India is famous for road trips. The cultural diversity, geographical diversity, and food diversity everything makes the road trips very exciting. For Indians, road trips are a way of living life, and the number of places you can drive to and go to are endless. It’s always good to prepare before you embark on a road trip. Each one has their own requirements; some make a packing list, medicine list, entertainment such as a pack of cards, music, favourite food to munch on the way etc. Unarguably, successful road journey or trips are the results of careful planning that includes proper research so as to decide on the basics which one has to carry on such a trip. Driving stress, excessive heat in summers, and fog in winters and lashing rains, people and animal walking recklessly on roads are some of the issues which can create hassles when you are travelling on Indian roads.
You will not find anywhere in world some of the wonderful routes such as in India. Some very famous routes are drive from Mumbai to Goa which is mesmeric, full of scenic beauty, with Western Ghats from end to end and it is a top choice among Mumbaikars. There are two routes and both have ample delicious gastronomic options along the way to stay satiated. Similarly Manali to Leh is a breathtaking road trip. Vishakhapatnam to Araku Valley, Guwahati to Tawang, Chennai to Pondicherry, Shimla to Manali via Mandi, Ahmedabad to Kutch, and Darjeeling to Pelling are few more road trips one should go for. Whether you drive or hire a driver, you must carry these items with you:
Compass and map: These are two parts of the same tool. A good map provides the lay of the land while a compass works to orient an individual within that map. For example, although a map can show that a certain river is south of a major peak, it does not clearly depict where one is in relation to those landmarks. A proper map is oriented towards true north and a reliable compass can line a person up with true north, thus providing direction within the map. An adventure is fruitful only when you reach the right place. The fact is Google maps and GPS do not work in deep interiors where your Smartphone does not catch network. Such times, a map helps you to explore your destination with more poise.
Just last month when we were driving from Madgaon to Mollem a deep interior of at the foot of Anmod ghat we lost our way roaming around the place curelessly because the GPS and mobile networks were not working, luckily we had a map which gave directions and we reached the destination – an ancient Shiva temple in a village named Tambdi Surla, the gates were about to be closed. We somehow could make it. Tambdi Surla is a 12th-century Shiva temple built in Hemadpanthi style. The Jain style construction has led to debates about the origins of the temple, since the Kadamba Dynasty ruled Goa between the tenth and fourteenth centuries.
Mobile charger: Do not forget to carry your mobile charger, your mobile phone goes with you everywhere, its important is to carry a charger or travel adapter so that mobile phone never runs out of battery.
Bottled water: Do not ruin a good trip by getting sick; contaminated drinking water is one of the leading sources of health problems for travellers, and can cause anything from mild gastrointestinal distress to serious bacterial diseases. The most common cause of water-borne illness is bacteria. Many times, travellers become ill simply because the pathogens in the water are foreign to their immune systems, while locals have adapted to the water supply and can drink it without problems. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid local tap water and instead seek out bottled water.
Most of India’s tap water is unhealthy for consumption. Restaurants will offer treated drinking water, but it’s advisable for visitors to always drink bottled water. Bottled water in India comes in two types: packaged drinking water, and pure mineral water such as the Himalayan or Bisleri brand. There is a difference between them. Packaged drinking water is water that has been treated and made healthy for drinking, while mineral water has been obtained naturally at its underground source and hygienically bottled. Both are safe to drink, although mineral water is better as its chemical free, plus the quality of treated drinking water varies.
Camera: No matter whether you are going to mountains or beaches, you are sure to have so many memories associated with the trip. Carrying a camera allows you to capture those beautiful moments. You may also take selfies if you have a good front camera in your smartphone.
First aid kit: Make sure that your car is stocked with necessary medicines and first aid kit. Prescription medicines such as antipyretics, antacids and travel sickness tablets will help you in your journey. In addition, a first aid kit having adhesive bandages, dressings, antiseptic cream, haemostatic agents etc. should be kept handy.
Food: Pack your car with plenty of healthy stuff to eat. Carry eatables such as canned fruits, dry snacks, biscuits, dried fruits, pretzels, nuts etc. for the times when you feel running out of energy. If possible, you can also carry lunch and dinner for the first day after you start driving. Carrying healthy food will prevent the possibility of an upset stomach and will encourage you to avoid the temptation of fast food that may be unhygienic.
Toilets: Unfortunately one of India’s major problems is its severe lack of public toilets, which is blamed for the common sight of men relieving themselves on the side of the street. In addition, the public toilets that are provided are usually dirty and not well maintained, and many of them are the “squat” variety. If you do need to go to the toilet, it’s best to head to a restaurant or hotel and use the facilities there.