By Shruti Sharma
So, Ajay Jain’s made this huge mistake of allowing me to write about me ‘Eurotrippin’ recently. It’s a huge mistake because I’ve basically been given an opportunity to unabashedly rant on a popular platform. So, rant I will…
I basically just went to a few places in Spain, France, Switzerland (for one miserable night), and the UK… so that’s what I will talk about. Before anything else, see if you want to check out this video that I like to call ‘Beautiful Buskers’. This is what I did for the first few days in Spain. So, here goes:
Now, a few unorganized friendly tips:
– Apply for your visas way ahead of time! Seriously! It may seem uncool to have to plan so much in advance for such a cool trip but you will be grateful, for god knows how many of the embassy staff are going to go away on holiday right before putting that one stamp / signature on your passport, and for how long.
– For your Schengen visa, make sure you have your health insurance in place (cost me 5,000 for 2 months, ICICI Prudential); your hotel / hostel bookings (sure you can change them around a bit after you’ve got your visa); you will be asked for your air ticket but I basically told them that I will only book the ticket after I have the visa in my hand, did show them a tentative ticket plan, which your travel agent should be able to give you very easily; have all your documents in place (make copies for later if you’d like because you won’t get them back from the Spanish Embassy). The visa costs around 5 – 6,000 rupees.
– UK, pretty much the same things – make sure you have your reasons for visiting and visa category right. Can’t think of much else besides–make the application in time! And then, wait for it… wait for it… This is exactly why you need to apply in time. I got mine the day before I wanted to fly out and ergo had to spend 10 – 12,000 rupees extra on my last minute multi-destination (or whatever its called) air ticket.
– Take half the number of clothes you think you need, and double the amount of money. Yeah, yeah you’ve heard that before but I can’t say it enough. I mean it, seriously! Open that backpack right now and get rid of that new jumper. If your daddy is saying, “You only need one jacket!” listen to him, he is right (for once)! I flew back to Delhi with 50 quid in my pocket, which my aunt had given me as a Christmas present (bless me auntie!).
– Make sure you get everything done the day before you’re flying out! Seriously, unlike me you’ll be a much happier traveller. I on the other hand, was shopping (little presents for friends) until the evening I was flying out and standing in queue to get my Delhi cell phone number barred for a couple of months (so people wouldn’t incessantly call me during that time; great service that you can avail for up to 3 months I think) at a Vodafone centre, 3.5 hours before my flight took. I also on the last day got my matrix card–should’ve done that the day before. Better yet, just buy a local sim in the country you’re visiting, as long as you can deal with the language hassles… unless you’re the kinds who doesn’t need a phone because your mum and dad won’t be incessantly calling to check on you (you lucky dawg!).
Also, if you want to do this the ‘cool’ way, which might not be the most conducive way for your poor back, then you’d want to buy a big backpack. I wanted a good, sturdy one so I did some research for shops that sell them in Delhi and perhaps Mumbai (the ones that ship them to other cities). So here goes:
1. AVI Industries, Mumbai, www.aviindustries.com
BOLL Backpacks available at Rocksport Outdoors, 127, Rajendra Bhawan, (next to Siddhartha Hotel), Rajendra Place. (Exactly Opp. the Metro Station)
Manish Gupta – 9810215848 (shop owner)
Aditya – 9999703875 (shop attendent)
And, if the bag of your choice isn’t available at this shop you could write to (they may deliver) – firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Adventure 18
18, Satya Niketan, Opposite Venkateshwara, Ramjas College.
Sort of limited options when I visited.
3. Stikage India
7 UB Jawahar Nagar, Kamla Nagar
Ph no. – 23850036/26
Limited options. They have cheaper options though, starting 1300 Rupees. Not all options on the website are in stock. Check with them on the phone before visiting, to see if they have what you like in stock.
4. Gupta Sports House
25 F, Connaught Place
Phone: 23315407, 41526009
You might want to call them before visiting, to check if they have the bag(s) you’re looking for.
5. Outdoortravelgear, Mumbai
6. Carabin Inc, K 17/ 4A DLF 2
Phone: 9811076556; 9811615298
Didn’t really visit them or talk to them but read about them on the internet.
I eventually bought a BOLL Mirage 60 + from Rocksport. And, I love it… still
P.S. – Let me know if this was helpful at all. If not, don’t let me know!
And do join us for a coffee at the Kunzum Travel Cafe in Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, India.