It was during the summer of 2015 that I realized my passion for traveling. From March till June of 2015, Budapest was my home. Being right at the center of Europe gave my husband and me an amazing opportunity to explore several countries in and around Europe. Every weekend, we would pack our bags and head to a new city. At times, we would pick a city at random by spinning the globe and go there the very next weekend. The four months I stayed there, was one of the best summers in my life. During my time there, I figured out the one thing I am most passionate about – exploring the world.
There are two kinds of travelers. The first kind are your typical tourists who love visiting the trademark places in every city – the likes of Eiffel tower in Paris or the Leaning tower of Pisa in Italy, or the Statue of Liberty at New York. The second kind are those who love taking an unusual route, off the beaten path, and exploring the city like a true native. In which category do I fall under? Well, I’m a mix of both. I would be lying if I said the Stonehenge at UK or the Eiffel tower at Paris is too overrated. Yes, I would love to explore a city like the locals would do but not without seeing the ‘touristy’ places first. Can you imagine not visiting the Great Wall of China after a trip to Beijing, China? No right? I think so too. My first trip to a city would cover more or all your typical tourist spots. It is only during my second trip (or maybe my first, if my trip is extended) that I wander off the beaten path.
That’s me in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa
What is ‘summerof2015’ all about?
Truth be told, I haven’t traveled as much as you would expect someone who loves traveling to. I’ve been to twenty two countries so far. I have covered parts of Europe, the Middle East, South and South East Asia, Australia and almost the whole of India. But that doesn’t stop me from being passionate about travel writing and helping others travel. What I plan to do is take one city a time and try my best to give you all the possible information from head to toe about that city – from the best month to travel to ticket fares, accommodation choices, accommodation fares, places to see, restaurants to eat, food to try, etc. This would include both the cities that I have traveled to and those which I did not get a chance to travel but would definitely love to in the near future!
That’s me at the Arthur’s seat, Edinburgh
Planning the travel
Let’s say you decide to travel to Athens for a week. Unless you are the kind of person who would let a travel agent plan your vacation, what would be the first thing you do? Even before you book your flight tickets or your accommodation, you need to find out the best time to travel to Athens. You do not want to end up sitting inside your hotel room for the entire trip because it so happens that you chose the wrong month to travel to a city. Once you decide when to go, the next thing you need to do is search for the best deals for both your flight tickets and for your accommodation because this is where you end up paying more than 60% of your travel expenses. I use Skyscanner to search for the best flight deals and Airbnb for the best accommodation deals. Would you believe that a return ticket to Perth, Australia from Chennai, India in the month of October costs you just around INR 25, 000? Thanks to Skyscanner.
Here is a screenshot of a return flight ticket to Perth from Chennai
Now comes my favourite part! Once the tickets are book and your stay is planned, what next? Reading about the city. You need to read about the history of the city and it’s culture before you actually go there. Why? To enjoy the city to its fullest. Let’s say you decide to go to Milan. Did you know Leonardo Da Vinci’s original ‘Last Supper’ mural in on display at Santa Maria Della Grazie, Milan? You would, if you read about Milan before actually going there. Travel Research. A must-do for anyone who wants to get their money’s worth. It’s also not just about seeing the right places. It’s also the experience you feel in seeing something you read about. Before my husband and I traveled to Berlin, I took an entire week to read as much as I could about the city and it’s history. This helped me admire the city and it’s iconic places (The Berlin Wall, Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint, Charlie, etc.) much more than I would have if I didn’t know anything about the city. So read, and then, read more. Trust me. You will enjoy your travel experiences much more!
What I plan to do with my blog, like I have mentioned earlier, I plan to take one city at a time and jot down some of the most important points you would like to know about any city as a first time traveler. I’m going to cover the cities that I have traveled to, first and then the ones I plan to travel in future. However, if you have any particular city in mind, that you plan to visit and would like me to write about, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will include that to my list. Now go explore the world!