TOP 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE TAKING A FLIGHT

Hey everyone, how is the heat treating you? Yaas summer it is, but honestly who cares about heat when you get time to travel to beautiful destinations and with sun everything is a just a notch brighter and prettier.  Today’s blog is just a guideline for you if you are a frequent traveler, a newbie to travel or a traveler on and off when you got time. This post is gonna help you not miss, get all your desirable perks and be a pro in a flight travel. Not to boast but giving you the background, I have traveled almost 5 to 6 international airlines and more 10 domestic airline carriers across the globe. Yes, I have made so many blenders which I don’t want you to commit. So here you go.

To accomplish all this, all you need to do – is to just follow the 10 steps below 🙂

I am letting you guys know what I learned the harder way, do follow this and I am pretty sure 99% you would not have any hiccups in your flight journey or maybe with respect to any sort of transportation.

1. Checking your Name, Date of Travel and Place of travel:

The most important and the first step you need to do is make sure all your details that you input for the flight are in accordance with your actual schedule (Dates and months to be verified) and as per your government documents(Name and Date of birth). Most flights have the option for the travelers to change it within 4 hours to 24 hours from the time of booking. So, make sure you guys have a check once you book your tickets, usually, we conceive in our mind what we had given is right but double checking is always better.

Courtesy: ndtv.com and travelvisapro.com

My experience: Did this mistake N number of times, I went to meet my friend in Seattle and I was supposed to fly to Los Angeles on 31st of December to have my new year gala at Los Angeles. I was about to check in on the 30th of December and my ticket was booked for 30th of January. Well, pay another $160 for a silly mistake. This list doesn’t stop from name changes to schedule changes. Well, I was fortunate enough to escape because of the 24-hour flight change policy quite a few times- but honestly why to risk it instead of verifying a couple of seconds.

2.  Checking-In in Advance:

Hey, is it a big deal to check in within 24 hours of the flight? Well, the answer is yes, it is. It’s not that it reduces the time drastically but also makes sure you have a seat. There are chances if you don’t check in earlier you end up waiting in the general line where people wait to check in the luggage (This reduces your time for security check, time to sip a cocktail at the lounge or even have some delicious food from your favorite restaurant). The list doesn’t stop right there, It can make you wait for a seat even till the last moment till everyone board (Your mind voice: Is this guy serious? I am not kidding, It has happened to one of my very own friends). One more additional advantage, I am not sure of domestic airlines of different countries but the domestic airlines in the USA charge less if we check in our bag when we check in.

Courtesy: Iberia.com and American.com

3.  Dress as per Destination:

The common mistake we do as a traveler or even just as a passenger is we get to pack dresses as per the source place instead of the destination. If you are traveling for whatever span, you always have the option of finding on the internet, how is the weather going to behave for the days that we are gonna stay at that place. Just a fun fact mostly in the world we assume June, July and August are summers but those are winters for people who live in Australia. So always make sure pack your pieces of luggage with the right combination of dresses in terms of climate as well as culture (If you wanna blend in a little bit 😛 )

Courtesy: thefashiontag.com and basecampadventure.com

4.  Gate Change Update:

Well, one more Concerning thing that you as a passenger must know. Is it fine if I am done with security check and get to the gate? Can I relax and don’t care about anything until they call me to get on the flight?

Hell No, that’s when you gotta pay attention to every announcement that hears by your ear. Gates that the boarding pass say is not always going to be final, it can change due to technical reasons. It is even more catastrophic if there is a terminal change (Which usually doesn’t happen that often). So, the only thing we need to do is pay attention to the announcements and try to sit in the gate where our flight was intended to fly from.

Schiphol Gate D, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Courtesy: familytravelck.com

5.  Do’s and Don’ts for a Carry-On bag:

There are always restrictions in Carry-On baggage in terms of size, weight as well as things. One of the blog posts which gave a complete description of the restrictions has been added please go through it if in case you have any doubts about whether you need to carry them or Nah. (Carry on restrictions).

Few things I always have doubts about personally are Will I be allowed to carry food? Since they have restrictions on liquid, Can the food be semi-solid? As I guy Can I carry a razor? Few questions which knocked my mind when I was penning down my thoughts.

