So finally we are in the year 2020 and we have already witnessed a series of events within the first 3 months, The Australian bushfires, CAA bill agitation and now the deadly coronavirus global pandemic, but all we hope and pray is that these stressful times get over soon and we all get geared up to see new places, experience new adventures, meet new people and make loads of new memories soon. Since we all are currently in a social isolation period, we felt that this would be the best time to take you guys through a recap of our 2019 travel stories which you can use as an opportunity to plan for the remainder 2020. We have also included a few tips on how we planned all the trips keeping travel budget in mind.
We managed to experience 12 trips in 6 months which includes a mixture of international, domestic, few weekend trips, short and long road trips, etc.
So without wasting any further time, let’s begin the Recap:
Maldives: We started our year by celebrating Diana’s birthday in this heavenly Paradise: The Maldives. We didn’t have Maldives on our mind at all and Donald completely surprised me by booking the flights to the Maldives just 15 days before my birthday. Although the flights were cheaper, the real challenge was accommodation and everything else but with lots of research together we covered this budget trip in 80k for 2 people including flights (we could have made it cheaper if we had opted for public ferries rather than speed boats). You can check our detailed Maldives blog post to find out more.
Velas, Ratnagiri (Turtle Festival): We visited Velas Turtle Festival in Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra to catch the beautiful journey of the hatching of Olive Ridley turtles and releasing them into the sea. Check our Blogpost for deets if you plan to visit in future.
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand: We embarked upon a 10 days Road Trip covering Rishikesh, Dehradun, Mussoorie, and Kanatal. We spent 3 days in Rishikesh, the capital of Yoga, spirituality, and Adventure. The highlights of this trip were definitely the river rafting on the Ganges, the evening Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat and Bungee Jumping at Jumping Heights. You can visit our photoblog on Tripoto for further details.
Dehradun, Uttarakhand: We then headed to Dehradun where we just had about a day and tried to make the most of it by visiting the popular Robbers cave and IIT Forest Institute and tried to catch up on the popular food joints in the evening.
Mussoorie, Uttarakhand: The next stop was Mussoorie where we spent 2 amazing days at Wildflower Cottage and visited Kempty Falls, George Everest House and visited the cute little cafes of Mall Road. You can read about our blogpost of our stay at Wildflower Cottage and things to do when in Mussoorie.
Kanatal, Uttarakhand: The last stop of our Uttarakhand trip was Kanatal where we spent 2 nights in the lap of Garhwali Himalayan range. We camped at Kanatal heights with the best views and did nothing but relaxed in the chilly nights with bonfire, music and good company. We also gave a shot at Zip lining and Sky walking. Read about our Kanatal Camping experience in detail
Delhi: We were lucky to spend a day in the National capital of India but clearly one day ain’t enough. We visited the famous Paratha Galli in Chandni Chowk and then made a quick visit to Jama Masjid before taking our afternoon train to Mumbai.
Silvassa, Union Territory, India: We visited Silvassa over the weekend for a Staycation at Khanvel Resort. Check out our Blogpost on Tripoto on What to do when in Silvassa.
Bhandardara (Fireflies Festival): We visited Udadavane village, a little ahead of Bhandardara to spot the Fireflies at night twinkling in its full glory and what a sight it was indeed. We camped here over the weekend with our IG friends taking back home loads of beautiful memories.
