Friday, June 24, 2016

Things To Remember When Travelling Solo

I recently went on a solo international trip, as cool as it may sound (or not, depending on what you are into) it honestly was a little stressful. I had made sure that I would not take any help from Mom and would seriously handle everything on my own. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when travelling solo, or even when with someone. All these pointers really helped me a lot.

Research, read, make notes

I know it sounds tiring and not everyone is into it, but Google has to be your best friend before you travel. Try to read up as much you can about the place you are visiting. At times you may come across offbeat things that you can do there or get to know about local events that you could have missed otherwise.

I really don’t have to tell you how useful maps are. Google maps have offline features where you can save a map on your phone and use it later even if you don’t have data. Download the map and keep before you leave for your trip, you can also mark places on the map like your hotel, or places you are going to visit etc. just so you don’t have to do the searching bit when you reach there.

Travel Light
Keep the baggage less, it would not only help you get around places faster but would also leave ton of room for the new things that you shop there. Planning outfits for each day helps a lot and can actually save you a lot of space as you won’t be carrying too many outfits.
Maybe this could help -

Hotel Check
Read up on the hotel and area you are going to stay in. Read the reviews, do a thorough check of their website and read the rules and regulations. At times the reviews tell you about the kind of the place you are going to stay in and reading the rules and regulations will help you avoid any additional charges or confusion that you may have overlooked.

Weather Check
Always do a weather check, it will help you tons while packing clothes or other things that you may need to carry.

Jackets, scarfs and shrugs are my favorite thing to carry. They don’t take much space and you can team it up with various outfits and can also take care of the weather around. You can wrap a scarf around if you are cold, or use it to protect yourself from the sun. If you are carrying T-shirts and jeans and if you add on a jacket over it, you totally transform the look and you have a new outfit by just adding one piece of clothing.
Get Local
Before you visit the place make sure that you read up on the clothing and cultural norms, although this is not that big a deal but when visiting places which are less liberal this could really come in handy. Also check out what the locals eat, you really get to know the place when you eat the food that belongs there. It would also help you save a few bucks as local food is generally not very expensive.

Social Media

Now if want to be active on social media during your travel then you can make a list of hashtags and people to tag on the notepad app and then just copy paste it. You know the usual hashtags that fit your travel and people you are travelling with etc., you just have to edit the hashtags or people when actually posting the post. I use this all the time and it really has saved me a lot of time and also made sure that I don’t miss out on things.
Tourism and safety apps
As most of the countries are getting big on tourism and social media, they generally have a tourism app to guide tourists. Also check out local apps which tell you the bus/train/metro timings or lets you hire a cab etc.Safety app is a must. It could really come in handy in sticky situations.
Carry potable chargers and USB chargers. We all are ruled by our phone and you really don’t want to be stuck in a place without your phone. 

This is all that I do when I am travelling. If you have any more tips, ideas or hack then let me know in the comments box. It would help other readers as well as me :D

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lion and Tiger Safari – Sanjay Gandhi National Park

The minute I learnt that there is a lion and tiger safari at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, I knew I had to visit the place. I did my online research and gathered that people were actually able to see a Tiger. That just boosted my wish to go there even more.

I went on a weekend, and I reached around 7.30 am but the place was still crowded. The safari ticket counter opens around 9am so we had ample time to figure out where the place is and for some photo ops.

The ticket and the seating in the bus is on the first come first serve basis, so make sure you reach early so you can get the best seats.

Tip: Do not sit on the seats that are behind the driver. The Tiger is going to be on the opposite side. (Lion Safari is shut for a while)

If you have children with you then please instruct them to be quite and not talk much when you spot the tiger. We had a few kids in my bus and although I love kids these ones just didn’t want to shut up, worse thing was the parents supported that and didn’t even try to keep them silent, that mostly ruined the experience for all the other people in the bus.

The bus has grills all over thus making it safe. The complete ride is for around 15minutes which is quite reasonable for the fee that they charge (I don’t remember how much exactly, but it was within INR 100)

The Starting point of the safari is a good 20 minutes walk from the entrance, so unless you want to walk you can take your car inside.

There are a lot of other things that you can do at the National Park, I am planning to do a few more posts on the same.

Check out the vlog above for more details! J

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Leaping Windows – Review

Love reading and coffee? Added advantage if you are into comic books. This small little place in Versova is for people who would like to cozy up around books with a Hot Chocolate or Coffee or in my case Sweet Lime Soda (It’s crazy hot in Mumbai these days).

They have both outdoor and indoor seating and the library is in the basement. They don’t allow food in the library but you can definitely sit down in one of the nooks with your favorite beverage.

I am not much into comics but I really wanted to check this place out. Luckily I did find a Peanuts comic book which caught my interest and I spend around an hour and a half reading it from cover to cover.

The library charges are INR 50/- per hour additional to your food and drinks bill.
We had just had a heavy lunch so we entirely skipped food but sat there sipping Sweet Lime Soda.

The place is not huge but is comfortable for smaller groups. I noticed a few people who had just come to relax and read in the library, looked  like a part of their routine.

