This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Devyani Singh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

5 Tips My First Trip Taught Me About Travel

More from Devyani Singh

On 19th February 2021, I took to escape the ongoing pandemic and online classes with my gang of 4 girls. As Covid cases were low and the lockdown was lifted, my first trip with friends to Jaipur took place. It was a pretty mixed experience. As much as my excitement multiplied and enjoyment grew, I realized that planning the trip was exhausting and empowering at the same time. But as a law student and a girl, I could witness inherent issues in our surroundings. We were not only tourists but also young women. First, we had to fight with our parents to travel independently with friends, then take care of our safety as well. So here are my tips for the like first-timers:

1. When In Rome, Act Like Romans!

While visiting a place, rather than displaying or making it obvious that we are tourists, we must act like the locals, especially in terms of how we carry ourselves to get the real sense of traveling. This helps us to mingle with the crowd, understand the people and their culture, and most importantly to not be tricked by shopkeepers or auto wallas, in our case, it’s both.

At a fort in Jaipur

2. Research, Pre-Planning, And Local contacts Help!

For a fulfilling experience, preparation can give you an edge! We talked to our relatives, friends,  anyone, and everyone around us who had visited there before. Whether shopping in the itinerary should be on the first day or the last? Visit forts in the early morning or evening? Shoes or sandals? Electric Rickshaw or Local Bus? It gives you an idea to prioritize the places you wanna explore in a limited period and ensure maximum satisfaction from the same.

A pertinent point to mention here is, as kids, we are often taught not to engage with strangers but when you are an adult, rely on your gut feelings! Interacting with people can be a refreshing experience, it always gives you an idea about your surroundings and life lessons to deal with strangers.

When we were struggling with our commuting costs, a trans woman saved us from drivers crowding in front of us. She very empathetically guided us and gave us ideas to travel cheaply in the locality. I learned how being open could pay you back and a bonus learning – with a restricted budget, it is always wise to go with local buses at affordable prices.

3. Water Is Your Bestie, Keep It Close!

I cannot stress more on this. With water and some packed food, you are sorted! You won’t be dependent on searching for any food stall. Yes, local food is always a must to try but while exploring places such as forts or temples, one has to walk a lot, and having packed food and water handy can save you! Consuming fast food for every meal is not a healthy option to sustain your days, it’s better to have extra space for fruits and other healthy snacks in your bag.

4. Bargain, Bargain, And Bargain!

Bargaining is the art of negotiation! It is to recognize when we are being charged exorbitant prices. I do not mean bargaining with every other seller but one must be able to discern when and where we think the cost is unfair. Paying a higher price to street vendors, which is their only source of income, is different from getting exploited by wealthy shopkeepers.

A major chunk of money is spent on moving from one place to another. It can include buses and autos. As a first-timer, I could observe that oftentimes as a group of young women, there could be a case of harassment by auto drivers. Firstly, they think that as we are alone, innocent, and lack practical knowledge (which we don’t), we would get ready at any price they ask for. Secondly, if we bargain and try to ask other auto drivers, there would be a commotion to discourage us. It gets tiresome and scary.

Be it early morning or when the sun sets, these things are to be kept in mind. Often than not, the thought of women or the so-called image of ‘weaker sex’, being away from home encourages them to put across slurry remarks, smirks, and glances. That is the point where being confident and assertive can get you through your way.

But this made me realize that wherever we go, the hidden fear surfaces. Safety is a question mark on the part of the authorities in India. As tourism is a potential sector in the post-covid times, the governments are looking to ease travel restrictions. To encourage youth to travel, ensuring safety is crucial so that parents and guardians do not discourage young people, especially girls from exploring places in the name of safety.

Inside Amer Fort, Jaipur.

5. Walk, Walk, And Walk!

Walking makes you see things from a different perspective. You cannot admire, or even notice, the minute details of a place if you don’t just walk around. Manage your time in a way that you’re able to hop off the transport 500-1000 meters before the destination to have a better experience.

For us, travel was a way to escape the everyday humdrum of life and take a break for ourselves. And it was also our chance to prove to our parents that we could manage things independently. The journey itself became a teacher, it taught us to manage our expenses, book our stay and plan the outing. More than that, it gave us a taste of how being on our own could be reassuring, empowering, and free.

For women, from planning the trip to boarding the train takes extra effort as the burden of convincing parents, worrying for personal safety, and proving that we are capable comes into play. When travel restrictions will be removed and we move back to our normal spaces, I hope to see more women on the roads with a backpack, ready to break free from the intangible notions of protection and dependence. Traveling is a therapy that everyone should have an equal opportunity to experience.

Gratitude Corner: I thank Bhoomika Sharma for her valuable inputs.

Feature image is for representational purposes only.

You must be to comment.

More from Devyani Singh

Similar Posts

By kanika sukhani

By Deepika Bora

By Sushant Anand

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below