Santa’s Round-The-World Gala Dinner

Christmas is here. It’s time for toys, time for cheer and time for family fun. It’s the season to eat, drink and be merry. And what better way to celebrate, than by playing the gourmand and Masterchef rolled into one! Happy Tripping has curated this perfect seven-course meal just for you. It can be made in the normal Indian kitchen, and celebrates the Christmas spirit from around the world. Get your boarding passes (cutlery) and bags (tummies) ready!

Let’s get started with the Appetisers

A lot can be done with a few ingredients and multiple skewers—if you doubt that just check out these two recipes.

 

Vegetarian: Naan, Spinach and Halloumi Bites (Middle East) This super easy dish, which is a blend of Halloumi cheese and spinach, is the perfect start to your Christmas dinner While the recipe talks of pre-made store-bought naan, you can easily make it at home too!

Image Credit: www.wanderingspice.com

 

NonVegetarian: Sausage, Potato and Fig Skewers. (American) Meatlovers start your journey in The Promised Land by biting into this medley of flavours; it’s all in one bite! The spicy sausage is mellowed down by the sweetness of the potatoes and fruits, making it a typical, spice intolerant American starter; but delicious!

Image Credit: www.forkfullofawesome.com

 

The Soup

Works well for all: Avgolemono Soup (Aah-vo-lemeno) (Greek) Hope onto the cruise as we’re headed across the seas for the second course. This Greek egg-based soup promises to bring warmth and comfort on those cold winter nights. It’s also complements the rest of the dishes since it isn’t heavy on spices. Cook it without the chicken, for vegetarians, and with chicken, for the non-vegetarians!

Image Credit: www.girlwithspoon.com

The Salad

Works well for all: Spinach and Pomegranate Salad. If you are going to make “I’ll go the gym and eat healthy” resolutions, give yourself a head-start with this fruity preparation, it’s easy on the stomach and the chef, because this dish can be rolled out in less than 10 minutes!

Image Credit: www.eat2behealthy.com

Something Fishy

Works well for all: Zakuski (Russian) Our next stop is Russia, while caviar may not be for everyone’s taste buds and budgets, the Russians do celebrate Christmas with a dish called Zakuski. It’s got fish, and mushrooms so no one’s left hungry and is inspired by the Mediterranean Mezze. The recipe requires horseradish but ginger works as a ‘jugaad’ Indian substitute. It works well for everyone since its bits of vegetarian and non-vegetarian ingredients can be played around with, substitute or add ingredients that YOU think will complement the dish.

Image Credit: www.Oboi.ru

The Palate Cleanser

Glühwein (German Mulled Wine) After eating so much, and sampling all these intense flavours, it’s a must to ready the tongue for what is yet to come. Wash it all down with a goblet of mulled German wine. Sinterklaas (That’s Santa Claus in German) will be happy to know that you’re honouring his homeland!

Image Credit: www.comidayvinos.com

 

The Main Course

Vegetarian: Leek and Corn Stuffed Peppers Dolma (Ottoman origin/Turkish) From the Middle East, to Greece, to Russia and then Germany, we’ve travelled a lot, but you’ll now find your mouth opening to take a large bite of Turkey. No, not the meat, but Turkish cuisine! Dolma is an Ottoman recipe that roughly translates to ‘vegetables stuffed with filling’. The differently coloured peppers are a treat to the eyes. And don’t they say you eat with your eyes!

Image Credit: www.cooklikemom.net

 

Non-Vegetarian: Quebeçoise Tourtiere (Canadian) If stuffed vegetables just don’t cut it for you, head out to Canada and have a slice of Tourtiere, or minced meat pie. Canadian culture has been highly influenced by the French and the Americans, so you’ll find a delightful culinary mash of both those cuisines—and what better way to discover it than this all-out meat pie. Do not worry, it isn’t made of Reindeer meat; you’re still in Santa’s good list!

Image Credit: www.foodieonboard.com

 

The Dessert

Classic Christmas cake (Scotland) Our experimental, around-the-world food adventure should end with a classic that ushers in nostalgia; it is of course, the classic, Christmas rum cake. While you help yourself to this, make sure you appoint a designated driver; the cake is quarter parts rum!

Image Credit: www.localmorsels.co.uk

 

Once the meal is done. Just follow these steps to the tee, trust us, you’ll need to. It’s for your own safety!
• Leave the mess in the kitchen as is.
• Smile and graciously accept at all the praise the guests heap on you.
• Amble across, with your now huge belly, to that comfortable couch.
• Sink in; put your feet up on a chair.
• And stay there for the rest of the Christmas holidays!

