How to make a travel itinerary

20 February  |  Adventure & Travel

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Planning your next vacation can be a stressful experience if you are the one in charge of making the flight bookings, hotel bookings, day plans and night plans. But it doesn’t always have to be! Follow these easy steps to making sure you don’t forget anything when you’re planning your next vacation.

Create an inspiration board

Whether virtual or physical, an inspiration board can help you get a great idea of the things that you would like to do on your next vacation. Chart out meals that you would like to eat, experiences that you would like to have and places that you would like to see, so that you can decide how much time, travel and money have to go into your vacation. Watch videos, read articles, look at photos and priorities on the things that you have to do, want to do and don’t mind doing. Research is always essential, as there is a wealth of information available to you online and you just need to sift through what is there to get to the bottom of things.

Organize your essentials

Once you have decided on the outline of your vacation plan, it comes down to the details. Here is a list of the bookings you’ll have to make:

a. Airline
b. Hotel
c. Experiences
d. Travel (Within your vacation spot like a rental car)

Try to note these down in a virtual planner that allows you to have a bird’s eye view of your itinerary at all times.


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Add your activities

Now that you have decided on the things you want to do make a plan for how you are going to do them. If your plans involve travelling even once you get to your destination, make sure you have all the supplies you are going to need for them. Going on a hike? Get the right shoes and clothes. Going to visit a museum? Find comfortable clothing and footwear so you can soak in all the history and be at ease the entire time. Take into account the activities of those travelling with you and find a way to balance what everyone would like to do. You can even weave in some group activities like a dinner or a unique experience of the place that you are visiting.

Leave time to explore

Just because you’ve planned your vacation down to every detail doesn’t mean you have to follow the same schedule. If you miss an appointment, take it in your stride as just another vacation story, and use the time you just got back to stroll down some streets and find some hidden treasures that you can tell others about the next time they are planning their vacation! Don’t stress about the small stuff, and find a way to incorporate some time just to get lost in the land that you’re visiting because there’s no better way to fully experience a location that to find things on your own. You may come across some hidden gems like these resorts in Masinagudi or discover new activities like zorbing in Bangalore.
While planning a vacation comes down to a lot of minute details, just be as precise as you can be, and always remember to have fun doing while you are at it!

5 Best Places for Bird Watching Trip in India

20 February  |  Listicles

As urban settlements expand, the lovely sounds of chirping birds are drowned in the hustle bustle of city life. We are now surrounded by concrete and wake up to the honking cars of instead of the soft twittering of birds. We may not even remember the last time we saw a bird up close or listened to a beautiful bird song.

If you wish you could see and photograph birds, you must visit them in their natural habitat. There are many beautiful sanctuaries all across the country that give you a spectacular chance to do just that and are an absolute visual treat. The top 5 best places in India to head to for bird watching are:

1. Jim Corbett National Park

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Jim Corbett National Park is a paradise for bird lovers. Among the oldest sanctuaries in India, it is situated in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The park is known to host more than 650 species of birds. A bird haven, you get to see both resident and migratory birds here, and the best time to visit the park is between mid-March to end of April. In winter, the chances of spotting migratory birds increase substantially. The sanctuary here is known for housing birds like Ibisbill, Great Slaty, Woodpecker and a large variety of raptors.  The Kalagarh Dam and Solluna Resort are some of the best places to view birds from inside the Jim Corbett National Park.

2. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

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An absolute bird’s paradise, this sanctuary is recognized as a world heritage site and is home to more than 300 species of birds. Bharatpur is well known for many endangered and exotic birds that migrate to this region every winter. The best time to visit is August to November if you wish to find resident breeding birds and October to February for migrant birds. Expect to find cranes, pelicans, geese, blue-billed Robin, Indian Courser, Imperial, Black Bittern, Openbill Storks, Spoonbills and many other exotic species.

3. Pangot, Uttaranchal

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Popular for the Himalayan Birding experience, Pangot bird sanctuary showcases birds which live at higher altitudes. Dense forests and mighty mountains surround the stunning region which is the chosen abode of more than 200 species of birds. The most sighted birds at Pangot are Rufous, Sibia, Little Pied Flycatcher, Long-tailed and short-billed Minivet, small Niltava, White-tailed Nuthatch, Himalayan Barbet, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Indian blue and orange flanked Bush Robin, Woodpeckers and a whole lot of other species.

