Travel Tales

Local Experiences Trump Everything

The Travel Industry has been constantly evolving. The kinds of vacations that are desired by tourists, the expectations of Travelers and the quality of travel are all ever-changing.

Experiential Travel, or Experience based Travel, is the new trend in the market. Experiential travel aims to make travelers’ trips more meaningful, immersive, and memorable. Through experiential travel, they can do activities that are specific to a region, interact with the local people, and learn about the history of a destination.

We’ve listed out 5 reasons why Experiential Travel has taken the lead over Destination-based Travel:

Local Immersion
Traditional travel packages focus on destinations alone. Tourists are shown around the popular destinations in jam-packed buses without being able to actually understand the significance of the culture or the lives of the people living there. On the other hand, experiential travel makes sure that an individual gets to spend quality time at the destinations they’re visiting. They get to be a part of activities that are native to that region, interact with locals, and also understand the history and culture.

Best of Time and Money
Vacation is a time for people to enjoy themselves and relax. Not being able to get the most out of a long-awaited vacation by visiting the same old places all over again or going on a hard-pressed journey in the hope of visiting several locations can usually prove to be disappointing and tiring. With experiential travel, one can make the most of their time, money, and place all at once. Along with the destinations, the travel experience is enhanced by the varied local experiences like surfing, skiing, sky diving, village immersion, and homestay, among many others.

Healthy Holiday
Many travel packages now offer activities that are better suited to the needs of a solo traveller than boring and inflexible packages. Experiential travel allows a person to choose the activities they would like to take part in on their trips. This includes fitness-oriented activities like Beach Yoga, Cycling in the forests, Horse Riding and Workshops on Healthy Cooking. This way, one can make sure to stay healthy even on holidays!

Pick up a New Skill
Destination-based travel experiences focus on passive enjoyment during vacations. People enjoy sight-seeing, shopping, clicking pictures, and watching someone perform a local art. Experiential travel elevates travel to a whole new level by allowing travellers to actively participate in a variety of experiences while on vacation. This could be Coffee Painting, Wine Tasting, Hiking or even Horse Riding! Some of these activities end up becoming the new-found interests and hobbies of the travellers that take part in them. Learning a new skill while having fun on their vacation helps them grow as individuals.

Meaningful and Memorable Experiences
Traditional holiday packages show tourists the kind of life that is lived in a place. Experiential travel lets the tourists live that life themselves. Taking part in local experiences, interacting with the natives, learning about the culture, and understanding the significance of their history add deeply to their holiday experiences, making them more meaningful and memorable.

We at WanderingJane aim to amplify your life as a Solo Women Traveler by curating activity-based Travel Experiences. Handpicking our Local Destination Experts, we are on a journey to create a Safe and innovative travel ecosystem for women that enhances their travel experience and even motivates them to look at travelling as a profession. Plan your Solo Travel with WanderingJane today!


Travel Tales

De-coding Solo Travel

Like most of us, I too come from a typical conservative Indian family. For many generations, solo travel has been considered boring and lonely. When I brought up the subject of solo travel to my parents, their first question was, “So, you want to travel alone?“, “How will you enjoy travelling alone?“, “Are there other girls travelling with you?” and a slew of other questions that made me doubt my ability to travel alone.

I’m usually a “glass half full” type of person, but I have always imagined so many hassles that I could come across while travelling solo. I believe one of the most important concerns is safety, followed by hygiene and accommodation. Other issues to consider include communicating with locals, finding a reliable taxi, and, of course, the cost.

Well, lucky for me, my perspective changed after I joined WanderingJane. I was astonished at how many women love travelling solo and enjoying their own company. It’s lovely to see them mix with the local experts and discover the place while they are discovering themselves as well.

As a girl who had never travelled alone, this is what I think of solo female travelers now:

They are FEARLESS: Traveling alone to a new destination always carries risks (though not with WanderingJane, just saying!). But these women are fearless and love going on adventures. They go on treks, hikes, dives, and many more adventurous activities. They are basically superwomen!

