So far my solo travelling is concerned, the best period was when I was doing my post graduation in Delhi and almost once and sometimes twice a month, I was travelling solo. Apart from Delhi – which I travelled on Sundays and holidays, the entire Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand & a large part of Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh was covered by me – Alone. Soon, with each travel, I started to improve my packing checklist and in the later part had a very well prepared chart of only the most essential items. The biggest fun of these journeys was that those were short & crisp (only 2-3 days long) so there was not much of clothing to pack. I also chose the overnight night bus service (they are extremely efficient in this part of the country) for most of my journeys; so there was not much of a need for accommodation. My morning requirements were fulfilled on the bus terminals (these are also very well maintained). Let me now share the list of items I used to check before leaving on every journey. This is surely the ultimate packing list for any happy Weekender
Let me start with the key items for a happy weekend travel – the right backpack, a guidebook and a notebook for taking notes.
The Ideal Backpack: That was my only luggage – So I chose something considering its weight & size. There were not many Items – so I did not require a huge backpack – I found the 40 Ltrs size to be the Ideal for my weekend trips. Its zips & stitchings are very strong and the smaller pockets are ideal to hold a lot of accessories.
Guide Book & Map: When you are doing a short trip you don’t want to spend much time in places not worthy – so I completely relied on the Lonely Planet books and they were extremely helpful. I got the book in pre-used condition from Dariyagunj but not everybody will be lucky enough to get those.
Notebook: I know, a lot of you don’t actually carry a notebook. But as a travel blogger, it is essential. You need to write down a lot of dates, times & other information which will make your blogs perfect. I did not have a will to write blogs about my tours at that time but it was a habit I got from my father to carry a notebook and write important information. I used to call it ‘A Lone Travellers Diary’. I was very choosy about my notebook and while searching the net I found there are notebooks specifically designed for travellers. The thick pages of this handmade notebook are useful for me because they don’t tear off too easily. It can also be bound which keeps my tickets and other slips in place.
Now lets come to the accessories;
Water Bottle: In India, pure water is not in plenty – so keeping a water bottle is always handy. Initially, I used to carry the regular shaped bottles but soon found that they are bulky and take a lot of space inside the bag. I got the flat bottles (looks like a notebook) which is very easy to carry inside a backpack.
Camera & Lens: That is something I never missed. This is the basic model of a DSLR but was enough to serve my purpose. I am not professional – the details which I need to capture was done perfectly with this one. It came with a lens and a memory card – so it was a complete package for me.
Power Bank: It is very essential. I did not have one but once I had to spend a very scary time with my mobile out of charge – I generally use the map on my mobile to locate places- so it was a lesson learned very hard way. While the nights are spent on a bus, there is very few time to actually charge the gadgets – so the power bank is a must.
Eye Mask: It was a gift from a friend – I did not feel like buying one – but was helpful – particularly during the bus journeys in the night.
Universal Adapter Plug: When you are charging your mobile & camera mostly on bus terminals you know how many types of charging points you may come across. It’s very handy to keep the universal adapter plug. My mobile & camera plugs were different – so I had to get the adapter plug and soon I started loving it.
Swiss Knife Set: I used to carry this just for emergency. It was never required but I still feel that it is important to have this tiny accessory. It does not take much space.
Sunglass: This Ray-Ban was bought when I entered University for my under graduation. It is still my companion and I just can’t think anything beyond this. For the heat and sun in Northern India – a good sunglass is very important.
Sneakers: All these tours required long walk and sometimes steep climb. A comfortable sneaker was very much required. My adidas sneakers which I used to wear during my morning jogging went with me to all the places.
With these – two sets of undergarments, toothpaste, toothbrush, paper soaps, deodorant & hand sanitisers were my companion but for these, I did not prefer any particular brand.