Co-travellers make the best couples

Reasons Why Couples Who Travel Together, Stay Together

Travelling is one of the greatest joys in life, of this there is no doubt.  Could there be anything better than the unbridled freedom of life on the road; of adventures, challenges, breathtaking moments and self discovery?  Well, yes actually. Sharing it all – and not just with anyone.  Sharing it all with your significant other; your better half, your jaanu. Whether you’ve been together for 2 days, 2 years or 2 decades, couples who travel together are able to tap into something unique; something that binds them, inextricably, for life.

Co-travellers make the best couples

These couples are easy to spot.  2-week-all-inclusive 5-star-Bahamas couples they are not.  Instead we are talking off-the-beaten-track adventurers. Explorers who want everything life throws at them; the ones who have shared joy, laughter, pain, fear and misery. They exude an inimitable, enviable smugness that could only come from such a deep-rooted connection.  They perpetually glow, basking in their shared travel glory, and every story begins, “When we were in…” 

There are Myriad reasons why couples who travel together stay together

You’ll share some pretty unique experiences.  Things that only the two of you will know about.  Sunrises, crazy journeys, wrong directions, frantic souks, sunsets, that hidden-gem chai shop where you sat for hours…These experiences bind you together.  They form the fabric of your life, together.  They are your laughter, your memories, your in-jokes. The give you a connection deeper than the average; deeper than a joint mortgage or a shared bank-account. 

Couples who share the best moments of life

You learn the art of compromise.  When you travel with someone else, it’s got to be a partnership.  If it’s not an equal enterprise, then it just doesn’t work.  Couples who travel together learn pretty quickly what one another likes and doesn’t like.  Finding balance isn’t always easy, but it is essential.  You’re certain to become expert negotiators!

⦁ The best (and the worst!) is yet to come.  The most breathtaking, romantic sunset you’ve ever seen? You saw it together.  That nasty bout of dysentery? You both had it – and nursed one another through it.  The dog bite that rendered him unable to walk for a week?  You wiped his tears, cleaned his wound every day and were a figurative and literal shoulder to cry on.  When you travel together as a couple, you’re guaranteed to experience the best and the worst of one another. There are dizzying highs that bring out the best in you, and as a consequence, your relationships flourishes.  And then there are the lows; the bad days where everything is going wrong.  Those days test your strength and resilience, both as an individual, and as a team.  In a sense, these can be your best days, too (though usually with the benefit of hindsight!).  If you can overcome the lows, you can do just about anything together.

⦁ And in the same vein, you’ll get to know one another intimately. The bad habits, the quirks that drive you crazy and the ones that make you smile – you get to know each other inside out.  She snores,he always forgets to flush the toilet.  Regardless, you still love and support one another. The annoying little quirks become a comfort.

You’ve found your biggest supporter.  The person who keeps you motivated to want more out of life.  It’s often too easy to get stuck in a relationship-rut.  The honeymoon period is over, and you’re all about work, box-set bingeing and routines.  Life becomes…mundane.  But for the couple who travels together, life is never mundane.  It’s always fresh, exciting and invigorating.  There’s always a new adventures to plan – and old ones to reminisce about.  Even the seemingly dull or perfunctory tasks on the road take on a different light; they become a joyous shared experience.  Cooking together using weird and wonderful ingredients found in the local market, or doing your laundry with the locals at a river…

You learn the importance of space.  Relationships can sometimes be claustrophobic. And that’s only natural – you want to share everything; to spend every waking moment together. Life on the road is no different – in fact, in can exacerbate the claustrophobia at times.  In a sense, you are forced in to spending 24/7 together. When you’re at home, you have your independence – a job, responsibilities, individual hobbies, friends.  You are afforded a breathing space from you significant other than comes naturally, borne out of circumstance, rather than want.   Life on the road can be an altogether different matter –  you eat together, journey together, sleep together, explore together – and sometimes it can get too much.  Couples who travel together learn the importance of having , mindful, respectful space, away from one another.  Learning when your partner needs some alone time – be it for a few hours or a few days – is a sign of a mature, healthy relationship.   Allowing you partner time for personal growth and reflection will only stand to strengthen your bond.

