Thanks to the wonderful pictures and enthralling anecdotes shared by travelers, more people are taking up adventure tours. There is no dearth of destinations and youngsters are always ready to get, set and go! Despite the excitement, personal evolvement, and remarkable memories, there is much that needs to be taken care of when planning a trip to Sandakphu in West Bengal or the Chadar Trek in Ladakh. A sketchily planned adventure trip to the Himalayas can go horribly wrong.
If you are thinking of trekking or hiking this season, here are a few travel essentials and tips to make it a wonderful journey for you.
Planning is the crux of any adventure trip. A miscalculated or mistimed trip could lead to the most miserable experiences. Read up blogs and write-ups of adventure enthusiasts to know about the nitty-gritty of the places you will be visiting. If you are contacting an adventure sports company to conduct the tour for you, enquire in detail about the places you may be visiting. Timing is crucial for a trip to the hills. Trekking areas in Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh should be avoided during the months of July and August, which can cut off supplies and make the terrain slippery. The hills are covered in snow from the months of December to March. Therefore, you should aim for a trip between April and June.
Collect maps of various routes so that you can chalk out a route for yourself. Do not rely on GPS as it is most likely to fail in remote areas. The safest way to carry out a successful trek would be to hire the services of a local guide who knows the various practices, timing, and route.
Forming a budget is very important for your trek. After accounting for accommodation, food and travelling expenses that you may incur, you should double the budget and carry that much money to cover for exigencies. Remember, the most beautiful areas do not have ATMs!
Lugging it all
Packing your bags well is very important as you may not get the opportunity to buy supplies. A good Wildcraft rucksack is an essential for containing your clothes, toiletries, and other gadgets. Having an American Tourister backpack on you is important for containing your raincoat, Berge wind cheater and Okane waterproof jacket. Make sure it is waterproof so that your stuff does not get drenched.
Always carry a fresh pair of socks that you can change into if your boots get wet. UCB socks are a good option as they are thick and can cushion your feet well. Invest in a pair of good Lee Cooper, Adidas or Salomon boots which are water protected and offer adequate traction for you to walk on various terrains. If you have to cross a stream or creek do it with your shoes on as you may sprain your ankle otherwise.
Another item that is wise to bring on a trekking trip is a good multi-purpose knife, like a Nepalese kukri, for all kinds of survival needs.
Don’t forget to carry sunscreen lotions and insect repellent with you. L’Oreal sunscreen lotions and those from other brands keep your skin protected from the scorching heat of the mountain sun.
Conducting yourself on the trek
When on the trek, you must keep in mind some codes of conduct which would make you sail smooth on your trip.
- Always follow your local guide and keep pace with him. Remember, while walking “deep breaths and short steps” is the mantra.
- Do not carry your rucksack on you all the while. Keep a small kit of essentials in your backpack and lug the rest on a mule. Carrying too much weight will burn you out faster.
- Hanging your DSLR camera around your neck in the hope to spot an exotic species of leopard or bird may be irresistible. However, your chances of getting a shot are as good as that of winning the lottery. It would be better to keep the camera in your bag while you trek to protect it from dust and occasional showers.
- Smile at the locals and say “Namaste” to greet them. They feel nice. You can also carry a few pictures of where you live to show them. This breaks the ice and helps you bond better.
- Always seek permission before clicking photos. Some individuals may find it offensive to be clicked without a nod of approval.
Parul Chahal is a travel freak working with one of the leading e-commerce portals in India. She likes exploring the thankless terrains in India and abroad and shares her travel experiences quite often with the world.
(Top image source)