5 Helpful Tips for Planning a Trip (step by step) 2019

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Holidays often start as a wonderful idea and eventually become a nightmare. Often neglected, many considerations and reflections are needed to perfectly organize touring projects. Lack of travel planning knowledge often leads to “invisible obstacles” on vacation.

5 Helpful Tips for Planning a Trip (step by step) 2019

Holidays often start as a wonderful idea and eventually become a nightmare. Often neglected, many considerations and reflections are needed to perfectly organize touring projects. Lack of travel planning knowledge often leads to “invisible obstacles” on vacation.

Here are some useful tips for planning a trip that will end chaos by optimising your vacation for perfect harmony and bliss.

Pick up a suitable Destination : 

It’s all probably from great photos that have become viral on social networks, from the staging of a movie or from the irresistible story of a friend’s last trip abroad. Tour plans are mostly triggered by external factors.

With little preparation and effort, a personalised travel planner can overcome 90% of the difficulties they face during a trip. Here are some handy tips to plan your trip and prepare for a rainy day.

Things to keep in mind before selecting a destination :

  • There is nothing to say when a traveler wants to visit beaches, mountains or forests. However, choosing the right destination based on the season is a key factor in planning a successful trip.
  • Check the best time to visit all the destinations. Usually, the ideal season to visit the beaches and mountains is completely different.
  • Consider the cost factor when choosing a destination. Some places are more comfortable on a luxury budget than others. If you’re heading to a luxury destination in the off-season (a few weeks before or after the official “high season”), you’ll get good discounts on hotels and flights.
  • The safety of travellers is a priority concern that people should tackle before starting their journey (especially women traveling alone).
  • Easy accessibility or lack of accessibility is also a factor that can influence whether a destination is visited or not. Generally, popular destinations offer many daily flights, trains and good highway infrastructure to support the flow of tourists. There is nothing to say when a traveler wants to visit beaches, mountains or forests. However, choosing the right destination based on the season is a key factor in planning a successful trip.
  • Check the best time to visit all the destinations. Usually, the ideal season to visit the beaches and mountains is completely different.
  • Consider the cost factor when choosing a destination. Some places are more comfortable on a luxury budget than others. If you’re heading to a luxury destination in the off-season (a few weeks before or after the official “high season”), you’ll get discounts on hotels and flights.
  • The safety of travellers is a priority concern that people should tackle before starting their journey (especially women traveling alone).

Easy accessibility or lack of accessibility is also a factor that can influence whether a destination is visited or not. In general, popular destinations offer many daily flights, trains and good motorway infrastructure to cope with the influx of tourists.

Decide the duration of your trip

There is a fine line between getting bored and enjoying every moment at a destination. However, no destination has a predefined ideal duration, it often depends on the plan and purpose of the visit. Some travellers like to experience new places whereas some travelers prefer taking it slow by witnessing and enjoying the subtle nuances of places they visit.Either ways the ideal duration of a trip is relative to each individual traveller so compare not 🙂 

Booking flight, train or bus tickets:

Most trips get canned at the last minute as travellers (esp. male) do not pay heed to logistics! After the ideation is complete, ensure you keep a check on flight, train, bus tickets well in advance to save cost. Since flight and train tickets are subject to availability and variable cost, getting the bookings done a few weeks in advance will help you avoid additional costs on your initial budget. 

Important things before booking a ticket :

Only book the cheaper non-refundable flight or train tickets if you are absolutely certain of your vacation plans. Otherwise, it is advisable to book refundable tickets if booking well-in-advance.

Flight prices fluctuate a lot, keep a track on flight prices by using Google Flights Tracker.

Expect a surge in the prices of flights and accommodations if you are booking tickets for a vacation that falls during the peak season of that particular destination.

Use credit cards that give frequent flyer miles and points on every rupee spent on booking flights and hotels to earn great rewards and cash-backs.

