Wandering Earl Group at Lotus Temple

Arming My India Group With Quality Travel Products

Derek Wandering Earl Tours 37 Comments

Wandering Earl Group at Lotus Temple
When I first came up with the idea of offering a small group tour to India, one of the first things I decided was that every member of the group would receive a handful of quality ‘gifts’ at the start of the trip. Now I’m not talking about handing out balloons or buttons or coffee mugs. My goal was to seek out items that would be useful, not just for the tour, but for everyone’s future travels as well.

And so, the gang here in India, those ten bold souls who have decided to partake in this excursion, have now been armed with a few such items. As a result, off we shall all go, together, into the depths of India, into the cities, into the towns, into the mountains and into the deserts, fully prepared for the adventure ahead of us…

Insulated Polar Bottle We shall all remain hydrated throughout the trip thanks to our Insulated Polar Bottles from Polar Bottle. Not only do these water bottles keep water cool, they keep water cool for a long time, even in the 85 F (30 C) heat of Delhi. They also weigh practically nothing and have a softer outer shell, making it easy to squeeze them into any extra space in your backpack.

Goal Zero Solo Flashlight And our path, throughout this excursion, shall always be lit, whether we are wandering through town in the dark of night, wandering around the darkness of an ancient palace or wandering around our hotel rooms trying to find the bathroom during an electricity outage. It is our compact, travel-friendly, solar-powered Goal Zero Flashlights that will ensure we have light at all times.

Oh the photos we shall take! Thanks to XShot, everyone on this tour will receive an XShot Pocket camera extender. I can’t wait to see all of the photos that this group takes over the next 19 days!

Chico Bag shoulder bag We shall each also have with us a versatile, reusable, lightweight shoulder bag from Chico Bags. For some the bag shall act as a day bag, for others an ideal place to keep their dirty laundry or as an eco-friendly shopping bag that can be used to carry anything and everything that is purchased during the trip without having to use plastic bags. I’ve used my bag for all three purposes so far and I’m sure I’ll find many more uses for it as well.

The Club Backpack Lock Speaking of backpacks…all of our packs will be secured and potential thieves shall be deterred with our strong backpack locks from “The Club” (yes, it’s the company famous for their car lock system) that we are using to lock our zippers shut. A simple backpack lock can make a huge difference and using such a lock is definitely worth the peace of mind when you’re in a country that involves so much bus and train travel as well as large crowds of people.

Mobile WiFi Router - Telecomsquare In addition, the group will enjoy internet connectivity throughout most of the trip thanks to the mobile WiFi router that TelecomSquare was so kind to provide for us. I simply turn the tiny device on and we’re good to go, whether at our hotel, on the train or bus or even while walking down the street. Why I haven’t carried one of these mobile WiFi routers with me before is beyond me!

Finally, I must apologize for not having responded to your comments and emails as quickly as usual over the past week or so. This tour through India is keeping me quite busy and I’ve unfortunately had a bit of a fever the past couple of days as well. But I will respond to everything as soon as I possibly can.

Have a great week!

*In exchange for a mention on the blog, the above companies kindly provided their products free of charge for the entire tour group. However, these are all products that I have personally used and that I fully believe in as I would never partner with any company that I do not trust myself.


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Comments 37

  1. Hey! I just discovered your site and I love it. I’m embarking on a 2-month trip to India in January and this list of things to take is helpful, however I’m surprised there’s nothing here about a water filter or way to purify drinking water, especially since you recommended a water bottle. Surely you aren’t just filling the bottle from the tap and going for it, are you? Is there a product that you do recommend for purifying drinking water in India? Thanks!

    1. Hey Kathryn – Bottled water is very easy to find in India and there are more and more places offering free refills of filtered water as well. In my opinion, it’s easier and more convenient to get some bottled water and then refill the bottle in hotels, restaurants, etc. that offer free filtered water.

  2. Hi there! Just recently found your site and am seriously curious about the mobile WiFi router you used on this trip. I’m currently on a sailboat traveling south to the Bahamas from New York, and we’re looking for a WiFi alternative for when we get out of the U.S. If you get a moment, could you message here or drop me an email help me figure out how this thing works with regard to billing? I looked at the company’s web site and can’t figure it out. If you’ve used it, maybe you can give me an idea of how well it worked, where it didn’t work, and the costs of using it? It sounds amazing! And perfect for a sailboat!

    Thanks and keep up the great traveling!

