20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Who doesn’t need a little inspiration from time to time? I know I do.

I have been traveling for many years but it wasn’t until last year that I quit my job to travel the world. While traveling, many people were surprised when I told them I was from India because they said they had hardly ever met women from India who travel so much. It did annoy me at first but later I realized that even I hardly ever met women travelers from India. Yes, there are some but not enough if you compare the size of our country’s population to many other countries, haha!

Anyway, today being International Women’s day, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate Indian female travelers. Last year I published an article about some amazing Indian women who travel solo and this year I was to  share some of my favorite Instagram accounts that I love following for my daily dose of wanderlust. If you love to travel and like seeing interesting pictures, then be sure to follow these accounts that have been handpicked by me, purely based on the content and not the number of followers.

Why Instagram and why not Facebook? Well, firstly sharing a link of someone’s personal FB profile is a little intrusive to sharing someone’s “public” Instagram profile where they share travel photos. And secondly, Instagram is way more awesome than Facebook. We all know how big Facebook is, but c’mon, it stopped being cool when literally everyone on earth joined the social network. Yes, from your primary school teacher to your neighborhood dukaan waala created their FB accounts and started sending you friend requests.

Ok fellas, enough of random chat and below is the reason why you opened this post in the first place. Let me share a list of my favorite Indian female travelers on Instagram.

List of 20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Click on each image to follow on Instagram

01 | Shivya (@Shivya)

Shivya Nath on Instagram

Click to follow Shivya Nath on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Shivya Nath is a vegan nomad without a home, who has been traveling non-stop since a few years. She also runs a successful travel blog called The Shooting Star and has been featured on BBC travel and NDTV. I love her night photography and those are some of my favorite shots on her Instagram.

A post shared by Shivya Nath (@shivya) on

 

02 | Overrated Outcast (@overrated_outcast)

Overrated Outcast (Trishita) on Instagram

Click to follow Overrated Outcast (Trishita) on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Trishita Bhattacharya a.k.a., Overrated Outcast is a 20-year-old girl from Mumbai, who is a pharmacy student and a very talented photographer. Almost all of her shots are captured differently and have a story to tell. She’s also a brand ambassador for GoPro from India (yes, I’m jealous) and she definitely knows how to get the best out of it. You will find pictures of Indonesia, Goa, Mumbai, Nasik, etc on her profile.

03 | Drifter Planet (@DrifterPlanet)

Sonal of Drifter Planet on Instagram

Click to follow Sonal DrifterPlanet on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Wait, the name sounds familiar! Of course it does because it’s my account. Just because I’m writing this post doesn’t mean I’ll skip my own account. I love experimenting with my camera and have been told that I create good phtos. My account has been featured on the several global platforms such as HuffPost Lifestyle, Girls Love Travel, Femme Travel, etc. In fact, I even received a 360-degree camera from Insta360 as a gift because they love our photos. In 2016, I instagrammed 10 countries and 5 music festivals. Why don’t you take a look?

Read: 11 Indian Girls That Are Totally Rocking Solo Travel

04 | Jeny Goes Places (@jenygoesplaces)

Jeny Goes Places on Instagram

Click to follow Jeny Goes Places on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Jeny Rajkumari, also known as Juju is usually on the move and posts really cute pictures from all over India and a few neighboring countries. She’s a nature lover and it’s evident because most of her pictures are green! I love all her photos so much that I have even featured her twice on my account.

05 | Mridula (@mridulablog)

Mridula on Instagram

Click to follow Mridula on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Mridula is an IIT-ian and ex professor but is now a travel blogger. Don’t get me wrong, she is not a new blogger but has been travel blogging since a while. Her blog – Travel Tales from India is very popular and one of the most respected travel blogs from India. She is an excellent photographer and all her pictures are stunning. She rarely ever posts her own pictures but I wish she’d change that because I love seeing the person behind the camera, don’t you?

A post shared by Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) on

06 | Gerbz the Nomad (@gerbz_the_nomad)

Gerbz the nomad on Instagram

Click to follow Gerbz the nomad on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Gauri Adettiwar or “Gerbz” says she’s “Just another Boulder babe flitting her way around the world”. If you see her instagram account, you will instantly know that she loves adventure and you can go on a joyride by just watching her pictures.

