While we spend the entire year praying for a good monsoon, as soon as it actually arrives, it plays havoc with our lives! From traffic jams, to illnesses, from beautiful rainbows, to a respite from the tropical summers, it has its pros and cons. Here I am going to attempt to provide you with a comprehensive guide, on how to make the most of this wonderful season, as short as it is (the last part of the sentence may not be true for you Mumbaikars though!)
Here are do’s and don’ts of travelling during monsoons:
Always, carry an umbrella with you. Always. Though the weather gods might be smiling when you leave, the weather can change in an instant. It’s always better to be prepared than get caught in a downpour, which ruins your clothes and your mood. Also, wear light and airy clothing, and avoid shoes that retain water, as fungal infections tend to be on a high this time of the year.
2. Vehicle Insurance
Motor insurance in India is compulsory for any new vehicle, commercial or private. While it covers damage due to natural calamities, it does not cover mechanical and electrical breakdown. So when your car breaks down during monsoons, the first thing you need to do it call up your auto insurance company. After completing this process, it’s preferred to take it to one of their cashless garages(garages which have a tie-up with the insurance company). Do not attempt to tamper with the car, in any way on your own, as this might nullify your insurance. Before buying insurance, make sure you know what is included and what is excluded from this policy, so that you don’t get taken for a ride!
With traffic jams that stretch for hours, try and keep some dry snacks and water with you, for when the hunger pangs hit.
4. Small flashlight
If you’re stuck somewhere, and it’s getting late, keep a little flashlight with you to help you find your way around. If you’re relying on your phone’s flashlight, keep in mind that with electricity outages, it might be useful to conserve the phone battery and use a normal flashlight instead.
5. Read up before travelling
If you are going to a new place, make sure you get all the necessary information beforehand. Find out if some roads tend to get blocked during monsoons, how you can get help if you get stranded, the intensity of rain that it receives, and emergency contact information for that particular area.
6. Picturesque locales available only during the monsoons
Some specific areas, bloom during the rainy season. The waterfalls and lakes start gushing with water, and it is an apt time to visit such scenic locales. An example of this is Lonavala, where there is a small waterfall located just below Tiger’s Leap, which gets activated only in the monsoon.
7. Do your research
As this is considered a lean season for some cities, airlines and hotels can offer good deals for travel during this period. So have the time of your life, while not burning a hole in your pocket!
8. Medical Kit
Try and keep a medical kit in your car, as in an emergency, you might not be able to find help nearby. This is a rule which you should follow the rest of the year as well. Some handy medicines for cold, cough, stomach infections and band-aids should be kept with you at all times.
9. Carry Plastic Bags
Make sure you carry lots of plastic bags for storing your electronics and your wet clothes.
10. Chargers and Powerbanks
Sometimes during the rainy season, widespread power outages make their presence felt. It’s useful to keep a phone charger or a power bank with you during this time period.
And avoid these like the plague!
1. Fast Driving
It only takes a second for you to lose control, and that second can make all the difference. With the roads being slippery during monsoons, it’s especially a time to take it nice and slow. Even if you get home a few minutes late, at least you are getting home. This is a rule, which should be applied throughout the year.
2. Driving after being inebriated
After intoxication, your reflexes tend to slow down. If you’re operating a vehicle when it is raining, you need to be extra careful, as the roads tend to be wet, and visibility is poor, which means you need to be in perfect control. Again, this is a tip which you should follow throughout the year.
3. Avoid Street Food
Since street food is not always prepared in the most hygienic of conditions, it is a good idea to stay away from it during the rainy season. Infections tend to multiply during this time, so try and keep your health as much in check as possible.
4. Avoid spending too much time in the rain
With the sun beating down all summer, Monsoon is probably the most welcomed season in India. You can see little kids splashing around, the beautiful rainbows which occur, and that amazing smell of wet earth which pervades everything around you. However, try to avoid spending too much time outdoors, as this is also a season of infections. As soon as you reach home, change out of your wet clothes. If you’re stuck inside the house and utterly bored, take out a board game and make a hot cup of tea with some pakodas, and bring the entire family together!
5. Using Electronics
Apart from the danger of getting an electric shock, lightning can also damage TV’s, Computers, Laptops and phones beyond repair. If there is heavy rain, unplug all your electronic items immediately.
6. Choosing the destination
If you are not a fan of the rain, avoid travelling to a place, which receives heavy rainfall. Parts of North East, West and South India tend to be prone to receiving huge downpours, so check the weather information before you book your tickets.
7. Visiting waterfronts
If you are visiting a coastal destination, make sure to check with local authorities before venturing into the water. The sea can be extremely rough during this period, so don’t try to wade too deep into the sea or rivers.
While keeping all this in mind, don’t forget the rains only come for a little while, so make the most of it, as they can be so oh-so-refreshing for a soul weary of summer!