Monsoon renders most hill-stations inaccessible on account of excess rain and landslides. However, in spite of all challenges that a mountain trip in the monsoon poses, some of us just don't want to stay away! So if you can't hold yourself back from heading to the mountains in the upcoming months, here are a few helpful tips that will ensure that you have a safe and happy trip.
1. Always keep a buffer day
The first step of planning a vacation is deciding the number of days you'll be travelling for. While travelling during monsoon, it is best to keep a buffer day. For instance, if you're taking a week's trip to Himalayan regions like Leh, Ladakh or Spiti, you must keep a buffer day in Shimla / Manali. Landslides and heavy rainfall could lead to roadblocks that could delay your journey. If you have an extra day at hand, you don't need to stress about the bus or flight tickets that you will have to cancel. In case there's no delay, you can simply take that day to explore the city you're in! During monsoon, it is better to be safe than sorry.
2. Check weather forecasts
Once you've reached your destination and are planning to take a trek or a day trip to another place, do check the weather forecasts. If heavy rain is forecasted, trust it. Even if it seems like a clear or sunny day, don't take the sky at face value. Sometimes all it takes is half an hour for a storm to brew.
3. Have a doubt? Turn to the locals
Nobody knows the moods of a place better than the people who call it home. If you're heading out on a hike or just wandering around, ask them what places are safe in case it rains or is already raining. As outsiders, chances are that you're unaware about possible threats as well as how the area reacts to heavy rains. Locals will be able to tell you just what places are safe to explore.
4. Invest in waterproof shoes and appropriate clothes
City folks who haven't travelled to the mountains often tend to pack clothes that are completely unsuitable for the weather. While you may want to wear fancy clothes on a vacation, it is a good idea to try and refrain from carrying clothes that are not functional for monsoon. This includes heels, open shoes, cotton clothes and flared pants. Invest in waterproof shoes that will protect your feet, and even ensure that you don't slip or fall.
Synthetic clothes, raincoats and wind-sheeters are an absolute must. You should have at least one rain-proof set of clothes in case it begins to pour mercilessly. Knee length pants are also a must have as they more convenient than full length pants that will get drenched and cause you a fair amount of discomfort.
5. Avoid the road not taken
Hidden paths and off-beat routes are always more adventurous. I too, am an advocate everything that is against the mainstream. But if your're travelling in monsoon – there's an added risk while going the road not taken. Until and unless you're with a proficient hiker or a local, it is best to venture to unknown places.
Mosquitoes and other insects multiply exponentially during monsoon, so do carry repellents along. You wouldn't want to be worried about being bitten by insects when you're sitting in your balcony, enjoying a hot cup of tea. Don't forget to apply a generous amount for maximum protection!
7. Don't jump into rivers
Ever heard of flash floods? A flash flood is a sudden, rapid flow of water in low lying areas caused by excessive rains in upper regions. A river may seem calm, but you never know when a flash flood may occur and wash you away. So no matter how pretty a river be, appreciate it from afar if you're visiting it during monsoon. A flash flood will not give you time to react if you're inside the water.
8. Always carry games in case you're stuck indoors
Heavy rains could mean that you need to spend your day inside. While chai, maggi and pakoras are ideal accompaniments to a rainy day, games further add to the fun. So carry a game of scrabble, a deck of UNO or download games like Psych or charades if going in a big group.
So when you head up to the mountains this season, don't forget to follow this guide for a smooth-sailing trip.
Are there any tips and hacks that I've forgotten to mention? Tell me in the comment section below.
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