Plan the day-wise activities and course of action

It always sounds fascinating and adventurous when tour plans are made on a sudden impulse . However, the downside of going on such trips is that there could be an opportunity loss in terms of local events or a meet and greet or time-bound adventure activities! Avoid this by talking to a travel planner and also dong a bit of research by yourself

Conclusion :

Hope this article helps you to plan and experience a hassle free trip. In case of any challenges, please leave a comment and we will try to fix it for you! 

You can also reach out to us on ( contact@ecohunters.in) to curate your next fabulous adventure. 

Ecohunters Solo

9 Experiential Solo Travel Destinations In India under 30k

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Solo travel destinations offering a different perspective and diverse experiences to suit your soul and your pocket too!

One of the things of beauty about Solo travel ~ no fuzzy logic here!~ just pick a place and go without having to bother about heavy duty logistics, location access, weather pattern or type of food available~ hence picking a destination comes with better calibration of judgement such as , experience the place provides, the local culture one can experience ,kind of community one can interact with, so on and so forth.

So lets explore some awesome solo travel destinations offering a different perspective and diverse experiences to suit your soul and your pocket too!

Here we go Seekers!

Dharamshala ~ Mcleodganj

Dharamsala has the monastery of the Dalai Lama and is home to the largest Tibetan temple in India.  The upper part of Dharamsala, known as Mcleodganj is the one more famous with travellers. Bir is located southeast of Dharamsala and Biling is on the way to Thamsar Pass. It’s a trek of 14kms which can be done on foot from Bir to Biling. Biling is also a paragliding destination with some of the best services in the world. Kaereri lake, which is a high altitude fresh water lake, is in the northwest of Dharamsala and a trek can be made out of going there.

Access – Easiest to reach by a flight to Dharamshala, taking a bus or train is a better option to get a feel of your trip. The hotels are cheap with the best time of visit being March to October. It’s ideal even for a weekend getaway.

Stay – There are lots of budget and luxury hotels and cottages to choose from. Spend two days here and combine it with a trip to Dalhousie or McLeodganj for another two days to make it a longer one.

Lahaul ~ Spiti

Mountains monasteries, magnificent landscapes and a parched soul longing to quench its thirst welcome you here You can either make a long road-trip of these two places while passing Manali, Rothang Pass and Leh, or choose to visit them later.

Access – This is strictly a road trip. Some of the highest motor-able roads in the world await you here. Best time to visit from May to October.

Stay – Stay with locals , the people are warm and friendly who will let you stay with them as well as monasteries where you can spend the nights. Give yourself a week or ten days for this crazy road trip of a lifetime!

Rishikesh

This is one place which never gets too old to get back too.Its a popular weekend destination for urbanites around,most  travel here for rafting. The place is filled with Ashrams offering Yoga and meditation If you feel spiritual after visiting one, Haridwar is just one hour away from Rishikesh. Haridwar is also one of the stops of the “Chaar Dham Yatra” and plays host to the maha Kumbh Mela.

Access – Going by bus and train are popular options but if you want to fly there, the Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun is the nearest to Rishikesh.

Stay – There are various camps and hotels to stay in at Rishikesh while in Haridwar there is the Swami Dayananda Ashram to stay at. A three day trip is ideal, to break the monotony of life and it can be done even over a long weekend.

Zanskar

The most isolated of all the Himalayan valleys, Zanskar is to be explored by those who want to experience untouched, pristine beauty in India. The frozen waterfalls and the Chadar trek along with the frozen Zanskar River is a must-do while visiting here. Buddhist monasteries are also worth the visit here. The best time to visit is April to August.

Access – This is a destination which you must cover on a road trip to Leh-Ladakh. A bus or on a motorbike is the best way to get here.

Stay  Pitch tents in the valley or stay i at Leh.  Ideally, three days or more are required to visit here. Preferably, take a whole tour of the popular places of the Himalayan region in a two-week expedition if you’re feeling adventurous.