Meghalaya: We headed Northeast in the last quarter of 2019 for a 13 days Road Trip covering Guwahati, Shillong, Cherrapunjee, Pynursla, Mawlynnong, Dawki, and Darrang. We set off on our bike adventure from Guwahati and reached Shillong the next day. We spent 3 days in Shillong and did quite a bit of sightseeing along with Cafe hopping. We then visited Cherrapunjee for 4 days out of which The Double-decker living root bridge trek was the major highlight. Then we reached Pynursla village and spent one night in the homestay completely disconnected from the outside world. The next day we headed to Mawlynnong, the cleanest village of Asia and visited the Single Living root bridge. Then we moved towards Dawki Village to experience the crystal clear Umngot river and it was one hell of an experience. We then visited the border of India and Bangladesh which was just 1 km away from the river and then camped at Darrang campsite which was the best last-minute decision of our trip. The next morning we visited Krang Shuri waterfalls and were completely smitten by its beauty after which we rode through the beautiful vistas of West Jaintia Hills and reached Shillong city. We visited the Police Bazaar to pick up some souvenirs back home and then headed to Guwahati next morning to take our flight to Mumbai taking back loads of memories with a promise to return again to this heavenly abode of clouds.
Guwahati, Assam: We managed to spend a day in Guwahati but couldn’t visit Kaziranga and Majuli however we definitely plan to visit soon. We couldn’t leave Guwahati without experiencing the Assamese Thali at Paradise restaurant.
South Goa: We visited Goa after 2 years and this time we planned to take the offbeat route and explored Dudhsagar waterfalls along with night safari in the buffer zones of Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. Ditching the beaches and nightlife, we resorted to experience the jungle life at Nature’s nest Goa and we would definitely recommend this experience to all.
Our Best Experiences of 2019 :
Snorkeling in the Maldives (Our debut experience)
Night Fishing at Maafushi, Maldives
Day Visit at Luxury Private Island Resort (Best Birthday Surprise)
Experienced hatching of the Olive Ridley turtles at Velas
River rafting in the Ganges at Rishikesh
Cliff Jumping in the Ganges at Rishikesh
Bungee Jumping and Flying Fox at Jumping Heights, Rishikesh
Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat
Our very first Caving experience at Dehradun
Ziplining at Kanatal
Camping in Garhwal Hills
Warli Painting at Silvassa
Debut Fireflies experience at Udadavane3200 steps Double-decker Living Root Bridge Trek in Cherrapunjee
Camping at Dawki River
Visiting our very first cross country border (India – Bangladesh border)
Jungle living experience at Nature’s Nest Goa
Spotting a wild leopard during the night safari in Goa
Visiting the gigantic Dudhsagar waterfall, Goa
So the next question is how did we manage all these trips?
We are not full time travelers nor do we belong to high-class families. We are just an ordinary working couple who puts travel on priority and plans every trip on a budget because frankly money matters. We made all these trips possible by utilizing our 22 paid leaves and clubbing them with national holidays and weekends. We don’t take a trip every month so our long trips are separated by 6 months interval so we get in a better position to get our leaves approved as well. We generally take long trips for more than 7 days once in a quarter and the rest of the months we try to utilize the weekends to venture somewhere close to the city.
It’s all about the Travel Budget
Well, budgeting is tough especially when you have dedicated a set budget for every trip. So how do we save for our trips? Firstly, we have a travel fund wherein both of us put in a fixed amount every month without fail. If we plan for one international trip in a year, we set aside the amount for flights because frankly, believe it or not, flights always occupy the most part of your travel budget unless you have a lot of Air Miles sitting in your kitty. We mostly try to stay in hostels/homestays/Airbnb for the most part of our trips and spend 1 or 2 days in a 4-star property to enjoy some luxury and pamper ourselves. We opt to travel by train, buses, shared cabs and most of the time we rent out a bike because we find that the best economical and viable option. We indulge in experiencing local street food combining it with many local cafes and very rarely dine or eat out in top-class restaurants. We don’t spend much on shopping however never return back home with knick-knacks and souvenirs. And last but not the least we plan everything to the T on our OWN which is way much more fun and liberating.
What’s planned for 2020
Hopefully many more travel adventures…Checking more of our bucket list experiences and sharing these amazing stories with our travel community. Until then happy traveling and don’t hesitate to ping us/ dm us on Instagram and Facebook. We are quite active there and you could also check our travel videos on our Youtube channel. Until then Happy Travelling and Exploring.