The majestic sand dunes and quietude of India’s welcoming deserts can be quite deadly if you are not adequately prepared. Before addressing your eagerness to be perched inside your tent, under the starry night sky in the middle of nowhere; be sure to keep these handy tips in mind for a magical desert vacation.
- When to Go
The months from November to February are considered the best time to experience the desert in all its glory. As the mercury levels drop down, the weather becomes ever more inviting to enjoy the timeless sandy landscape.
- Packing Clothing
Pack some full sleeved, white clothing to protect you from the sun’s wrath in the day. The desert temperatures run exceedingly low in the night so be sure to pack your woolens.
- Packing Shoes
It will be mighty tough to travel in the desert in you don’t have the right footwear. Carry hiking boots to ensure ease of traveling in the porous sands. Also carry trekking sandals to give your feet some room to breathe after a day’s entrapment in those boots.
- Packing Other Accessories
With the scorching sun and possibly windy nights, it is essential you have the right accessories to assure comforting trips through the desert. A windbreaker jacket, cotton scarfs, wide brimmed hat; all go a long way in enjoying sun-safe travels.
- Desert Gear
After the clothing essentials, one needs to be prepped with all the emergencies that the desert can throw at you. Carry a backpack to have all your tools in one place. Pack protective sunglasses, flashlight, a Swiss army knife and a compass (and be sure you know how to use one.)
In the dry and arid terrains, the loss of moisture becomes a very real problem to tackle. Be certain to pack sunscreens, lip balms, hand sanitizers, baby wipes and some extra socks and towel for those sweaty times.
Any trip you undertake must be with adequate precautions in mind. Be ready with a first-aid kit having anti-dehydration drugs, tweezers (for cactus spines,) and all your other essential medicines.
- Drinking Water
It goes without saying that you can never have enough of water packed for a desert. Carry water bottles to quench your thirst under the sun. In the desert, have 4 liters of water a day to remain healthy and fit.
The kind of food you have determines the amount of water you need to remain hydrated. Therefore, avoid food with a high salt content. Instead of packing the usual chips and biscuits, carry high-energy snack bars that would keep you energized and your appetite satisfied.
- Automobile Care
If you’re taking your own car for the trip, the maintenance of your vehicle should be a top priority in the treacherous sands. Before your trip, have a thorough car inspection. Frequently check the temperature levels of the car as the vehicle can get too hot under the sun. Also, be sure to keep your tires at normal pressures as soft tires can generate heat and cause blowouts.
- Off-Road Adventures
If you decide to go hiking or even take your vehicle for a ride, make sure you know where you’re going. The best way to avoid any unforeseeable circumstance is to stick to the main pavement roads. Also, consult your tour guides before setting off on any solo journey.
- Insects and Flies
Keep insect repellent lotions with you at all times as desert insects can cause nasty and stinging bites.
- Dust Storms
Dust storms are not uncommon in the Great Indian deserts. To keep yourself protected in one, cover your nose and mouth completely, protect your eyes and immediately look for shelter. Be wary of flying objects as well.
Be alert for thunderstorms and lightning in the desert. Again, try to look for shelter, but avoid lone targets like a tall tree.
- Sun and Heat Exposure
Your biggest pitfall in the desert, however are not dust storms or thunderstorms but excessive exposure to sun. Be sure to wear hats, sunglasses and drink lots and lots of fluid to avoid the nasty effects of direct contact to the sun.
Seeing the brown domes of sand, glistening under the sun and soft, cold in the night will make all these precautions worth the effort. Follow these 15 life-saving tips for a desert trip of a lifetime!
An expert vagabond with a wanderer’s soul, Rohit is on a mission to uncover all the untold travel experiences in India and share his tales at TransIndiaTravels.com.