They are INDEPENDENT: These girls know what they want, are equipped, are great problem solvers, and just know how to enjoy life. They don’t wait for someone else to come on board with their plans, they are decisive and trust their instincts.

They are INTERESTING: My work here lets me talk to so many girls who have travelled alone, and trust me, they are the most interesting girls I have spoken to. They are compassionate, vocal, respectful, and always have so many interesting stories to tell. They are truly women of SUBSTANCE.

I feel I am ready to Travel Solo, are you?


Travel Tales

Should girls travel solo?

Why the hell not! Is how I would approach that stupid question. Besides the sexism that the question reeks of, what gives me the jitters is that the person would never have travelled alone and wouldn’t know his heel from his hoof!

Travelling has from time immemorial been professed as the source of all knowledge, inside and outside.

Our lives are so consumed by screens these days that we hardly recognise our neighbours when we see them at the New Year’s Eve party. We know so little about other humans (family included) that we get fooled into believing that knowing something or someone is hardly of any consequence.

Nothing could be further from the truth; interacting with people, situations, crises, and accidents is what makes us human, and it is these small learnings that allow us to evolve—not as a species, but as individuals.

Some girls don’t know how to react when they don’t have their choice of feathers under their heads at night; far from it, I have always thought I could hold my own. Little did I know that a simple act of travelling was about to blow my mind.

Traveling is all about building capabilities in human interaction: understanding people, communicating, actually getting through to someone, and a lot more things needed to lead a good life.

So, yes! Everyone should surely travel Solo to be able to look oneself in the eyes every morning. My first solo trip was to Pondicherry, and I learned to surf during that trip. this one.


Travel Tales

5 Unique Christmas traditions to experience!

The season to be jolly is finally here and we can’t wait to binge on Christmas family movies and sweet treats! While Christmas always reminds us of mainstream Christmas Trees, plum cakes and Santa Claus, here are some of the unique ways to experience Christmas across the world! If you’re a solo traveller, don’t forget to mark your annual calendar for a unique memory to cherish for yourself, every December!

  1. Spain :

In Spain, Caga Tio is a hollowed log with a man-like figure. This must be fed with goodies like sweets and nuts. On Christmas eve, families put him on fire and beat him softly with a stick until he poops out all the goodies. The last thing to come out is a garlic bulb or an onion. While beating, families often sing a song to encourage the log. In Font de la Figuera, during the freezing cold Christmas season, it is a tradition to wear red underwear and celebrate with friends on the streets.

2. Slovakia :

In Slovakia, a special poppy seed filling pie is made and the head of the family tastes it before Christmas dinner. He then throws it up on the ceiling. The amount of pie that gets glued to the ceiling determines the rich crop yield that will grow next year. 

3. Venezuela :

In Caracas, Venezuela, people mass- skate to churches on Christmas eve. No cars are allowed on the road.  This is an age-old tradition of Venezuela where they make sure that the roads are cleared during the Christmas week. On December 24 children are told to tie one end of a string to their big- toe and to let loose the other longer end outside their bedroom windows. The next morning when people skate on the roads, they tug these strings. 

4. Finland :

You should behave in sauna as you would in church,’ is a Finnish saying that people of Finland believe in. People visit sweatbox/saunas to strip off and relax before Christmas evening. 

5. Norway :

Julebord is a Scandinavian feast or banquet during the Christmas season. It begins on 3 December and lasts throughout the month. Many julebords are characterized by large amounts of food and drink, both traditional and new, hot and cold dishes. There is often lively partying and the party can be an important social meeting place for colleagues. 

Travel Tales

A traveller’s guide to make the best of the Dussehra Week!

Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a major Hindu festival that marks the end of Navratri.This festive week is celebrated in various forms, with varied names, across the country! Each celebration has its own unique beautiful aspect and is sure to make every curious traveller fall in love with the glorious cultures of India! Here are a few remarkable ways for every traveller to explore the Dussehra week, this year!

  1. Mysore Dasara festival:

In Karnataka, Dasara is observed as the State festival – Nadahabba, because the celebration of the festival is steered by the Royal Family of Mysore. During Dasara, the entire City is gaily decorated and illuminated. The Palace and other important buildings are illuminated. Cultural programmes by famous artists are arranged in the Palace along with Sports, Wrestling, Poet’s meet, Food Festival, Film Festival witnessed by a large number of people. The Jambu Savari or the Elephant procession is one of the most prominent events of this festival. During this procession, 12 trained elephants adorned with colourful attire are taken around the streets. Performances like traditional dances, musicals, and displays of swordsmanship can be witnessed throughout the procession – indeed a sight to behold. As it travels through the city streets, it spreads zeal and joy throughout the city.

2. Durga puja in Kolkata:

Durga Puja in Kolkata is the grandest of all festivals celebrated in the capital city in honour of Goddess Durga during the period of Navaratri. While the festival of Durga Pujo is without a doubt celebrated across the world, in Kolkata, the vigour with which it is celebrated is second to none.This grand social event of Durga Puja showcases the beautiful culture of the Bengalis in India.  It is celebrated for 10 days, starting from the sixth day until the ninth day, the Pandals with grand idols of Goddess Durga are open for visitors. The tenth day, also known as Dashami marks the Visarjan (immersion in water) of the idol with grand celebrations and processions. Women, especially married women initiate the procession by first applying red sindoor or vermillion powder on the Goddess and then to each other. Food is a major feature of the Kolkata Durga Puja festival and Kolkata is reputed to be a foodie’s paradise. Kolkata Durga Puja special themed Bhog meals that have a little of everything. 

3. Kulasekarapattinam dasara in Tamil nadu:

Thisis a different way of celebrating Dussehra in Tamil Nadu state of India. The festival is celebrated for 10 days around the Mutharamman Temple, which is a hotspot of music, dance and drama and showcases an amazing range of vibrant costumes. An exclusive aspect of this festival is a trance dance in which people swing in unique costumes on the lively beats of thara thappattam.

This gives travellers a different outlook of the festival and is a one of a kind experience.

4. Ravan dahan in North India (mainly Uttar Pradesh):

There are many places in Uttar Pradesh state of India where Dussehra is celebrated by setting the statue of Ravana on fire by Lord Rama. It depicts the victory of good over evil. At cities like Varanasi, Lucknow and Kanpur, Ram Leela is performed on a grand level at prime locations of the city. Actors in the attire of Lord Ram, Lakshman and Hanuman perform the epic saga using audio visual devices and the audience is thrilled to see them while assassinating the idols of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath.

This is a very interesting sight for tourists and gives goosebumps, taking every traveller down to its Indian mythological roots.

5. Kullu dussehra:

This is one of the much-awaited festivals not only for Indians but for people outside the country too.

The centre of this festival is the Dhalpur Maidan. The festival starts with the pooja of Lord Raghunath. Then all the deities across the town are carried on a rath by the Worshipper’s to the Maidan. On the 5th or 6th day of Dussehra celebration, a gathering of all the village devtas takes place. On the last day, a huge bonfire is lit in which a lamb, a rooster, a fish, a crab and a buffalo are sacrificed.

The Kullu Dussehra celebration is different from Dussehra celebrations anywhere else and thus is to be a must witnessed event by every avid traveller!

#LiveLikeALocal Let our network of handpicked, verified local experts make sure that you get the real taste of the place you are visiting. Get to know the people who are hosting you, taste their food, celebrate their festivals, get to know about the latest hot spots and more.

Travel Tales

Top 5 picturesque train journeys in India!