I really liked the place. Had it been a little closer to my house and had books from other genre as well, you might have found me holed up there during my free time.

Damage: INR 400/-

It is a little tricky to locate but was easy for me as I was familiar with the area, I have added the Google direction below.

Leaping Windows Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

145 Kala Ghoda - Review

After hearing a lot about this 145 KalaGhoda, I finally decided to visit this place for a quick lunch.
The place is bang opposite Rhythm house at KalaGhoda, we were lucky to get a table near the window which looked upon the old rustic building. The interior is a mix of quirky and classy, although I didn’t really understand or like the ceiling décor. I loved the overall ambience.

The place was filled with teenagers who were binging on their Nutella milkshake. Few others were working professionals, who I assume were out for lunch with colleagues. As it was a Monday afternoon I didn’t really expect a lot of people there, I was pleasantly surprised.

They don’t really have a lot of option to in terms of food but whatever they have is absolutely delicious and worth the money. You should try their French fries, it is their signature dish and if you are fries lover then you won’t be disappointed.

We tried a Paneer starter, which disappointed us a little bit on the quantity aspect but made up immediately with the taste.

The fries as I said earlier, were yummy. This time we tried the half fries, next time I am sure ill order the large serving.

Hummus with Pita bread and grilled chicken was yum.  The bread was soft, the hummus was rightly made and nothing can go wrong with grilled chicken. I quickly made a small shawarma out of it and gobbled it down.

The chicken Frankie was huge and filling.

Veg khow suey was again really good. The potion was enough for one but since we were having a lot of other things it was sufficient.

We then ordered the Cookie dough pizza and Red Velvet Burger and we were in dessert heaven. Although I am not a big fan of red velvet, the cookie dough pizza  was really very nice. It literally haunted me for the whole day. I am going to make sure I go back there just to have that.

They also have a very good drink and milkshake menu, but I have saved that for some other time.
I have heard that the place kind of turn into a club in the evening, so make sure you wear your best clothes and go there. Mornings are generally casual.

The food presentation really caught my eye and I loved the innovative ways that they have come up with.

They even served popsicles along with the check.

The damage was INR 1900/-

145 Kala Ghoda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shut The Door

The door didn't shut. She opened it and pulled it harder, it fit! She tried to latch it from inside but that didn't work. 

She opened it again to pull it back even harder but she saw that they were looking at her.

"Why are they looking at me?" she thought

She pulled the door again only to be stopped by them.

"We want to come in, why are you closing it?" they inquired trying to get past her.

"I shouldn't let them in!" She thought.

That's when one of them looked her in the eye and said, "why are you trying to close this door? Just lock your cubicle no"

That's when she realised how foolish she was being; in her drunken state she was trying to lock the entire washroom instead of just her cubicle.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Smile Please!

She woke up feeling a little out of place, skipped the gym and groggily pushed herself out of bed to make tea.

She saw herself in the mirror but didn’t like what she saw. Thinking that it’s just the sleepy face, she moved on to doing her daily chores.

Wore an old Kurti and every day jeans, she stepped out of the house.

Somehow she felt that her hair and make-up was not ‘On Point’ nor were her eyebrows ‘on fleek’
She took several selfies but didn’t share any with her friend. (She sends a selfie every morning before leaving for work)

She reached work, didn’t greet anyone and went straight to checking her inbox.

She got a work call and she went to the corridor to answer it, while on the call she saw her reflection in the mirror. She was horrified to realise that she didn’t like what she saw.

She disconnected the call, headed straight to the washroom mirror and looked herself in the eye and Smiled!

That smile made a big difference, she felt better and cheerful again. She finally started liking her reflection again.

She threw a flying kiss at herself and went to the desk happily.

Opened twitter and tweeted - Realised the importance of smile

Monday, May 2, 2016

Big bazaar, Big Sale

The first time I realised the importance of budgeting and the importance of sales was when I started earning and had to spend my own hard earned money. I remember my mother getting very excited about the annual 26th January and 15th August Big Bazaar sales. Although I was never interested in the grocery shopping I still tagged along to buy other stuff ( chocolates, sodas, clothes, toys, cosmetics) and as it was all on sale,  I knew I won’t need to convince my mother much.

Every year we would come home with tons of super heavy shopping bag and mom would be at peace for the next two months. I had never even imagined that I would ever be excited or looking forward to such sales but somehow I have started doing that.

Big Bazaar has come up with a 5 day Public Holiday Sale from 30th April to 4th May.

The discount is on Groceries, Home Décor, Electronic Items, Fashion Attire and Luggage etc. so basically everything that we need in our life is on sale! I am sure everyone will find something that interests them in here and that’s the best thing about shopping in a supermarket right? It has things for everyone!

I always make sure that I reach early in the morning to avoid the rush at the payment counter and the place is also fairly deserted around that time, so I have ample of time to look around stuff and buy what my heart desires.

I went through their Facebook and Twitter page to check out the discounts ( they are fabulous! ) they also have a few contests going on, go on participate! Maybe you’ll win something J (Good Luck!)

The sale is on at all Big Bazaar outlet. Go, shop and then let me know what all you bought!