Living Through The Lens

Living Through the Lens

We are a self proclaimed Selfie crazed generation! Every beautiful place we visit, its almost out of instinct we grab our cameras to try & capture the perfect image or click that perfect selfie!

I have to admit, I am no different from the rest.

Being a Travel Blogger I have my focus on taking that perfect picture as well.

However, I realized during my trip to Thailand, when we were visiting this beautiful garden. It had the most gorgeous flowers, fountains & butterflies!

However, instead of enjoying the greenery or taking the time to appreciate the beauty with which mother nature had graced the place, most of us were busy clicking pictures! Click Click Click everywhere!

For me, that was then I realized that many times when we travel, we almost, all the time, live through the lens! May it be the lens of our camera or of our phones! We are just in the mad craze of capturing everything, everywhere. We forget that the place where beauty can be best captures is in our minds as memories!

I did not click many pictures in that garden from that point on & have very few images of that beautiful place.

I could not post a lot of images o n my blog, just a few & you know what? Its okay, because I have the images of the most gorgeous flowers, fountains & butterflies in my mind.

I just want to say to you guys, take in the beauty, appreciate it, really look at it. Lets enjoy the experience exclusively for sometime. I am not saying don’t take images at all. But don’t let your travel be all about image taking.

You might lose Images from your camera or your phone, but never the ones from your mind & memories.

Love,

Arpita xo

Traveling on a Budget?

We all dream of traveling the world. However, traveling these days is not exactly cheap. This is especially true when it comes to the big cities. So how does one fulfill ones dream of traveling, yet not burn a hole in ones pocket? Stay tuned, as in this post I talk about ways you can make the most out of your travel on a limited Budget.

Plan Ahead

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It always helps to plan ahead of time. Start at least 6 months prior to your intended time of travel .You stand a chance of getting better deals when it comes to Flights,  Train tickets, accommodation etc among other things which in itself will save you a lot of money.

Do not travel during the Peak Season

The costs of traveling during the Peak season will always be double of what you would pay normally. Avoid traveling during vacations or summer holidays as the prices are greatly escalated during that time & most places will be crowded. Instead opt for Off season travel. You tend to get a good discount at most places. Sometimes you will end up paying only half of what you normally would have paid during the Tourist Season.

Exchange Value

Choose destinations where the currency of your country has a greater exchange value. That way you will have the advantage of having a larger budget than you would have, if you traveled to a country where the currency of your country has lower exchange value.

Choosing the Destination

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Instead of traveling to the big cities where the cost of living is high. You can opt for a smaller cities which are equally beautiful, but lesser expensive. Honestly, it is your choice of destination which greatly determines the amount of money you will be spending. So why not travel to a place which is beautiful & offers almost everything in terms of a holiday destination? Its all about the research.

Opt for Hostels instead of Hotels

If Hotels are on the more expensive side where you are traveling to. Why not opt for the Hostels? You will save a lot of money & chances are you might meet like minded people who can be your travel companions as well. These days the demands for hostels are getting increasingly popular especially among solo travelers & people who would rather spend money elsewhere than on living expenses. Also some hostels these days offer great services state of art services at more affordable rates than Hotels. Again it depends on the place you are traveling to. In certain countries, Hotels are not on a very expensive side. All again comes down to your choice of Holiday destination.

Food

Rather than opting to eat at big restaurants why not go for the local eating joints. Explore the Local food markets & enjoy the street food! You can not only taste local flavors, but it will also save you some money.

Take the Free Walking tours

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Most cities offer free Walking tours of cities. It is the best way to explore a city & it its free! Honestly, nothing turns a destination into a home like exploring it on foot. Most Walking tours are organised by Locals who know the city well. Its am amazing way to get to know about the Local culture from somebody who is a part of it. Here is a list of Free Walking tours in cities across the World http://www.priceoftravel.com/1835/list-of-free-walking-tours-around-the-world/

Explore the Museums, Art Galleries & Churches

Entry to most Museums & Art Galleries is free & even if they charge you, its rarely very high. Its an amazing way to browse through the history of a particular place & learn about its culture! Again it is cost effective!

Churches

Churches are one of my favorite things to visit whenever I am traveling to any city. The architecture & painting is unique for every church & most cities have churches that have been a part of their heritage for many centuries. Again Entry to Churches are free!

Explore the Local markets

There is nothing like exploring the Local markets to really get a feel of the place & get an insight into the local culture. Local markets are great places to get bargain deals on fabrics to handicrafts & buy souvenirs to take back home . Again it wont cost you as much as buying them at the shopping malls. You can also try the Local food at its authentic best for really low prices.

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Visit the Gardens & Parks

Every place has its own Parks & gardens. They are such great places to spend time & unwind. Parks are excellent places to spend a lazy afternoon at. Why not pack your lunch, grab a book & have yourself a lovely picnic!