 

4. Mangalajodi, Chilika Lake Odisha

Image Soruce – chinkarajourneys

The Chilka Bird Sanctuary has Asia’s largest inland sea water lagoon. This pear-shaped lake is spread over 1100 square kilometers and is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds. It houses some unique species like sea eagles, graylag geese, purple moorhen and several others. It also boasts of the world’s largest breeding colonies of flamingos. The best time to view migrating birds is between October and March.

5. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

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An admired destination among bird lovers, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is located on the banks of the Cauvery River and attracts several species of migratory birds like the egret, heron and partridge. Around 30 species can be spotted regularly including the common spoonbill, painted stork, Kingfisher, and Indian shag. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between January and September for great sightings of beautiful birds.
View the finest species of birds in these beautiful sanctuaries. Be enthralled by the sheer variety of species in full splendor. If you dabble in wildlife photography, these sanctuaries offer you the chance to find some shots to treasure.

Travel Jobs: Ways to earn on the run

14 February  |  Adventure & Travel

If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, a normal 9-5 job isn’t going to keep you happy. You need something that lets you explore the wonders that the world has to offer while earning enough to keep you happy and healthy. The days of sitting at your desk all day to make some money so you can take a holiday once a year, are over. Read on to find out about how you can get a travel job, what you should consider, and more!

Image Source – yourtraveljobs

How to get a travel job

Finding a job that involves travel doesn’t mean that you will have to work any less hard than you would at a regular job. You just happen to also have the added advantage of getting to experience some of the most beautiful sights that the world has to offer. While a job in travel can entail either a lot of experience or close to none at all, most jobs of this type require you to have some skill or certification that you can use to your advantage on your travels. Think travelling bartender or a flight attendant. Both require you to have either the knowledge of how to mix a mean cocktail or an intensive course on becoming a flight attendant.

What sort of a job can you get?

A job that allows you to travel does not necessarily mean that your work needs to be centered on your travels. If your expertise lies in another field, like finance, you can still write for financial magazines and journals, and not have to write about your travels. The aim of a travel job is to become location independent and manage to travel while doing what you are good at. Some other jobs such as being a waiter at a local restaurant or picking up some other jobs at the location you’re visiting may suit those who are not proficient in a particular skill yet but are just looking to learn on-the-go.

Where can you find these jobs?

Image Source – jobsite

Once you build up enough skill in your job, it is pretty easy to find a way to travel along with work. However, if you are looking for some unique jobs such as being a part of the crew on a cruise ship, or as a tour guide or au pair, there are plenty of ways to find them. Web sites such as Lonely Planet and Forbes have extensive lists of how and where you can find a travel job, and a little research will show you how much work you will have to put into it before you can go trotting around the globe to have some amazing experiences. You could even consider volunteering your travel time to a good cause such as the Peace Corps or other organizations that are involved in charitable activities around the world. Keep in mind that this path won’t pay you as much as other careers that you may choose, but it is an excellent way to get to know locals and experience places first-hand.

10 Best gifts for travel junkies

14 February  |  Listicles

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Do you know someone who loves to travel? They may have seen so much of the world that getting a gift for them can be a hard task. But worry no more! We have put together a list of some of the best gifts that you get your travel-junkie bestie.

  1. Snore-cancelling Headphones: A significant portion of travelling involves being in enclosed spaces with other travellers – whether it is a bus, a train, flight or any other mode of transport. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones makes the perfect gift for the friend who just needs some peace and quiet to nod off.
  2. Passport Protector: Some of the best passport holders come with pouches for your boarding pass and passport and a pen-holder for all the immigration forms and ticketing information that you need to fill out. Pick out a unique design that makes the passport easy to identify in the mess of all the rest of the luggage!
  3. Portable Pillow: Your travel junkie friend will be forever grateful for the most comfortable pillow in the world that allows them to rest whenever and wherever possible. Find a pillow that suits their needs (like the Nap Anywhere portable pillow) which fashions itself into a headrest with virtually any support option available.
  4. Travel Journal: The best parts of an incredible journey are the memories that you come back with. A travel journal is one of the best gifts for travellers. Find a book that allows writing, sticking pictures, ticket stubs and more, and is small and compact enough to be carried around in a daily-use tote bag.
  5. Portable Speakers: Who doesn’t love a soundtrack playing in the background when you are having fun? A portable speaker will give your travel junkie friend the chance to have a soundtrack to every adventure they take, and they will love you even more for the brilliant idea!
  6. Travel Bag: A backpack is a must-have for any traveller. It must be big enough to carry all the essentials and small enough so that it can be cabin baggage and fit wherever it needs to go. Finding the right one can take some time and search, but it is a great gift to give!
  7. An Adapter: While this may seem like a small one, your travelling friend will thank you profusely for this little gift which can be a life-saver in many situations. With so many countries and so many different power sockets, a universal adapter can be just what they’ve been missing all these years.

