• Travel

Planning My Trip To India


I am planning a trip to India, and it feels like it has taken over my life.

Being a spontaneous kind of gal, the feeling that I have bitten off more than I can chew happens quite often. I have a great idea (like holidaying in India), and commit to it without really considering what practical things might need to be done.

I am not new to travelling and like to jet off as often as possible, with so many holidays and mini breaks under my belt I have learned that anything that can happen will happen – and there is nothing you can do to change it. So apart from getting to the airport early, and wanting a window seat, I have become pretty laid back when it comes to travel planning. This approach is fine 90% of the time when heading to the US or Europe, however, I have discovered that India actually requires some forward thinking.

Of course, with any trip there are a few basics that need to be arranged in advance, such as: decent travel insurance, a passport, transport to your destination and copies of all documentation; but apart from that I don’t really class anything else as necessary. I used to try be super prepared and pack for every eventuality but still ended up forgetting things and was literally weighed down by carrying such bulky baggage. So I now alleviate the stress by concentrating on the basics; this is what I have been trying to do for India, but there seems to be way more essentials to consider;

The visa

This can only be applied for no earlier than 30 days before arrival, but there is now online version for UK passport holders which made things much easier than I had initially thought. It costs around £45.

Accommodation

Usually on this sort of trip I would only book the first night or two’s accommodation and then see where the road takes me, but since I only have a couple of weeks I decided at the last minute to play it safe. Finding places to stay hasn’t been too much of a hassle by using booking.com to reserve rooms. The only real annoyance is that the beach bungalows I wanted to stay in have been knocked down for the season, so it’s back to the drawing board on that one. Also settling on a specific area has been tough as India is huge and packed with things to see.

Transport

This area has been the biggest issue.

To begin with I used our Lloyds Amex account’s 2 for 1 Avois voucher (yes, I have spent that much money in 12 months), I don’t want to bore you with the details but to get the best out of air miles you really have to be patient and be willing to make lots and lots of phone calls. After many conversations we booked our return flights for a bargain price then promptly had to reschedule because our amazing friends were getting married that same date.

Fast-forward to new flights and take-two of our trip to India where we only have two weeks instead of the initially planned 24 days. This reduction in time has meant that the amount of places on my itinerary has had to be cut while still trying to see as much as possible.

Originally I wanted to travel by train so I could watch the country fly by out of the window but due to our shorter time period we only have time for one train journey. The train has been an administrative nightmare to book, I had to sign up for an account with an Indian telephone number, (which I don’t have) I was then advised to type in any old number – the problem with this is that the password that allows you to buy tickets is text to you, to your made-up Indian phone number. I have emailed the train provider several times but still no password, which means no train, which I am hugely disappointed about. I know that a 12 hour train journey is not everyone’s idea of a holiday, but was a part of the trip I was excited to experience.

Thankfully, internal flights have been much easier to book; we are now travelling between destinations with IndiGo, SpiceJet and AirAisia allowing me to compare each budget airline.

Health

I don’t really know what to expect from India but I am pretty sure there is not a Boots down the road, so I have had to think about our health more than usual. I have digestive issues, sensitive skin, attract insects like  I have a ‘bite me‘ sign pinned to my back, and am super accident prone which meant making a mega online order of boring things like Imodium, rehydration sachets, hand sanitiser, insect repellent, toilet tissue, suntan lotion etc etc.

We also had to get injections, which were surprisingly easy to book through Boots’ travel services, but cost over £100.

So here I am, with less than a week to go filled with feelings of intrepidation and excitement.

I am writing this down as I was feeling overwhelmed at actually having to plan a trip and wanted to vent somewhere, but if you want any specific posts on using Avios, packing, or health whilst travelling let me know. Also, if you want to keep up with my trip I will be daily vlogging over on my YouTube channel.

This post  is in no way meant to be a moan (boo hoo, poor me, I am going on an exiting holiday) but just in case you guys decide that booking an exotic trip with no research is a good idea I thought I would share some things you might want to take into consideration.