Enjoy the Beaches

For me the most amazing vacations are near the Beaches. You always have options that suit various budgets & spending time at a Beach is free. Whether you spend time in the water during the day or enjoy a beautiful sunset, Its not going to cost you.

Take the Local transport

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Always get a map of the place you are traveling to if you don’t have a GPS. Take the local transport instead of hiring a car or cab. Not only will it save you a lot of money but will also familiarize you with the place. You can opt for a full day transport card that most cities offer. For a specific amount of money you can use the local transport as many times as you want! It works out really well.

Make friends with Locals

The Locals can help you with recommending the best places to eat, the best route to reach a particular place & accommodations the are within your budget. However be careful with who you trust!

You see a lot of good things in life are free. Keep the above things in mind before & during  your travel & you can have yourself that holiday you have always wanted to take!

If you have any more ideas, do leave them in the comments down below!

Love,

Arpita.

Delayed Flights & Airport Layovers!

I am sure, one time or the other, most of us have been through this! I have spent many hours at the Airport, sometimes due to my flight getting delayed, other times for a Layover. However, it need not always be a boring affair. There is actually so much you can do with the time you have on your hands! Hell, it can even be a mini trip in itself. Want to know how?

Read on.

Smart Phones to the Rescue

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As I mentioned in my In-Flight Travel Essentials post, I never leave for a trip, without a fully charged iPhone. The iPhone or any Smart phone is such a multi-utility device. It comes in handy especially during such times. Use this time between flights or waiting for a flight, to catch up with your favorite Music, Call a friend you haven’t spoken in a long time or update your blog!

Read a Book

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I always carry a fully charged Kindle in my hand Bag during flights. What better way to spend time for book-lovers than catching up with the latest work of their favorite author!

Catch up on some Work

For professionals, this time can be utilized to work on the upcoming projects, or whatever pending work you may have. Most airports these days have computers available in the waiting Lounges, if you are not carrying your own.

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Shop

This is especially for the ladies! Duty Free Shopping! You can buy souvenirs for friends & family back home. Check out the latest gadgets & luxury goods, test out the latest perfumes, Cosmetics or check out the Chocolates section!

Try the Restaurants

If you are a foodie, you can happily spend your time tasting food from amongst the various restaurants or outlets that can be found at major Airports these days. May be you can try some local food or new dishes that you haven’t had the time to try before.

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My fellow Coffee lovers 

Spend time at Coffee shops! Airports & Coffee shops go hand in hand. Have a cup of Coffee & relax with a book!

Connect with a Stranger

This might be something you would normally do. But why not? You never know, a fellow traveler might become a friend & you might have amazing stories to tell each other about your travel experiences. This has happened with me a few times. And the the wait did not seem so long then.

Get some Sleep

Recharge your batteries. Travelling over long flights tend to get tiring sometimes. Most Airlines have excellent Lounges for its travelers & are especially accommodating if the flights get delayed. This one time, the Airline I was travelling with even arranged a free dinner for us since the flight was delayed by around 6 hours & it was late.

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People watching

One of my favorite things to do. I find Airports very fascinating. You will find people of so many cultures & countries. Every person & culture so unique in its own ways! 

Explore the city

I do not suggest this for a flight delay, but for a layover, sure! You can actually explore the city & have a good time in the process! Remember to not get carried away & lose track of time though!

To be very honest, I quite enjoy my time at Airports. Come on, if you come to think of it. A little bit of reading, some music, shopping & connecting with someone you would normally just pass by, can be quite a wonderful experience if you just see it differently.

May be next time you have a delayed flight or a Layover you will enjoy it a bit, eh?

Love,

Arpita.

*Images are sourced from Google.

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What’s in my In-flight Hand Bag?