Varanasi

Regarded as one of the holiest cities for Hindus, it is known for more than just the Benarasi silk. Replete with ghats and temples, it is  hard to imagine that a lot of them were destroyed in the middle ages. The most intimate rituals of death take place in the open so it is not a destination for the faint hearted.

Access– The best time to visit is October to March. You can fly here with the Lal Bahadur Shastri airport being 24kms away from the town, or take a bus or car directly.

Stay – Spending three days here is sufficient to explore the city and what it has to offer. Most of the budget hotels are located at the banks of the Ganges River. One can also stay at one of the many backpacker’s hostels.

Bodh Gaya

Spiritual, historical or just a curious Buddhist, a trip to Bodh Gaya is a must. Essential to Buddhism and the place where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment, Bodh Gaya attracts a lot of seekers  who come here for meditation and study.

Access -The best time to visit is November to March while high season is December to January when his holiness Dalai Lama visits. Well connected by air, rail and road, with Gaya being the closest point of access of all three from where you can take a bus to the monasteries.

Stay – The Bihar State Government runs 3 hotels, along with private hotels and bungalows available as accommodation. Try spending four days here , theres a lot to be uncovered.

These Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples have exquisitely carved, erotic sculptures. They’re a part of the tantric mysticism which regarded sex as an important part of the rituals. Carefully preserved even after all these years, these temples are a definite must visit.

Khajuraho

Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples have exquisitely carved, erotic sculptures. They’re a part of the tantric mysticism which regarded sex as an important part of the rituals. Carefully preserved even after all these years, these temples are a must visit.

Access – October to February is the best time to visit with the temperature dipping to 4 degrees almost, with quite some activities to be done. Monsoon has its own charm when the lush green landscape makes the temples stand out even more. There are trains that go directly to the Khajuraho station as well as a new airport that connects it to the major cities of India.

Stay – There are budget hotels and hostels as well as five star hotels so it’s really your pick! 3 days is more than enough here. Brass sculptures available here are something worth picking up.

Majuli

Majuli is the world’s largest river island, located in the Brahmaputra in Assam. Given the abundance of rainfall and water, much of this island is submerged during monsoon. With over 100 species of birds, this place is ideal for bird-watching and for neo-vaishnavite culture and tradition. The local art and culture is quite a spectacle here and can be seen in the Satras.

Access – From Guwahati, Jorhat is a 7 hour bus ride away. There are also ferry rides to Majuli everyday, twice.

Stay – There are no hotels here but there are guesthouses and guest rooms where tourists can stay. An ideal visit would be of two days to just unwind in the scenic beauty of the place. Best time to visit is post November, once the monsoon is through.

Meghalaya

The ‘Abode of Clouds’ as it literally translates to, Meghalaya is one of the Seven-Sisters you can’t miss. As the name suggests, it has two of the wettest places on Earth, Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram where most of the rain falls between June and September. The water has carved out some of the longest caves of Asia. One of the main attractions in Cherapunjee is the Living Root Bridge.

Access – Guwahati is well connected by trains and air but for the rest of the state, the road network is to be relied on.

Stay – In Shillong, most hotels and accommodations are in the Police Bazaar area. Given the shortage of water in the state the rest of the places are harder to stay in but can be still visited. Five days here are ideal though you will really have to plan if you want to visit Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram, given the rains there.

Hampi

UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Karnataka, this place is a must visit especially if you love some art and history. There are more than 500 monuments to see here, strewn across the gorgeous backdrop of hills, so make sure you devote enough time to this trip! The political, royal centre of the Vijayanagara empire, temples and even the quarters of Muslim officers in the royal army are all here in a harmonious setting, located just a few miles from each other.  The river Tungabhadra also adds to the beauty of Hampi, with coracle boats and stone-hills.

Getting There – The closest town to Hampi is Hospet and you can take a train here and then a short bus ride. If you want to fly down, Hubli is the closest airport located about 160 kms from here.