Read: 10 Beautiful Spots in Bali that are Instagram Worthy

07 | Wander With Jo (@wanderwithjo)

Wander with Jo on Instagram

Click to follow Wander with Jo on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Jyotsana of Wander with Jo is a girl from Delhi who is a globetrotter and a thrill seeker. She also runs a travel blog called WanderWithJo. She loves posting pictures of waterfalls, viewpoints and street art.

08 | Lavina (@continent.hop)

Continent Hop on Instagram

Click to follow Continent Hop on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Lavina is a girl from Goa who loves clicking colorful destination. Her newsfeed has a lot of pictures from Europe and some of them look like they are right out of a storybook.

09 | Sam Wanderlust (@sam_wanderlust)

Sam Wanderlust on Instagram

Click to follow Sam Wanderlust on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Samita is an engineer from India who lives in the UK. You will find pictures of many European destinations such as Switzerland, Iceland, Austria, etc, on her profile. Her pictures are simply stunning!

A post shared by Samita (@sam_wanderlust) on

10 | Soumya Travel Books Food (@soumna_travelbooksfood)

Travel books food on Instagram

Click to follow Travel books food on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Another engineer on this list, Soumna’s pictures will take you on a trip with her to Europe as she explores Spain, Portugal and France.

11 | Wandering Dreamcatcher (@wandering_dreamcatcher)

Wandering Dreamcatcher on Instagram

Click to follow Wandering Dreamcatcher on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Whether it’s dancing in the middle of a trek or pictures of her furry friends from the road, Ann Mathias of Wandering Dreamcatcher’s pictures are sure to make you smile.

12 | Travel See Write (@travelseewrite)

Travel, See, Write on Instagram

Click to follow Travel, See, Write on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Archana loves traveling, seeing and writing about offbeat places and experiences. The fact that she’s living in the beautiful Philippines definitely helps. You will find pictures of Japan, North East India, many places South East Asian countries on her Instagram profile.

A post shared by Archana (@travelseewrite) on

13 | Lakshmi Sharath (@LakshmiSharath)

Lakshmi Sharath on Instagram

Click to follow Lakshmi Sharath on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Lakshmi is a traveler who has been blogging about her journey since the last 12 years. She is a good photographer and clicks pictures of faces, architecture and nature. On her profile, you will find pictures of literally every place in India.

Read: 7 Colorful Flea Markets of Goa

14 | Medhavi (@ravenouslegs)

Medhavi, Ravenous Legs on Instagram

Click to follow Medhavi, Ravenous Legs on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Medhavi is a girl from India who is a solo traveler and loves adventure. She is an ex techie who is living in the Himalayas at the moment. She loves scuba diving and high altitude trekking amongst other things.

A post shared by Medhavi Davda (@ravenouslegs) on

15 | Rutavi (@rutaagayire)

Rutavi on Instagram

Click to follow Rutavi on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Rutavi Mehta is a travel blogger from India who has traveled to many destinations all over the world. At the moment she is in New Zealand and is instagramming some amazing pictures from her journey.

16 | Monkey Inc (@monkey.inc)

Monkey Inc on Instagram

Click to follow Monkey Inc on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Ankita Kumar calls herself a “hyper travel monkey” and has a blog called Monkey Inc. She is in love with bright colors and strange food, which you will figure out from her Instagram profile.

A post shared by Ankita Kumar (@monkey.inc) on

17 | Raksha – the Roving Heart (@therovingheart)

The Roving Heart on Instagram

Click to follow The Roving Heart on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

From mountains to beaches and everything in between, Raksha is on a mission to explore the world. You will find pictures of many destinations within India on her Instagram page.

Read: 11 Hippie Destinations in the Himalayas

18 | Avii – apocalypstickk (@apocalypstickk)

Apocalypstickk on Instagram

Click to follow Apocalypstickk on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Avii from Delhi loves mountains, campfires, sky gazing, long winding roads and golden trees. Her pictures will take you on a journey to the Himalayas and around.

A post shared by Avii (@apocalypstickk) on

19 | Tanishka – Tani Travel Tales (@TaniTravelTales)

Tani Travel Tales on Instagram

Click to follow Tani Travel Tales on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

The girl in red jacket, Tanishka is an adventurer, traveler, crafter and storyteller. Her pictures will take you to some offbeat locations in North East India.

