Hello Friends! Traveling is always a learning experience, provided you are willing. But there is also a thing called forced learning. The things you are forced to learn unwillingly or by encountering situations you had not anticipated. Learning these things keeps you better prepared for your next trip. You can learn from others' experiences also.

Like over a period of time while I traveled, I encountered a few situations which I had not planned for and had me in an unnecessary spot of bother. Though very small, these things tend to spoil your mood as well as the momentum you have built for your trip. So I am going to share a few things I found I should have foreseen but didn't. These are not exclusive to solo travel, they may hold good for group or family travel too. So it is useful for every traveler.

1. BE SURE ABOUT YOUR EXACT ARRIVAL TIME - It always helps to know your exact time of arrival at your destination. I made a mistake that I totally relied on the time of arrival written on my m-ticket and never bothered to cross check from anywhere else. And I found out later that the time of arrival written on the ticket was for the destination of bus and not for my destination. The result was I reached very early in the morning and the hotel I was supposed to stay in, hadn't opened yet. I had informed the hotel that my time of arrival was 8.30 in the morning, but if I reached at 6 am, it was not their fault. They still were gracious enough to allow me an early check in. But what if they stuck to rules or hotel was full and I had to spend good 3 hrs on the road after an overnight travel? So better double check the time of arrival at the destination lest your whole schedule goes haywire.

Traveling in India

2. GET COMPLETE INFORMATION ABOUT LOCAL TRANSPORT - In big cities, local transport is not an issue. You get many options to travel from one location to other. However, if you are traveling to a remote location, whether solo or in a group, it is always better to find out in advance, what local transport would be available to ferry you from one point to another. In my case, I found out that the only available local transport available was taxi. And these taxis were charging obscene amounts to cover even a single location. It would have offset my budget by quite a margin, so I decided against hiring a taxi and instead hitched a ride. This saved me a good amount of money. But if I had researched thoroughly, I could have avoided that short period of mental stress and unnecessary running around to find a cheaper transport. The problem becomes acute if you are traveling with family. In that case it is always advisable to opt for a package.


3. CARRY DIFFERENT NETWORK PHONES - Again, in cities, mobile networks don't pose much problem but once you are in a remote location, the networks start playing truant and that may create many unexpected problems. Like in my case, I was carrying my phone and a data card, both from the same network. And I lost full one day without being able to do any work either on my phone or laptop. This set my schedule of work back by sometime. So much so, I was able to book my return ticket, only the next day when network became better. The hotel staff told me that the particular network did not work well in their area. So if I had carried two different network phones or sims, I may have saved quite some time haggling with network issues. So as far as possible, carry different network phones to counter any eventuality.

4. GET COMPLETE INFORMATION OF WEATHER - Weather is a very important factor whenever you plan to travel to any destination. So it is always good to have accurate information about the weather in that place. When I planned my trip, I found out that it would be cold during mornings and evenings so I had kept a sleeveless sweater in my backpack. However, I failed to check the forecast for the days I was supposed to be in that place. So I encountered cold windy conditions even during the day time and was left shivering. The saving grace was the walk I did, which brought some warmth into the body. Moreover, I had not braced for rains and was left stranded at a place for sometime because I was not carrying the umbrella. Similarly, I was stranded during one of my earlier trips and had to spend an extra night due to extreme weather conditions. This is particularly true for hilly and coastal areas. You must be prepared for the unpredictability of the weather. Otherwise you may either find yourself confined to your hotel room or stranded midway. So keep yourself updated with the weather predictions for the area you are going to travel to.

Weather in India

5. ALWAYS CARRY DRINKING WATER - This is bare minimum essential, which you need to always have with you. Particularly when you are traveling to remote locations, you may not get drinking water everywhere. Like I did not want to carry anything with me when I went out to explore the place. I wanted to keep myself free from any extra weight apart from my own. But unfortunately, all the places I visited that day, were so situated that I did not get any drinking water and from 12 in the noon till 8 in the evening I was without drinking water. And add to this a lot of walking I needed to do, it was really bad. My folly. In fact there were no eateries also in these places. So no harm in carrying a little extra load.


6. WHICH IS BETTER? FIXED ITINERARY OR FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE - Both have their own merits and demerits. A fixed itinerary gives you a sense of security and discipline. You know exactly when you will be where and keep yourself ready accordingly. And you are free from worries of having to plan for the day or taking care of logistics. But then it robs you of the freedom to do your own exploration and thus a thrill of adventure. You are bound by the time table and can't deviate from the given schedule. On the other hand, if you keep a flexible schedule, you can do a lot of things which otherwise you may not be able to do. Like you can mingle with locals and find out about their culture, food etc. Or you can go on your own on long walks to find out new places, which would otherwise not be covered in a fixed itinerary. In my case, I kept a mix of both. I had a rough itinerary in mind, having planned about the places I wanted to visit on the first day and then on subsequent days. However, I had kept myself open to visiting any new places, which I might come to know of from the locals. And that helped. I was able to see a couple of extremely beautiful places, which I would have not even passed by if I had a fixed itinerary. And I did not find any major obstacle in terms of any logistical problem or any sense of uncertainty. So I found it better to have a mix of both , a fixed itinerary and a flexible schedule, quite cool. For family travelers it may be a bit problematic but it should work well for solo or group travelers.

You can add more activities in your schedule by going to

Explore India

7. KEEP SUFFICIENT CASH FOR EMERGENCY - Last but not the least. Always keep some minimum amount of cash with you for any eventuality. Although, nowadays most people prefer to pay by cards or other means of plastic money, and it is the norm now, but there may be situations where plastic money may not work. Again true for remote locations. You may not face any major problem in big or medium cities but in small cities or remote locations, you may face a situation, where only cash will work. I was sure that I would pay my hotel bill by card so did not bother much about the amount of cash I had. However on the day of my departure I was told that the swipe machine was not functioning and I needed to pay in cash. So next logical step for me was to go to an ATM. I found out that there were only three ATMs in the vicinity. One was closed because it was a Sunday and other two were not working. So I found myself in a difficult situation. Fortunately for me, when I checked the cash in my wallet, it was just enough to pay the hotel bill and get me by to my next port of halt. That because I had already booked my return ticket online. Still it gave me a lot of anxious moments till the time I found an ATM at my next stopover and withdrew some cash. So it is always better to have some decent amount of cash in your wallet, to get you by through difficult or unanticipated situations.

I hope my experience will benefit at least some of you.



  1. Informative post. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Jane. You can see my other posts too. Also, please share this information with others.