Some destinations generate fear along with a pow of thrill. India seems to be scary, but tempting. Travel articles and photographs are spectacular; news headlines troubling. What are the 5 must have’s to make a trip to India not just fascinating, but also a thoughtful and doable vacation? And one where you are coming solo?
1. A reliable person must meet you at the airport no matter when you arrive, how late your ETA or if you have a cancelled/replacement flight. (A 24/7 emergency telephone number with a real person is a must for all travel!).
2. An English-speaking, woman travel escort should be with you from start to finish, and available by phone even at night. (Women’s tours to exotic places, need a woman escort with whom we are not embarrassed to share perhaps not feeling well one day).
3. Hotels have to be luxury with free bottled water, good a/c, excellent bedding and prompt service. Bedding and good a/c make your sleep most efficient and prompt service means you will be on time for tours. Luxury also means on site spa, ayuvedic services, and/or attached shopping mall. (Most of us are comfortable in the hotel area even if we are nervous about walking around the street alone. There will be a time when you want to explore shops).
4. A good India trip has some down time. An extra day mid trip makes the difference in how you enjoy your time. (Our India trip is the only one with this extra day, and in a lovely area with a quietly spiritual atmosphere).
5. Finally experiences should have an edge but feel safe: rickshaw ride to the Ganges, funeral pyres, visit to a truck stop ( yes it is fascinating), elephant rides to Amber Fort. This is key to long lasting memories. After visiting the funeral pyres on the Ganges at dawn and at night, our group’s talk is deep and thoughtful. Our views of what is religion changes forever.