    Image Source – topgiftforhim
  8. Travel Organizer: Here’s a gift that your bestie may not have yet. A travel organizer will help keep clothes, shoes, socks, and more in place within your luggage. The best part is that there are compartments for even detergent and other essentials that most travellers forget to carry along!
  9. Travel Iron: Iron out those pesky creases that seem to turn up even when you press your clothes before packing them- a travel-iron will sort out all a travellers ironing-needs. Just use a bed as the board!
  10. Luggage Scale: For the friend who always overpacks, a digital luggage scale will help them measure the weight of their luggage as they pack, so they’re never struggling with those excess-baggage fees.

A travel junkie may have trinkets from all over the world, but what he or she needs is something which brings the comforts of home to their frequent trips. Personalize your gift with a personal message, and give them a gift they are sure to treasure.

Life on the Road-Travelling on Two Wheeler

09 February  |  Adventure & Travel

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Biking is a passion; an activity that is soul stirring, adventurous and not to mention a whole lot of fun. The roar of the engine, the echo in breath-taking hills and the challenging roads make every rider’s spine tingle with innumerable thrills. Bike enthusiasts love their ride and all the joys and excitements that come with it. Stimulating, exhilarating and at times strewn with difficulties, a road trip on a bike is not for everyone.

Of course, there are other ways to travel, perhaps more comfortable and even easier, but the die-hard biker is not likely to trade his rides for anything else in the world. When the gust of the pristine wind blows on their faces, bikers feel free and victorious. That is why they choose varied terrains to test themselves and enjoy their rides. One such popular yet highly exciting and challenging biking destination is to the mystical Leh and Ladakh. On almost every biker’s wish list, Leh Ladakh is a momentous journey, which not only offers enticing panoramic views of snowcapped mountains but also needs a display of endurance, strength and skill.  Although a biker can choose a far less demanding way to travel, the sheer thrill of taking a road trip to Ladakh and riding on some of the highest traversable mountain passes is incomparable.

Image Source – trekkerpedia

For the biker, the world is theirs to explore. Some of the most magical adventures occur when you are carefree and open to possibilities. However, a little prep before the ride will make it even more awesome. So, practice, and gear up for the journey to begin. Before you begin your journey make sure you have researched the route and have invested in reading about the route and the places you intend to visit. Physical fitness is of utmost importance, if your trip is to a high altitude area like Ladakh, then you definitely need to build on stamina, as a trip to this location demands a lot of endurance and energy. Make sure you get a medical checkup done before you embark on this long and difficult ride.

There are a few other things that one must keep in mind before starting on the trip. You must map the route well and keep a few buffer days for landslides, bad weather, incessant rains or mechanical failure of your bike. One needs to prepare adequately for weather conditions and carry appropriate clothing that is comfortable as well as protective. Make sure you take riding gear like a jacket, gloves, knee guards, helmets; rain clothes and rain cover for all your bags. Service your bike before you set off on your adventure and ensure you have all the relevant documents, extra batteries, chargers, GPS devices and camera to capture those rare and precious sights.

Bike with your friends or make it a corporate day outing with your colleagues for a bonding experience.  As part of team building activities, you can ride and enjoy an overnight homestay in Masinagudi or Bandipur resorts or for a more leisurely trip, ride up Nandi Hills Bangalore for a great time. For those seeking bigger adventures, the possibilities are endless. Indulge in your love of adventure with a bike trip to remember.