 

 

Featured Image Credit: www.theorganicpepper.ca

Dancing on the Edge

“Sometimes it can take up to four days, including the days sitting atop a horse, to reach here,” said one of the petite girls with little creases around her eyes, dressed in a straight ankle-length skirt and a well-fitted full sleeve shirt. “But we like it here,” added another chirpily. “How about one more dance? Please?”she added and promptly pressed forward her notebook onto my lap. It was a bit tough to say yes to her, while so many other girls were vying for our attention.

 

My partner and I were inside a dance bar, in the heart of Thimphu, Bhutan. The girls were the performers. They wanted us to make a request note in their individual diaries for paid dance performances. Located inside a nondescript residential building, without any sign-boards, this local dance bar called Tashi Tagay Drayang broke away from all stereotypes thrust upon me by Bollywood movies. There was no bosom-heaving, no raunchy numbers, in fact, no sleaze at all. It was perfectly okay for me, a woman, to go in, order a beer and watch the dance performances.

 

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Before the trip to Bhutan, I found out from various local media reports that Tashi Tagay actually started off as a philanthropic  step by a local folk singer Namgay Dorji. He employed physically disabled girls and boys from remote corners of the country after giving them training in music and dance. Due to a lack of financial support and apathy from the local community, he had to relieve many of them. When I went to Tashi Tagay Drayang towards end of 2013, there  were only two visually impaired singers and 7 to 8 dancers left.

I was surprised when it took us over an hour to locate the drayang though it was supposed to be in the city centre. No one seemed to know anything about it. Those who had heard about it, didn’t know its exact location. For most locals, it was sort of an urban legend. We eventually ended up at a local grocer who told us to take the back entrance of the same building as his shop and go upstairs. Once inside the building, it was hard to imagine a dance bar in that setting. It was like any other urban housing complex. We pushed open a wooden door, passed through a small common area and led ourselves into a dimly lit hall decorated with Bhutanese artworks, paper lamps, kitschy decorations, the quintessential image of the King and the Queen and a brightly lit stage on the other end.

 

It was Friday evening and we were the first guests to arrive. After a little commotion, Bhutanese folk music played in the background while a few girls hopped onto the stage and swayed delicately. Some smiled while some gave a straight face. After about 20-25 mins,  they realised that we weren’t like regular  tourists only interested in getting a peek inside. They felt encouraged to approach us for a quick chit-chat and coax us gently into making paid requests in their diaries.

 

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One cannot help but think about probable exploitation and prostitution thriving at such a place. It’s difficult to say what’s actually happening behind the scenes. But from what I saw, I felt this place and these people were special. With some financial support, and acceptance from mainstream society, this could well be a hub for youngsters from remote corners of Bhutan to learn various artistic forms and grow independent. 

But, before I could delve further in my reverie, there was another nudge. We only thought it fair to request performances from everyone. So, without burning a hole in our pockets, we decided to make group requests and asked 2-3 performers to perform at one time, including a song performance from a visually impaired couple. Look what we got treated to in the end, a Bollywood number! So what, if it’s over a decade late.

 

 

Get Happy Tripping in Thimphu, Bhutan!

Best time: March to November

Getting there:
a) By Air: Druk Air (Bhutan’s National Carrier) is the only airline operating out of Bhutan and has flights at regular intervals from New Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Kathmandu & Bangkok.
b) By Road: Entry to Bhutan is through border towns of Jaigaon (Indian side) and Phuentsholing (Bhutanese side). Depending where you’re traveling from within India, two routes you can choose from:

i. Fly to Bagdogra, West Bengal. From airport hire a reserved taxi to Jaigaon costing approx Rs. 1900 and about 3 hours.
ii. Train to New Jalpaiguri Jn., Siliguri, West Bengal. Then a further train to Hasimara (3 hrs). Upon reaching Hasimara, one can take shared or reserved auto/ tempo to Jaigaon.

 

HT Do. Not. Miss.
Authentic Bhutanese food at Folk Heritage Museum’s Restaurant. Do book a table there in advance at +975 17600736 (10 am to 10 pm)

 


Richa Gupta

 

 

 

 

 

Richa Gupta
A former fashion business manager in New Delhi, is now a travel writer based in Mumbai. Her passion for offbeat and responsible traveling made her take the leap. On her travels, Richa likes to engage with locals, their lifestyles and tries to bring forth their issues through her blog Travel and Stories.

Style Guide & Submission Guidelines

The minute you leave your doorstep you are travelling, and will have a story to tell,tips to share, and just maybe an article to write for us! Here are the guidelines to ensure the style is in keeping with our vision for this magazine. We might add/modify as we go along.

