THE GLOBETROTTER’S GUIDE FOR THE YOUNG & RESTLESS PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO TRAVEL
It’s that time of the year again, when you have just finished with your exams and hectic school and college schedules. For many of you, this one vacation could headline the start of your lives as independent youngsters, stepping into the world all by yourselves, seeing new places, seeking new friends, tasting new food, figuring out who you really are. Even if it’s not the first time you’re going on a vacation alone, it’s still a milestone in your lives.
As wonderful as it sounds, taking the first step to quench your wanderlust, not everything will turn up like cakes and roses. There are a large number of significant hurdles one must overcome before taking the plunge off the cliff and floating towards your dream destination.
The most important questions that you inevitably end up asking yourself are: Where do i go? What do i do? How many days do i choose to travel for? How much do i spend? How safe will i be? How do i communicate in languages spoken by the locals? All these require a massive amount of planning, without which your trip can turn into an absolute disaster, discouraging you to ever take another step to fulfilling your dreams of travel.
Here we bring you a list of six destinations to choose from, depending on what kind of a trip appeals to you the most: a camping expedition, an artsy insight, a party trip, an action-packed adventure, flying solo, or a nature trail.
As experienced travelers, we have six individuals giving us an insight into what they’ve been through in those places, and what you shouldn’t miss out on, along with a few practical tips and secrets. So, get out your maps and lace up your travelling shoes because, as Dr. Seuss so beautifully put it: “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So. Get on your way!”
Amsterdam – The Artist’s Perfect Muse
Amsterdam has a whole host of art museums which are extremely beautiful. The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, the Amsterdam museum and the Maurishuis (in Den Haag) are a must see. There are plenty of other things to do and see in and around Amsterdam such as Anne Frank House and the canal rides. Prague is similar, although the architecture there is what you need to keep an eye out for. Since it was one of the only cities in Eastern Europe that wasn’t destroyed during WWII and the Cold War, it retains a lot of old beauty.
I stumbled into this tiny little Irish pub in Den Haag on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a really nice bar with a friendly atmosphere, Irish bartenders and a cozy, comfortable décor. The locals in the Netherlands are incredibly hospitable. Majority speak English, which made communication very easy.
In Prague, people tend to be warmer and often will talk a lot, although English isn’t as well spoken here so it is helpful to know a few Czech phrases or know someone who does.
My most memorable moment there was definitely in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. They were having a special Rembrandt exhibit there and I got to see The Night Watch by him at its actual size. The painting was really large; I remember just sitting in there and soaking it in for a good 15 minutes. It’s one of those moments where you feel moved by the art you see in front of you. I would definitely love to come back to Amsterdam and visit the Art museums again. I’d had a chance to do that with my parents before this trip, but I was eight years at the time and didn’t really understand much of it. Even though I’m now doing my Masters in Psychology, my college is primarily an art college and I feel that with a growing appreciation and understanding of Art.
Budget For The Trip
My budget for the trip overall was about $1100 (Rs 67000) including air fare. The spending budget for the trip was decided keeping in mind the 3 weeks I was going to spend there. Overall I think it was a good budget. Travelling doesn’t need to be expensive and as a student I don’t have a lot of spare money. The trick is to plan in advance and travel off-peak tourist season!
Dos And Dont’s
Unfortunately, Amsterdam, though lovely, can also be dangerous. Powdered heroin is sometimes sold in the streets under the guise of other products so you have to be careful. Because marijuana is legal here, a lot of students who come here go overboard. It can still be dangerous if you don’t know your tolerance. Neither Prague nor Amsterdam is really conservative when it comes to dressing. The most important thing to have with you is a bottle of water! Other than that, carry the usual travel essentials – wallet, cash in local currency, a camera, and passport. I personally also like to carry a journal and a pen to jot down my thoughts and feelings.
The Indian Alternative
Undoubtedly Delhi takes the spot as the art capital of India. With a rich culture that dates all the way back to the Mughal era, several art galleries such as National Gallery of Modern Art and Lalit Kala Akademi are known for their prolific exhibitions featuring paintings and sculptures of some of the visionary artists in the history of the country.