Answers are yes we will be allowed to carry food as long as it’s not semisolid or liquid. For example, I am a south Indian who loves parota with salna – which I usually don’t get in most of the Indian restaurants (For those who don’t know what it does mean just google it or I am putting up the link where I purchased in the USA – Restaurant) Well no shamming I am proud foodie 🙂  The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) didn’t allow me the salna or gravy whatever you wanna call since it was semi-solid. Razors, as well as a solid food substance, are fine to carry in a Carry-On baggage.

Any liquid item has a restriction and TSA’s official page has its description on what the weight we need to carry and exceptions on stuff like medication and infant items – Have a look a the link. (Liquid Restriction)

travel.gc.ca 5cil.com 5

Courtesy: Cil.com and travel.gc.ca

6.  Size and Weight restriction:

As a traveler, the thing you would hate the most is to pack and unpack within the flights constrained weight allowances. Every carrier has their own restrictions and allowable criteria make sure to check the respective weight criterion of the airline you are gonna travel. Usually when its international you would be given with two check-in baggage (23 Kgs each), a carry-on baggage and a personal item. In a domestic flight, it completely depends on the country and the carrier varies from just a personal item, or just a carry on with it or even free of cost check-in baggage. This completely depends on the carrier. This is more important when you need to choose what the purpose of the visit, if you are shifting from one location to another (It is better to prefer the airline which gives free checked in Baggage) or If you are going on a short trip for three days you wouldn’t even require a carry on Baggage so prefer to choose a cheap and non-baggage friendly airline. Blog post for size restrictions( Size restrictions ) Always double check with the airline for the latest update. 

Courtesy: Target.com and Vincentloy.wordpress.com

7. Parking / Uber Choice:

The Choice of transport to/from airport depends on three factors,

1. Traffic 2. Distance and 3. Economy

Traffic: So basically, in a city like Los Angeles or Bengaluru traffic gets in the way so badly that it can take several hours for us to reach the airport. God bless Google map, keep checking the estimated time of arrival when you are planning on driving or even using the public transport such as a bus or a metro.

Distance: If you live far away from the airport and your trip is as short as 2 to 3 days. Most of the Cities have parking next to the airports and those parking centers provide shuttles to the airport. So, it’s a win, you arrive on time, don’t have to wait for a public transport and obviously more comfortable.

Economy: Three options, Either we just use Uber (Something similar to the App like Lyft or Ola), Or have our own car parked in any of the airport parking centers or use a public transport. As a traveler work out the math which comes out to be cheaper and ofcourse use the effective one.

medium.com 7

Courtesy: Medium.com

8. Netflix/Song Download:

Flight experiences are amazing but at the same time if you fly in the nights or its really sunny outside and you don’t open the shades on the window. you are going to be completely bored especially if you travel alone. Adding to it, if you completely have a boring or a silent person next to you. you are done. That’s why always when you know you are gonna fly, download songs and shows of your Interest so that you never get bored. Few flights provide WIFI service in the air but it’s too pricey.

        Courtesy: makeuseof.com and wikipedia.com

9. Free Upgrades to Business Class:

Have you ever heard of this concept? you pay for an economy ticket and just because there is an availability on the business class the airline company upgrades your ticket to a business class one. Well, I am not kidding I have known friends who have had this amazing opportunity. I wish I can get one day but it has never happened as of now. It’s always better to go and ask when you are check-in in your baggage or even at the gate when you are about to enter your flight. If there is an availability for a business class and if their answer is yes we do have but you gotta pay for it. All that you can answer as well I am good for now, I was just looking for a free upgrade if in case you guys have it. It’s okay to not get but it’s not okay to ask lol. You never know whether that’s gonna be your lucky day.

Emirates 777 New Business Class

Courtesy: pointsguy.com

10. Baggage Loss:

The 10th and the most important section is baggage loss. What should I do if my baggage is lost? The answer is to keep calm and you are definitely not responsible for it. Make sure to complain to the respective airline companies baggage claim team and fill out the required forms.  The airline company or the insurance company take up the complete responsibility to bring the luggage to your own home address. Apart from that as a customer we also can purchase things for the amount sanctioned by the airline company during the phase of getting our luggage to our phase. Every airline has its own limit if you are not sure of the amount then check their website or call customer service which is always a better option. Just not waiting for your baggage delays might as well use your flying perks.

Any doubts you guys have feel free to reach out to me. I’ll try my best answering them or at least try to guide on where could you find the answers for.