No plagiarism. We need original, unpublished content. Google, copy and paste are three steps we do not like.

No sms lingo, etc. We want to be casual and trendy, but not sloppy. No slang unless it’s really important to the story, and if so, then please do explain the same. No smileys, emoticons in your text. Abbreviations only for obvious ones like NGO, else please give the full-form the first time and then use the abbreviation the second time it appears in the text.

Leave behind adjectives and cliches. Gorgeous food? Nah! Snow-capped mountains? Please find another way to describe it and let the reader reach his conclusion. Or else use adjectives in interesting ways. Harsha Bhogle recently called a cricketing shot ‘delicious’ during his commentary—we like that!

Keep it simple and brief. Use short paragraphs, different sentences. Keep the reader engaged—people on the web have the shortest attention spans—it has been likened to toddlers.

Use different tools to engage. Use dialogue to infuse energy into the narration. Use analogies, juxtapose two opposites, yoke them together and relive the moment on the page. You know those things called Figures of Speech, yes, what you learnt in school, they are handy too. 

Play with form. Write the piece in tight prose. Throw in a verse in the middle. Send us a piece with a link to a video. End by quoting from a song. Create a visual treat with words on the pictures. Be creative.

Bring it alive with apt visuals. Words can only take you that far. A picture or two can add a layer to the story. Use appropriate pictures.

Make the reader feel. Transport her to the place of your story… And let her linger there in that moment.

Write to one reader. Don’t confuse by trying to write for your niece and your aged neighbour. It won’t work. Find one main reader and write the piece for him/her.

Work on the title. The online world thrives on titles. It is what people react to and what draws them in.

  • Keep the title crisp
  • Try to be witty/funny if needed
  • Questions attract instead of bland statements
  • Use SEO friendly keywords

Edit furiously. And then re-edit before you press send.

Be true to yourself. Write the way you see it. Remember, we want your voice. And be positive.

Some miscellaneous points:

  • Active voice makes for a better read.
  • Spell out those numbers. Word form for numbers between zero and ten. Above ten express it as digits e.g. 11
  • Place the currency before the amount e.g. Rs. 500.
  • Don’t capitalise words because you want to draw emphasis to it. 
  • Avoid Italics. 
  • UK English please! Set that style on word and ensure the spellcheck is in place.
  • End on a high-note with a punch-line that sums up your article but also keeps the conversation on. Let the article linger on in the reader’s mind. 

 

Submission Guidelines:
If you have an idea, please do send an email to notbhavani @ gmail dot com. The email should consist of two samples of written work/photographs depending on the kind of articles you wish to submit, a short bio and a link to your work if anything is available online. Do send in an idea along with a short synopsis; we wouldn’t want to waste your time and vice versa!

 

Republishing:
Authors: You are allowed to republish the content on your website or blog 15 days after it has been published here. It should have a  line attributing first publishing credit to Happy Tripping with the url to the article on the website, for e.g. This article was first published at (url). If another website chooses to pick up your article, the same rules apply.
Other interested parties: Please get in touch with us at ashpi @ happy-tripping dot com

 

What are you waiting for? Send in your articles and let’s take everyone on a ride. Once your article is up share it on your social networks, talk about it, that’s how both you and me will get more people to read the stories we put out.

StoryScapes—A Feast of Stories!

Hello and a warm welcome to the Happy Tripping Magazine, our new offering! We thought through what we were going to offer in this travel magazine. In all those conversations and emails, I found myself revisiting my travels. What did I remember? What do you remember from a holiday?

 

That smiling waiter who rattled off all the dishes served at break-neck speed, and that little girl who played Hide-n-Seek with me but refused to speak even a word. The guide telling me about Shahjahan gazing at the reflection of the Taj Mahal when he was imprisoned at Agra Fort. Or four of us vegetarians chomping through a packet of bacon-flavoured chips and then freaking out! I kept flitting in and out of memories. It wasn’t the numerous photographs I thought about, or the places ticked off my never-ending bucket list, or that chart which says I’ve visited 150 cities in the world or any other stats for that matter. I only thought about the places, the people, the food, the culture and all those numerous experiences that were stored deep in me. Experiences that will linger in my memory always and forever. Stories that made me carry a bit of that place in my heart. We are all collectors, and isn’t travel about all that we hoard? The Happy Tripping Magazine is going to pull out all those stories, those souvenirs, and present them to you, to enjoy vicariously.

 

Happy Tripping proudly presents our inaugural magazine themed: “StoryScapes—A Feast of Stories.” This month we’ll give you front seats at a Bhutanese dance bar, search for rules in a hotel, learn a Tibetan song, meet quirky hosts of some the best homestays in India and take a stroll through Khajuraho. We will look to books and movies for some armchair travel during the holidays. And of course, will make you salivate over some food tales. It promises to be a month of memories that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your lips. 

