Monsoon is often considered to be an off-season for travel. The weather gets unpredictable and mountains often experience landslides or floods. That’s why many opt not to travel. But if you are a travel freak like me and love monsoon then you would know this is one of the best times to travel. This is the time of the year when nature blooms to its full potential. The mundane rivers get full of water, and the mountain valleys clad with dark clouds look majestic. The rain becomes a constant companion who adds music to our ears.
But in search of beauty and adventure sometimes we forget our safety and security. Traveling in monsoon can be tricky if you don’t follow some basic rules on your journey. So stick to the very end to know my monsoon travel tips that got you all covered. Don’t worry if you go prepared you will have one of the best travel experience.
1. Waterproof your luggage
If you are traveling during monsoon this should be high on your priority list. People often ignore having a good waterproof bag thinking they won’t be having their luggage with them all the time. But during monsoon rain is unpredictable and in no time your luggage or backpack can get wet. And, damp clothes smell very bad which can hamper your whole trip.
Get yourself a waterproof travel bag that will help you keep your clothes and travel accessories dry. It’s good if you have a waterproof backpack. Or else I prefer to carry a good rain cover for my rucksack.
2. Carry your umbrella or raincoat
That’s a no-brainer. You must carry an umbrella or a raincoat. You can never predict rain in a monsoon. So, whenever you are out don’t forget to carry your umbrella. It would be best if you can get yourself a raincoat that covers you completely yet lets you breathe while traveling. Also, a raincoat keeps your hands free.
3. Pack lightweight and quick-dry clothes
The best way to travel during monsoon is to pack light. Not just pack less but also choose clothes that are lightweight and quick-dry. You should choose synthetic material over cotton. Firstly, they soak less water than cotton, and secondly, they dry quicker.
During the monsoon, my favorite travel companion is my polyester jerseys and synthetic track pants and shorts. They are lightweight, easy to pack, and helpful in the rainy season. And also during this season we hardly get to wear our fashionable clothes. So, less is more.
4. Pack all necessary medicines
We all love rains, overcast sky, and winds blowing through our hairs. But, with the happiness of all sorts monsoon also brings many unwanted diseases. From fever, diarrhea, cold, flu, and stomach infections to severe diseases like dengue, typhoid, etc increase during the rainy season.
So, it is always better to go prepared. That’s why you should pack all the necessary medicines along with you as a precaution. So, always carry medicines for the below diseases in advance after consulting with your physician-
- Cold and Flu
- Stomach infections
- Muscle pain
5. Be updated with the weather forecast
If you are traveling during monsoon then we must be very attentive to the weather forecast. The weather condition often changes quickly and following the weather forecast helps greatly.
If you are traveling in the mountains during the monsoon know if there are chances of a flood, heavy rain, or cloudburst. Due to severe weather conditions, hill areas often become prone to landslides or roadblocks. If the weather situation gets worse you should drop your plans even if you have booked in advance. After all, safety comes first.
6. It’s better to avoid street food
Monsoon, rain, tea, and snacks with friends are a love story made in heaven. We love to have our chai, samosa, golgappa, bhajia, and vada pav from roadside street food stalls.
But during monsoons, street food is extremely risky. As we all know street foods are a bit unhygienic. Also, during monsoons drinking water gets contaminated easily. Monsoon gives rise to many seasonal insects that can contaminate your street foods. And if you are not extra cautious about this it can spoil your trip. You can get stomach infections that affect you badly.
So, it’s better if you keep your diet light and avoid street food during this time of the season. I prefer to have regular dal-chawal while traveling in monsoon. What’s your choice?
7. Be cautious about drinking water/ Carry a liquid water purifier
Not just in monsoon but it is always better to be cautious about the drinking water while you are traveling. Mostly if you are traveling to mountains or jungles it’s hard to find a reliable source of drinking water. So, it’s better to have mineral water or purified water during monsoons while traveling.
I usually have mineral water whenever possible. Or else, in places when I am not sure about the purity of the water I use a liquid water purifier. Once I had the terrible experience of a stomach infection in Srinagar from having impure water in houseboats.
I would recommend you carry a liquid water purifier that contains chlorine. Or else, you can take boiling water and then cool it down to consume it. So, it’s one monsoon travel tip that all of you must be careful about.
8. Choose waterproof footwear
Footwear is very important during traveling. As we walk a lot while traveling and not on flat surfaces mostly. During monsoon choosing the right footwear becomes even more evident. Firstly, your footwear should be made of waterproof materials, and secondly, it must have a good grip because the chances of skidding or tripping are much more in rainy seasons.
If I am traveling to the mountains I avoid sneakers and wear waterproof hiking boots. Hiking boots are much better at gripping. Also, it’s better if you can carry Crocs shoes alongside because they get dried very quickly. You can get some of the best hiking boots here.
9. Carry antiseptic and insect-repellant creams
This is one of the tips that people ignore or forget but you should not. During monsoon, we get to see a lot of different types of insects and mosquitos that breed in clogged water. Mosquitos often spread many dangerous diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya, etc.
Once I got rashes from an insect bite during a trip to Darjeeling. After that, I always carry mosquito repellent cream and antiseptic lotion when traveling during monsoons. You should also pack them when you travel next time and use them. Because you won’t like to itch yourself on a trip for an insect bite.
10. Pack a first-aid kit
Always carry a small first-aid kit. During monsoon, it becomes even more required. In search of travel and adventure we often face some injuries. We often trip over or slip in rain and get injured. Then having a first-aid kit helps a lot. If you are going with children then you must carry one.
11. Project your electronic gadgets
This is one of the biggest challenges we face while traveling during monsoon. We often waterproof ourselves but forget to protect our costly electronic gadgets. We must go prepared with our gadgets for a trip during the monsoon. Once you are on the go you may not find enough resources to cover your things.
Usually, I carry zip-lock bags, polybags as well as waterproof gadget bags that keep my electronic gadgets safe and secured during rain.
12. Plan in advance for traveling during monsoon
Traveling in monsoon can be real fun if you plan well and in advance. I would recommend you not wait to book your accommodations or vehicle on arrival. You can never trust the weather. So arranging something on the go can be hectic amidst the rain.
So, plan early and share your details with your family members if you are going to the mountains or jungle where the mobile network seems to die during monsoon.
13. Better avoid landslide-prone areas
I won’t say don’t go to the mountains during the monsoon. During monsoon, the mountains look absolutely out of fairytales. The misty atmosphere with clouds around the mountains makes it an unbelievable experience.
But, there are some areas in hilly areas which are historically prone to landslides during the monsoon. Also, few rivers across the mountains often get flooded. It is better to avoid going to those places during the monsoon.
Like, I have experienced visiting north Bengal and historically Darjeeling has been less prone to landslides than Sikkim during monsoon despite being close to Sikkim. So I prefer to visit Darjeeling over Sikkim during monsoon. Though it’s not always constant and getting a forecast of the weather helps.
14. Must carry a power bank
During the rainy season in remote areas, power cuts are quite frequent. Or you can get stranded on the way for a long time due to heavy rain or roadblock. And it can be a big problem to get stuck without any power left on your phone. So, you should always carry a power bank with you.
15. Don’t be too adventurous
Many of you must be thinking what else we are here for? We travel enthusiasts love to be adventurous. But monsoon deserves some precaution. We should not go overboard in search of adventure. You must be mindful of the strong current in rivers, or dangerous places in the mountains. We love to have very Instagrammable pictures or videos for ourselves but that should not be in exchange for our security. To be safe ask the locals if the places are safe to go.