate about a particular place.

I love buying travel souvenirs and give them to my loved ones back home (or to keep them as a memento). Exploring local markets is always a treat for me. That said, I’m really bad at bargaining, so I guess I’m often taken advantage of as a foreign tourist. Other than souvenirs, I rarely buy anything when traveling.

Buying travel souvenirs in Ukraine

I often take a good book with me when I go on a trip. In fact, it’s my only opportunity to read in peace without being disturbed every five minutes 🙂 I read in trains, at the stations, in waiting rooms, and just about anywhere when I have a free moment.

And last but not least… I’ve often heard that traveling pushes you out of your comfort zone, and this is supposed to be a good thing. Well, my travel style, on the contrary, is designed to contribute to my comfort zone – all my life I’ve been working hard to create this zone, and I don’t see a reason why I should be kicked out of it when traveling. I mean psychological and emotional comforts, of course, not material ones. 

What is your way of traveling? Can you relate to anything I’ve written here? Do share in the comments, I’m really curious 😉

 

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14 Comments

  • Ivan Kralj

    Thanks for these insights!
    Always nice to learn that books should not be read by the cover, and that travel images do not always speak about the hard work in the background! It must be tough to coordinate family life and solo travels. Congratulations!
    By the way, who is taking photographs of you in all those stunning places? You just ask some other visitors for a favor?

  • Sarah Miduski

    I’m happy that you prioritize architecture and take lots of pictures. I adore admiring the buildings through the pictures on your site. I agree with you about tours. I think travelers are often quick to dismiss tours as being too, “touristy,” but I’ve learned information I would have never known, heard lovely personal stories, and seen a few extra things not privy to the regular walking around visitors.

    • Antonina

      I’m so glad you enjoy my photo on this blog, Sarah! It’s very motivating. and yes, I’ve come upon some really wonderful guides who made my visit to places around India unforgettable!

  • 8junkies8

    Great ideas and insights! I enjoy reading your article. I was in Delhi back in 2014 and yes, I agree that couchsurfing/hitchhike for a female traveler is not advisable in India. I’ve read a few scary stories of a solo female traveler couchsurfing in there… Your way to skip local some food is also interesting, I’ve never thought about it that way.

    • Antonina

      Yes, I wouldn’t recommend anyone!
      As for food, it’s just me. I know lots of people who wouldn’t trade sampling local cuisines for anything in the world!

  • Peyton

    These are some awesome pictures you have here! I take a lot of pictures when I travel too, I think too many to be honest! haha Thanks for this post:)

  • The Untourists

    Completely related my to the way you travel. Though we travel a lot by car because most of our trips are hopping skipping through small towns so depending on train travel becomes a nightmare as we often change travelling dates.

    As kids I used to love the train travels because of the food! So many vendors would keep selling various kinds of interesting snacks and titbits. And the chai. They used to seek chai in throwaway terracotta cups, and I loved the smell of terracotta in my chai…

    I guess much of the train food culture is lost now.

    You have a lovely blog! Here’s to many many more years of travelling and sharing your experiences…

    • Antonina

      Yes, I guess my way of traveling would have been slightly different, too, if owned a car. but I don’t 🙂
      And yes, I enjoy various snacks when traveling by train as well. And chai is simply irresistible, no matter how many time they offer it! Unfortunately, I haven’t experienced drinking it from a terracotta cup – I can imagine it’s a different experience altogether…
      And thank you so much for your kind words about my blog! It means the world.

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