 

We’ll have something new for you every second day. I do hope you’ll stay with us on this journey, stick around even when we stumble and help us stay afloat with your attention, comments and love. If you have any feedback or ideas write in to notbhavani @ gmail dot com… I’m waiting!

 

Before I leave, here is something you just must not miss. The Happy Tripping RARE Contest promises three winners a trip to a luxury hotel in India. Winning is really simple. Head to happy-tripping.com and log your fantabulous trip. Add those photos, all the minute details that made it happen and then sit tight. If you are one of the top entries you could win a 2 nights and 3 days all expenses paid trip. Read more about the contest here and log your entry before 15th January 2015. 

 

Welcome to the Happy Tripping Magazine. Let’s travel—one story at a time! Hope to catch you here often.

bhavani

bhavani bhutan

 

 

 

 

 


एकम्—This is the first issue of the magazine and we decided to go back in time. Ekam means ‘one’ in Sanskrit; it is very close to ‘ek’ in Hindi. Sanskrit is a classical Indic language and is believed to be the oldest languages known to man. ‘Sansrkit’ the word means refined or sanctified. It was considered to be a ‘DevBhasha’ or language of the Gods. This language is termed as an extinct language as there are no speakers. Though this article by BBC begs to differ. The Central Government is looking for ways to prevent this language from going extinct. Join the debate online. 

Welcome 2015 Without Moving an Inch (Well Almost!)

It’s that time of year when parties and travelling become the mainstay of all conversation. Many of you will have your plans set in stone. Maybe it’s a party at Ibiza, or a sparkling New Year’s Eve by a bonfire or plans to dance away the night (and all those broken resolutions) at that hip discotheque in your city. If you haven’t planned anything as yet, and feel like you’ve missed the bus. Or if you just don’t feel like stirring out this New Year’s then this article is specially written for you. We at Happy -Tripping did the ground word to give you a curated list of ways to welcome 2015, without moving out of the comfort of your home!

 

Set up a movie marathon: Grab a friend, get the beer and popcorn out, get onto your favourite couch and catch up on all those movies you didn’t during the year. If you already have an exhaustive, and exhausting list of movies to watch, go for it. If not, head to IMdb, search for the best movies. Else, we’ve made it easier for you; here is our recommended list of movies.

Leave the Earth with Interstellar; grow up with Boyhood; get back to the building blocks of fun with The Lego Movie; or see how fast love can get creepy in Gone Girl; solve a funny murder mystery at The Grand Budapest Hotel; learn about travel and healing in Wild; get inspired and get original after watching Chef; watch Wolverine go back in time to save planet earth in X-Men-Days of Future Past, get serious with racism in Dear White People and lastly, end with Kangana charming her way into your heart with Queen!

 

Gamble away the night: Not literally, card games are for Diwali. Dust off the board-games that have been locked in the closet for years, stock up on snacks, set up the bar and call your friends over. Each time you roll the dice, you get closer to the New Year. Up the ante by adding real money, or just make it a drinking game—there are tons of those online.

Here are some board games we recommend to pump up the competitive spirit. Make money while you stroll through London, or the US, in Monopoly. Or, come up with the dirtiest and funniest jokes in Cards Against Humanity. Test your body’s limits in Twister, or get back to basics and draw in Pictionary. Or, better yet, play Taboo and get totally tongue-tied!

Image: askaboutsports.com

 

Cook! (And EAT!!): Ever wanted to cook like a MasterChef? Sure you have, but either you got the wrong ingredients, or the cost of the right ones brings you back to good ol’ dal chawal? In that case, you should try iChef, this company is based in Mumbai and they offer six new recipes every two weeks. Are you saying so what? The twist is they deliver the ingredients with the recipe, and you are the chef for the night. Each order is a meal for two. You get authentic ingredients at a very reasonable price. If you have more people over, you can always order more units. So, don your chef’s hat and let’s get chopping.

Alternatively, host a RTW potluck: You’ve always wanted to go on a Round the World (RTW) trip. Do it right in your house. Host a potluck meal with a twist. Each person brings something from a different world cuisine. Voila! That’s the RTW trip on your plate! (And in your house)

Image: WallPas.comDelicious-Grill-Food-Wallpapers

 

Or if you want to be grander, create a magical experience for that special someone. Bring home the world! Is there a place someone you care about has wanted to go to but hasn’t? Recreate the magic of that place, city or country in your house. Decorate to make it look like the city—get creative! Cook up the local dishes, order the alcohol of that place and ensure the a strict dress-code. Get the ambience right by playing the music of the renowned bands from that city, country too. If you have kids, you can make it a Hogwarts New Year Party! Isn’t sharing happiness the perfect way to welcome the New Year?