10 Travel photography tips to get the best shots of your adventure

09 February  |  Listicles

Image Source – actualyse

For some, the best part of going on a journey is bringing back souvenirs and gifts for everyone, but for others, it is capturing the holiday and experiences in a set of breathtaking images. Travel photography is a very sought after hobby, and while not everyone can be an expert at it, you should not be afraid to try it out. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Burn the candle at both ends: Learn to wake up early and to stay out late as this will leave you with the fewest crowds and the best views. While you are planning your travel around these early morning and late evening shots, it is alright to take a nap during the day as the daytime can be the worst time to take photographs.
  2.  Talk to people: The trick to getting the best shots of people may be to take candid photos but make sure you are within your bounds in capturing aspects of their daily lives. Talk to the people, find out about their lives and work, as all this will enrich what you see through your camera’s eye.
  3. Rule of Thirds: This rule tells you to imagine breaking down your photo into thirds, horizontally and vertically. Doing so will help you focus on what the significant bits of the picture are and how to capture them in the best light.
  4. Try different compositions: While you can always take a good picture standing up, experiment by taking the same shot lying down, and then from a different height, and then from far away, and then again from closer by. Find a beautiful foreground, mid-ground and background to bring your pictures to life.
  5. Include some humans: People tend to relate to people in pictures more than one of just scenery, so involve the human element in yours. This helps tell a story that can’t be conveyed otherwise through the image.
  6. Always have your camera: The best camera is the one you always have with you. Whether you just have your phone with you or you have got your camera and equipment handy at all times, always keep something around, so you don’t miss an opportunity for a great shot. Even if the picture isn’t too great, you can always turn to editing software that will help sharpen your image.
  7. Manual mode all the way: While you would assume that Auto mode would give you the best shots, the truth is that the manual mode on your camera gives you a lot more control over the depth and intensity of your photo. The ISO, aperture and shutter speed are elements to keep in mind, and a quick tutorial can teach you all you need to know about them.

    Image Source – wallpapersonly 
  8. Get lost: Head into the unknown with just your camera in tow, and you will capture some of the best images that you have taken on your entire trip. Get away from the crowd and hang out with the locals to learn even more than you imagined.
  9. Backup your photos: There is nothing worse than losing all your photos just because of some rain or theft. Make sure to keep multiple copies of everything important to you because it is always better to be safe than sorry.
  10. Keep learning: Enroll yourself in a class or even learn from other photographers around you. Each person has their own unique style and flair to taking photos, and you may just learn a thing or two from someone you meet on your travels.

Whether you are an amateur or a pro, your best holiday pictures are sure to be ones which capture the joy you felt on the trip. Click away to your hearts’ content, but do remember to enjoy the moment which is what makes your holiday and the pictures special.

One-Day Trip Around Bangalore

03 February  |  Adventure & Travel

If you live in Bangalore, and love hitting the road every time you have an opportunity, you are sure to be spoiled for choice. Zoom off with friends, family or for a corporate day outing to the many places around Bangalore. Refresh and recharge yourself by visiting some enchanting places to break the monotony of your routine life. There are several exciting one-day getaways to pick from depending on whether you are looking for something scenic, adventurous to luxurious. You could unwind in resorts in Bangalore for one-day team outing, go for a hike, visit a temple or explore wildlife among a whole host of other choices.  Some options that might be worth considering are:

1. Nandi Hills

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A favourite getaway, Nandi Hills Bangalore is 60 kilometres from Bangalore where a breathtaking view awaits you after a super drive on NH7. You can escape the hustle-bustle of the city and can expect a peaceful, rejuvenating day out in this place. Famed for its sunrises, it is the best you will see around Bangalore. Situated at the foothills is the ancient Bhoganandeeshwara Temple, which is an ancient and gorgeous shrine, dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati.

2. Ramnagram

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This sleepy town’s biggest claim to fame is Sholay, the Hindi blockbuster movie. It is in Ramnagram that this iconic movie was shot a few decades ago. Apart from this claim to fame, if you are looking for a quick adrenaline rush, then this place is just perfect. Dotted by rocks and boulders, it offers many opportunities for trekking; cave exploration, rappelling and other adventure sports. Located 50km from Bangalore, Ramanagram is a coveted destination for thrill seekers.

3. Wild Life Safari at Bannerghatta National Park

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Explore the serenity and beauty of the Bannerghatta National Park by planning a day trip to this gorgeous location. Close to Bangalore city, it is situated only 22 kilometers away from the centre of the city. The national park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Spread over 25,000 acres, this park is believed to have one of the richest and natural bio-diversity reserves and is home to wildlife ranging from butterflies to tigers. An ideal getaway from the city, it allows you to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness.

4. A fun day at Wonder La

Wonder La resort is the perfect amalgamation of adventure and fun. Located about 30 kilometres from Bangalore, Wonder La is touted to be the country’s largest amusement park. An exciting place for all age groups, it has many thrilling rides, wave pools, hang glider and a whole bunch of other rides and games that make it place is an exciting destination for a day trip.  