    Tasha (Turf to Surf)

    1. Hey Tasha – The WiFi router I’ve been using is excellent and while it’s not exactly dirt cheap, I still think it is well-worth it for anyone who needs reliable access to the internet. With billing, you can set it up so that you can add more days with your credit card which they’ll have on file from your original purchase. This way you just go into your account, extend the number of days you want the WiFi for and can pay quickly and securely.

      As for how well it worked, I’ve been extremely impressed as I have been using it all over India and so far and haven’t had any issues. In fact, I’ve used it while in the middle of nowhere on overnight trains and buses and it’s been excellent. So far there hasn’t been anywhere where it hasn’t worked over here.

      As for the costs, the best deal is per country. So if you’re going to a specific country, you can purchase an unlimited data plan for $12.95 USD per day. And while $390 per month seems high, again, it’s not a bad deal when you are able to connect at any time from almost anywhere!

      And I should add that the longer you rent the device for, the cheaper it is. So if you rent it for more than 1 month, you will get a discount of up to 40%.

    1. Hey Jes – I managed to get rid of that fever finally…and I feel wonderful! And I think they group is enjoying the trip as well 🙂

  3. I really like that you are doing some partnership with companies. That prove that blogger are being recognized more and more. I also want to say that this is the best blog I am following so far. I am also in India, Kolkata. It is inspiring me. Congratulation.

  4. earl! where is member number ten? i only see nine faces in your photo. u seem to get loads of great pics out of ur Xshot deal. maybe i should pick one of those up. good work with those links. certainly backpack lock and portable wifi device could be quite useful.

    1. Hey Jake – Actually, I keep writing 10 because there were 10 people signed up but unfortunately, due to hurricane Sandy, one person had their flight cancelled and couldn’t make it in the end.

  5. Awesome! I needed ideas for our family’s backpacks so I was extremely happy to get your recommendations. (The Chico Bag link takes you to Goal Zero, though, so you might want to check that out when you get a chance.) I really enjoy reading your articles and am still trying to make the jump with our family. We finally got the last passport today (out of 8) so we are ready!! (sort of…lol)

    1. Hey Liz – I’ve seen a few of those shots already and I must say, you and the XShot seem like a perfect match. Apart from the missing heads in most of your photos, they are excellent!

    2. Hey Liz – I think you deserve an entire page on this site dedicated to your mind-blowing XShot/photography skills. I can think of a few good, potential titles for that page as well.

  6. Hey Earl,

    I find your blog quite refreshing and the way you represent it. There are very few blogs on the internet, like yours, which ignores the all the negativity and focuses on the positivity about India, and we certainly need this!

    Anyways, since you’re in India, I would like to invite you to visit my state of Orissa. It may be a tiny state, but it’s full of unexplored (and some explored) natural beauties, to name a few:

    1. It’s got Chilika lake, which is the second largest lagoon in the World and one of the largest wintering ground for migratory birds.
    2. It’s got Gahirmatha beach, which is the world’s most important nesting beach for Olive Ridley turtles.
    3. It’s got Chandipur beach which is unique in that the water recedes from 1 to 4 kilometers during the ebb tide and you could virtually walk with the waters!
    4. It’s got numerous beautiful waterfalls like Khandadhar and Saptasajjya, to name a few.
    5. It’s got Simlipal National Park, an elephant reserve. If you’d like take a bath at the waterfalls for, sure.
    6. You can cycle along or hire a motorbike to travel along the long coastline and spend your nights on the tranquil beaches.
    7. And I promise you, all along your visit, you’ll get the most amazing and cheap seafood here.
    8. I’m leaving this space blank for you to discover things and put it here!

    Have a nice day 🙂


    1. Thank you for that info about Orissa Sunil! I’ve never been to your state but hopefully I will make it there on this trip and visit some of the places you mentioned.

      1. Sure…..I’ll wait to see your pictures from those places!

        If you need anything, just drop a line here and I’ll be glad to help.


  7. Nice photo of the Lotus Temple. I have never heard of these polar bottles before. Something that keeps water cool for a long time will be a hit in India. Delhi is extremely hot and keeping yourself cool is very important.

    1. Hey Shalu – Exactly! And that is why these bottles are so ideal for such a trip or for people living in India. I’ve been quite impressed with them.

  8. Haha, I still can’t believe you’re leading a tour group! That’s wicked, mate – hope it goes really well. Those water bottles look sweet by the way. Super handy in hot climes.

    1. Hey Rashelle – It took a few days but I’m finally back to normal and the fever is gone…it’s much easier to travel around this country when feeling healthy 🙂

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