  1. Mangalore to Bangalore:

2. Mumbai to Goa:

3. Shimla to Kalka (Himlayan queen):

4. Mandapam to Rameshwaram:

5. Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling:

Travel Tales

Maiden trips could also mean falling in love with yourself

I had always dreamt of travelling solo to far fetched places to experience how that adrenaline rush really feels like. After getting into the corporate world, I would hear stories of my coworkers’ travels and how the trip transformed them. Ever since, travelling to unknown land became the first and most desired item on my bucket list. However, I always knew that things to do from my bucket list would involve a lot of explanation and confidence building all way as I hail from a very conservative family and have  friends who are more skeptical to travel.

Times later, I learn about women only travel community—WanderingJane, who they are and how they successfully cater to various needs of female travelers. Their concept further fueled my desire to travel. Moving fast forward, I was excited to travel but then had this fear of managing it all by myself.

I was doubtful if I will be able to manage travelling solo for the first time and that too to an international destination.  Thankfully I met our local host at airport itself and her synergy was contagious. I had the time of my life on the trip and now have memories that I can always look back on, to remind myself about the good times. The majestic view of the mountain peak and pathways, fun bicycle rides through paddy fields, first time underwater aquatic life experience with scuba diving, mesmerizing sunrise and sunsets view at beach, late night walks and some life changing conversations with fellow travelers  on empty roads.

Being a first-time traveler, I had many apprehensions about almost everything. The moment the journey started, all of them began to fade away and the only thing that stayed permanent was my smile. All 5 days and 6 nights were so well planned. There were no linguistic barriers as most people understood English and for rest, our wing-woman, our local host was approachable. Never for once did I feel being stranded in an unknown territory. From booking adventure trails and local theater shows to taxi rides, all was done and included in our initial expenses. Bali proved more economical and less place hunter experience.

I got a good blend of solo me-time to introspect and energy punch  while taking a hands-on experience with scuba diving, trekking on volcano sites, learning to surf by the beach and other activities. These activities also developed sense of team building and leadership skills in me. Our ice breaker sessions with fellow travelers ended up connecting me with them in a way that we are soul sisters now! Fortunately, I not only got a chance to bond with people from India but also with people from Brazil. Learning and practicing yoga with the  group was not only good fun, but was also a self-esteem and confidence building experience.

Amidst all the talking, one thing got missed out. I packed 3 Cameras—a polaroid, KTM and DSLR. Not to forget my own hand phone. Despite photo storage on so many devices, I still had crisis to store memories. To capture the true beauty of Bali and the memories of my first trip, all day photography proved less. Even though I am not much of a foodie, but the local delicacies did interest and activate my taste buds a lot.

After this journey came to an end, I felt more empowered and I could feel people around me were looking up to me. Re-living experiences from my maiden trip make me yearn for another solo trip already. I can’t wait to make more memories with WanderingJane !

In the end, we only regret chances we did not take, so forget everything and travel solo for once. Take your own leap of faith!

#UnforgettableExperienceAssured #BeautifulBali

Travel Tales

Ladakh will transform you as a person – make a trip !

Leh- Ladakh makes to all travelers’ bucket list and certainly is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world.

Ladakh is not just a destination, its an experience in itself. The magnificence of the mountains, harshness of the roads less travelled, glory of the blue skies, brilliance of the changing landscapes and the mood swings of the weather makes you wanting more. So much so, that almost every corner of the place just ensures that you fall in love with it. This picturesque romance demands making a trip to Leh-Ladakh an annual affair.

Below are a few of the things you will relate to post this trip, that is sure to transform you into a brand new self.

  • Humility
The stark beauty of Ladakh and the forces of nature from the limitless horizon will leave you feeling forever humble.  You will appreciate how happiness comes from simple emotions.
  • Passion
“Journey is more important than the destination.”
Well, travelling across Ladakh will make you feel this, quite literally. You will understand that life is better when you bring passion into everything you do.
  • Courage
Battling through inhospitable terrain, unpredictable weather and arduous roads will        certainly toughen you up and prepare you to stand strong against all odds.
  • Respect
Gorgeous lands, beautiful flowers, ice walls, purity of the mountains, cloudless blue skies and the nature running wild will fill your heart with admiration. Interacting with the locals will make you realize how they find peace and happiness in minimalism.

