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!
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 can’t tell you how many times I was going to tell you guys about my favorite street eats in Mumbai. The city’s street food scene is known for its uniqueness and diversity, and it definitely shouldn’t be ignored on a blog like IndiaPalette. Although I’ve been staying in Mumbai for almost 11 years, I had…
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.
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:
Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad
National Museum in New Delhi
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.
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.
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 😉