Feel free to share with your friends who would need these tips 🙂

Have an amazing weekend you all <3

Love,

Praveen

 

Advertisements

FIRST DOMESTIC FLIGHT IN THE USA Miami – San Francisco

Hey Fellas, Hope everyone had an amazing couple of weeks. I guess you all would have guessed this week’s blog about. Flying – isn’t always fascinating? Be it we see a flight during our school time and counting them during our physical training periods or even today when it passes through the sunsets with a beautiful sight. The love for flying never settles be it five or fifty (Well except for the ones who have flight sickness). Getting to the point, did you guys have a chance to find what’s going on with Gatlinburg, Tennessee in my last blog post. Yes, it has been a couple of weeks, been extensively traveling for the past three weeks.

Capture

                                                ENROUTE (Courtesy: Google Maps)

This blog is just about my first flight travel and the issues I faced as an amateur traveler. well, I was back home from the Alternative Break trip (Smokey Mountains trip)with my friends at Florida International University. It was just a day, did all my laundry, took rest to an extent and packed for the next 20 days to the west coast of the country. I guess, you guys would have guessed the place by now. If not give it some brain work to see what would be on the beautiful place on the west coast. Just before I reveal the place, I’ll let you know this is one of the places everyone would have dreamt at least once in your life to visit.

Yes, that’s right for those who have guessed it right – CALIFORNIA woohooooooo 🙂 I was flying to San Francisco but I had a layover at Denver.  I was flying with United Airlines. The best thing about flying to the west coast is you get to save 3 hours. For example, you take off from your flight at 9 am from east coast even after 6 hours of flight you would land at 12 pm PST. This flight especially made me learn a lot of stuff that I didn’t know that existed.

IMG_2224

 DREAM STATE (Courtesy: Google Images)

Learning A.K.A Bad experience:

  1. Not Checking in advance
  2. Change of flight due to air traffic at the end destination
  3. Loss of baggage.

The worst part was I didn’t know this would happen nor I was prepared for it.

I had my flight at Miami International airport. Being my first domestic flight assuming that I am arriving on time at least couple of hours early, I didn’t take the pain of spending 30 seconds to a minute to check in which cost me literally an hour of wait, as the kiosks for the automatic check-in wasn’t working. The lines were up and every minute passed my pulse was adding up as I am relatively new to this process and finally when It was 30 minutes to departure I got to the security check. Long lines moved fast and with my heart-pounding, I boarded straight into the flight running to the gate.

  MIAMI AND IT’S ELEVATED BEAUTY 

A peaceful flight to Denver. It was a beautiful sight to see mountains filled with snow and feel the cold when I exited the aircraft to the terminal. And once I came to the gate of the San Francisco (SF) flight all the chaos started happening from the flight delay, to change of flight. I was told there was air traffic in SF, which delayed my flight by 3 hours. So, I was just roaming around the alley, a completely new experience as I have started liking and feeling lively traveling alone myself. In an hour and a half the flight crew was asking as in any passenger wants to go in the previous flight and I was the first one to say YEEESSSSSS in the excitement of reaching San Francisco. I just made sure my baggage will be shifted to the right flight and they did confirm it.

DENVER  INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

All the eagerness packed in the bundle when I buckled up for the flight to SF from Denver. And you guys got to know I was the one to run first to the flight and I was last one from the flight to get out of the airport. Yes, my baggage was missing and all my belongings were in there. I didn’t even have any change of dress or even a towel. At least I wouldn’t have minded it if I was staying in SF. I was leaving as early as 5 am to Lake Tahoe (Lake Tahoe location) So nobody would be there to even collect my belongings for the next three days.

IMG_2250

   NIGHT VISUALS OF SAN FRANCISCO

Then the procedure of claim, refund, the purchase was all confusing and new. After a continuous hustle with the airline company, the airline company gave me a credit of $150 and asked me to purchase what I want for the time being. It was already 11 pm and I was pretty sure, it’s gonna go waste and I have also instructed them to send it over to the amazing location that I was going (Will reveal the Place next blog). It was One amazing and a learning experience.

IMG_2255

                                                           BAGGAGE DELAY FORM 

In my next blog post, I am gonna share few tips as a traveler of any magnitude we need to know to avoid problems related to flight travels, baggage claim, checking in and long ques in the security.

All said and done. Stay tuned next weeks blog post.

Have an amazing weekend folks.

Love,

Praveen

GATLINBURG – LOST SEA ADVENTURE- A DAY OUT- ICE SKATING- TUBING

Still with those beautiful views from smoky mountains last week. Yay welcome back guys. what’s up?