You will respect people, the nature and of-course yourself more than ever.

  • Gratitude
A lake with 50 shades of blue, mountains with so many colours, the miracles of the magnetic hill and a cold desert, the pure magic of the confluence of rivers and the simplicity of the locals will make you more thankful and content.
  • Adaptability
You will come across travelers from all over the world, intermingling with so many people from different cultures and experiences will make you more receptive to other’s ideas. Living in basics and in unconventional places will make you easy-going and will open your mind.
  • Self belief & Renewal
Lastly and most importantly the moments you breathe in this paradise will stay with you forever. The aura of Ladakh and the energies around are bound to make you feel rejuvenated and restored.

Don’t wait, book your tickets, your metamorphosis awaits! 

Travel Tales

The Royal Affair – Girls and their Royal love for the Enfield

Ever since I can remember, I have always identified the “dug-dug” of an Enfield with my dad’s Dispatch Rider bringing him the day’s file work for review. While the DR used to wait in attention (such is the discipline of our Defense folk – you wonder if they are even breathing), my brother and I, like many other kids, would often run and struggle to get on top of this royal being (pun intended) and pretend to be the two most important people in the world. Many a times I tried to get it off the stand by myself and invariably would get buried under its weight. Every time that happened, I could feel it smirk. Every time I crossed it in the MT (that’s Army for a parking lot –  Mechanical Transport), the temperature around would just dip. Such has been my relation with Her Highness – The Royal Enfield.

But when love and hate collide, the impact reverberates. It has been reverberating for a really long time now, year after year. And marrying an adventure enthusiast has not helped the case. On top of that, finding ardent riders in my best friends has brought back the memories of those years growing up, straining my ears at 4 PM in anticipation of that rhythmic beat pulling in front of our house; when the Enfield looked so much bigger, so intimidating, and I would just be in awe, a puny ant in love with this beautiful giant always playing hard to get. I have grown up trying to keep these memories suppressed. But as that guy we read about in Physics said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Please go look up the antonym for “suppressed”.

Since the time I figured out the responsibilities of life, I have never been an advocate of taking risks, big or small. I don’t see the adventure in uncertainty. I always have with me: a plan, a backup plan and a backup for the backup plan. And maybe as an excuse for being shunned by Her Highness as a kid, I had started associating riding as plain STUPID. But this perception was soon to change, owing to Road Survivors, and owing to my notorious peeps associated with this enigmatic bunch of riders. You can never prepare enough for the experiences you are about to have, the people you are about meet and you definitely never can be prepared enough to meet JoJo and his merry Survivors. Whenever I meet JoJo, in my head he transforms from his usual soft demeanor to someone straight out of a mafia book – sitting on his Thunderbird with all the world’s bling, he is the sugar daddy of the riding world to me. Even though I feel like a misfit amongst them, I feel like I am trying too hard and maybe to them I am just a wannabe. Nevertheless, I have had the opportunity to observe these guys very closely, and just being around them feels like therapy. They play with uncertainty, but they play safe. They ride into the wilderness, but they are never arrogant about it. Yes they are loud, like any other riding group, and yes they have skulls and leather all over themselves, yet they keep each other’s negative tendencies in check. I have witnessed their legendary “Meets”, and am always stunned at their meticulousness. If there were ever any kind of Green Belt, Black Belt certifications for surviving it, these guys would be top notch. And theirs is a responsible bunch too; forever ready to ride for a cause. Their contingency plans, be it for a breakfast run or when they traverse the length and breadth of the nation, make one realize that here is a grounded bunch who will never mess with destiny.