Where  and How Long to Stay – Winter is the best time to visit Hampi with the temperature not dropping below 12 degrees. There are a lot of nice guest houses to stay at here and also some hotels if you want a luxurious trip. There are also heritage resorts with Ayurvedic massages to offer. An ideal trip should be of 2-3 days to really see what Hampi has to offer.

See you there!

Dark Tourism

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Scholars have been mulling over the reasons why death attracts so many and just as many scholarly-sounding theories abound. Read on to see my personal nugget later in the post.

Dark Tourism

Tina Enghoff, a photographer from Denmark, has a peculiar practice. She visits houses, in Scandinavia, of people who have recently deceased and takes pictures of their place. Her photo albums, and even one exhibition, is constituted completely of eerie portraits of lives of people who lived until recently, told entirely through their furniture, walls and personal belongings. If you ask her why, Tina will tell you ‘…because you can tell a lot about a person’s life by seeing where they died. ‘

This may sound too morbid a pursuit to be of your taste but do not dismiss it as dominion of the artistically eccentric and the hopelessly existentialist. If the numbers on Dark Tourism are to be believed you may very well be a part of this tradition without outright acknowledging it.

‘Dark tourism (also black tourism or grief tourism) has been defined as tourism involving travel to sites historically associated with death and tragedy.’
(Wikipedia)

To begin, let’s first demystify the nomenclature. The connotations that the term dark tourism comes with can simply be set aside by considering the alternates – thana-tourism (after the Greek Death god Thanos), grief tourism, tragedy tourism, phoenix tourism. It is just a collective term for travelling seeking fascination of death and the dying.

Scholars have been mulling over the reasons why death attracts so many and just as many scholarly-sounding theories abound. Read on to see my personal nugget later in the post.

The popular scholarly views:

  • Cultural entertainment
  • Repressed sadism
  • Dealing with eventuality of human mortality

…and my favourite coming from the director of Institute of Dark Tourism Research (real entity, honestly)

”People feel anxious before – and then better when they leave, glad that it’s not them,”
– Dr. Philip Stone

Simple enough, right? Of course not.

We are dealing with the metaphysical conundrum of death with something as modest as travelling. You may have guessed that there is more to it than meets the eye and you would be correct.

This fascination with dead people’s places is not a modern invention. Early examples of dark tourism may be found in the patronage of Roman gladiatorial games and public executions in medieval times. The Roman coliseum has been referred to as the first Dark Tourist attraction while public executions whetted the appetite of an entertainment starved masses.

With such a brilliant idea having been around for so long it is no surprise that there are ‘best of’ and ‘top 10’ lists for best Dark Tourism spots.

One thing I love about these lists is how clear they make the reason for the charm of Dark Tourism. All the places, owing to their past, now have a rich history and a great story. Travelling is all about great stories and the places they are made. Maybe dark locations are just that – locations; with effective backdrops and great merchandizing potential. Is that a bad thing? We will see in the next section. Read on.

You may have noticed the lack of Indian representation in the lists above. But that only shows India is not a top destination, but India was built on war and politics. There is enough Dark for the tourism here. Sample a few.

  • Jallianwala Bagh massacre site
  • Taj Mahal – the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal
  • Rajghat – the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi
  • 26/11 attack sites in South Mumbai – Taj hotel, Gateway of India, Nariman House
  • The UCIL plant – Bhopal gas Tragedy site

An important question here would be about the lacking initiative by Tourism department to milk these cash cows, which nicely opens us up the ethical and moral problems that Dark Tourism faces.

 Challenges with Dark Tourism:

Commercialisation v/s Memorialisation

Turning a place of disaster into a tourist attraction overtly has a tone of beneficence – informing people on the plight of the affected and keeping the memory alive; maybe even avoid a future disaster. But the line between consciousness raising and raising capital soon begins to blur and becomes just another victim of disaster at the place.

Add to that the media attention and the glamorising that comes with it. Very often we see the plot getting out of hand. Not always is the story about tour operators making obscene amounts of money out of tragedy. Sometimes it’s a tragedy of its own.

