Planning your first solo trip can be a daunting task, exciting as it is. From the best places to travel solo, to where to stay when you are travelling alone, what to pack, and how to prepare, here are practical tips based on my own solo travels.
So you’ve decided to stop waiting for company and take the plunge to travel alone. Fantastic! As you make your first foray into the world of solo travel, your mind must be boggling with questions. Where should you go? How should you break it to your family and friends? Should you book everything in advance? What should you pack? Use these ideas to get started: Read more
It is absolutely normal to feel anxious at the thought of travelling alone for the first time. I recently shared tips on how to plan your first solo trip, but if it drives you too far out of your comfort zone, you may be better off considering one of the following alternatives to solo travel, and gradually easing yourself into travelling alone. Read more
With the media lately giving a lot of attention to women travelling alone and women travelling together (without men), I thought I’d contribute my 2 cents too, with a list of travel destinations friendly towards single women, and women travellers in general. Not just from the perspective of safety, but also from that of accepting that there’s nothing wrong or strange about solo women travellers. Read more
On my first day in Mauritius, I couldn’t help but envy the lifestyle of the laidback locals lounging around in their Hawaiian shirts. I assumed that living here was paradisiacal indeed, what with constantly being surrounded by the azure waters and not having to deal with the worries of city life. Meeting a fisherman on the island would make me realize otherwise. Read more
The events of the last few weeks in Delhi have left us feeling angry, disappointed and helpless. We have raised questions in our heads, on Twitter and Facebook, and on the streets, about safety in Delhi and on a larger level, asked if India is safe (anymore) for women. We have spoken the unspeakable truth about rape in India, we have tried long and hard to look at our values as a society, we have spoken up about the dark, silent nights of India, we have confessed that the safety protests in Delhi might not have gone right, and we continue to hope against hope that strict measures will be taken to punish the guilty and prevent such brutality in the future. Read more
It feels like yesterday when I was waltzing down the quiet beaches of Diu on India’s west coast, and sipping tea at a blacksmith’s workshop in Turkey. 2012 has been the kind of year I dreamed about everyday, before I bade goodbye to my life in the cubicle. I feel as though I’ve come of age as a travel writer this year, having written for publications like Lonely Planet and The Times of India, and having found gratification in press invites from the likes of Spain Tourism Board and Turkish Airlines. Read more
We all wish we could we could grow money on trees, or inherit an inheritance we didn’t know we had, or rub a magic lamp to take care of all expenses for that next dream trip. I can almost hear the excitement in the emails and tweets of people who stumble upon my blog for the first time, because as one of them put it, reading about my travel adventures can make it seem like I’ve discovered the secret of always having enough money to travel! Unfortunately, the truth is far from it, and saving money for travel is a conscious effort I’ve been making for the past many years. Read more
Last week, I asked all you awesome people who read The Shooting Star, to ask me anything! Here comes my first set of answers:
1. DOES TRAVEL WRITING TAKE THE FUN OUT OF TRAVELLING?
Does being a travel writer take some fun out of travelling? Is it always at the back your mind that you need to do something that makes a great story or gives you a ‘wow’ photograph?
You’ve really hit a nerve there! When I first started travel writing, stories seemed to find me, rather than the other way round. Read more
I have spent long nights in buses, watching forests in the distance get engulfed by forest fires spread by the acidity of dry pine planted on agricultural land. I have stayed at a heritage tea estate nestled in the Himalayas, where 2012 was the first time in its hundred and fifty years that the weather became too dry for the tea to be plucked. I have watched the Ganga wailing in Haridwar, reduced from India’s purest source of glacial water to a mere dumping zone for ashes, dead bodies, litter, plastic, wax candles, and whatever else we feed it in the name of religion. I have met a tribal family in North Kerala, who were forced to destroy their therapeutic home made of mud walls, cowdung floors and a thatched bamboo roof, in lieu of “government-given incentives”, and now sleep outside their concrete house every night because the natural temperature control is gone. Read more
Itchy feet and an Indian passport are a deadly combination, but you already know that. If you’ve travelled, or intended to travel much out of india, you are only too familiar with toiling over lengthy visa applications and the sleepless nights before a visa gets approved. Not to mention, pre-planning a holiday to the smallest detail – where you’ll stay, how many days to each city or town, when you’ll fly back – can suck the excitement out of any trip, unless of course you love planning. I know I don’t; I’ve found my greatest adventures in the most impulsive of trips, and it may as well be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Read more