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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

Paramount Planning

Filed under: Beginings,India,Travel Plans — she_travels at 3:47 pm on Sunday, April 1, 2012

At some point last summer my Mother asked where  my annual adventure might take me. When I replied. “India”. She said,  “May I come?”  I had been considering India for some amount of time and knew, after the emotional challenge of South East Asia, I was not going  solo. I didn’t know who would join me, I just knew I was not going alone. Unbeknownst to Mom she saved me the hassle of finding a travel partner.

Those of you who know me or those who have been reading my rantings know I don’t do itinerary. I choose a international airport destination, deplane and allow  wind and whim to guide my path, choosing from one moment to the next when and where to make a choice.   The more research I did on India the more I came to understand plan is paramount. The county is so densely populated it is recommended you book public transport (trains are the best way to go in India) weeks in advance.  Weeks?! Hell,  I have changed my mind on direction in bus stations just cause the bus I wanted was full. Who wants to waste an hour waiting for the next bus when I can take a different one.

My mother is going to be 74 next month, we knew she may choose not to visit India a second time. I asked if there was anything she wanted, beyond a doubt, to see. Her reply was the ” Taj Mahal”.  Good Choice!

Several years ago Mom went to Thailand with me, the only thing she said she wanted to do was ride an elephant. I laughed thinking she must be joking. She wasn’t,  we found her a elephant to ride, have pics to prove it too. I figured if elephant was on her list last time perhaps we should add camel to this trip.

My understanding is India’s National parks are one of the few places one can see wild tigers.

The least expensive flights from Denver landed in Delhi.

These four points, (Delhi, Camel , Tiger,  Taj)  became the back bone of my first planned Itinerary.

Though I do buy and take a guide book (one never knows when ya might need one), most of the time I do not open them. I met a guy in Syria who was living by his. He complained it was not a current issue, I gave him mine.  Most of my research is done by way of computer before I leave, travel forums, travel blogs.  Amen to Google Images, type the name of anything or place, bingo!  images abound of what you seek. I found the “Well of Stairs” mentioned on a blog, typed it in to Google Images and poof. I gotta see that place.

I researched, planned, printed, and made choices. I found train numbers, schedules. I found out the new train from airport to town is finally running. I found the hotels I wanted to stay in, I found the sections of travel that would have to be done by hired taxi others by bus.  Three months later I typed up my fresh off the presses itinerary and posted it to two travel forums asking two things, is it possible and do I have all the info right. What I got back was “Itinerary seems cool but why don’t you get a comfortable car.”  Huh?!  “Ya mean drive it myself? or hire a driver? what would that cost?”  Thinking , Holy Crackers, drive it myself, no way! In the end what they meant was hire a car and driver. This way you can see more of the country, have a guide of sorts and most of all not have  worry about transport at all not from city to city, not from site to site and best yet not to the out of the way places.  Sounded good to be..what is that going to cost?

More research, more conversations via email and travel forum..one of the tour companies I contacted was Holiday Adventure Tours. Tarun,  was  attentive, considerate, accommodating and informative. I would get replies to my questions so fast I found a world clock to put on my computer, I wanted to know what time it was in Delhi.. several emails later I asked Tarun if he ever sleeps cause I was getting mails very late his time. I emailed Tarun my much belabored itinerary to see what he thought, he said “Thanks for your response towards us, we will serve you with our best. We can make your itinerary the way you want but the itinerary we will propose you is.”  Over the course of the next 40 something emails we hammered out a driving itinerary with his car/driver that would was feasible on the India roads. I will tell you, the plan he suggested was over night stops more often.. I am so very glad we took his advice, that 1st day on the road was a challenge, jet lag, no sleep and India roads..whew!!

by the by ~ the cost was worth every penny we paid Holiday Adventure Tours plus the tip we gave the driver.

Right then the final itineray before I left Denver was:

16 days in Rajasthan with a stop in Arga to see the Taj.

4 days in the north with Tarun.

Right then..here we go!

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