Jealousy is so passe.  You meet a lot of people while travelling – often whether you want to or not!  And just because you’re travelling as a two, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mingle.   The friends you make while travelling can often be some of the most important in your life, however fleeting your meeting.  Couples who travel together are free of the shackles of jealousy – in fact, they actively encourage new friendships along the way. 

Reasons why couple who travel together stay together

Travelling is microcosmic – a bubble.  And there is nothing more intimate or satisfying than finding someone who you actively want inside of your bubble.  You are no longer just a couple, but a team.  A unit, built on unflappable trust, mutual respect and understanding. If your relationship can survive the whirlwind that is travelling together, than you can do absolutely anything – together.

However if you are still looking for a travel buddy, then drop by TourCupid portal and search for your dream partner.

Tips for solo sojourns in the sub-continent

You’ve read  “Eat, Pray, Love”, watched Slumdog Millionaire on repeat, have a passion for adventure and a penchant for spicy food.  The guidebooks have you thoroughly debriefed on the creme-de-la-creme of Indian tourism, and going-it-alone is a challenge you relish, not rebuff. India has called you, and you’re ready to answer. But are you really prepared for the potential trials and tribulations of solo-travel as a woman in India?

India is magnificent, complex, frenetic and diverse country. Travelling here not easy, per se, but it can be a life changing experience.

So let us guide you through some of the failsafe top-tips, to help you ensure that your solo sojourn to the sub-continent is as richly rewarding as possible.

1. Behaviour.  OK, so this may sound like it’s coming straight from a school rule book, but how you conduct yourself will play a big part in your enjoyment.  Cultural sensitivity is crucial.  For the most part, India is still a relatively conservative country, and it’s true that you may meet many people who have never encountered a foreigner before, let alone a foreign woman travelling alone.  Just let that sink in for a moment. A conservative country demands conservative behaviour. Familiarise yourself with the etiquette of your chosen destination where possible.  Remember, you’re travelling in India, not Ibiza. 

India, a shopaholics delight
Cloth – available everywhere – even the remotest villages. The picture is from Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya.

2. Dress Appropriately.  It’s hard to pack for a destination like India. One country, but Myriad cultures and climates.  What is deemed appropriate in one place may not wash in another. For example, donning a bikini for a dip in the Ocean in Goa may be du-jour, but it would be a massive faux-pas to wear a bikini for bathing in the Ganges.  Metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are perfectly used to seeing women in “western-dress”, but that doesn’t mean you should wander around in hot-pants and a crop-top… even if it is 40 degrees in the shade.  The key is to pack loose-fitting, light clothing, that can be easily layered.  Shopaholics rejoice – if you don’t have anything that fits the bill already, you can pick up everything you need while here. Ready made items like kurtas, salwar suits and shawls are ideal attire, and can be picked up for a few dollars.  If that’s not your bag, you can easily source your own material in the markets and hav
e something tailor made to your specifications.

3. Know your Obligations.  You don’t have any. Simple as that.  You are not obligated to drink chai with a stranger, pose for selfies, make any purchases that you don’t want to, or even respond to everyone that wants to talk. Sometimes, people will be pushy and persistent, or try to guilt you in to something because they splashed out a few rupees on a cup of tea for you. If you don’t like the sound of it, then don’t do it. Politely (but firmly) decline. This can be easier said than done, and will take a bit of practice! 

Chai to your rescue
Make time to savour a cup of chai. It will be your solace!

Be mindful of picking your battles too. So someone pushed in front of you in the queue? Toughen up, forget it and move on. Why sweat the small stuff? 

4. Learn the local lingo.  And we don’t just mean “Namaste”.  Learning a few key phrases in the local lingo will be a godsend – trust us! The language differs depending on which part of the country you visit, but generally, English and Hindi are the most widely spoken.  As well as learning a few polite, conversational phrases, learning something a bit “stronger” is always a boon, for those times when “No thank you” just isn’t cutting it. Our personal (tried and tested) favourites in Hindi are “Jayada mat bola karo!” (Don’t speak too much!), and “Aapna kaam karo” (Mind your own business).  You can thank us later!

