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Please help, so overwhelmed!

London, United...
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Please help, so overwhelmed!

My husband and I are spending 6 weeks in India, arriving in Mumbai 6/2/2011-leaving Mumbai 20/03/2011.

We would like to see as much as we can without constantly being on the move. We are also unsure whether to book a complete itinerary with a travel agent before leaving or book the first few nights and transport to next destination then go it alone? (it is our first time travelling)

We would like to see a good portion of the north and south, including Holy Varanasi, Agra, Haridwar and Rishikesh in the north, and Gokrana, Udupi and Tirupati in the South. We are open to suggestions.

I welcome any advice people can give us - routes and itinerary's, types of accommodation, modes of transport, what to book before we leave, how easy it is to book things when we are there etc etc.

We are looking to have a budget of between £3000-4000, but this needs to cover our 6 weeks in Bali after India.

I look forward to any advice given, love and gratitude to you all xx

Southampton, United...
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1. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

Hi i am travelling through India right now. I would advise if you are to make your own travel plans eg train. To use cleartrip all you need is your login and password then print your tickets. Tour companies here seem to be after your money in a big way. You wíll probably save allot of money doing it yourself. Have a good trip rob

Berlin, Germany
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2. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

Hi there,

Just see the positive side you have the arrival and departure dates :-).

Lets talk first about how will you travel with in the country.

If train is what you need to bok then you have http://www.irctc.co.in or http://www.makemytrip.com or cleartrip as suggested by Rob. I would propose that you might want to fly from Mumbai to Delhi as that distance is pretty long and would need around 24 hours to reach with the train. To book the flight tickets use http://www.makemytrip.com

On reaching Delhi you can do the desired destinations with train as they are short distance train and with a maximum time of 4-8 hours.

I think for North of India there are many possibilities delhi-Rishikesh-Haridwar-Varnasi-Khajuraho-Jhansi Agra-Jaipur (all of this for the first 3 weeks) I think you can even add more destinations to it like Jodhpu-Pushkar-Bikaner etc or add like a trip to Ranthambore wild life.

I would suggest that you should fly from Udaipur to Kochi and do some traveling in Kerala and then upwards towards Udupi-Gokarana (Om beach) -Goa and back to Mumbai and further there on to Bali.

If i would have been at your place then i would completely distribute my trip in the form of 3 weeks North and 3 weeks South.. You might want to travel in the North with an Itinerary as there is a huge scope for you to be ripped off at every new city.

Further more the train tickets open 90 days in advance and so do the flight tickets and the earlier book the better deal you will get so accordingly you need to start planning.

Keep me posted.

Cheers,

Nik

London, United...
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3. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

Thanks for your input guys, much appreciated. We are in the UK so can we use sites such as clear trip, irctc & make my trip from the UK?

xx

Lincoln, United...
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4. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

Certainly I have been able to book tickets on IRTC, but the site tends to be a bit tempramental and I have read that it might now only take AMEX cards.

Southampton, United...
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5. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

No problem using those sites from the uk i booked several journeys with cleartrip before i left. I found the ictrc Train booking a nightmare especialy when trying to make payment. Cleartrip all the way fór me. Just booked an ac bus today, they are fine for journeys up to 5 hrs or so. Rob

London, United...
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6. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

Thanks guys

We are struggling with how much to book before we leave, how much to fit in to our trip and how long to spend in places, whether to book accommodation before leaving etc?

Also once we have booked and made reservations for trains and planes are we able to ammend them if we want to stay somewhere a little longer or would we need to book as we go, unless we want to stick to our planned itinerary?

Does anyone know of a company or site that offers a journey planning tool or some service similar?

Thanks

Edited: 05 November 2010, 14:50
Charlotte, North...
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7. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

Hi ,

I am an Indian and i have lived in Varanasi , Agra and Mumbai. My advice willbe make your own travel plan - travel by train (2nd class A/c coaches )- You can make all your reservations online at irctc.com. Getting train tickets is an hassle - reservations open 3 months in advance and 2nd ac tickets get sold within days , so do it now . The advantage of travelling by train is you can see real India, its comfortable and the crowd will be cultured and non intrusive - its also very safe.

Some other advice , not to scare you just to prepare you - get your shots , carry some toilet paper with you and get some local contacts from Indians in USA -nothing works in India like contacts and people are generally helpful if you come through someone they know

Credit cards don't work in India - carry cash and keep it on your body - always chain in your luggage ( with a chain , lock and key that you will find in any general store ) while traveling.

Now about the locations that you intend to visit - Taj Mahal / Agra fort is a one day trip from Delhi- You may want to spend 3-4 days in Delhi as there are a lot of things to see there - Red Fort - world's largest , Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar , Akshardham to mention a few. Of all your destinations , Delhi is the unsafest esp. for women . Try not to stay out late in the night .

Varanasi is the oldest city and i did my college there - plenty of things to see here but don't miss Sarnath.Also there is a maze of alleys here - unless you travel with a local don't get in these alleys as you may get lost.Take manual rickshaws when moving within the city.

In south , You can base yourself in Madurai - People in south are relatively more well behaved and you can cover all your destinations by renting a car- its is relatively safe here .

Mumbai is one of my favorite cities - i worked here for five years before moving to states - will be sufficient to cover it and there are day tours - i will strongly advice you to visit Ajanta Ellora caves while in mumbai - it is an overnight train visit.

Charlotte, North...
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8. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

In case you want more info on which places to visit in India - let me know - i have a fantastic document from a friend who has traveled across India but its too big to post here it also has a possible itinerary- i will send you the link to her blog where you can download it.

Edited: 05 November 2010, 16:37
London, United...
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9. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

If you could send me that link, that would be great.

Thanks

Holland
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10. Re: Please help, so overwhelmed!

Sorry but I'm forced to point out that Kashvy's information is really quite misleading on several points.

Someone else needs to use the PC right now but I'll get back to this thread later and try to give you a more honest appraisal of travel in India