IMG_1986

Heading over to THE LOST SEA ADVENTURE

During my whole week of stay in Smoky mountains, one day was off, so we were kinda let free from the camp. There are so many beautiful destinations across Smokey mountains. One most important and beautiful destination is Gatlinburg. Since we were there during the month of December, it was misty, cold and yet so beautiful.

Before we hit the spot we were planning on going to THE LOST SEA ADVENTURE – yes the name was kinda intriguing for me as well, as you all are thinking right now. It was a privately owned Cavern ( What is it Private? Yes it was fascinating to me too that an Individual can own a cave in the USA ). The entry to the place is $20.95. It is a cave, completely dark and a constant temperature of 65º F ( 18º C). It was one such experience guided by individuals who take us on a tour around explaining its reasons for the erosion and all the minerals present and suddenly we see a pool of water with fishes swimming around. We were also taken a ride around- Such a beautiful start to the day. Then we were heading over to Gatlinburg.

IMG_1994IMG_1997IMG_1981

Gatlinburg is a small town in Tennessee and has the best views, best wine tasting and alcohol(Moonshine) tasting in the country. The thing about that day was everybody was on time so we could leave as early as possible out of the camp and come back late. we did make it as per plan. It was like a couple of hours drive from our place and reached for lunch and to my surprise, everything I did on the day was just my first time ever.

We went to dine in a restaurant, and I could eat something simple like a chicken burger. There was a log of meat got served by the waiter to one my friends and I was like what is this? and he replies “what the heck haven’t you tried ribs?  Don’t you know what ribs are, expect the human rib cage lol ?”. Well, the honest answer is a NO and I did say it. He cuts a part of it and insists me as in I need to complete it. It was so nicely done that I started loving Ribs the very first time I tasted it.

Then we had a plan of events lined up for the entire day starting off with going to an Ice skating arena. And kid you not, the shoes felt weird when I actually saw them as they were a single piece of metal welded to the shoe and again the question arose was “Haven’t you done Ice skating?”. What will I say them, I am from a tropical country where the temperature is around 30 – 35 degrees Celsius approximately literally throughout the year. Being my first time, I fell on my ass every single time I tried to skate. Then everyone came to my rescue and taught me how to do? Held on to my hand and took care of me like a baby bro haha.

IMG_20341934202_10208075373139251_5521298152033966373_n

 

Strictly NO JUDGING on my Ice Skating skills 😛 

The most enjoyable experience was the snow tubing, its fun guys.  If you guys would have done it, you would probably accept the fact. It was open and freezing in spite of my leather jacket. It wasn’t a lot of people which means we get more turns to do it. Let the pictures explain you better.

IMG_2058

IMG_2062

Gatlinburg is a small beautiful town famous for its architectural experience, Moonshine, breweries, and their amazing wineries as well as their outlets (More important free tasting – SAY NO TO FREEEEEEE right 😛 ). We went on the Gatlinburg sky lift- like it was one of a kind views from the top of the mountain. The ride was amazing and thrilling as we went higher it was steep and scary. Overall worth the cost.

IMG_2094IMG_2081

 

Then after a tired day. We went on a walk to purchase some souvenirs, but the walk was so beautiful following us with the creek next to us. the sound of the water over the rocks, lights of the city, and the amazing architecture of the city was all worth the while. When we were on the lookout for restaurants, the wineries didn’t let us pass through. People from the shop were so welcoming and explained us about the complete procedure of preparation of wines. They were really a rare collection compared to the rest of the country and the aroma and taste were on point. Passing by every winery, none left us without tasting, never seen a bunch of people this courteous to serve free alcohol.

IMG_2076

When we were done with the wine section, Moonshine stores didn’t let us pass by without tasting. Moonshine(Link to explore more about Moonshine) is a type of alcohol mostly specific to smoky mountains area. This is a mystery drink as it can generate two flavors, for example, they had a cinnamon apple moonshine which tasted cinnamon while drinking and when you exhale it gives you an apple flavor. The storekeeper made sure, we had a taste of all the flavors. (I still didn’t understand why are people too nice :P)

PS: Drink responsibly, drink only if you are above 21 are moreover drinking can be injurious to health – I see you guys better behave, just kidding keeping in control is always better.

After such an amazing day, we did grab some food from the McD’s if I am not wrong and back to our forest zone at 11.30 pm.

TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS:

  1. Make sure you have a plan based on your interest.
  2. Hotels and resorts are pretty expensive, try to book it beforehand. (Options for cheaper booking: Hot rate hotels @ Hotwire.com)
  3. Keep your activities in the morning, so get ample time to explore the city at night.
  4. If you are a Wine lover, Never forget to taste raspberry and blueberry wines pretty much from all the outlets. Buy a few which suits you- they are amazing for the cost. (Average price $15 – $25 per bottle and cheaper when taken in a case)

THINGS TO DO IN GATLINBURG:

  1. Skiing, Ice tubing or Ice skating – So many options to choose from (We went to Ober)
  2. Creek walks around 7 pm if its winter and 9pm if its summer.
  3. Try out the wines from different local wineries.
  4. Amazing Barbeque places. (Choose based on google ratings – It works)
  5. Go on to the top of the mountain – Use Skylift (Tickets for $7)
  6. Moonshine tasting is a must if you like are a Whiskey Lover.
  7. Climbworks smoky mountains for zip line lovers.
  8. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster.
  9. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark. (Pretty amazing place for some family time in the water )
  10. Mountain mall (Both for purchasing souvenirs and spending some time )

Hope you guys had an experience exploring this beautiful city. Let’s explore my first flight journey in the US and check out next week to see where I flew.

Love,

Praveen

MULTICULTURAL DRIVE – DRIVE FROM MIAMI, FLORIDA TO GATLINBURG,TENNESSEE

Capture

THE ROUTE 

Welcome back my wonderful readers, hope you enjoyed my First trip in the USA. You know what people who follow me regularly on social media might know, I traveled a few weeks back to Boston, it was a crazy ass experience which I will write separately. But for the very first time, I wrote my blog in the flight, the silence, the height, flying in the air, the sound of air passing by and a traveler retrieving his memories- Whaaaaattttttaaaa deadly combination. I just loved it😊 I also had an amazing Chinese friend Jess, who was visiting her boyfriend in Boston and sharing her experience of travel within China and elsewhere. A good Conversation Indeed, I love what I do and I am glad I can share it with you all.

4d136af8-c285-4317-b8ab-d561695c1237

A Co- passenger cum traveler Ms. Jess from China

To start with the actual trip. This is again a nerve wrecking for a guy just moved to a completely new world, Yet beautiful experience. When you go any US university for education, at least most US universities, they have something called Alternative Breaks (AB), which is basically a group of like-minded people who join supporting a single cause, for example, supporting Homeless, Supporting Environment, Supporting education so on and so forth. I was a part of a group where we supported Environment (Guys we all need to start doing something positive towards the environment, that’s the need of an hour). It was six of us, such amazing souls, all were doing their Undergrad and I was the only one doing masters. But the difference is they were born and brought up here in the USA. But I was the only one immigrated from a completely different Place. I as a person, don’t bother with any such differences, however, insecurities start to kick in such as adapting to the situation and what would they be interested in which you can speak but gracefully adapt to the situation and start learning is what I eventually did.

Believe me or not. It was such a learning experience from the second I gave the interview to be a part of this group to the day we all said bye. Still, we all are connected to social networks despite living in different cities having different walks of life.  One mission was to work for the cause, but another mission was to travel and have fun at the same time. Then comes cost cutting as we are all still students and we planned to drive 13 hours(15 to 16 hours with break) instead of flying which was way cheaper. We even did a fundraising for the cost of the fuel. I wish I had pics to show you guys how I use to fundraise (I just used to have those fundraising chocolates with a hanging flyer which says 1 chocolate FOR $1 just like a street vendor next to Library – But it worked, lol) We made enough money as we planned to make, A little more wouldn’t have hurt but yea, that’s all we could manage.

The day came as semester got over the previous day, I was at a party with the Asian Student Union from the evening (Pic’s below) and we were supposed to leave at 4 in the morning. Finally, I managed to leave the party place at 2 Am somehow, came back Shifted my stuff from University dorms to our very own 508 paradises (That’s the house I use to live in Miami).

IMG_1609

One of the Crazy Parties till date – Asian Student Union

And I got off with all the required stuff and the excitement to the core because I was going to cross Florida state line and enter a new state for the very first time. We were renting a van at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Carpooled and reached there. Inside I had the thing I am the only Indian, how are we gonna get coped up with them for the next one week. However, I was confident and ready to take it on but at some corner of the heart, I don’t know whether it was an inferiority complex or not having the sense of belonging.

