Why am I writing this blog?
I have heard many people complain that they get very few vacation days: 2-3 weeks in a year in most cases. If you have a travel bug, this is not enough. Heck, I have complained myself about this problem.
To counter this problem, a lot of bloggers (see for example nomadicmatt.com and his friends) have proposed and executed long term travel. They sell their belongings, quit their job and travel for 6 months, a year or even more.
I would love to travel long term. But I love physics and can’t really quit a daytime research job. I realized about a year back that there are 52 weekends in a year. Include the 10 days of national holidays and you have 114 days of vacations! That is ~4 months of vacations! You can travel and see a lot in 4 months. I have traveled on 55 of the last 60 weekends. This blog is my the diary of travel and notebook of my plans.
Why should you read this blog?
From this blog, you can expect the following
a. Optimized itineraries for visiting attractions within a day, a weekend or a long weekend.
b. Tips and tricks for reducing your trips costs: getting cheap flights, lodging, parking, dining and so on.
c. Tricks and information that could make your trip efficient.
d. My two cents of travel advice that may or may not be useful to you.
Who Am I?
I did my PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from a Big Ten School. Since then I have been working full time at a major tech company. Apart from physics I have indefatigable passion for traveling and photography.
How do I travel?
I work hard during the week. often more than 12 hours a day. Then, I set off on Friday night on a trip. In good weather, these are mostly around the Pacific Northwest (PNW). It is not uncommon for me to drive 800-1000 miles or hike 20 miles or fly 6000 miles in a weekend. During the gloomy and rainy PNW winters, I either fly to a better destination or go hiking in the rain or snowshoeing on ice.
What tools,sites, apps do I use?
I begin my research about a destination using the travel forums at tripadvisor.com. They have a wealth of information. I also check out the top rated attractions at the destination on tripadvisor.com and then make a list of what I want to see. Google search often leads to various other resources like Lonely Planet Thorntree forums, Fodor’s forums and so on.
Next, I pick up a guide book to the destination. Usually, my local library has it. Otherwise, I buy a cheap guide from half.com or amazon. I use all these info and stick together an efficient itinerary using Google Maps.
I search for flights on hipmunk.com and matrix.itasoftware.com. Various bloggers have covered this topic in depth. I would point to the resources in a future blog post. However, I mostly book my flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The prices are cheapest on these dates.
The lodging I stay in depends on who I travel with. When traveling alone, I normally couch surf, camp or stay in the cheapest hostels. When traveling with parents, I camp or stay at decent hotels (red Motel6 and super8) or airbnb. If I travel with my SO, I would probably make sure that the lodging is in a safe neighborhood. Hotelscombined.com and kayak.com are good aggregator sites for searching hotels. Hostelworld.com has a good selection of hostels. I always check their review on tripadvisor before booking.
I own a Nikon D90 and an array of lenses. However, the pictures in this blog are taken with point and shoot cameras. To see a short collection my best shots in the last one year visit http://500px.com/AngikSarkar
Resources I learn from and follow:
boardingarea.com, travelbloggerbuzz.com: latest travel news
flyertalk.com,milepoint.com: frequent flyer forums
tripadvisor.com: Destination Research
theflightdeal.com: Cheap flight deals
bestrateguarantee.blogspot.com: Cheap hotels.
Nomadicmatt.com,Globotreks.com: Long term travel experiences.
Of course various friends and my cousin Shreyas.
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