20 | S Divya (@s.divya22)

Divya on Instagram

Click to follow Divya on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Divya is a founder of the famous girl travel group of India called Globetrotting Girls India. She’s a globetrotter herself and her pictures will take you on a journey to many places in America and Asia.

Read: 25 Instagram Accounts to Spark your Wanderlust

So, what do you think of this list? Do you know of in the comments if you know more Indian female travelers to follow on Instagram that I may have missed in this post? Oh and if you like this list, do share it. We definitely need to see more female travelers from India in this world, so let’s do everything to encourage and celebrate the International woman’s day!

20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram
20 Amazing Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram
20 Awesome Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram
A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sonal Kwatra Paladini

How To Maximise Your Holiday Experience

How To Maximise Your Holiday Experience

This is a guest post from Seb from Aspiring backpacker dot com

Travel can be an absolute joy, but you can always make it better and that is something that we all aspire to do. Of course, this generally means that you need to spend a lot more money to have the amazing experiences that you read about in magazines or see on TV, but it doesn’t always have to be this way. There are a few different ways to really get more out of your travel experience that I have learnt on the road and I have decided to write this blog post to help you get that little bit extra out of your holiday.

Start it early

I think one of the best ways to maximise your holiday experience is to hack it a little and start it early. For example, if you are going away for a weekend, why not start your holiday directly after work on Friday? I did this recently when I used airporthotels.com to book one of the Stansted airport hotels, which was a great experience for me. I remember waking up and being totally relaxed and I didn’t have to wait in the terminal for many hours before my flight. It was great to get something nice to eat at the hotel restaurant and then I took the shuttle bus directly to the airport, which took only a few minutes.

Research before you get there

One thing that I know about traveling is that I want to be doing just that and not wasting time on doing other unnecessary things, therefore I like to research where I am going a bit beforehand. Of course you don’t have to do extensive research, just a basic outline of a few things that you want to see and then let the rest flow. The less time you spend researching whilst you are on holiday, the more time you can actually spend getting out there and actually enjoying it!

Plan some rest

Of course maximising your holiday is about using the time that you have the best that you can, but this doesn’t mean that you should be trying to get something out of every waking second! Travel is tiring (in the best way possible), so taking some time out can actually to help you enjoy taking everything in. There are many ways to relax on holiday, but I like to plan a rest day in the middle of my shorter trips and for my longer trips I always think it is important to have a break every two weeks or so. By being properly rested you will be raring to go for your next adventure and it will give you some time to reflect on some of the amazing things that you have already done.

Get into the local culture

One of the biggest mistakes and problems that locals have with tourists is that they are generally not very receptive to the local culture and don’t usually have culturally different experiences other than those that they are used to. For example, people eating McDonalds in Thailand when there is amazing Thai street food everywhere (it’s cheap too). Why would you do this when there are so many amazing places to explore? I, personally, like to get amongst the local culture and this involves things like wandering out of the centre of a town or city, eating where the locals eat, or learning a few words of the local language. I think that you can get so much more out of your experience by doing this. Even just the joys of watching people going about their normal lives in an area without tourists is very interesting.

Wondering what we’re doing in Goa?

Wondering what we’re doing in Goa?

If you’re following us on Facebook, you must have noticed that we’re in Goa. No, we are not here for a week or two but are here for a few months. We’re not “holiday”ing here but are volunteering in Goa. This is our way of slow travel because we want to make our way to Sri Lanka by January 2017.

So what exactly are we doing in Goa?

A little work in the hostel..

I’m volunteering in Goa ‘s Red Door Hostel in Anjuna. The same hostel also has a restaurant where San is working in the bar and kitchen. We get two meals a day here and get to sleep for free. I don’t get paid because I’m a volunteer but San get a little money because he’s a professionally trained chef. Both of us work for half a day and get a day off per week. Our work is very relaxed and a lot of fun.

A little travel blogging..

2016 was a very crazy year. I traveled to 10 countries and didn’t even get a chance to write about them all. I had to take a forced break from blogging while I was attending back-to-back music festivals and later preparing for my German examination. Sitting behind the hostel help desk for half a day has given me a little stability that I needed. I’m finally getting some writing done.

And a little party..

Goa is the birthplace of Psychedelic Trance genre and a typical old school Goa party has no match. This is where I got my first taste of Psychedelic trance music back in 2004 and I was hooked. So yes, we are partying a LOT here. Again.