IMG_2197.jpg

The huge vehicle we drove for the 15-hour journey 😛

There were 4 drivers including me because the not everyone could drive the crazy ass vehicle, We hit University of Florida, Gainesville as early as to get breakfast after 5 hours of drive. The deal was to have breakfast come out and I’ll drive. Had an amazing breakfast at Cracker Barrel(Cracker barrel link – if you wanna try ).

IMG_1619

   Ain’t the Skillet Yummy 😛 

IMG_1622

I took the vehicle, and it was the first ever time I am driving such a big vehicle ever. I managed to turn, come outside the building and start driving opposite side of the road (Not kidding – I am like so serious ) everyone shouting Praveen and I press the freaking brake so hard and everyone displaces from their seat and everyone was like let others drive. Felt so shameful and I didn’t literally open my mouth until we reached next stop. I was just feeling weird, just the emotion that they thought I didn’t know to drive. Then smoothly I was calming down and all Finally we crossed the Florida border. It was my first ever time that I crossed Florida.

IMG_2203

Florida – Georgia Borderline 

A drive of few hours we reached Atlanta in the evening. It was completely new to me from the atmosphere, the temperature,  and the aura itself. It was pleasant and chilly. Unlike Miami, there wasn’t a lot of commotion, not a lot of noise, even the downtown was pretty and silent. After a short visit to Mc Donalds,  for lunch, we started driving back and we all started binding with each other pretty well. However, they had issues with my accent but pretty much it went well.

img_1647trim_dvd.original

Atlanta Downtown

As we were entering Tennessee, the sun was set and drive got scary as there were just a GPS and no mobile network for any of us. It was quite adventurous, scary and most important it was freezing cold outside. Finally, we managed to find the place through the woods. It was really steep and we were guessing that should be the place. As expected that was it. It was a wooden house with bunk beds surrounded by mountains and trees (Such a wild and serene experience). Everyone was really tired after a 16-hour journey. Same as you are after a thousand word write up, just kidding.

Hear our funny voices discussing how weird and creepy was the town 😛

Glimpses of Atlanta and surrounding 🙂 

I’ll see you in my next blog with all the adventures we did, the new school Alternative break group we met, and all the fun we had.

Have a great weekend people.

Love,

Praveen

First ever Travel – Juniper Springs

How is your week going, Fellas ????????? welcome back 🙂

Let me take you on a virtual drive to my ever remembered first trip in the United States, Fun times man.  I could recollect all those moments even today. All my roomies planned to go to that place, really didn’t have a proper understanding of what a spring was?

Waking up in the dorms (I use to live for a semester on campus – One good and the bad decision I ever made :P), getting ready with a bath and all stuffed packed really didn’t know what to take and what not to be taken back then haha …

InkedCapture_LI

Such an excited post I still remember (Freaking I used to upload every single thing )

784c85c4-c494-4cca-834e-e201451d1894

Walked all the way to my Paradise (My previous home :0 ), everyone just waiting for me in a 7 seat minivan wondering where the hell I am. Took off the drive, Sleepy as hell but at the same moment, I didn’t want to miss anything on the way. To all the readers one thing I wanna say don’t expect anything great than an array of trees on both sides and a  luxurious highway where you can’t drive more than 70 miles/hr. Well, it’s kinda scenic in few places, but most parts keep looking and staring at the luxurious cars passing by.

IMG_9072

For people thinking where is this place and where are we traveling – This Map describes it all.

Capture.JPG

Drive from Miami to Juniper Springs, FL (Reference: Google Maps)

Its hard to sit idle after four years of driving in India, my heart says “Hey ask them ” but mind says “Dude steering is on the other side of the car “. Constantly debating between mind and heart, I took a nap for a while. Taking a couple of stops for the leak, finally came passed Orlando(If you guys love theme parks, amusement parks, especially marvel, harry potter fans – that’s the goto place for you ) Once we take an exit we entered into a completely different atmosphere, the vibe was fantastic. Felt like entering into a forest driving through the narrow roads and gushing dense trees. We could feel the change in terms of the sound and nature as in how peaceful it turned into.