I am not a Road Survivor, not yet, and my blood rushes when I hear the stories of their jacket patches, the history of the various scratches on their bikes, the tales of the hinterland that gets etched on their speedometers, because I want those stories to be mine and I can’t wait enough.

Here is a confession – I am not the kind to keep regrets. Lessons of life, yes, but never regrets. However, not riding enough will definitely be a regret that I may live with. I have been an aspiring rider for a long time now and I don’t quite know which one of these rides/events will be the last straw for me.

For Now… Dear Enfield – Let’s get this party started. Who am I, you ask? Not that you need it, but I am just a girl here to help you accessorise !

Travel Tales

Why travel solo?

Every once in a while, i feel like getting away from the chaos. Chaos can be different for everyone- for me its my household responsibilities. I feel like getting away from all this, only once in a while

I am otherwise a very well read and educated girl who was working in the IT sector for 5 years before i married the love of my life and decided to focus on the house part of the ecosystem.

Not that is was a one sided decision or my hubby suggested it or anything, its just me that thought about taking a break and being the engine of the new ecosystem we had built. Now i wish to take a break from this “break”.

My first solo travel was not very hard to conceive as my husband is a very free minded person himself and was in the least happy about me doing something new in life for myself. I decided to go to a quaint home-stay in Kerala and read a couple of books. I took along Tuesdays with Morrie and The three sisters. One of these was a re-read, you can guess which one

While i was arranging my logistics and the household’s logistics while i would be away- i read up about this Belgian yogi who was travelling throughout India at that time. It fascinated me how this woman from a society at least 30 years ahead of our’s, was so interested in bought-in in the yogi lifestyle that she embraced it full-time. She had been travelling across the world and practicing and teaching yoga for over 7 years now, so it couldn’t have been infatuation- I had to try it out!

I contacted her through her blog and enrolled for a 4 days yoga-essence lesson. Yay! my vacation had a purpose now.

To be honest it was a lot of work to make this trip happen, book the home-stay, find out and arrange for a transport from the airport till the home-stay, things to carry, chargers, books, clothes, yoga clothes, non-yoga clothes, find out other things to do, buy a lonely planet, pretend to read it, so on and so forth. It did not matter though, I was doing it all for MYSELF.

On the day of the flight, i felt quite free even before i embarked on it! funny!, but i thought to myself, when was the last time i did anything for myself. I have done huge projects for the company, not so huge but equally tedious ones for the house, never ever have I done anything JUST FOR MYSELF. as if everything else vanished from my equation- the house, the husband, the responsibilities, the pressure, the DULLNESS of life in general. I felt happy.

The home-stay was really sweet and small, it had 4 rooms and a very large central veranda. It was quite a bit from the airport but the taxi was comfortable and the location was nestled between coconut trees and I could faintly hear the waves crash- so I knew it was close to the beach. I was rather glad that it was not on the beach, because usually that is such a farce. You can do hardly anything on the beach at the night but have to constantly bear the loud waves crashing, i have never liked it.

The host was just enough involved and detached at the same time that i still felt alone. That is what i wanted !

I read up both my books during the 4 days and the yogi was fantastic. I have to admit it was funny learning yoga from a non-Indian, to endure the life lessons in that acquired English accent- god it took me a while to not smirk. But the feeling of being alone, all by myself and surrounded by these girls who were also looking for a similar freedom i suppose, was really a multiplying factor. None of us really talked much to each other besides pleasantries. Few of the girls really got together on their interest of photography.

The whole environment felt something like it would in an Osho ashram i suppose. Never been to one, but i suppose a place where everyone is for the common goal but do not get into chitter-chatter about other worldly things and just remain focused.

The 4 days DID NOT go through in a breeze and i am glad they didn’t. I could soak in the fact that here I was, at a wonder place, doing what id rather do everyday and learning a new thing which Id have never done otherwise. It was a truly fruitful trip.