 

If you don’t like any of these ideas, well, we have one more for you! Log a trip in our Happy Tripping RARE contest, and win a two nights all-expenses* paid holiday, at a luxury hotel in India. With nothing to lose, you should give it a shot!

 

It has been a great year and there is another one coming up for all of us happy trippers to explore more, travel further and come back with even more stories to share. Here’s saying goodbye to 2014, and opening our arms wide to usher in 2015.

 

 

*Conditions apply. Read offer document.

Meet the Judges of the Contest – Supriya Sehgal

We’ve introduced you to two judges of the Happy Tripping Contest Dilip D’Souza and Chhavi Sachdev. We have our third and final judge, the charming and generous Supriya Sehgal.

 
Her twitter handle @supsonthemove might have something to do with the fact that Supriya is on the road for more than 250 days in a year. Her solo wanderings for the last ten years have resulted in several Lonely Planet guidebooks, articles for leading travel publications, scripts for TV shows and coffee table books. Furiously trying to become a foodie, her latest addition to the plate was crunchy red ant chutney in Chhattisgarh!

She blogs at http://tea4travel.blogspot.in/, though infrequently updated.

 

The HT Personal Connect: 

I got to know Supriya as a friend’s friend, and then as an employer when I did a freelance project for the travel company she worked with. Supriya is someone I look up to as a traveller and writer. She has grown from strength to strength, showing a great amount of determination and perseverance. She quit her job to be a 24/7 travel junkie years ago, way before it became cool and hasn’t looked back! She has a great eye for stories; catching that unusual angle, a perspective that some of us might just walk by… and you’ll see it in all her stories. I think that is one of the differentiating factors from a good travel writer and a great one!

So, to all you storytellers, observe everything around you with an unquenchable thirst, soak in the experience, and you’ll come back with richer stories.

 

Photos supplied by Supriya Sehgal.

 

Meet the Judges of the Contest – Chhavi Sachdev

Today we are introducing our second judge for the Happy Tripping Contest. Like you know, all it takes is for you to log a trip at Happy Tripping and you could stand a chance to be one of the three winners of an all-expense* paid trip to a luxury hotel in India. Yesterday we introduced Dilip D’Souza. And today we have the inimitable Chhavi Sachdev, a displanted desi (as she calls herself)!

 

She is a traveler, reporter, producer, and editor who finds herself drawn always to regions unexplored, stories with quirks, and chocolate. She last worked at a travel startup, melding her love for nonfiction and audio, for three years and has since branched out into textual consulting. When she’s not working (and, sometimes, even when she is) you can find her plotting her next journey (25 countries and counting), baking, or making mix tapes for friends. She’s a science nerd, animal slave, wine snob, and action flick junkie.

You can find her at www.chhavisachdev.com or on twitter @chhavi.

 

The HT Personal Connect: 

Chhavi is the first editor I worked with. Here are a few of her tips I still carry with me. She demanded simple sentence structures that are easy to read and smooth on the ear. Snip, snip, snip to all those long clauses, complicated sentences that go on for an entire paragraph. She loves to prune down the extras, like all editors you might say, but she manages to let your spirit remain. I’ve never finished a piece feeling that my voice was lost somewhere between the multiple versions. And her best tipread your writing aloud! She does specialise in writing for audio, which it can be argued is different from writing to be read, but I  think reading your piece aloud helps always. I, for one, get so caught up in the dance of black & white letters arranging themselves on my screen, I find myself unable to step back unless the article is read aloud.

So, to each of you writing in for the Happy Tripping Contest, read your piece aloud. Multiple times. And then read it once more time. Edit, re-edit and then edit it again.

 

Photos supplied by Chhavi Sachdev.

Meet the Judges of the Contest – Dilip D’Souza

The Happy Tripping Contest is open and it is very simple for each of you to win. All you need to do is write about your trip and you could be off on another luxury holiday—all expenses paid*.  The idea of this contest was to help each of you find the storytellers hidden within. The top three winners go away on a luxury holiday for 2 nights & 3 days, with return airfare*.

As writers and travellers, we’ve been at the receiving end of shoddily organised contests. We wanted this Happy Tripping Contest to be fair and transparent. With that in mind, we have three external judges, each of them a writer, traveller and storyteller. And each brings in a great body of work and experience to be able to judge your entries and ensure that only the best storytellers win.

 

Introducing Dilip D’Souza – journalist, activist and author.