Why did we choose Goa?

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, I’m sure you know by now how much I love Goa. A lot of people hate it because it’s getting touristy, but which place isn’t? Honestly, Goa is massive and there are many empty areas. It’s mostly the beach belt that gets crowded and we have our own secret spots. We’re in North Goa, which is busier than South Goa.

The cost of living in Goa is definitely lower than most of the places we know of, so it is easy to survive here with little money. The fact that we’re sleeping and eating for free has made it possible for us to live off the earnings of our travel blog. Goa is a good place for digital nomads.

I visited Goa for the first time in 2004 and have always wanted to live here. After finally finding courage to quit my full time job, I can finally make my dream come true. Better late than never, don’t you think?

Want to meet us?

A lot of my friends and blog readers are in Goa at the moment because it is a popular spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve. If you’re planning on visiting, do check out my post about Goa travel tips and my detailed guide about North Goa Beaches. It has some amazing hotel and hostel reccomendations too. Oh, and send us a message on Facebook or Instagram if you want to meet us in Goa.

 

 

A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sonal Kwatra Paladini

Did Yogyakarta in Indonesia change me as a traveler?

Did Yogyakarta in Indonesia change me as a traveler?

This is one of my rare “travel diary” kind of posts which is a result of my introspection and where I express my deepest thoughts.

Can visiting a place for just a few days change me for life?

I thought to myself as I reflected back on the time I spent in Yogyakarta.

I arrived here as a backpacker with a typical “herd mentality”. Over the last few years, without realizing I was usually following the typical backpacker trail. Yes, from time to time, I did make an effort to interact with the locals and to learn about their culture. However, the majority of my time was spent with the other backpackers who I had met while traveling and spending many hours partying. But hey, I thought I was different.

Now here I am, thinking of my fondest memories of my travel in Indonesia, and what’s the first thing that comes to my mind? Spending many hours with the locals, learning more about their culture, learning their language and creating new things every day with my own hands in Yogyakarta after watching how the locals did it.

Now don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with being a backpacker. It is a lot of fun being one and I will be a backpacker for a long time. Not everyone has the same travel style and it is absolutely okay as long you’re happy without harming anyone or anything else in the process. This post is not about that – it is just an expression of my thoughts after hours of introspection.

I can’t forget the time I said “no” for a party in Indonesia because, by that time, I was absolutely in love with Indonesian culture and wanted to wake up early to see more. I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t got my taste of experiencing local culture in Yogyakarta. My mind has found a new snack and it is always hungry for more. I am hopelessly in love, and this time it is with Indonesian culture.

If you ask me to describe Yogyakarta in short, I would just utter three words – Art, culture, & heritage. Mind you, it is not one of those pretentious places where you spend a bomb to experience the local way of life by being a part of a carefully orchestrated charade. It is a place where things get real, whether it is making pottery with the villagers or carving faces on clay puppets.

Before visiting Yogyakarta, a lot of people mentioned that it is a very touristy destination in Indonesia. But upon visiting, I wondered where the tourists were. I didn’t see any while I was exploring some very interesting areas in Yogyakarta. I got my answer when I visited the famous Borobudur temple. Yes, many people visit Yogyakarta to see this largest Buddhist temple that has a fascinating history. But only a few stay on for a longer time to explore the villages and the old town areas.

What is it about Yogyakarta that had this effect on me? Perhaps the fact I was making things with my hands made a difference. Or maybe it was because I was away from my smartphone while making those things that I finally allowed my brain to think and introspect.

Today I promise myself to take out time away from my gadgets as often as I can. I will use this time to create something with my own hands. I will give more time to Art.

Art is magic and it makes us forget a lot of things while making us realize who we are.

Did Yogyakarta transform me into a cultural traveler?

I don’t know the answer to that yet, but I hope to find out soon. What do you think? Have you ever felt this way about a destination? How has travel changed you?

PS: watch out, an epic Yogyakarta post is coming up next where I will shed more light on the things I did.

PPS: to get a glimpse, you can stalk me a little on Instagram 😉

Photo Credit: Bressiona Chastity (Indonesia) and Najii (Japan)

 

Yogyakarta changed me
An Unbelievably Stunning Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

An Unbelievably Stunning Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

No visit to Turkey is complete without experiencing a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. After all, it’s one of the most beautiful hot air balloon ride locations in the world. After having seen so many pictures of Cappadocia’s surreal landscape with fairy chimneys and caves, I knew I had to visit this place. On an impulse, I booked my ticket to Turkey and there was no looking back.