Take the case of Alicia Esteve Head (aka Tania Head) who claimed to be a survivor of 9/11 attacks. Investigation later showed she had only witnessed those events on television in her native Spain. She travelled to New York and attended survivor’s meetings in Manhattan. Eventually she even became their very prominent spokesperson. All the while, lying about herself.
What motivated her? Was it attention? Was it need to be part of the tragedy?

If only she could answer the question of commercialisation v/s memorialisation.

One-sided affair

Tourist destinations like any location of history are subject to the shortcomings of history – written by the victors.

Unsuspecting, unread visitors who are willing to the accept the text on the memorial plank as canon partake in much graver crimes that just being misinformed on the number of soldiers who lost their lives.

Take these two cases:

Black history: After slavery was abolished in America, the cotton plantations which were a hotbed for exploiting the African American community became Dark Tourism spots, with tourists of all colours flocking to either commend on how things have changed for the better or comment on how things have hardly changed. Such plantations were known by the wooden planks that detailed the history of the supposedly benevolent white family that owned and housed, rather than exploited the blacks. The African-Americans obviously knew the other side of the story and after a bitter legal battle it became necessary to include both histories – the white and the black – at such locations.

Gays of Auschwitz: You may think that having survived the Nazi Holocaust as a Jew would mean the end of all travails for a lifetime. But you haven’t taken the homophobic zeitgeist into account then. Gay Jews had to fight for right to be represented on the international stage about the persecution they faced in Nazi Germany. No concentration camp tour wants to mention ‘gay victims’ as a special category.

 A great backdrop for pictures

This may sound frivolous but it’s not. Take the case of Toshifumi Fujimoto – the world’s most extreme tourist

Now see this tumblr blog

 

Dark tourism is not always damaging, but neither is it always helpful. Still, whether or not you approve of the practice, the essence of the ethical debate surely revolves around one key question: who’s really benefiting?

The Summation

If you are a believer in the theory that all time exists together – that there is no separate past, present and future but one simultaneous – you can easily marvel at the slapstick macabre in juxtaposed images of European backpackers in shorts and tight fitting t-shirts carrying massive bags eyeing attentively the hordes of Tutsi tribe kids being slaughtered in the Hotel Rwanda genocide at Murambi, Africa – now a world famous museum with table displays of children skulls and mummified remains.

The fact is Dark Tourism is an ‘after the fact’ activity. Like with any such undertaking it is necessary to take into account the fact and be mindful of a few things.

The Dark Tourist Commandments:

Read beforehand

Respect the location

Respect the history

Dress right

Travellers have tasted the spectrum of human experience. The more you travel more you come to terms with the impermanence of human life. This revelation may in some trigger the desire to visit places which have become monuments to human endings. Dark tourism deftly combines beginnings and ends into a single trip like no other trip can.

Solo Travel- hear the noises within

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Stagnation begins in the realm of comfort. It is only the absence of the same that ensues a path for a change & in search of motion you find change. Travelling solo is just that. It is a beginning of the change, within and without.

Solo Travel- Hear the noises within

SOLO TRAVELS

In the quiet you hear the noises within

Stagnation begins in the realm of comfort. It is only the absence of the same that ensues a path for a change & in search of motion you find change. Travelling solo is just that. It is a beginning of the change, within and without.

The fact is that solo travel sets the individual on the trail of self discovery, as he finds himself ushered in the unexpected and unforeseen forays of this journey and make no mistakes, there is every possibility of him desiring to have a repeat! Bravo!

Solo traveling is yet to catch the fancy of many, at least in India and remains a vastly unexplored part of today’s travel culture. This could be due to the popular belief that human beings cannot survive in isolation! Sure but aren’t we constantly striving to break free from the mundane, the ordinary, to feel liberated, to be with the self and why not? After all, our existential truth is ‘the self’, is it not?