 

Dilip D'Souza

 

Trained in computer science (BITS Pilani, Brown University), Dilip spent years in software. Then he tried writing. He has won several awards (Outlook/Picador prize, Newsweek/Daily Beast prize, Wolfson College Press Fellowship, etc) and has written for Caravan, Hindustan Times, NYT, Newsweek, etc. He writes on mathematics for Mint. “Final Test: Exit Sachin Tendulkar” is his fifth book. Home is Bombay, with wife Vibha, children Sahir and Surabhi. Cats Aziz and Cleo rule.

He blogs at Death Ends Fun, but has been rather irregular, sadly. Catch his tweets at @DeathEndsFun.

 

The HT Personal Connect: 

I attended a travel writing workshop run by Dilip D’Souza at the Lit Festival in Mumbai more than 2 years ago. In those short two hours, I learnt a very important lesson from him and let me share that with you today. Every place, city, monument or experience has been written about a million times, and in a way, there is nothing new that you can say about it, except, bring in your perspective, colour it with your bias, well almost! And that is what makes each travel piece unique. This lesson came to me at a time when I was stumbling and wondering how to find my voice. This small piece of wisdom is something I will carry with me always.

As each of you set out to write your pieces, I have just one suggestion. Let your personality flow over the story, embrace your perspectives and see how the story changes and takes on your flavour. That is what will make your post stand out, get noticed and even win. Find yourself and then show us! All the best.

 

*Conditions Apply. Read contest article for Terms and Conditions.

Photos supplied by Dilip D’Souza.

Must-Have Travel Apps for the Indian Traveler

In a world addicted to smart phones, our lives are governed by those thin devices. And apps on smartphones help us navigate the world around us, and find our comfort zone. In a strange city, the lack of control over the course of things can be frustrating at times. Simple issue grow to gigantic proportions… where do you catch a quick meal, is the flight on time and if you’ve switched off roaming, how do you reach your destination! But the solution is surprisingly simple. Happy Tripping has curated a list of the most convenient, easy to use apps that’ll simplify your travel experience, even if it is within your own city!

Featured Image from Webitmag.it

 

Food Apps

Don’t bother to carry those theplas in your bags because these apps will change your dining experience. You can choose to try something exotic, search for comfort food or go completely local. These three apps will ensure you don’t go hungry!

 

Zomato: This is literally the go-to app for everyone who likes eating out. It has a huge list of restaurants, sufficient information and photographs to give you a good idea. And Zomato allows you to rate and review places, make wish-lists and even interact with the restaurant management through the comments tab. This app works within India as well as a growing number of countries such as the UK, Canada, Slovakia and Turkey.

Available Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry. Download Here.

TravelingSpoon: If you love interacting with people and sampling local dishes, you will love this one. TravelingSpoon is about traveling off the ‘eaten’ path, and the concept is really simple. You set up a meeting with a local host at their house or a mutually convenient location, and they cook you a meal! You could choose to go desi and find that Indian abroad, or go really local. And what better way to experience a city than to eat at local’s home! What’s more? You can book not only a meal, but also a cooking class and a market tour. This app is going to redefine travel for foodies.

Currently available as a Web App; with reservation options across many countries in Asia and even India.

 

HappyCow: Vegetarians rejoice! This app finds you vegetarian and vegan options around the world. No more fruits for breakfast, lunch and dinner when you travel abroad. HappyCow has a huge database—35000 listings to be precise—and users can add to it too. Be rest assured that you won’t eat anything you’d rather not!

It is available for iOS, Android, Win7, Symbian and even as a WebApp. Download Here.

travel apps


Navigation Apps

MAPS.ME Pro: So you’re super excited to go on your next international adventure, your bags are packed but there’s one problem, you don’t know how to read a conventional map, and you didn’t get an international mobile data pack. Do not worry, throw Google Maps out of the window, and download MAPS.ME Pro. This app has offline maps of over 100 countries. With their offline navigation feature, you’ll never be lost again, even if you’re on airplane mode. Just ensure you download the offline map before leaving India.

The only catch, it isn’t for free. You have to spend just US $ 5 to avail all these features. Trust me, these 5 Dollars will save you way more than activating international roaming.

Available on iOS, Android, and Blackberry. Download Here.


City Guides

The TripAdvisor City Guides: Sometimes, an all-in-one app doesn’t make the cut; you want more details focusing only on one destination. That is why you should give the TA City Guides Apps a shot. These apps are available as offline guides, what makes them special is that unlike the stock TripAdvisor app, these are crafted for a single city and as a consequence, are more detailed. You can even drop pins and navigate to them in the offline mode! From Mumbai to Miami and everything in between, there’s a TA City Guide made to make your life full of local experiences from sightseeing, nightlife, food and drink, and the best accommodation. Added to that this app is easy to access, and sheds information on the transportation systems and unsafe neighbourhoods too.

