Ideally if you are travelling to a new place, you'd have sorted things out in terms of what you would be doing after visiting that place, or what is it that you would like to try; activities, food, places to shop/see etc. Many of the Indian travelers, visit a place where they either have a relative or a friend stationed so that commuting, places to stay, eat and visit are sorted out! However, more and more of our breed are now traveling the way travel was meant to be! To undisclosed location, to new places, to find your own soul (not that your soul wasn't with you) but metaphorically speaking, more and more of us are trying out new things and visiting new places where they know no one, to try out new things, to have a completely new experience. Glad!
Assuming that from my first article, you have planned out your travel - that includes booking the tickets and the hotels and have a fair idea of the place that you are visiting like its food, places to see, things to buy etc., now comes the part what to do when you get there.
Step out of the Airport to find a cheaper mode of travel. Airport taxis cost you generally higher. With Ola and Uber flooding the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well, you wouldn't be short of them anywhere. If not them, you can still step out of the Airport and get a taxi to commute to your Hotel at a very reasonable rate that is generally much cheaper than the Airport Taxis and definitely cheaper than the cost that the Hotel would charge. To give you a realistic example, in Port Blair (a very small but beautiful city) the cost of the Taxi quoted by the Hotel for a one way journey (either to or from the Hotel) was INR 500. The same distance quoted by the Airport Taxi was INR 150 whereas I stepped out of the Airport and interacted with the local Taxi drivers, the cost was INR 100 for a Taxi and INR 80 by an Auto. The distance to be travelling was less than 4 K.Ms. The choice is yours!
Tip: Loosen up! Feel better about the little uncertainty that comes with traveling to an unknown place and interact with locals during the commute.
Well, this is literally the most important. For someone like me, whose entire mood depends upon the capacity of the stomach that's filled in, it's very important to keep the tummy satisfied! While searching Tripadvisor.in helps in many cases, it's always better to ask the locals for the best places to eat. The places may differ from person to person but they will always be fairly cheaper than the hotel that you are staying in. Remember, you may have booked the Hotel rooms for cheaper price through best deal from travelling sites but they surely know how to get their money back. Firstly, the prices of basic food items cost a Bomb and the taxes on them cost an even bigger Bomb. Ask the Taxi driver, the receptionist at the Hotel and use Google to find out the nearby locations to eat that offer good hygienic food at a reasonable price. Getting Halal food may not always be easy but then remember that you are traveling and living out of your comfort zone, out of the typical neighborhood that you are used to. So, go Veg for the next few days! And please, please, please and I say this because I have seen many travelers and tourists make this mistake again and again; don't order your home specialty food when you are in a different city. E.g. there is no point ordering Hyderabadi Biryani when you are in Goa. Go for the local cuisine! Similarly, no point ordering Lucknowi Tandoori Kebabs when you're in South India! Go for their Veg delicacies.
Tip: Most of us travel physically and leave our Mentality - that includes our eating habits at home! No Point indeed! Try out new thing and change your eating habits for a few days even if that means changing them forcefully.
Again, Tripadvisor.in can act as a baseline with the places and reviews but the locals always know the best! Check with the Auto driver, Taxi Driver, Hotel Receptionist or other Travelers that are staying in the Hotel if you have limited time. You obviously cannot explore the entire city in a day or two and cannot experience everything and therefore you visit the popular places first. However, that may not always be the best idea. Check with the locals, visit the place and instead of hurrying up in everything, just sit there appreciating the beauty and uniqueness around you especially if you are on an island or a mountainous location or a far of beautiful village or a small town. Also, shop from the local places and communities. No point going to a far of Hilly village and buying imported things. Those imported shops cater to the local needs, whereas you are already an outsider and have come to that place to experience the local culture.
Tip: Don't hurry into visiting everything in a hurry. It's not about ticking a checkmark box of the places you've seen or visited. It's more about getting away from the routine-maddening life that we live and letting our senses explore at a slower pace.
This blog was originally published on 'SAMIRKHANWEB'