With Cappadocia on my mind, I researched for weeks to find the “right” balloon company to fly with. A month before my Turkey trip, after exchanging a few emails with Erdal Yaris, I finally decided to confirm my slot with Turkiye Balloons. Why did I choose them? I will tell you at the bottom of my post, but first I want to share how it was to experience a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Flying over Fairy Chimneys - Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

The View! Flying over Fairy Chimneys – Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

What it’s like to experience a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Pre-Flight

A day before my flight, a staff member from Turkiye Balloons called up my hotel to confirm if I was staying and to let them know that they will pick me up at 4:20 am. Normally it is me who double checks and confirms so it was a pleasant surprise to see that they did it before I did

The Pick Up

At 4:20 am I was picked up from right outside my hotel in a big car with “Turkiye Balloons” logo. I was given a nametag with a code as I entered the car. The car drove us to Turkiye Balloons office where around 50-60 more people were enjoying their delicious Turkish breakfast.

The Open Buffet Breakfast

I was presently surprised when I entered the breakfast hall because it was as lavish as a star hotel. With a lot of variety of bread, cheese, olives, salami, eggs, cereal, juices, flavored tea, baklavas the breakfast spread here was expansive and had something for even the pickiest eaters. Even though I wasn’t so hungry at this time, I couldn’t help enjoying a big breakfast.

Pre-Briefing and Pre-Flight

Getting Ready to fly - Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

Getting Ready to fly – Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

After the breakfast, I finally understood the reason for the code on my nametag. The code was an identifier because so that we could find out which group we were in. Our group was called out and soon we were driven from the breakfast hall to tan open field where several balloons were being inflated. I saw a few massive balloons with the logo of Turkiye Balloons being inflated right in front of us as they gradually grew to their massive shape. Soon our balloon was ready and it was time to climb the basket. We also received a pre-briefing with safety instructions, but at this point, I was too excited to listen.

Rising Up

Flying around in Goreme - Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turke

Flying around in Goreme – Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

Our pilot made our basket feel as light as a feather because we rose up into the air gently. The pilot held on to the burner for the balloon to gain more height and soon we saw many other balloons flying under us. Soon it was time to enjoy Cappadocia’s epic sunrise.

Epic Sunrise, View, and the Flight

Cappadocia is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and to make things better, the sunrises here are phenomenal. It’s because the sky gets flooded by more than 100 hot air balloons in what looks like a celebration of a brand new day.

So many balloons - Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

So many balloons – Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

As we rose higher, I felt like one of the luckiest people on earth to be enjoying a stunning view both below and above me. The sunlight illuminated Cappadocia’s unique landscape under us.

Cappadocia's stunning landscape - Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia’s stunning landscape – Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

I’m not joking when I say that I felt I was a part of Star Wars and was flying over Planet Tatooine with Anakin Skywalker. After all, George Lucas did want to shoot Planet Tatooine’s scenes in Cappadocia but did not get the permit and he cloned the landscape in Tunisia where the shooting eventually happened.

View from the top - Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

View from the top – Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

Luckily, the morning was windy and we flew over some of Cappadocia’s most famous spots. Over the next hour, we gradually floated above the famous rose valley, love valley and around strangely shaped fairy chimneys. I wouldn’t have recognized these valleys but our pilot was nice enough to point them out to us.

Landing and Celebration Champagne

It’s funny how we normally don’t realize how fast the time is going when we are having fun. Even though the sun was shining brighter than before, I was surprised when the pilot told us it was time to land. From up above, we could see a few cars that were lining up below us. These cars had trailers attached and it seemed we were going to land on one of them. How are we going to that? The trailers did not appear to be very big from up above.

This is how the balloons land on top of cars! - Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

This is how the balloons land on top of cars! – Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

To our surprise, our pilot gently guided our balloon and we floated above the trailer. We couldn’t help but clap at the pilot’s precision as we landed on top of one of those cars. It was time to celebrate!

Champagne ceremony - Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

Champagne ceremony – Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

With my flight completion certificate in one hand and a champagne glass in the other, I couldn’t stop smiling as I gazed skywards at the birds that flew above us. Yes, I was one of them a few minutes back. If you’re heading to Turkey (or near Turkey), please do yourself a favor and get on one of these flights. There is a reason why many famous travel magazines call this an “experience of a lifetime.”