A graduate student of Psychology at SUNY, New Paltz, her travel philosophy is to ‘always immerse yourself in the culture where you go. Go to all the places! See all the things!’ Her first solo trip was when she started her undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland at College Park in the States. Her next travel destination is Italy.
South Africa – Where the Wild Ones Dwell
Mabula is a beautiful destination for wild life safari, with species of animals ranging from giraffes and lions to different kinds of birds. There are no cages or tamed animals. Their early morning safari is amazing, because you get to see the animals at the lake and the carnivores chasing their meal. Definitely a place to go before you die.
Cango Caves which absorb the summer heat and the temperature is colder than the normal temperature & Cape of Good, is what divides the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean ; these should be on your list of top places to go to.
The locals were very friendly and respectful. They have just one motto, “Respect must be both given and earned”. If they ask ‘How are you?’, it’s considered extremely rude to not reply. Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is also of utmost importance. These were a part of the tour that I had selected and my experiences in them were amazing because the hospitality was heart-warming. The most memorable moment that I had there was the bungee jump which I did from the world’s highest bungee bridge. The reason to back to South Africa would undoubtedly be for its adventure and wildlife.
Budget For The Trip
The trip cost Rs 1,35,000 for 13 days (the trip cost doesn’t include the adventure) and the adventure cost around a lakh per person. Personally my spending for this trip was around 3,00,000 which accounted for my travel, stay, food, adventure, party, and shopping. It was an ideal budget for the place, but if you want to have a more lavish trip in South Africa your budget should be around Rs 2,50,000 for 15 days, including everything mentioned above. While planning the budget, always see how lavish or how many adventurous things you want to go for. Search your stay, make your travel plan and book your tickets accordingly. Do a complete research of your destination before travelling.
Dos And Dont’s
Get back to your accommodation before 7:30 pm, because everything shuts by then and the place may be a little unsafe at nightfall. Even if you plan to leave at night for a party, do go by the public transport or the private car. You can definitely mingle with the locals, as Cape Town people are friendly and fun to be with. The must-have things in your backpack are your phone, money, your passport copy, food, water, phone charger and a pepper spray or knife for safety.
The Indian Alternative
To get the same experience of wildlife in India as in South Africa, Cabni Forest would be the best place to go which is situated in Karnataka. The adrenaline and the thrill of adventure would be best experienced in Ladhak.
A 21-year-old event manager and entrepreneur, his travel mantra is: ‘discover yourself in the new place with new people. That’s how you will know yourself better’. He hasn’t travelled alone yet but would love to take a trip around the world. His next travel destination is Nepal and Dubai.
Ras Al Khaimah – Arabian Night Campers
Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) and Hatta Desert camping sites are main attractions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). You should travel to Hatta desert during Jan – Feb as the climate is much cooler than that of the unforgiving heat of summer. One should try to reach the campsite by 5 pm to escape the heat. These campsites are well equipped with washrooms
which can be used by the campers. Do not forget to carry firewood, fuel and matchsticks or lighters as it gets chilly at night.
Barbequing at the campsite was one of most memorable moments spent in the emirate. Sharing spooky stories over the bonfire when it’s chilly has its own charm. I would definitely go back to the UAE for the facilities provided at the campsite and for the view of the mountains around. The campsite is a two hour drive away from Dubai city. The drive itself is very beautiful and scenic and I would love to go back for it.
Budget For The Trip
Tickets to UAE can cost anywhere between Rs 15000 to Rs 18000 (including return fare). Apart from that, the budget for camping trip mostly included buying tents, some charcoal, sleeping mattresses, tent lights and a few disposable dishes. The total cost for this trip was AED 200 (Rs 3400), including six person tents, sleeping mats and all the things required for camping.An ideal budget for students who are based in Dubai would be approximately AED 300 (Rs 5100) which should cater to group of around seven people including travelling in your own car, if you own one.