This year has officially become ‘My Year Of Travel’. I have had to take so many long flights over the past few months, that I have realized what things I most need with me on board.
Passport
This is the single most important thing for obvious reasons. Along with my passport I also like to keep a few copies of the same, just to be safe. I have a case for my passport, like the one in the image above, to keep it safe & also have some money in it, as emergency cash.
Wallet
I have my money, Credit/Debit cards in my wallet. I prefer to have smaller wallets that don’t occupy much space and prefer the ones with a lot of card slots. My wallet is one thing that I generally don’t leave my house without.
iPhone
I think the iPhone is a multi-utility device. I use it listen to music, make notes, edit photos and even read books on.I make sure I charge it completely before leaving for a long flight, since I use it so extensively. I also carry a power bank in case I need to charge my phone if it runs out of battery.
Headphones
I always always have headphones on me, no matter if its a long flight or a 20 minutes journey. I normally use the ones that comes with iPhone but for flight I prefer to get better ones. It is especially useful if you have a noisy group of travelers with you, its helped me on several occasions.
Kindle
I am an avid reader & prefer e-books to Paperbacks on Board. So kindle travels with me almost every time I am travelling, in-flight or otherwise.
Socks
As soon as I get comfortably settled in the flight, I prefer taking my shoes off, so Socks some in pretty handy.
Neck Pillow
For long flights this is a life saver or should I say Neck saver! instead of leaning in every direction & finding a perfect spot to rest your head, a neck pillow is always a better option.
Scarf
It gets pretty chilly in the flight sometimes, so a scarf is a must have for me. It keeps me warm & I can use it to tie my hair up otherwise. It occupies lesser space as compared to a Jacket/Cardigan.
Facial Mist
The cool atmosphere at Airports & in the flight makes my skin really dry, so a facial mist is a must for me. It keeps my skin from drying out. Kiehl has a special In-flight refreshing facial mist. It is my personal favorite.
Lip balm
Again for because of the cool temperature inside the flight, for moisturizing my lips. I don’t really wear make up while travelling, I prefer letting my skin breathe. So its only lip balm that makes its way to my In-flight bag.
Shades
For blocking the sun-rays out, keeping my hair in place to shielding my tired eyes after a long flight. My shades do it all.
Camera
For capturing every beautiful moment, place forever.
These are my Travel essentials, I would love to hear about yours!
Happy travelling!
Love,
Arpita.

Solo Travel

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Solo Travel can be such a marvelous thing in itself. Its all about you. You are free to plan your days as you please, without having to worry about other persons interests or preferences.

There are times when your spouse/ friends don’t enjoy the same things that you so love! May be its Sky diving in Australia, taking a yoga retreat in Bali, or a cooking class in Thailand! Why not do it on your own! Solo travel is an amazing way to strike some things off your bucket list!

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Solo Travel has the potential to become a journey within yourself as much as around the world. It cleanses you, heals you and teaches you so much about your own self. Its a beautiful way to move beyond your comfort zone and view the world through your own unique perspective.Its a way to enjoy the simple things in life like a beautiful sunrise, a meaningful interaction with a stranger, a warm cup of tea after a long day. A gift of time to your own self. Your own little story to tell somebody someday.

Most of us are scared before embarking on our first solo trip and its a normal reaction. the unknown can be scary. There are so many choices to be made, so many things to be considered. The most important thing however is to have a little faith in yourself. Trust me you are very capable of taking care of it all.

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There might be some challenges here and there. Choosing the perfect hotel, choosing the location to stay, your budget, taking a bus from one destination to other, language barrier, getting down at the wrong stop etc. However once you make these decisions and overcome these challenges, you will emerge more confident than ever at the end of it all.

A few things here and there if kept in mind will go a long way in making your solo trip a successful one.

Researching the place you are about to travel to is the first and most important one. So much information is available on Travel sites these days. It really helps to read experiences of other travelers who have traveled to the place you intend to visit. There are so many people who write travel blogs. in my personal experience it has helped me a lot with my travels. Getting a background information about the culture, places to visit, best hotels/hostels to live in can be very useful. And in my experience people are more than happy to help in most cases.

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Your documents like Passport and Identification card are extremely important. So make sure you a couple of photocopies of them with you. Also keep a electronic copy of the same, in case you happen to loose the original and photocopies both.

It is also of great importance to have Contact information of your Home Country’s Embassy in the country that you are visiting. In case of emergency, this will be of great help.

Make sure your family or friends have an itinerary of your travel. So they know on any given day where you might tentatively be.

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Dressing Appropriately. its best if you try and research in advance about the culture of a particular place so that you can pick what clothes to carry with you when you travel. This is important especially when travelling to Islamic countries and also Hindu temples and Buddhist Shrines in different countries. A certain manner of dressing is required and is expected. As they say, When in Rome…

When it comes to consumption of Alcohol, its best to be moderate. Alcohol dulls your senses and hence makes you vulnerable. In a place where you are on your own, its best to be safe than sorry.

The most important thing I believe is to trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. This is especially true when choosing a hotel and interacting with people. If a hotel looks creepy or gives you a weird vibe, leave! If a stranger acts/looks shady or gives you a bad vibe. Walk away! trust your intuition!

Just keep the above mentioned points in mind, and you will be good.

I find the most beautiful thing about solo travel, the potential of finding your own tribe! Others who love to wander on their own just like you! This is certainly the most pleasant of all the experiences, meeting like minded people. I have met some really fascinating and amazing people while travelling. some of whom have become life long friends and others who have given me beautiful memories that will last a life time.

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Some of the best memories I find are the ones we make when we travel. When we are away from the clutches of everyday life and routine . You are the happiest version of yourself.

If you dream of traveling the world, just take the first step. it will take courage, but on the other side lies many joys, wonders and freedom. In the end, you will be happy you did.

Arpita xo

*Some Images are sourced from Google.