Tips to make the most of your Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

01 | Research and Pick the right balloon company

Do your research in advance and pick the right balloon company. I highly recommend Turkiye Balloons. A typical flight length is 60 minutes but some operators also provide 90 minute long flights for an additional cost. Turkiye Balloons charges 120 Euros for a 60-minute flight, while the other operators charge 150 Euros and can stretch to 250 Euros depending on the balloon company and the duration.

02 | Watch out for scammers.

There are many fake websites online which will charge your credit card without a flight. If you’re visiting Istanbul before Cappadocia, be careful of tour operators because some of them may try to sell you fake balloon flight tickets.

03 | Reserve your slot

Once you have picked the right balloon company, be sure to reserve your slot in advance because they usually fill out months in advance.

04 | Be Flexible with your schedule

Balloon flight depends on the weather conditions so do stay for a couple of extra days to avoid weather to mess up with your plans.

05 | Carry a jacket and stay warm

Yes, Cappadocia is usually warm during the day but it’s surprisingly cold at 4:30 am. Please do yourself a favor and carry a jacket if you don’t want to be uncomfortable during your flight.

That one time I flew over Mars - Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

That one time I flew over Mars – Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

06 | Planning your Cappadocia itinerary

Be flexible with your itinerary for Cappadocia, else you will be disappointed. The usual pick-up time a balloon ride is 4:30 am in the morning, so if you’re reaching Cappadocia early morning, don’t expect to go for a ride on the same day.

07 | Don’t forget to fully charge your camera

Make sure you fully charge all your gadgets because you’re going to want to click 100s of photos and videos! Carry extra battery if you can.

Why Did I Choose Turkiye Balloons?

If you search online, you will find at least 50+ tour operators and companies that offer hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Which one to pick and how? Simply reading TripAdvisor reviews was not enough for me, so I wrote to a few hot air balloon companies and decided to pick Turkiye Balloons because of the below reasons:

01 | Experienced Pilots and Company Reputation

Even though Turkiye Balloons is one of the newest hot air balloon ride companies in Cappadocia, they have some of the best pilots of Cappadocia and every pilot has minimum 2500 hours of flight experience. This is an important point for me and should be for you as well because you obviously don’t want to put your life in danger by picking a wrong balloon tour operator. Oh, and by the way, the pilots speak very good English!

02 | Smaller Groups = Better Photos

Here’s the thing – I’m a loner and I don’t like group activities or tours. However, if I ever decide to go on a tour, I always pick up the smallest groups. I had seen too many photos and videos on the Internet of people who went with 20-ish other people on a single balloon ride. Imagine having to share a little standing spot with so many people and trying to fight for a good corner spot for a view! No, I did not want to do that. In one of the emails, Erdal mentioned the group size and I knew I had found the right balloon company. From my experience, I found out that most of the balloon companies had different prices based on the number of people.

03 | Quick Response Time

If you’re wondering why response time matters in this case, I will try to explain in the best way possible. Have ever you decided to pick a brand based on their amazing customer service? Chances are, you have. If so, then why not in the case of your tour provider? More than the resolution, it’s usually the speed of response that makes any brand’s customer service awesome. What if you need to cancel your balloon flight for some reason and you need your money to be refunded? Would you want to wait for weeks before someone acknowledges your email? I have burned my fingers in the past when I never got a refund canceling an expensive boat ride in Myanmar that was booked through a tour agent. I sent multiple emails, but never got a refund and eventually had to give up. In this age of technology and automation, I really don’t understand why some companies take forever to respond to their prospective customers. While most of the balloon providers took a few days and some even weeks, my emails to Turkiye Balloons were usually answered within the same hour.

04 | Passenger and Flight Insurance

Let’s face it, accident CAN happen everywhere and it’s better to be insured before than to cry later. Luckily, Turkiye balloons also insures their passengers and flights to protect against unforeseeable circumstances.

How to Book:

Visit Turkiye Balloon’s website and book yourself a slot. Alternatively, you can send them an email at fly@turkiyeballoons.com.

An Unbelievably Stunning Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey
An Unbelievably Stunning Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey
An Unbelievably Stunning Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

Disclaimer: A big thanks to Turkiye Balloons for the complimentary balloon ride. All opinions, as usual, are my own.