Dos And Dont’s
The most important tip is to avoid littering and respect the rules and laws of the land. You have to leave the campsite spotless and carry your garbage with you back to city where you can dispose it off safely. Also, alcohol cannot be consumed in the open. It gets pretty cold at night so denims and jackets would be the ideal choice of dressing. Always go with a sleeping bag or a blanket to sleep, as temperatures in the desert drop at night. Sleeping bag, tents, hand sanitizer, matchstick/lighter, fire logs, some marinated food and charcoal are some of things that you must carry in your backpack. The best mode of transport to and from your campsite would be to hire a car.
The Indian Alternative
Rann of Kutch in Gujarat or Jaisalmer in Rajasthan would give you a similar experience in India. If you are looking at camping somewhere close to the city, Letscampout offers a lot of fun and adventurous activities at its 12 campsites across Maharashtra.
Founder of Letscampout.com, his travel mantra would be, ‘Stay with locals and observe their culture and way of life. Enjoy local cuisine and click some great pictures.’ He travelled solo for the first time about seven years ago. He says that he enjoys travelling solo and most people should because “you are on your own and can analyze your life. It is also exciting to meet new people during the journey.” He is planning to book his next trip to Europe (Spain, Belgium, Italy, Isle of Scilly and UK).
South East Asia – Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat
My friend and I decided to make an absolutely impromptu trip to South East Asia and booked our to and fro tickets from Dubai to Malaysia for a month. Luckily for me the friend, with whom I was going, had previously been to east Asia so we had the budgets in mind and also had adequate visas applied. You need to apply for visas for Malaysia, China, Singapore; Indonesia, Bangkok and Vietnam are on arrival.
Our first destination was Kuala Lumpur. The metro and the mono rail systems are well connected and you really don’t need to waste money on the cabs, as they are pretty expensive. The Petronas Towers are a beautiful sight and so is the nightlife there.There exists the same concept of the walking street in Bangkok, here in Penang, with clubs on either side of the lane.
And if you are in Kuala Lumpur, you have to go to Genting, which is at the Hill top and has five interconnected casinos.
Our next location was Jakarta (Indonesia). Here, everybody is a millionaire as the currency is pretty weak and the US dollar is the preferred currency there. You have a lot of malls here to go to and the shopping expenses are low. I had a misconception about Indonesia, as I thought it was one of the poorer countries in the world but the people in Jakarta have good spending power. There is a location in Jakarta, known as the STADIUM, which is almost like the hub of nightlife and parties.
The next on our agenda was a bus trip to Bangkok. It is common knowledge that Bangkok is known for its clubs and shopping locations. During the day, you can pay a visit to all the temples. The elephant is worshipped in their culture, and so, not-so-surprisingly, you will find a lot of temples having sculptures of Ganesh. Bangkok is famous for its aforementioned walking street, which is pretty crowded with a lot of clubs on either side. It’s extremely vibrant and colorful in the night.
Budget For The Trip
My budget was 2500 (Malaysian Ringgit) or 2000 US dollars (as in Indonesia and Vietnam the currency is pretty weak). This was excluding the airfare. You don’t have to book hotels in advance you can do that by just arriving to place as you get good deals on Expedia.com (that’s how we did it) and there are steal deals for Air Asia for travelling to other countries. Cash is mostly needed for the casinos.
Dos And Dont’s
You have a lot of street-side shopping in Bangkok, but you need to be really careful as these sellers tend to show you fake stuff, pitch them as originals and try to sell them to you. In Kuala Lampur, you can find a prominent Indian crowd. A lot of Tamilians have settled there and hence, being an Indian, you can really connect with them. If you are anything like me and prefer desi food, and can’t have the local food there, you need not worry as you have an Indian locality with all varieties (North Indian and South Indian).
According to me, Goa is probably the closest Indian alternative that you can get when it comes to partying and having the time of your life.
Being an Ad Sales Manager and an avid traveller, he believes in the travel mantra: ‘Die with memories and not dreams.’ This was his first solo trip, done in the year 2009 and plans to make Europe his next travel destination.
Oman Flying Solo, Flying Free
Oman is like the jewel of a nation that sits on the south-eastern corner of the Arab Peninsula. It has various historical sites: Muscat’s old city; you’ll find the Sultans Palace, Mutrah Souq, small but highly informative museums, shops selling spices, frankincense, as well as antiques in small shaded alleys tucked away in unexpected corners.