Folks, travelling solo is definitely worth giving a try. Ask those brave souls who have already taken the plunge and the answer would be an emphatic yes! Hope this settles the issue.

However, apprehensions that come with taking a solo plunge are quite understandable. So let me guess what is ticking your mind eh. Is it the fear of being lonely? Well maybe, but every solo traveller I know, says that it’s far from being lonely on solo travels. Rather you feel more connected and open than ever. Being unsafe? Mother nature beckons and protects, does not harm. To add to that if you maintain street-smart behavior, you will be much secure. Being bored? Highly improbable as you will be busy exploring, experiencing & connecting. What else? Scared of running out of dough? Proper budgeting and bookings done in advance takes care of that, unless you intend to shop till you drop even on a vacation! Now this is terminal unless it turns funny when you see aunties rushing for the shawl shops and uncle biting into hot samosas while sipping on fragrant tea, completely oblivious to their awe inspiring surroundings.

Coming back to solo traveling, if some doubts still cast a shadow on your plans, let me share my own experience. I had my reservations before taking my first solo trip. After a lot of pacing back & forth & motivational speeches from fellow travelers, I did finally go & I am pleased to tell you that “DRUMROLL”, travelling solo is beautifully refreshing and uplifting. You experience an innate sense of peace. As you dust your dreams to a shine- you stumble upon a brand new self, in complete harmony with the serene surroundings, more confident and relaxed, brimming with renewed energy and zest; and who knows more surprises could be awaiting you, in the form of some valuable friendships which you strike during your solo journey! If nothing else, solo travel will enable you, for those few days at-least, to do or not to do as you please, which is luxury in itself, isn’t it?

So come-on, take the risk. Pick one destination and do your research. Be well equipped with bookings, road maps, travel applications on your phone; parasols, thermals, raincoats, extra woolens if need be, sunglasses etc. Update your medical kit, get you own food and drinks; extra care in dealing with strangers goes a long way in ensuring your safety. If traveling by road- your vehicle should be in the best condition and lastly- please give your mobile a shutdown, give yourself a break, quite literally. Your frayed nerves will thank you.

Hopefully more of us will embark on this amazing path in the future & bring back endless stories, which we all would love to hear, share and savor. Happy travels.

How to survive the Indian Pickpocket!

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Pick pocketing is essentially teamwork; though, solo artists too exist. Pickpockets, both males and females, operate in crowded metros, city buses, railway stations, bus terminals and daily markets. Good wallet-lifters are egoists; they pride in their trade. The best have self-inflicted blade marks on their forearms: a sort of status symbol, says a cop.

How to survive the Indian Pickpocket

Hi Folks,

The inspiration for this article is a recent group from the US and UK visiting India for the first time. And guess who greeted them first at the railway station. The very swift agile and hungry Indian pick Pocket or (pocket maar in local lingo), Yes that’s right, though the loss in foreign exchange wasn’t much ;), it’s still a mood dampener. So here’s some advice on how to beat them at their own game!.

Pick pocketing is essentially teamwork; though, solo artists too exist. Pickpockets, both males and females, operate in crowded metros, city buses, railway stations, bus terminals and daily markets. Good wallet-lifters are egoists; they pride in their trade. The best have self-inflicted blade marks on their forearms: a sort of status symbol, says a cop.

Popular public places, transport hubs or local shopping areas are the breeding grounds for the pick pocket. They come in all shapes and sizes, Short, wiry and reasonably articulate, who hardly invite a second glance or may be dressed in a worn-out jeans and a beat-up eggplant colored T-shirt that screams, Rock and roll rebel.

I for one have not been pick pocketed until now, lucky I guess! So these are the few things I make sure are in place if I am entering a crowded public place.

  1. Nothing works best than being alert; in the know of who’s around you.
  2. Look out for any face trailing close to you for long.
  3. Always keep your wallet in the front pocket, makes it almost inaccessible.
  4. If lost always or asking for directions, always ask a cop or any fellow traveler or a auto rickshaw driver.
  5. When paying do not take out the entire wand of cash you might be carrying, always carry loose currency in change.