Have you ever experienced a hot air balloon flight? If so, I’d love to know where. Let me know in the comments.

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Sleeping in a cave in Goreme, Cappadocia

50 Surreal Travel Destinations

A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sonal Kwatra Paladini

A Detailed Guide to eVisa for India

A Detailed Guide to eVisa for India

EVisa for India – Avoid India Tourist Visa Surprises. Make sure to check your visa requirements before you book your trip to beautiful India.

As a European, it is really easy for me to travel around the world. The euro goes far and I only have to worry about visas to a few countries. But here is the thing, India not only requires a visa for German citizens but US citizens also need a visa to India. So I am now writing this article hoping that you have a better experience than I did when trying to get my India eTourist visa.

India eTourist visa application explained

India eTourist visa application explained

Here’s the story about my eVisa application experience for India (Indian e-Tourist Visa)

A few months ago I decided to try the new India eTourist Visa. My employment visa for India had expired and I needed a new visa to fly back to India with Sonal. I decided give eVisa a try instead of going through the lengthy embassy visa application process (which I also explain in the latter part of this post). For those of you that don’t know yet, India has launched a new eTourist visa scheme, so most travelers can get an Indian visa online.

This system supersedes the existing tourist visa on arrival where certain travelers were able to pay a fee upon arrival at immigrations. Travelers now have to apply before arrival to India for a tourist visa. They get a PDF that the airline desk clerk will check before boarding the flight. Then once in India, there is a special immigration queue for eVisas and voila, you are set!

This eVisa is actually a great implementation as it not only boosts the tourism industry for Indian locals but it also eliminates costs and is a great benefit to all us travelers. As I said, the tourist visa is now issued online and you will simply receive it in PDF format via email. Your Indian visa will be linked electronically to your passport so you will no longer receive a visa sticker.

Enough about the benefits of the program. I started the process at 8PM and finished 12 hours later, in a nightmare night in the Philippines. The Government website (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html) is tortuous. I had innumerable problems uploading my ID photo, my passport information page and worse of all, paying. The user experience was even more frustrating than getting a traditional visa. Instead of sleeping before my snorkeling trip in Palawan, I ended up wasting my entire night on this website.

So when a blogger friend talked about iVisa.com, I instantly thought this was an interesting option for my readers. www.iVisa.com is a US based company whose motto is “zero frustration policy when it comes to visa processing”. For an additional fee, they’ve made an impressively easy interface that makes the visa application a pleasant one (or as pleasant as it can be). After researching them in depth, they provide a few great service options that are very interesting: travelers can save an application and complete it at any time, iVisa system takes any type of image and they make it compliant to the visa application format (versus the Government website which only accepts a few formats and in ridiculously small sizes), they take any form of payment (including Amex and paypal), and best of all, unlike the Government website, they accept visa applications far in advance from the trip.

It’s crucial to understand that there have been applications rejected by the government in the past so waiting until the last minute to process the visas is not a great idea. The government service will only accept applications 33 days before your actual travel date, which made me a bit anxious, since this seemed to be too close to my actual trip.

How does the Indian eTourist Visa look like?

Indian etourist visa

Indian etourist visa

India eTourist Visa validity

One thing to remember is that the validity of your Indian visa will only begin on the day of your arrival and you can not apply more than 33 days before your arrival to India. It’s a single entry visa and if you wish to spend more than one month in India then you will have to contact the Indian embassy as the India eTourist Visa is valid for 30 days alone and it seems like you can only apply for 2 eVisas in one calendar year.

Visa restrictions

If you want to apply for an Indian eTourist visa, make sure you are arriving to India via plane and through one of these airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi. You can exit India by any means of transportation and from any point of exit.

If this is not the case, you will need a paper visa (see below how to get it in the US)

What will you need for your online visa to India application?

You will need a valid passport (valid at least 6 months after your arrival date) and a scan of your passport photo page along with a recent digital photograph of yourself.

After you make the payment online, you’ll receive an email with your visa after a few days, which you can print and take to the airport with you. It’s that easy. Show the printed copy to the immigration officer and a visa will be attached to your passport on the spot.

Again, I recommend that you use www.iVisa.com to avoid any frustration with the process. Remember you can apply online at any time with them, and the visa will be processed exactly 33 days prior to departure (so they apply on the first available date, ensuring that the traveler doesn’t have to worry about the visa at all).