How do you guys go about planning a trip? Are you like me and wait until the last minute or do you plan ahead?

 

16 comments

  1. gotmeghan says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to India! It’s so beautiful! If you do go there, I’ll be leaving tons of comments on those posts about it, just as a warning! 😀

    As far as “planning” I haven’t been out of the state in a few years, much less out of the country so I can’t say anything on that part. Whenever there is something going on, I try to ask my mom a month or two weeks in advance that way she can call her work, but so much of those plans fall apart that I’ve actually stopped planning things. I don’t even like being told of something going on in a month or next week, because I know from experience that things can crumble.

    1. Emma says:

      My plans always fall apart too!! I have so many posts now I am back can’t wait for your comments.

  2. Laura says:

    Planning is the worst part for me and I can often be heard shouting at my laptop “Why is it all so complicated?!” when trying to book any kind of transport – it’s like they make it as difficult as possible?! Really looking forward to reading all about your trip.

    Laura xx | Loved By Laura

    1. Emma says:

      I must have screamed this at my laptop at least 20 times before going to India!! It’s totally the worst part but so worthwhile when you actually get there

  3. Grace | eat, write + explore says:

    I have always wanted to visit India, it seems so rich with culture and so different to every other place I’ve travelled. I’m starting a year abroad in Australia in September with plans to visit Asia while I’m over that side of the world so I can’t wait to see how you get on and get some travel inspiration! I’m definitely a big planner when it comes to travelling – it gets you excited for the trip!

    Grace | eat, write + explore x

    1. Emma says:

      I am so jealous of your year abroad you will have an absolute blast!! I would highly recommend India even though it’s a little crazy at times. If you are looking for some more travel inspiration my friend Charlie is out in New Zealand just now and has already done an awesome trip around Asia and Australia http://www.charliedistracted.com/

  4. lifebylaurax says:

    You’re going to have so much fun!! India is amazing, I went for two weeks when I was 15 and would love to go again (cause I was a teenager and clearly didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have at the time!)
    We stayed in Goa but spent a couple of nights in the jungle wearing sari’s, playing with elephants and eating 🙂

    Be careful with the food though if you are as sensitive as me (which you probably aren’t) I managed to get ill and bruise my intestines :S Also drink LOADS (which is obvious) but my dad ended up going to hospital there with dehydration lol

    xx

    1. Emma says:

      OMG sounds like you had a traumatic trip! I managed to get ill but not as severely as you. It didn’t put me off though I 100% want to go back.

  5. inher30s says:

    To avoid a dodgy tummy, have a bit of yoghurt (curd) every day and it’ll keep the risk a bit lower, that’s what I always do and it does help! And if you do get ill, you’ll recover faster with a healthier gut. Enjoy India, it’s always a culture shock but also always amazing x

    1. Emma says:

      It was such a culture shock but in the best way possible. I took your advice on-board but still managed to get ill because I have a terrible digestive system, definitely think it helped me get better quicker though.

  6. themayfairy says:

    I am so excited to read about this / watch your videos. Even with all the admin problems XD

  7. Anne Timmons says:

    I am so excited for this- when are you planning to go? I’m moving there in August for a year to teach ( never been before so this should be fun) but I’m lucky as the charity will plan my flights and arrange things for me quite a lot! I’m so excited though.

    Can’t wait for all your posts to get me even more excited!

    Love,

    Anne //A Portrait Of Youth

    1. Emma says:

      I am now back!! Sorry it took me so long to reply I have been suffering form tech difficulties! I am so jealous that you are moving out there it is such a wonderfully vibrant place.

  8. pingeandwang says:

    We think the planning is part of the fun! It does get frustrating (particularly when it comes to logistics and fitting everything into your allotted time) but there’s a real sense of accomplishment when you’ve done a complex itinerary on your own – who needs travel agents? Your trip sounds amazing and we look forward to reading about it!

    1. Emma says:

      You are totally right the logistics are a pain but it feels so good when everything comes together.

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