Available on iOS and Android. Get it Here.

AudioCompass:

AudioCompass is the app that’ll save you the pain of haggling with a tour guide. The App boasts of audio-guides filled with dialog and effects for over one thousand places in India. It aims to add to the sightseeing experience, and we vouch for it too. Plug in your earphones, forget about the rush around you, and take a stroll. You’ll find yourself experiencing the place in a whole new way.

Available on Android and iOS. Download Here.


Trip Planning

WorldMate: WorldMate is your best friend when it comes to managing your tickets, bookings and reservations. It works on a simple system. You forward them an email with your travel details, which is automatically used to update your trip in the app. It shows a detailed flight itinerary, offers hotel booking and car rental options too!

All your car rental receipts, hotel booking and flight emails are displayed in an organized fashion, it shows you the weather from your origin to destination, your flight details, PNR, layover time, seat number and everything else that is relevant as you shuttle between destinations. The level of detailing is brilliant. And for the social media buff, they even let you link your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.

Available for Android, Windows and iOS. Get it Here.


Utilities

World Lens: Should you ever need a translator, World Lens should be the first place you look. It is an augmented reality translator—whatever text your phone camera sees, this app will translate. It currently works for English, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Simply point your camera at the text, and watch it get converted into your preferred language. The app doesn’t give 100% accurate results, but it’s still worth a shot. It’s easier to use on the move than Google Translate and there is no need to spend on data.

This one works offline, and is available for the Google Glass, Android and iOS. Get it Here.


Camera Apps

Sphere: For all those who don’t carry DSLRs, here is a camera app with a twist. Forget Instagram, and whatever else you’ve been using. Sphere is a Point of View camera app, which takes photos and creates a spherical photograph out of them. Basically, the photograph is a 360 degree image of what is around you, with you as the centre point. Leave Panorama, wide angles and all that jazz behind, and give Sphere a shot!

Available on iOS and Android.

 

 


 

We’ve gone on and on, and on about apps but we aren’t advocating traveling with your eyes glued to your phone. Even though these apps will help you on the road, traveling is about learning on the fly, and you can’t do that if you leave nothing to chance. Traveling it about stumbling through experiences and trying to uncover yours. Ditch that parasitic mobile, engage with the sights, sounds and smells and try to travel phone-less. If travel could be done via screens, we’d pay our airfares to YouTube!

Unleash the Storyteller in You & Be a Happy Tripper!

CONTEST ALERT

Three entries stand chance for a free trip to Kerala, Rajasthan or Himachal Pradesh

We are excited and thrilled to introduce Happy-Tripping.com to all of you. Happy-Tripping is a custom-built, passionately crafted platform for those who love live to travel. It aims to be a collection of journeys written by you and for you. And we hope, it can also inspire many more such happy trips!

 

To launch this portal we have an exciting contest tailored for you! All you need to do is put on your thinking hat, log in your trip with photographs taken by you. It can be that two day trip to a city next to your hometown, or that week long escape into the hills. Or even an annual vacation across multiple continents that left you bankrupt, well almost, didn’t it? There will be three winning entries chosen by our external and independent panel of writers and travelers. If you thought the joy ends at being declared winner, well you’re sadly mistaken. That is just the beginning!

 

RARE Hotels and Lodges (Rare) have handpicked properties, each of which supports conservation of nature and heritage. Each hotel provides an experience that is unique, luxurious, and helps the guest connect with the culture and community of that region. We just couldn’t stop drooling over their marvellous collection of 37 properties across India!

If your story is one of the three top entries, you get 2 nights & 3 days with airfare to the nearest airport at one of these luxury hotels:

You are just three steps away from another holiday:

  • Log a trip, make it look good and publish it by 15th January 2015.
  • Like the Rare and Happy Tripping Facebook page.
  • Share it on twitter or facebook with #Rare #happytripping. Get your friends to like it!

Stop dreaming, sign up now and log your trip.  


Hints to Win

  • The entries would be judged on:

– Popularity of the post—measured by views, likes, comments and dunks

– Write-up & Photographs—depending on the format chosen

– Detailing & research—is it actionable?

– WOW factor—does it inspire people to travel?