5. Enjoy a Wine Tour

For all those who love their wine, this is the place to be. Whether you are curious about winemaking or are just looking to a relaxed day walking in a vineyard, a wine tour is a great way to spend a day off. The vineyards around Bangalore allow you to experience the entire process of wine making and also display the proper way to have wine. You get to sample and taste their produce, all in a day’s work. Isn’t it cool?
This is just a glimpse of the many places and things one can do in a day around Bangalore. Explore for yourselves, enjoy the many pursuits and sights, and create some awesome memories for yourself. For a longer trip, you can head out to the hills and check out some resorts in Masinagudi.  Give the traveller in you the wings to explore and enjoy!

10 most difficult and equally awesome places to visit in India

03 February  |  Listicles

India is a land of many charms, mysteries and hidden gems. Even for those who think that they have done everything and been everywhere, there are still places that are enticing, stunning and maybe a tad challenging. If you are an intrepid traveller and are looking for offbeat destinations that are removed from the tourist trail, then this list is for you. This is a compilation of some amazing destinations that may be hard to reach, but when you get there, they are well worth the effort.

1. Drass

Image Source – kashmirport

Drass is a charming valley that is bustling on riverbanks and begins from the base of the Zoji La pass. Referred to as the ‘Gateway to Ladakh’, it is located in the Kargil district of Kashmir. Drass is the second coldest inhabitable area in the world and has an altitude of 10990 feet from sea level and the mountain ranges from 16,000 to 21,000 feet tall.

2. Khardung La

Khardung La is gorgeously scenic and is the world’s highest motorable road. Located in Ladakh, it is a 3-hour drive up from Leh, and the winding roads, the high altitude and the blazing sun come together to give people a memorable and adventurous time. However, the terrain is difficult and can always throw up unexpected challenges.

3. Thar Desert

Image Source – heartofindia

The Thar Desert is stunning beyond words and this eternal landscape also hides a bite. The dry and arid conditions make it difficult for travelling in the desert even if you are well prepared. The presence of Saw Scaled Viper, the large Rat Snake, Black Cobra, Sand Boa, wild cats and several other creatures will make your journey rather interesting and very challenging.

4. Roopkund Lake

The ride up to Roopkund leads to the mysterious skeletal lake. To get there, one needs to cross-ice and snow while ascending to a dizzying height of 16,000 feet. The air thins, climatic conditions are erratic, and hailstorms make reaching the Roopkund Lake one of the toughest expeditions.

5. Kolli Hills

Conquering 70-hair pin bends and riding up the mountains of death requires special skill. The narrow winding road to Kolli Hills is not only exciting but also challenging and equally spooky. There is folklore about a maiden that lures visitors with her beauty and supposedly kills them.

6. Spiti Valley

One of the most unexplored places in India, Spiti Valley is a high altitude region of Himachal Pradesh. A desert mountain valley, it is infamous for the tough terrain, and the isolation of the area in winter. Although it is known for its natural beauty, traversing through the region calls for endurance, skill and perhaps some good luck as well.

7. Chadar Trek

The Chadar trek is the most challenging trek in the Himalayan region and the trail spans snow capped mountains at very high altitudes. It requires the crossing of the frozen Zanskar River, walking on ice and camping inside bare caves in freezing temperatures. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.

8. Gurez Valley

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Situated 120 kilometres from Srinagar, below the Line of Control Gurez’s proximity to this tense region has had an effect on people apart from the fact that it is highly avalanche prone. However, its sheer natural and pristine beauty offset this turbulence. A must visit!

9. The Haunted City of Bhangarh

Located in Rajasthan, Bhangarh Fort is known worldwide for its stunning exteriors and its haunted interiors. Locals live on the outskirts of this fort in fear of violent spirits, and the fort is prohibited at night due to unexplained abductions and deaths of thrill seekers. Open only during the day, it attracts scores of tourists.

10. Stok Kangri

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One of the most glamorous and difficult expeditions in India, this journey takes you to the highest trek summit of 6100 meters. The high altitudes, oxygen deficiency, glacier crossings, dry terrain, steep ascent and crossing rivers with currents so strong that can whisk anybody, makes this one of India’s toughest terrains.
The places mentioned above are unique, with each presenting their own set of challenges. However, none of these reasons should dissuade you from visiting them. The experience is unmatched and promises to be memorable for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies.