We often get asked about how we manage to travel so much. TBH, we don’t think it’s ‘much’; we would love to travel at least twice as much as we do now. But, returning to the point, we realise we cannot give ‘tips’ for we are not experts.
What we can do is share our ‘habits’ that make our life fuller of travel than most.
Habit #1 – Holiday Calendar
If you work in the corporate sector, your organization would send you a holiday calendar in the second half of December or latest by the first half of January.
This is our first step. The moment N’s holiday calendar comes, we begin our holiday planning. (P does not work in the corporate sector; so, she works around N’s calendar.)
These days, organizations give holidays closer to weekends – Monday/ Tuesday/ Thursday/ Friday – so that by taking just one leave (or no leave at all), you are able to get an extended weekend. We utilise this provision wholeheartedly.
For most people, we have seen they do not pay attention to the holiday calendar. One day before the holiday, they go to ‘HR’ & ask – “Is tomorrow a holiday?” Well, if you are going to be a last moment person, then you can certainly not plan a holiday.
If you do not work in the corporate sector, you can work out your own holiday calendar. By November, the internet is flooded with the list of holidays for the next year. Just a matter of then deciding which dates suit you the most.
Pay attention to the holiday calendar & mark out the dates which are long weekends or those which can provide opportunities to travel. A short trip does not need more than three days.
We all get opportunities equally; depends on what we make of it…
Habit #2 – Long Voyages
We have a few thumb rules, the biggest of which is – More shorter holidays, fewer longer holidays. In a year, we take off for a long holiday only twice.
Once is during our anniversary where we take a week off & try to make it an international holiday. The second is sometime during the middle of the year where we can get five days off comfortably.
For many years, this second holiday has fallen around 15th August which is a great time to take off in India, especially in a larger group, as everyone has a holiday around this time.
Both the longer holidays are meant for destinations not close by. Over the last few years, we have covered Bhutan, Singapore, Australia, Italy, Ladakh, Malaysia, Kashmir, USA, China, United Kingdom, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Indonesia, Indian West Coast, Kenya, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra.
We work towards making everything revolve around our holiday, rather than the other way around.
Habit #3 – Short Drives
We find these trickier than longer ones. Our short breaks are over an extended weekend. Every single time, it’s a bother to ascertain how to fit the most in the limited time, while also accounting for the travel time.
We’ve another thumb rule: if it’s a three-day break, we don’t go beyond 300 kms. Living in the NCR, 300 kms translates into the Himalayas in the East & Rajasthan in the West.
If we want to exceed the 300 kms limit, we opt for places that are easy to get to. Places which are a flight/ train/ bus hop away. In the last few years, we’ve covered –
- Uttarakhand (Jeolikot, Dhanachuli, Nathuakhan, Saur, Chiliyanaula, Lansdowne, Jim Corbett National Park, Pangot, Chakrata, Sattal, Landour, Naukuchiatal, Dehradun, Rikholi)
- Rajasthan (Kishangarh, Churu, Kesroli, Kalakho)
- Gujarat (Rann of Kutch, Ahmedabad)
- Karnataka (Mysore)
- Himachal Pradesh (Shimla, Shoghi, Manali, Kasauli, Mashobra, Renukaji, Taradevi)
- Kerala (Alleppey, Munnar)
- Punjab (Amritsar)
- Sikkim (Gangtok)
- Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi, Lucknow, Garh Mukteshwar)
- Maharashtra (Mahabaleshwar, Pune)
- Madhya Pradesh (Pachmarhi, Bhopal)
- Tamil Nadu (Tranquebar)
We hear folks say they don’t get leave from work. We find it hard to believe that taking ONE day off can be such a challenge.
Habit #4 – Seasonal Travel
We plan our travels around seasons which means we opt for the off-season for most places. This helps in avoiding crowds & getting value out of whatever we spend.
E.g., we will never go to a Goa during the peak winter season in north India. But this also doesn’t mean that we go to Ladakh in January or Rajasthan in May! (There are perks of this kind of travel too – like spotting tigers in the peak of summer.)
In extreme weather conditions, we opt for off-beat destinations, like a Rikholi over a Mussoorie.
Habit #5 – Research, Research, Research!
Before embarking on any trip, we carry out extensive research. What to see, where to eat, where to shop, best sunrise/ sunset spot, best local cuisine, mode of transport, hidden gem & so forth!
We try to make the best of our visits because we usually don’t intend to return to the same destination. Life is too short for repetitions! 😀
Habit #6 – Day Planning
Thanks to the above research, we manage to plan each of our travel days. This ensures we don’t waste time once we reach in figuring things out. When we’ve travelled in groups, & where we’ve let go of our obsessive planning tendencies, we’ve realised that groups waste a huge amount of time in just ascertaining what to do on a particular day. By the time they decide, half the day is already gone!
Habit #7 – Expect the Unexpected!
Like we said above, we always have a plan about what we want to see but we also allow for surprises. E.g., in Daman, we had our minds on the beaches & forts but also managed to chalk out one day to drive south, along the Arabian Sea, to the twin seaside towns of Bordi & Dahanu.
Habit #8 – Ditch the Lethargy
We hear folks say ‘we just want to rest over the weekend’. It’s surely tempting to sleep in over a long weekend but we know this time isn’t returning. There’ll come a time when we’ll be forced to stay within the four walls of our home; so why not make the most of ‘now’ right now?
So, don’t be lazy! Go watch stories unfold!
Habit #9 – See Local
We try to get locals to show us around the destination. In Jaipur, we had our City Palace, Amer etc. lined up, but we also got a ton of recommendations from our homestay owner. That made all the difference to our trip!
In Melbourne, the hotel concierge suggested us to walk to the Hosier Lane to see the street art. We weren’t disappointed!
Habit #10 – No Herd Mentality
There was a time when everyone was making her/ his way to Greece or Kasol closer home. Not us! We dislike flowing with the tide for the simple reason that tourist hype ruins experiences.
So, if the world is heading east, you’re sure to catch us heading west!
Habit #11 – Method in Madness
When we embraced the travel life, a lot of people would constantly express shock about our need to travel frequently. The same people now themselves travel whenever they can!
Travelling every month (or at least trying to) may seem absurd but our explorations have left us more adaptable, more contented, wiser and better human beings.
So here we are – an open book! We hope we’ve inspired you to get out more.