††††††††††† Our trip to India was simply wonderful, and
OAT was a good travel company.† They
really took good care of us and cost a lot less than most others.
we did right:
We had our digital cameras set for the maximum
quality and resolution.† You can
always go down in quality, but you canít go back up.
We did not use hard-sided luggage.
We carefully read over the OAT recommendations on
what to pack.
We packed our luggage with great care and
we did wrong:
We didnít need the tripod.† We
werenít allowed to use it in the few places we wanted it.
We brought a lot of
$1.00 bills, hoping to use them as tips.†
In reality, this is a large tip and itís better to leave a 20-rupee
note, which is worth about 47 cents. †Itís more practical to get travelers
checks, cash them, then try to get change at the
hotels, banks or wherever you can.
middle-weight rain gear, but we never saw a drop of rain.† I didnít even see a single cloud for the
first two weeks of the trip.† So
this was dead weight.† Of course, if
youíre going in the monsoon season, good luck to you.
What we brought:
Hostess gifts for the families who brought us
into their homes.† It doesnít need
to be expensive, but I recommend something they canít get in India.
Two digital cameras.† This gave us the freedom to take as many
photos as we wanted and not have to pay for film or developing.† We only print the ones we want for the
photo album.† We briefly considered
taking only one camera and sharing it, but this would have been incredibly
frustrating for both of us.
A computer with adequate hard disk space and
equipment for downloading photos from the camera.
Duffle bags for our clothes and personal
affects.† We double-bagged our
things.† That way, when we bought
goods, we had two spare duffle bags to hold the merchandise throughout the
Purell hand sanitizer napkins for sterilizing our
silverware before meals.
We used malerone, but doxycycline
works as well.† Just take the pills
on a full stomach.
A large stash of biscotti snacks from Samís Club
for when we got hungry or needed a taste of home.
A medicine pouch with ibuprofen, antacid tablets,
Zantac, cough drops, sore throat lozenges, anti-diarrhea medicine, sterile
needles (for emergencies).
Deet bug spray.
Clothes appropriate to the weather.† I brought one pair of light jeans, one
pair of shorts, two pairs of pants that have zip-off legs so I can use
them for shorts.† I also brought
pajamas, seven pairs of sox, and underwear.
Small notepads and paper for note taking.† This is the first trip Iíve ever done
such a thing, and it was really helpful.
A secure, zippered way to keep money and credit
cards secure and out of reach from pickpockets.
A tiny LED flashlight for looking behind locked rooms
in dark crypts, palaces and such.
I really liked our little Orchha
extension to complement the OAT trip, and it would be simple for OAT to
add an abbreviated version to their itinerary and it would only extend the
trip by one day.† OAT already takes
the same train from Agra to Jansi.† Instead
of getting off at Jansi, they could get off at Orchha, take a bus tour of the Orchha
area, then drive down to Gwalior.† They could fit in the Jain temples, the
Fort and possibly the palace of the Maharaja, then overnight in Gwalior.† Next day, drive from Gwalior to the next stop
rather than from Jansi.† Easy to add.
OAT needs to tone down
the ďfactoryĒ stops.† Some were
good, but there were way too many and they were way overpriced.† It would be best to drop about 25% of
the most expensive factory shops.†
This just ate away precious time that could have been used
SujayLall gave me his
mobile (cell-phone) number in case people want to reach him to arrange
trips.† However, he pretty much
exclusively tours for OAT.† The
number is: (0) 9810488864.† In Delhi, you donít have to dial the leading 0.† His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org/
DuniRana at Journey
Masters can also help potential travelers to India arrange tours, trains and hotel rooms.† His number in Delhi is: (0) 9811171495.† He can arrange a wonderful trip,
complete with guides, but send the money to his Delhi bank, not the New York branch office.†
His e-mail address is: email@example.com/
Donít forget that India is the other side of the world, so day is night
and night is day.† Donít call
someone there at in the afternoon, because it will be for them.†
The best time to call is early morning, like or late at night, like .† If you
communicate by e-mail, donít expect a reply until the next day.† This makes communicating very tedious,
so give yourself plenty of time to plan things out and get questions
answered.† Even so, if Sujay is leading a trip (and he almost always is), you
might not get a reply for two weeks.