The local Pickpocket slang, must you hear it you know what to do now!

* Machine: Main pickpocket of a gang.
* Thekbaaz: Assistants mainly used to distract attention.
* Paplu: Potential pickpocket’s target.
* Phool: Meeting place.
* Bater: Back pocket.
* Chhati: Front pocket.

Rest , enjoy the vacation, love the people and experience the culture. Remember all that we have talked about here is out of experience and all this is ineffective if you are not alert about your surroundings. These basics will help you not get robbed.  Cheers!

Here’s how popularising Leh is playing out!

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As soon as these passes open for public, pictures start flooding social media  platforms~ facebook / instagram won’t stop buzzing with selfie’s and groupies or solo pics capturing the breathtaking background. Once the euphoria settles and satisfaction prevails ~ the sense of belonging to the place also fades away.

Here's how popularising Leh is playing Out!

When it comes to Bollywood, our very own version of Hollywood,  we Indian’s are a proud lot .Movies play a significant role in our world of entertainment. Be it Fashion, Humour, Style, Culture, Haute-Couture or Travel ~ movies have been, the first influencers to the millions of audiences young and old! Two such movies Dil Chahta hai (2001) and 3 idiots (2003) ~( Check them if you haven’t already! ) play out storylines which are close to a lot of heart’s ! but then here’s the frame we want to focus on~ both these movies were shot in Leh and this box office result wasn’t pleasing. Here’s how the consequences of popularising Leh played out, read on!

Tourist arrivals have increased rapidly especially in the past decade which has undoubtedly given a boost to its economy and created more jobs. Leh has evolved as one of the most visited destinations in India in the summer months. As the terrain in Leh is extremely fragile, it is subject to more carbon footprint, more plastic waste and very little water to sustain the needs of the tourists. It is wrong to blame these movies for the most part of the modernisation that Leh is subject to and it is upon us as tourists/travellers to practice ways that conserve the nature rather destroy it.

When I first visited Leh in 2010, bikers trailing the Manali ~ Leh route was an uncommon sight ,fast forward to present day one can witness score’s of bikers and tourists alike wanting to experience this magnificent place -but here’s what’s missing – their actions to preserve and  conserve this pristine landscape they so much enjoy. As soon as these passes open for public, pictures start flooding social media  platforms~ facebook / instagram won’t stop buzzing with selfie’s and groupies or solo pics capturing the breathtaking background. Once the euphoria settles and satisfaction prevails ~ the sense of belonging to the place also fades away.

I am not sure how many of us are aware of the fact that Leh is the only cold desert in India with extreme temperatures, very little rainfall, ingenious agriculture and heart-warming culture. The region was opened for tourism in 1974 and about 500 tourists visited the destination in the first year, mostly expats and a resident population of 15,000 locals.

Conserving this very fragile ecosystem remains our responsibility. As travellers or tourists these are a few small things we should do to make a difference, a real difference and effect the ecosystem in a positive way.

-Do not Litter –

This holds true for every place that we visit but more importantly in a place like Leh. Avoid buying plastic water bottles, instead carry a bottle with you to refill. It is heartbreaking to see the lakes/passes littered with bottles of Coke, mineral water etc. Carry the non-biodegradable waste back home – Yes, it makes a huge difference.

-Use Compost Toilets –

Water is a limited resource for the people of Leh due to minimal rainfall. They use every drop of the melting snow to fulfil their irrigation needs and sustenance. Tourists are used to flush toilets which end up using a great amount of water + produces nitrogen rich waste. Adopt the local practices just for those few days to make a difference

-Chose local travel agencies and homestays –

Plan your trip with the local travel agencies which support and practice ecotourism. Give up the urban way of living for a few days and experience the hospitality by the locals.

