Travel inspiration and preparation – 4 essential websites and why you don’t need the rest

If you are reading this, you know that I am about to travel to Bengaluru with my husband and baby soon. I know nothing about India and even less about Bengaluru. For preparation and inspiration, the internet is at my fingertips. But the internet can also be overwhelming. So here are the four essential websites I use for travel preparation:

Roads and Kingdoms

Stories beyond the touristic tales. Stories that give you a feel of your destination. Stories that open your eyes for the daily life in the country or town you are about to visit. Their Know Before You Go Guides have great insight.

For my journey: unfortunately no guide. Instead, a story about the strongest man in India (which really is a story about Christian and Hindu faith and the values they share) and a mouthwatering description of Rava Idlis for breakfast.

Matador Network

For inspiration and anything odd and interesting from around the world.

For my journey: a story about how the nightlife changed in Bengaluru.

The collection of images from India have the common clichés like yogis, colours, temples, henna and mountains. However, the 12 signs of a first-time India traveller are funny and the 10 ways to humiliate yourself in India are helpful.

Couchsurfing

A bunch of open-minded locals and travellers who have ever been super friendly and helpful for any issue I had.

For my journey: I already got offers from potential hosts, without even having to look for one! And I might ask a couple of questions. (Where to buy diapers? Breastfeeding in public? Weather conditions?) I know I can rely on the answers and the lovely people giving them. And I might look for people to hang out with.

Journeywoman

Tells women how to dress appropriately anywhere in the world.

Websites I don’t use

Tripadvisor

I have the feeling that Tripadvisor tilts towards the touristic way of travel which I have long given up.

Lonely Planet

This page, too, lists a lot of sights. The Thorntree Forum can help mostly with visa requirements, itineraries and travel buddies, otherwise it is rather overwhelming.

What I use instead

  • I will borrow one guide book and leaf through it for a general overview.
  • I will stay with locals who can help me move around.
  • I have some contact persons already who are organising the event I’m going to whom I can always ask.

Okay, okay. Let’s be honest. I did some further research. These websites are not essential but beautiful and inspiring:

Legal Nomads

Discovering the world through food.

For my journey: a photoessay on cows and a food guide for celiacs.

Chris Guillebeau

Travelled all countries in the world.

For my journey: If I have time, I will click through the 109 search results for India. Some of them are portraits of other travel bloggers, so there might be some time consuming “getting lost” involved.

Why I try to prepare less

Preparation creates expectations. Expectations can easily be disappointed if not met. So if I avoid preparation, I will also avoid a bad mood because of disappointment. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take care of vaccinations, visa and accommodation. But I try to limit myself in “reading around” and instead look forward to experiencing the place once I’m there.

But how do you find “the good stuff”?

Maybe this may sound a bit esoteric, but I am convinced that news or information I must get will find me. That is why I can’t tell you how I stumbled upon Bengaluru By Foot. I love the idea and we may end up on a guided tour with them. And we are also considering a visit at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living ashram. I just found out that it happens to be located in Bengaluru. My husband is a great fan of him, but that is another story.

Here’s my advice: Don’t stress out too much about travel inspiration, preparation and your itinerary.

Mindful travel means to take the destination in the way it is – when you are there.

Trust that the rest will fall in place.

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