5. Tactical Travel.  Unless you’re staying put in the one place for the duration fo your trip, you’ll probably spend a lot of time on the road.  Travel in the sub-continent can be painstakingly slow and cumbersome at times.  Trains, buses, tuk-tuks, cycle-rickshaws, camels – however you choose to move around, make sure you feel safe and secure at all times.  For example, upgrading from Sleeper to the AC classes on the trains will afford you the luxury of a curtain for privacy, if you are not comfortable slumming it with the masses. And as a general rule, always travel on trains and buses that arrive to your chosen destination during daylight hours.  It can be particularly daunting arriving to an unknown place in the hours of darkness – especially in India. Undesirables lurking around, taxi-wallahs waiting to take financial advantage of your vulnerability, and stray dogs that are somehow nocturnally demonically possessed…  If you must arrive in the wee hours, make sure you have a place to stay pre-booked.

Gurudwara in New Delhi
Finding peace, even amid the chaos of Delhi, at the Gurdwara.

6. Find your Peace.  India is overwhelming, no doubt about it. Crazy traffic, extremes in weather, mysterious smells, throbbing crowds, desperate poverty – at times it’s going to be an assault on your senses.  This isn’t a weekend in Provence, that’s for sure.  But really, it’s only as overwhelming as you allow it to be.  There is a great deal of peace to be found here, even in the most frenetic of cities, and finding peace among the chaos can be especially rewarding. Take 20 minutes a day to meditate; pour over the daily newspapers at your favourite chai-shop; find a green space to read in.  Whatever you need to do to just stop for a while, do it. Finding equilibrium is essential.  Make time for yourself – it could make or break your trip.

Kolkata - the city of joy
The frenetic jumble of life in Kolkata.

7. Pack a Survival Kit. We’re not talking dehydrated food packs and oxygen here, nor are we talking about the toiletries and medication that you may need. Establish your own mini “survival kit” to make travelling more comfortable, and to offer you peace of mind at least. The bare minimum should include:

⦁ A local SIM card with credit, and the contact details of local emergency numbers.  You should also save your own emergency contact details on your phone, marked out by the acronym “ICE” (In Case of Emergency).

⦁ Photocopies of your passport and visa, as well as a few spare recent passport-sized pictures.

⦁ A torch, pens, a lighter and a multi-use pocket knife (80% for peace-of-mind, 20% for the bottle-opening function).

⦁ If you are particularly nervous or fearful, you may want to consider picking up a small panic alarm.  You’ll probably never need to use it, but it may make you feel more at ease.

⦁ A faux-wedding ring.  No really! It can be a useful deterrent at times…

India is a land of diversity and bizarre experiences
The downright bizarre, but all part and parcel of the India experience!

8. Buddy-Up.  It’s great to find travel companions sometimes, and having someone to share your laughter, joy, frustrations or even just a long journey with can provide much-needed solace.  As a lone-lady, you’ll probably encounter lots of perplexed locals, curious as to why you’re alone, why you’re unmarried and why you don’t have children.  You may also find yourself a target for ‘eve-teasing’ – anything from verbal harassment to groping.  Unfortunate, but also reality.  Finding friends en-route can provide some comfort, some security and if nothing else, a bit of welcome distraction from it all!

Above all, remember that this is your trip to India. It’s on your terms, and can be everything you want it to be and more. 

Sab kuch milega, right?

Top ten Holi destinations

The ten best destination for celebrating Holi 2017

The most vibrant festival of the season is fast approaching – March 13th is the day when revellers take to the streets across India to soak in the atmosphere (and the colours!) of the ultimate flamboyant party the world has to offer. A melting pot of vivid colours, tradition, folk-lore, fireworks, mythology, food and unity, it could only mean one thing: Holi!

Whether you’re in your element in the thick of the action, drenched in colour and suitably armed with a pichkari or two, or happy to anchor yourself in a dry-dock to watch the kaleidoscopic chaos unfold, there is a place for you. Yes, you! That, after all, is the spirit of Holi.

So if you haven’t already settled on your destination-of-choice, let us guide you through the hot-spots. Here are ten Holi-havens to make sure your party goes off with a “bhang”.

1. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Watch as the “City of Light” transforms into the “City of Colour“. The ghats are the hub of the action , as the oldest living city gets a psychedelic makeover. The mania is not for the faint-hearted, but the vibe mellows by noon, allowing you the best of both worlds. Alternatively, the roof-tops of the buildings in the labyrinthine gulleys make perfect vantage points to take in the festivities.

