About

Who Am I?

I did my PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from a Big Ten School. Since then I have been working full time at a major tech company. Apart from physics, I have indefatigable passion for traveling and photography.

Why am I writing this blog?

A simple answer would be that my friends and family have motivated me for a long time to pen down my crazy adventures and trips. I would not have started writing this without their inspiration. However, that is not the main reason I decided to put an effort into writing this blog.

I have heard many friends and peers complain that they get very few vacation days: 2-3 weeks in a year. If you have a travel bug, this is not enough. In the same boat, I have been guilty of complained about this problem.

To satiate the ‘travel bug’, many bloggers (see for example nomadicmatt.com, yomadic.com and his friends) have proposed and executed long term travel. They sell their belongings, quit their job and travel for 6 months, a year or even more.

I would love to travel long term. But I love my job and don’t want to quit it. The objective of this blog is to demonstrate that with careful planning, you a can globetrot on limited vacations.

I realized about a year back that there are 52 weekends in a year. Include the 10 days of national holidays and you have 114 days of vacations! That is ~4 months of vacations! You can travel and see a lot in 4 months!

Why should you read this blog?

From this blog, you can expect the following

a. Optimized itineraries for visiting attractions in a short period.
b. Tips and tricks for reducing your trips costs: getting cheap flights, lodging, parking, dining and so on.
c. Trip reports outlining information that could make your trip efficient.
d. My two cents of travel advice that may or may not be useful to you.

How do I travel?

I am a budget traveler. That does not mean I penny pinch. I decide what I want to see and then strive to bring down the cost as much as possible. I have dropped 5000USD+ for visiting Antarctica but stayed at the cheapest hostel at the embarking port. I might drop 400USD extra for a flight schedule that allows me to spend more time at the destination but skimp on lodging/food at the destination.

What tools,sites, apps do I use?

Planning

I begin my research about a destination using the travel forums at tripadvisor.com or thorntree forums. They have a wealth of information. I also check out the top rated attractions at the destination on tripadvisor.com and then make a list of what I want to see. Google search often leads to various other resources like Fodor’s/Frommer’s forums and so on.

Next, I pick up a guide book to the destination. Usually, my local library has it. Otherwise, I buy a cheap guide from half.ebay.com or amazon. I use all these info and stick together an efficient itinerary using Google Maps.

Flights/Lodging

I search for flights on hipmunk.com and matrix.itasoftware.com. Various bloggers have covered this topic in depth. I would point to the resources in a future blog post. However, I mostly book my flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The prices are cheapest on these dates.

The lodging I stay in depends on who I travel with. When traveling alone, I normally couch surf, camp or stay in the cheapest hostels. When traveling with parents, I camp or stay at cheap hotels (Motel6 and super8) or airbnb. If I splurge on hotels, it is almost definitely with points or booked with a best rate guarantee. If I travel with my SO, I would probably make sure that the lodging is in a safe neighborhood. Hotelscombined.com and kayak.com are good aggregator sites for  searching hotels. Hostelworld.com has a good selection of hostels. I always check their review on tripadvisor before booking.

Photography

I used to own a Nikon D90/D750 and an array of lenses. Recently, I ditched everything to buy a Sony A6000 that allows me to travel lighter. To see a short collection my best shots in the last one year visit http://500px.com/AngikSarkar
Setting Moon in Bryce Canyon (c) Angik Sarkar 2013. Do not copy without permission. Setting Moon in Bryce Canyon
(c) Angik Sarkar 2013. Do not copy without permission.

Resources I learn from and follow:

boardingarea.com, travelbloggerbuzz.com, saverocity.com, Twitter: latest travel news
flyertalk.com,milepoint.com: frequent flyer forums
tripadvisor.com, lonely planet: Destination Research
theflightdeal.com: Cheap flight deals
brgdeals.blogspot.com: Cheap hotels.
Nomadicmatt.com,Globotreks.com,yomadic.com: Long term travel experiences.

Of course various friends and family.

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