0de20d63-ea5a-471d-b53f-5fff57175ce3WhatsApp Image 2018-05-03 at 7.15.18 AM

The scenic way to Juniper Springs

Stocked up with loads of food, as we are were gonna camp for the night and do some good barbecue chicken and veggies. It was a nice thickly packed forest, and we all were like awwwwwwwwwwww <3, parked the car and walked to the actual spring space. It was way more beautiful than what I expected. Dazzling sun shining on us, calling us to jump straight into the water. Crystal clear and perfect weather – who could resist this combination 😮 Water was coming out through the pores, a beautiful sight to engross with nature and swim in this sight. How does it feel when you even think of it.

12017482_10153192311306589_3065180131598400557_o

Hard work putting the tent up for the night. 

Heart still pounding when I think of the beautiful image when I saw it the first time. Then we decided to put up the tents so that we wouldn’t have to do it at the end of the day merely searching for light in the forest. One more beautiful thing guys – NO WIFI, NO MOBILE SERVICE PROVIDER (Just felt amazing because nothing to interfere just the mother nature and me with the company of my friends). Decided to walk to the spring, and put my feet looking at the sun. Never have I ever had that feeling in me. “Beauty and happiness lie only within us – But we tend to search for external reasons ” PS: I just made that up – felt while inking. Started swimming in the water, really deep, crystal clear and water’s temperature remains constant at any season. Which put all together into an amazing experience.

 It looks way amazing in real (Courtesy: Google Images) 

Spending an hour in water, decided to walk back to the camping place setting up stuff for Barbeque. With all marinated chicken, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms with all Indian masalas (GUYS that was my first experience and man it was yummmm ). But here comes the twist, these guys ruined my 22 years of virginity towards alcohol. No way I can get outside the jungle, Hungry after swimming, and these guys were so stubborn about me having Beer and they claim that’s the only way I can get food. The beer was tasting awful (Mind says”I knew alcohol is horrible but definitely not this horrible” ). when they gave me the chicken, damn that feel. Didn’t pass a chicken piece came my way (So hungry 🙁 ) It started getting darker, it felt great – no one was on the phone, nature and the vibe. Played cards for a while and backed into tent thinking of bear warnings and slept off.

IMG_9054

Days like these, stay evergreen in our hearts. These are few days when I realized how much I admire nature and I am glad I am sharing this experience. Even a few who reads the blog start liking nature or enjoying nature, that’s the most fulfilling moment for a blogger.Let me provide a section of how much its costs, Do’s and Dont’s in Juniper Springs.

Overview of Juniper Springs:

  • Recreational area – Subtropical forest and oval-shaped pool with limestone caves.
  • Part of Ocala National park- Florida.
  • Constant water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • $21 per site (If you travel as a bunch, It’s super cheap guys)
  • Has a 1-mile trail (If at all you have energy after swimming :P)
  • Barbeque available
  • A place for some sports like Frisbie, badminton, soccer (Whatever game you can imagine within that space – I leave it to your imagination 😛 ) 
  • Canoeing and Kayaking
  • Stores available for swimming and camping gears.
  • Bathhouses, Camping area, and Picnic Places Available
  • Insects are too much, you would definitely need an insect repellent.
  • Easy weekend trip for Floridians, as it is in the center. It is maximum of 4 to 5-hour drive from anywhere within the state. 

Feel free to ask any questions you have about the place, or this trip either in comments or any of my social media plots.

What should I have in my bag pack? 

  • Towel *
  • Few shorts*
  • Hiking shoes*
  • Slippers*
  • T-shirt.
  • Swimwear and googles.
  • Insect repellant *
  • BBQ skewers, veggies, pre-marinated or required mix, charcoal and fire initiator ( If you wanna do BBQ ).
  • Cutting boards, Knives, spoons, and forks if necessary
  • Essential toiletries and skincare (depending on individuals) *
  • Tent and sleeping bag*
  • Pillows and blankets*
  • Most important always try to carry Trash bags*- Never know when will it come handy.
  • Sunscreen*
  • Umbrella* – you never know when it rains in Florida.
  • Camp reservation confirmation*- If the previous booking is done.
  • Power bank– If you are so much love with the place and click a ton of pictures from your mobile phone.
  • DSLR preferable or a good phone would do.

* – Mandatory

PS: Couple of fun facts – Natural places are cheaper and beautiful plus when you camp there are always chances of getting amazing friendship from people of different ethnicities and culture.

I apologize for the picture quality, my pictures will be better as it progresses I promise. Trying to get these from the archive is such a pain in an ass guy.

All right you guys have a chilling weekend ahead, let’s see how was my next day on the trip goes with a different location 🙂

Love,

Praveen