The traditional embassy Indian visa

For the unlucky ones that can’t get an eVisa, I thought it would be good to explain the traditional bureaucracy involved in getting a paper visa. I wish you luck 🙂

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post

Step 1 – Visit the India Visa Center for Cox and King website, fill in your details and click on “Proceed”. Make sure to check your info though as you CAN NOT change this later.

Click on “Proceed” again and then on “Click Here” which takes you to the application website and a redirect button will pop up.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post

Step 2 – Be sure to check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date in India. Fill in details.

Step 3 – Start the online application. It says “Regular Visa Application”. Click that link.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post - Online application

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post – Online application

Another page will pop up which is the actual application with an orange banner across the top.
At the end of your application it will ask if it’s all correct. Once you say YES, you cannot change your details so verify that you entered everything correctly before continuing.

Step 4 – While filling out this application, note that the format for entering dates are as follows: DAY/MONTH/YEAR which is not the typical way we write dates in the U.S (month/day).

Step 5 – Fill out all the pages. I used this EXAMPLE Application Form whenever I had doubts filling in my details.

Step 6 – Once you completed your form, you then have to click on “APPOINTMENT AND PAYMENT” to go back to the CKGS website to complete the rest of your application.

Step 7 – You will now sign and complete extra supplementary forms.
Step 8 – Select your mode of submission. I used Shipping. Simply print out your label at the end which will automatically be created.

DO’s

  • You have to go to a FedEx office to send your documents, no pickups allowed. At FedEx, only use the free envelope (see picture below) to send with the shipping label provided by CKGS. If you use the wrong envelope then your entire application will be cancelled or kept on hold.
    E tourist visa - how to apply for an eVisa for India

    E tourist visa – how to apply for an eVisa for India

  • Send ONLY 1 (one) application per envelope. You can not send 2 applications in one. That goes for the payment as well.

DONT’s

  • DO NOT request a pickup by FedEx, your application will be put on hold/cancelled. I called CKGS to verify this so I would advise against it!
  • Again, DO NOT send more than 1 application in the envelope.

Step 9 – You can pay by using a Credit or Debit Card/Money Order/Cashier’s Check/Bankers Check (Name of ‘Cox & Kings Global Services USA LLC.) I confirmed this various times by calling their call center and your payment HAS to be made separately for each applicant. You cannot create a payment for multiple applicants.

Step 10 – Once you completed the online process, you will submit your physical application via shipping.

You should arrange your documents in the same order as mentioned in the document checklist.

Tick off the boxes on both the checklists, and add 1 copy of the document checklist in your envelope.

Finally, I got an email from CKGS after they received my actual application package. It simply said ‘Received, but Not Verified’.

After that I received another email with the outcome of the my visa. I know this is a long process but if all your documents are in order then the entire process is actually very stress-free.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from Germany via post

Step 1 – Complete your application form online by clicking here. Click on Regular Visa Application.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from Germany via post

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from Germany via post

Step 2 – Complete your details online. Remember that you will have to upload a recent digital passport-sized photo as well as a physical one in your application. Make sure to verify that all your details are correct as you will not be able to edit it later.

Step 3 – you will need to send your physical application to the following address:

Residents of Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen–Anhalt, Thueringen, should submit their applications to: International Visa Services Europe GmbH, Fritschestraße 61, 10627 Berlin

Residents of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria should submit their applications to:International Visa Services Europe GmbH, Schellingstr. 35, 80799 Munich

You will need to add the following documents with your application:

  1. Copy of your online application form.
  2. 2 recent photographs (50x50 mm, colour & identical with a light background).
  3. Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months).
  4. If you are applying for something different than a tourist visa, check that you have everything that’s listed in the Check List.
  5. Proof of Payment
  6. Self addressed and stamped envelope (including € 3.95 stamps for up to 2 passports) to return passport
  7. Visa Order Form for Postal application for Munich.
    Visa Order Form for Postal application for Berlin.

Notes. Minimum processing time is 2 weeks. Ensure that your envelope is properly sealed.

Incomplete applications and incorrect fees will delay the processing of your application.

The passports will be returned only through registered mail (‘Einschreiben Uebergabe’) or through DHL.

Do you have any friends that are visiting India soon? If so, do share this post with them.

 

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