Holi Celebration in India

2. Mathura and Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh. Touted to be the best Holi experience in the country. Why? Because Mathura and Vrindavan are synonymous with Holi! Lord Krishna – originator of the color-flinging festival – was born in Mathura and grew up in Vrindavan. This is Holi home territory, so forget one day – the revelry here lasts over a week! Holi is celebrated on different days in the various Krishna temples here – so make sure you come with plenty of energy! Check out the Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan for the real essence of the festival.

3. Barsana, Uttar Pradesh. It’s not just colours that make up the arsenal here during Holi, but sticks too! Tourists flock to Barsana village in UP to see the local gopis give men from the neighbouring village of Nandgaon a good thrashing. The following day, the men of Barsana seek mock revenge…All in good jest, of course. For those nervous of being caught up in battle, safe vantage points to watch the chaos unfold have been established, right outside the village.
Top ten Holi destinations
4. Hampi, Karnataka. Hampi has it all…A laidback traveler vibe, awesome temples, and a unique boulder strewn landscape. South India isn’t as well know for zealous Holi celebrations, but Hampi is a curious – and unexpectedly vivacious – anomaly. So where better to play Holi in the South? Let the beat of the drums hypnotize you as soak in the colours.Holi Celebration in New Delhi After, head to the river to freshen up – and clean up!

5. Delhi. The capital knows how to throw a party – and Holi is no exception! And if you like your parties high octane, then lookno further. Music, sumptuous street food, bhang lassis and color pervade as the capital invites its culturally diverse residents to celebrate in unity. Traditional values are given a thoroughly modern shake-up in the metro city during Holi – and the clash of old and new is seamless! Musical extravaganza “Holi MOO!” also takes place during the festivities, ensuring the carnival atmosphere never wavers. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the MOO (Madness Orchestrated Organically, fyi). You don’t want to miss this!

7. Udaipur, Rajasthan. Want to party like royalty? Celebrate Holi in regal style in the majestic city of Udaipur. On the eve of Holi, bonfires are lit to ward off evil spirits, paving the way for an unforgettable festival experience. The breathtaking City Palace is the hub of the action, and you may even catch a glimpse of Mewar royalty as they ring in the festivities with parades, processions, horses and, of course, music. And with the stunning lake as a backdrop, could there be a more romantic location to play Holi?

8. Shantiniketan, West Bengal. If you prefer your Holi to be more cultural experience, why not head to West Bengal? Follow in the footsteps of Bengali literary royalty Rabrindranath Tagore, who brought Holi to Shantiniketan Vishva Bharati University under the guise of Basanta Utsav, or Spring Festival. In it’s modern incarnation, students continue the cultural traditions of Tagore dressing up in spring colors, reciting his poetry and songs and performing folk-dances to revelers from all over the world. After, the color-throwing commences!

9. Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. Okay, so this may seem like a controversial choice, but really, it makes perfect sense. While the rest of the country is heating up, why not head for the hills to take in the spring festival surrounded by cool mountain air, unrivalled nature and possibly even snow? The build-up to Holi begins 40 days before the day itself with Basant – a 400 year old tradition that makes Kullu a unique place to celebrate. While Dushhera is the biggest festival in the Himachal calendar, Basant and Holi come a very close second. Mix your colors with snow, and start a snow-ball fight like no other!

Holika Dahaan

10. Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. This is the wild-card entry: celebrate Holi, Sikh style. Instead of the usual colour-throwing festivities, Holi (known as Hola Mahalla) in Anandpur Sahib is a demonstration of Sikh warrior prowess and martial arts expertise. Dating back to 1701, this spectacle showcases some remarkable feats, including weaponry displays, sword fights, mock-battles and almost-gymnastic horse-riding! If that’s a bit too much bravado for you, then fear not – more relaxed cultural activities take place during the 3-day event, too. And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, traditional langars (community kitchens) are set up feed the lakhs of pilgrims who attend – and energise the warriors, of course!

So, the count-down is on! All you need now is to assemble your best bunch of friends, family and loved ones to ensure this Holi is one to remember!