“To pack light is a skill, but to pack right is a wise man’s art…”
It is only when you plan to end up on a trip unplanned; you realize that something’s are just too necessary to travel with. A last minute packer that I am, I obviously lack the skill of checking the weather reports before going to any destination, going completely by word of mouth of what the place is like, which is often wrong. Nevertheless, I have always managed to manage with whatever resources I have, with some essential shopping in the local shops later out of sheer need.
But yes as wise men say, some habits are better forgotten…So there I go, on a trip to Himachal, without having a set itinerary for myself. With on the spot treks, an unpredictable monsoon, loose networks to connect you to the world and a trippy-tipsy terrain – I surely got my lesson learned hard! And that is when I found myself buying a bunch of things I realized one cannot travel without, adding them into my ‘rules of traveling’ diary…
So sharing a piece of my experience, here is a list of six must have’s that you need to be sure to carry along, once you are out there wandering in the wilderness…
#1 – First and foremost, for all the fashion struck boys and girls. Wearing your pretty heels, ballerinas, loafers and chappals, especially in the mountains, is the worst idea you could have got in years. Like every place has a dress code in our day to day life, even travelers have a code for the right shoes. Sturdy and long lasting, a good pair of sneakers should be it. If you plan to go for a trek, a good version of branded trekking shoes is a better idea, which can look bad on your fashion sense, but will surely help you get to your destination! Trust me, when you are on the verge of slipping down a cliff while hiking, no one cares what your shoes looked like!
#2 – This might remind some of school, but a backpack is ‘the’ bag you need to make your so called backpacker trip, into a real one. Make sure it’s not too small to fit enough, and not too big to take down your own body weight. It’s a fashion revelation to see how awesome some of the Northface backpacks look-like, with handy back supports, attached rain covers and extra pockets for you sipper and tit bits. It’s almost like carrying your world along with you in this bag, without having the need to carry it in your hands as you can comfortably sling it along your shoulders. I have even seen people fit their 6 months in one backpack, but honestly I still fail to understand how they managed that. Though I would wish to get there sometime in life.
#3 –When was the last time you bought yourself a raincoat? When you were five? Well, it’s not a thing for kids anymore! It is meant for real travelers. Thank god I realized this fact myself, before I laughed on someone looking absolutely funny in these happening new rain jackets. With the rains never alarming you on when they are going to hit a hill station, it is best for you to carry a rain jacket at all times, to save you from the pain of carrying an umbrella. Not only does it save you from falling sick from the heavy rain shower you just passed through, but will also help you to save your bags and your stuff that you had no plans of losing in the floods. Chances are, you will never use this rain jacket, and chances are – you just might make it your best friend for the rest of your ‘traveling’ life!
#4 –Well, a traveler without a camera is almost like a writer without a pen! Even though I always support the fact that one should never wait for the perfect camera, having one is more than required! A fancy one will obviously make your trip look a lot more perfect, although a simple one too when used with the right frames does the job wonderfully. On top of it, if you add a fancy string to your camera, replacing the common one, trust me, you will make some real heads turn and travelers might just envy you for the rest of their trip!
#5 – If vanishing from the world is not the idea of your trip, one thing you will surely need is an internet connection. The fact is how much ever we wish to stay away from social media or our emails, only some have the will to do it successfully. In this situation, finding an internet cafe everywhere is like asking for a wish that cannot be granted, and the only smart solution is to carry your internet with you. The way to do it is simple, Google what connection comes to the area you are traveling to, and then buy a portable internet of the same network to pack along your other gadgets. Most of the places in India I have been to, a Tata docomo works the best, and for exception, there are other connections available as well.
#6- “May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go…” A torch is what you need in the highest of mountains, on treks and hill stations. Accepting the fact that street lights are not easily available in some of the wild terrains you might travel to, walking without light is actually a dangerous task to try out after the sunlight is out. But even if you don’t have a physical torch with you, thanks to all the smart phones we have today, the torch application in your cellphone is a must! Realizing how much technology has changed our lives today, the app has actually been my life savior most of the times I got stuck in the dark. God bless Apple and the app.