Muscat being the capital is a great place to observe modern Oman. The stunning Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a beautiful place to enjoy spectacular architecture and the peace that comes with entering a house of God. Muscat is a cool city to visit, not at all like the bustle and glitz of places like Dubai.
So here’s the thing about Oman: I have never come across a people who are more welcoming, hospitable, and genuine than Omanis. They are the best most warm-hearted hosts who enjoy every opportunity to spoil their guests.The craziest memory that sticks to my mind was when I was camping in the desert, and I lost my iPod touch in the night, and the next day was my last day at the campsite, so I woke up early and on a whim decided to walk to the very top of the dune, in whose shade we were camped. And there was my iPod, sitting right at the very tippy top of the dune. Sure you might be thinking, “cool story bro” but it’s the little things that you simply don’t expect.
Budget For The Trip
Budgeting is certainly an important piece of work that needs to get done before you head out of your house. For this particular trip I took advise from friends who had made similar trips to the Arab Gulf. Gulf nations are certainly not the cheapest places to visit especially because low cost accommodation can be a little tricky to figure out. My advice for students trying to go to Gulf nations is, get in touch with people who live there before you go, they’ll be able to put you in touch with societies, outdoors clubs, other
Dos and Dont’s
As far as dress is concerned, be prepared for hot weather as you are going to the desert, ladies are free to dress however they want. There are ways in which you can dress comfortably for the heat as well as be conservative. If you can afford it, the best mode of transport is to rent a car for the number of days you plan to be there. This just provides so much mobility and freedom; remember petrol is cheaper than water in Oman! Must have things in your backpack is a water bottle to keep hydrated.
A student from Bengaluru who is currently living and studying in Hyderabad, his travel mantra is: ‘A universe exists outside your door, outside your city, and over the ocean. Go see it!’ The first time he travelled by himself was a few weeks spent in France (Toulouse and Paris), aged 13. The next on his travel bucket list is the Himalayas and he has all his fingers crossed for it to happen.
Australia – Being One With Mother Nature
One of the main attractions is definitely Stokes Bay, a coastal community situated adjacent to Lathami Conservation Park in the middle of the north coast of Kangaroo Island. There is a secret section in the Stokes Bay beach, where you have to go through the rocks in between the mountain to reach the other side of the beach.
Here you will find heavenly beaches and huge sand dunes. The locals of Kangaroo Island are very friendly and approachable consisting mostly of farmers. We stayed in a private house in Penneshaw, a small pretty country town on Kangaroo Island, with the mainland of South Australia a mere 16 kilometers away. The beach at Penneshaw is known as Hog Bay, and is an excellent sandy swimming beach, making it a destination popular with families.
My most memorable moment was playtime with the Australian seals in the wild, which is a once-in-a lifetime experience. There is so much more to see in Kangaroo Island, and it is so pristine and beautiful that one visit does not do justice to the place.
Budget for The Trip
My budget for the trip was $1000 (Rs 62600). Well, the budget was planned with some research on where to stay and how to commute through some websites and sealink travels website. The ideal budget for the trip would be around $1500 (Rs 94000) for one person which includes five days stay transport, food and attraction fees.
Dos And Dont’s
Do go for a dive at one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia Vivonne bay, which is known for its long, sandy beach and the jetty which is used by cray fishermen for off-loading their catch. And definitely try the quad bike trail. Try and avoid travelling after dark as there are wild animals on the road. While driving, do watch for kangaroos and wallabies on both sides of the road as there are many and they could jump in your way. You must carry a flashlight; a Telstra Mobile as that is the only mobile network that works on the Island; plenty of water and a spare tyre. Best mode of transport would be a 4×4 vehicle.
The Indian Alternative
For people who cannot afford the travel expense, try Andaman Islands for a similar experience. Long fabled among travelers for its legendary beaches and world-class diving, in the middle of nowhere, the Andaman Islands are still the ideal place to get away from it all.
A Sales Manager at TSA, he loves places where the nature and beauty are untouched and there is a general sense of adventure. His first trip was five years ago when he first moved out of india to travel to Australia. His next trip will be to New Zealand.