  • The trip can be to any place and for any duration.
  • Each trip needs to have the associated route map, photos and other details, if any.
  • Choose any one of our template—blog or a photo-essay
  • Check out the following examples

– Blog post: Gangs of Velavadar

– Photo-essay: Colours of Rajasthan


Contest Terms and Conditions:

  • Hotel vouchers will extend 2 night/3 day complimentary stay for a couple. Accommodations, taxes and breakfast will be included.
  • Return Airfare for only one person is included, subject to cap of INR 20,000
  • The voucher will not be valid for Christmas, New Years and long weekends. The voucher will be valid till 30th Sept ’15
  • Anyone can send an entry. More than one entry is welcome.
  • Judges’ decision is final. We will release a separate post on the external panel of judges.
  • Each luxury stay can be chosen only once so the top entry will choose first and so on.
  • For any contest related query, contact us at ashpi@happy-tripping.com

Timelines (Subject to change depending on circumstances) :

  • 11th December 2014: Contest opens
  • 15th January 2015: Entries close
  • Till 15th January 2015: Popularity Voting!  Get likes on your trip on Happy-Tripping.
  • 15th – 20th January 2015: Judging begins!
  • 21st January 2015: Winners to be announced.

 General Terms And Conditions For Participation in Contest :

  1. This contest is being conducted by Happy Tripping Network Pvt. Ltd.(“ HT”). terms of Usage will apply.
  2. By registering for the said Contest and/or sharing the posts/tweets, the Participant(s) is deemed to have accepted the terms hereof and agrees that the same shall be binding upon him unconditionally. The winner is deemed to have read these terms and conditions and is deemed to have understood the same.
  3. The prizes may not be redeemed for cash, in whole or part, exchanged for any other item or transferred to any other person.   Each winner is responsible for possessing all necessary ID, visa and other documents required for travel.
  4. Each winner’s use of the Rare coupon is subject to the Terms of Service applicable to the Rare conditions
  5. If a winner cancels or shortens his/her stay at the Rare property, he/she will not be entitled to any refund on the whole or any part of the cost of the stay.
  6. Any other costs incurred by the winners aside from the prize shall be borne solely by the winners and HT shall not be liable.
  7. HT does not take responsibility for failure to avail the prize due to inaccurate information provided by the participant.
  8. All the taxes on the prize shall be borne by the winner/s alone and HT shall not be liable to pay the same.
  9. HT reserves the right to replace any winner/s if he/she is disqualified by HT and/or does not acknowledge its prize within one week of declaration thereof by HT.
  10. The Prize/s are Non-refundable, Non-Transferable and not exchangeable for cash, credit and/or kind either in part or in full except at the sole and absolute discretion of HT and no alternate Prize shall be available. The Prize/s cannot be sold or bartered in any manner whatsoever.
  11. HT may amend, suspend, withdraw, cancel or re-set the Contest for any reason whatsoever at its sole discretion and at any time.
  12. HT’s decision in relation to all matters affecting the said Contest is final, conclusive and binding on all participants and no correspondence whatsoever in that regards shall be entertained and HT’s decision in relation to all matters affecting the Contest cannot be contested and/or challenged in any forum or before any authority whatsoever.
  13. HT reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual found to be tampering with the participation process or the operation of the said Contest or the said website / weblink, to be in violation of the Conditions of Access of the said website / Weblink, or to be acting in violation of the Information Technology Act or any other law or regulation.
  14. HT reserves its right to pursue legal action against any individual believed to have undertaken fraudulent activities or other activities harmful to this Contest or the said website / weblink.
  15. HT shall not be liable if any participants or contestants are not able to access the said websites or weblink for any reasons whatsoever.
  16. The Participant(s) agrees to provide complete and correct information in respect of his/her identity, contact details etc. The information so provided is deemed to be voluntarily supplied during the course of your participation in the above Contest and /or personal information provided by the winner/s as non-confidential, which hereby discharges all obligations of confidentiality. HT shall be free to reproduce, use, disclose and distribute the information to third parties without limitation.
  17. The Participant(s) must ensure that the information provided is authentic and accurate, and shall not contain any unauthorized third-party information. The Participant(s) who provide inaccurate and incorrect information shall be solely responsible for any losses and damages suffered by HT and/or its representatives and/or any third party. The Participant(s) shall be disqualified if the information provided is false, inaccurate and incorrect. HT is not liable in any manner whatsoever for the failure of prize notification to winners due to inaccurate and incorrect information.
  18. The Participant(s) hereby indemnify and keep indemnified HT and Rare saved and harmless against all claims made by any parties whomsoever and demands made by any authorities whomsoever for any submissions made on Facebook/Twitter which are derogatory/ defamatory/ obscene in nature.
  19. HT accepts no liability for any errors or omissions, whether on behalf of itself, its representatives or any third parties.
  20. Each individual can be granted only one contest prize each.
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