-Hold or be a part of the workshops –

Help the local community and contribute your time in collaborating with them. You can do a number of things based on your skill set – English teaching lessons, music, writing, ways to enhance sustainable tourism and more.

-Save Water –

It’s okay to not take a shower everyday, yes that! Use solar heaters or room temperature water than promote the use of geysers and electrical equipment.

A famous quote reads – the use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are. We must inherit these practices as a way of life and conserve this place as is. We are already late but every single effort counts….. let us  be heroes just for one day!

Please feel free add to the idea’s mentioned here. Do leave your comments/suggestions or write to us at hello@ecohunters.in.in.

Real-time travel tips for introverts

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Travel is  about being open to experiences, both even and odd ones. Overcome your apprehension of an event by being open to any outcome , even it is not upto your liking. Spend time doing the things that your persona is comfortable with.

Real Travel tips for Introverts

The travel bug hasn’t spared even the meekest of individuals to step out and explore. Pictures of half naked revellers jumping off a lagoon, may be a opportunity to meet a beautiful someone or an experience which translates to some real soul cleansing !  While all of us look forward to such a get away, some  can’t seem to indulge in the moment ~

Read On to make the most of  your introversion on your next trip …

# Dive in Alone

Travel is  about being open to experiences, both even and odd ones. Overcome your apprehension of an event by being open to any outcome , even it is not upto your liking. Spend time doing the things that your persona is comfortable with.  If  that  means spending time alone ,do it, eventually you will find a sweet- spot between your travails for alone time and urge to socialise. And in due course when you  crave company you will have no choice but to socialise. Be it hopping on the next flight to meet a friend in a neighbouring city or striking up a conversation with a fellow traveller, your inner extrovert will find you.

# Travel with a wing-man or a wing-woman

If you are not a compulsive lone-wolf , consider travelling with one or two close friends. This makes for a perfect dynamic. When you need alone time you can easily break away without the need for any odd moments. Approaching other travellers will be easier as you will be comfortable in the knowledge that you wont have to indulge in small talk alone. Your travel partner will be a hand in glove in things that you aren’t comfortable initiating.

# Be Yourself

Introverts as the popular notion goes are not anti-social. They are individuals who need more alone time between intervals  of socialising. But here is the take away ~ introverts are always absorbing or observing the atmosphere  around them which makes them more perceptive and hence can connect at a deeper level with a individual. So when they bond they are definitely beyond Facebook friendship.

# Get Off the internet

This is probably one single popular reason why  people miss out on people! Get off Insta Scrolls , Facebook updates, Whatsapp texts. Use them strictly when necessary. Doing this will help you fully engage with your surroundings and  people. You will not miss out on that sudden photo op , may be even exchanging a glance with that someone! ~ this is possible only when you aren’t staring away at one of your smart gadgets!

# Resisting FOMO

For unaware souls FOMO is fear of missing out.

Instead of enjoying what’s around you, you spend more time worried that your travels don’t look the way they’re supposed to. There are  probably these images running in your head about whats it supposed to look like ! Oh yeah all those gazillion images online can trigger the feeling~ but what they don’t display  is the myriad edits these images took to get to your screen.

# Assume

ASS-U-ME, thats what assumption does. Don’t assume about a situation , place or a individual. If there’s anything on your mind or if curiosity is getting the better of you, step up and confront the thought through an action. If not the non-action will eat into your bliss and you would not have an answer to the question~ What if i Had~ this is your insurance for a similar situation in the future.

#Be Content

Don’t worry about how many likes your social post has got or be anxious that everyone else is having more  fun while you’re chilling on your own or that your buddy got lucky  while you couldn’t ! This is your trip and you can perceive the experience the way you want to. If  what you return with is a few titles ticked off your reading list, a tan on your body  and a smile on your face, that’s cool. Theres always a next time for those incomplete wishes or secret desires.

Hope you liked reading through our post. As always please leave your comments or write to us at contact@ecohunters.in.in for any suggestions.