As a lot of people have started travelling again, we talked to a few travellers who shared their experiences and a handful of advice for travelling in summer along with a renowned nutritionist who shared the major dos and don’t’s while travelling.
After a period of two years, travelling in summer this year seem to be as energetic as it used to be before the world was introduced to the novel Coronavirus. Not only one can venture out of their homes but also plan good long holidays as the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted from most of the tourist places in India. As a matter of fact, people have already thronged places like Kashmir – which is currently observing a large number of tourists ever in this season.
Travelling in summer, however, is not a new phenomenon. With the announcement of summer vacations in the schools, many Indian families would turn out to be travellers; some in search of beaches while a few could be seen seeking peace in the hills. Even for the travellers who travel all year round, the experience of travelling in summer is something different and enthralling.
The couple travellers from Mumbai, Diana and Donald, do not miss this opportunity to travel to colder places like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, or Kashmir. However, their favourite memory is spotting Maya – the tigress of Maharashtra’s Tadoba-Andhari National Park on their first-ever morning safari. The event was possible because wild animals are often seen roaming around and searching for water during the summer season allowing visitors to take a glance at them. “We must have sighted almost all the animals on that morning safari. We don’t know whether it was luck or destiny but it was worth the effort,” they say.
Varied experiences and lessons learned!
It would be entirely unfair to say that travelling always comes easy during summers. With the scorching heat on the head, oftentimes, travellers also have to bear with the crippled local transportation, even in the cities like Mumbai, popular for offering an easy commutation. Once Richita Nichani, a traveller from Chennai, had to reach from one side to the other side of Colaba for which only taxis were a fair option. It was a sunny day and not a single taxi was ready to take her, owing to the short distance.
While only metered taxis are allowed to operate apart from the cabs in South Mumbai, Nichani finally got one, but due to the short distance, the driver asked for double the cost. “He told me that only if I would pay him more than the ‘meter cost’ he will take me and I had to agree because of the situation,” Nichani says, adding that it is only feasible to roam in evenings in summers at hot and humid places.
To avoid the hot weather of the plains, Amit Singla, a traveller from Patiala, prefers to go on treks in and around Triund, Barot, Kashmir, Manali, and Leh. On one such unexplored trek in summer near Kangra, he and his fellow companions lost their way. Neither was there a GPS signal nor network to guide them. “It took us a lot of time with ‘near-to-death experience’ to search our way down to the base. No matter how easy a trek looks like if you don’t know the way, either carry a guide or make sure at least one person from the group is aware of directions,” he says.
Adding to his advice, Singla also mentioned that one needs to keep a check on the weather forecast to avoid the harshest summer days. “Search for places that have bearable temperatures with cool breezes at times. Avoid crowded destinations to explore well and it will be cheaper to travel. A pocket-friendly trip with the bearable temperature that will ease out during dusks and having good food and lodging options should be kept in mind before travelling,” he says.
Another traveller Prateek Thakker, who hails from Bengaluru, agrees with Amit on avoiding visiting places at the peak seasons, and he has a justified reason to say so. While he travels to places either before the start of peak seasons or at the fag end of it, a couple of times, he also committed such blunder. One such mistake was in Rajasthan at a small town Jalore, popular for its granites and the Marwari breed of Horses. He had two days of buffer time for which he decided to go to visit Nathdwara, known for the SriNathji temple.
The distance between the two cities was about 180 km when Thakker checked on maps. Coming from Bengaluru, he calculated the distance according to his region, which seemed as much as travelling to Mysore, which usually takes 3-4 hours. He boarded a state bus from the Jalore bus stand and went off to sleep. Little did he know that in the sweltering heat of 50-degrees, the bus would take 5 hours to cover a distance of only 100 km.
“I was thrown off guard with my plans, I decided to get off the bus midway and found a private bus that took me to Nathdwara faster than the state bus,” he recounts. The result? The journey that should have taken him 4 hours at maximum, took 10 hours. “Only I know how I braved that heat, thanks to the sugarcane juice I drank at every possible pitstop to avoid collapsing,” he adds.
For similar reasons, he suggests that for summers, one should decide a place that offers a peek into the local food and culture that is, otherwise, not possible in monsoons or winters. If for the hills like Manali, Thakker maintains, it is better to reach the prime locations and then move forward to explore the nearby villages and offbeat places for a better experience.
On the other hand, Abhay Bansal, a traveller from Saharanpur, thinks that one can easily skip all other criteria to decide on a place to travel and easily trust mountains in summer. For the people who choose to travel to hot places, he just says, “Travelling and exploring means a lot of walking. If you are in a hot place, it is likely to make you tired and lazy. So, relax in the afternoon and explore in the evening.”
How to beat the heat?
Along with Bansal, Diana and Donald are firm about their travel bags in summers and say that bags must include sanitiser, disinfectant spray, wet wipes, sunscreen, cap, sunglasses, 1 litre of a refillable water bottle, comfortable sneakers, glucose/electoral. Moreover, they highlight that it is important to wear cotton or linen comfortable clothes and avoid silk, nylon, or any other fabric during this time. As per them, one should aim to pack less by mix-matching outfits instead of carrying one outfit per day.
Talking about the itineraries, Diana and Donald mention that one should keep it light and flexible by exploring around 2-3 spots only each day. As the non-availability of liquids in remote areas could be a challenge, Amit Singla focuses on carrying ORS sachets as well. Prateek Thakker’s piece of advice revolves around including a comfortable pair of airy shoes along with shampoo, soap/body wash and facewash and most importantly, a deodorant because “obviously, you will be sweating so much.”
Extra care for nutrition
Oftentimes, travellers and photographers tend to lose track of their eating habits at work, which makes them vulnerable to various health problems. However, as Shivi Gusain, a nutritionist says, one should take extra care while travelling in summer. “Freshly cut coconut water and fresh lemonade are a great option instead of sugary sodas to stay hydrated and to curb cravings,” she says.
Gusain states that it is important to search for the local and seasonal fruits from local markets as they provide the best amount of nutrients to the body. “Eating light foods during travel is also an important tip which one should note. Whether you are on your way in a vehicle or even after reaching the place, try your best to indulge in foods which are light on the stomach and easily digested to avoid any kind of digestive issues during and after the trip,” she says. She adds that lentils, rice, khichdi, idli sambhar, neer dosa, buttermilk, lassi, vegetable poha & upma, vegetable oats & porridge, boiled eggs, fruits juices, and vegetable soups are best to name a few.
Adding to her tips Gusain highlights some handy and travel-friendly food items that can be carried to munch on. You can pick roasted makhana, puffed rice, roasted rice flakes (poha), roasted channa, nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios & raisins), and seeds (chia seeds, basil seeds, pumpkin seeds & watermelon seeds). The Delhi-based nutritionist says, “These options are far healthier than that preservative and additives loaded energy and granola bars which are marketed as healthy products but in reality, are not.”
Gusain asks travellers to avoid oily foods like chips, wafers, and fried things as they are not easily digested and can cause acidity gas and indigestion. She further asks to not miss meal timings or skip the meals altogether. As she says, long gaps between meals can lead to issues like gas and acidity, and one is likely to eat more in the next meal in such circumstances. “It leads to overeating thereby causing indigestion and bloating. So, it is advisable to take small meals at regular intervals,” Gusain says.
According to her, just like travel itineraries, one should also plan for their food in advance. “Check out what all healthy and travel-friendly foodstuff you are going to carry because planning will not only help you avoid gaining those extra kilos but will also ensure a happy, safe and joyful summer trip,” she adds.