Do I need an itinerary? - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

Do I need an itinerary?

#1 Jun 14th, 2005, 07:47
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  • Eirik is offline
#1
I am slowly planning my first trip to India in the fall. I spend a few weeks in Thailand before arriving in Mumbai in late September. Two months later, I fly out of Mumbai...everything in-between in wide open. Do I need an intinerary? After reading loads of book about India, and religiously reading posts on this site, I am throughly overwhelmed. I am planning on buying a indrail pass so I can pretty much travel freely. I am afraid that if I plan my trip too much without actually having stepped foot in India, all the planning will go to waste. I spent a few months in Europe this fall, and my itinerary changed...probably once a day. I would love to just show up in Mumbai, and play the rest by ear. If I like a place, I'll stay, if I don't, I'll move on, meet other travelers, see where they've been etc... Is this a feasable idea? Will I have a better idea of where I want to go when I am there? Does one meet a lot of travelers while there (I assume so)? Any advice would be amazing.


Also, I know this is kind of an odd question, but the American in me wants to know if I can find peanut butter there at all. Just wondering
#2 Jun 14th, 2005, 08:14
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#2
Don't know about peanut butter, sorry Cashews are a big thing in the south btw (nuts, cookies, you name it), not necessarily very cheap either.

I personally like to have some general idea of where I'd like to go then take it from there and diverge all I like. You're visiting not just a country mind you, it's about as big as Europe.

I'm not sure if with the Indrail pass you don't have to book all your journeys which sort of defeats the purpose, hopefully others can advise. You'll generally get around booking your rides (don't forget about buses) as you go, you may get stuck for a couple of days sometimes (seldomly really) but in two months' time it won't be much of a hassle I think if you prefer your freedom, you can often get a bus via place Y to place Z for instance instead of the direct train from place X too.
#3 Jun 14th, 2005, 08:18
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#3
Peanut Butter is pretty much available in supermarket chains. Not in small towns.

On the contrary to your idea, it is better to have a high level plan, like what kind of places you like to see, what are must sees for this trip, what cities/places would like to visit. The number of days in each place you want to be can be fluid.
Once you reach Mumbai, you have other things to take care. Since two months is not a very long period, it is better to have some high level plans. If you are going for like 6 months etc, then you can leave everything open.
Take care.
#4 Jun 14th, 2005, 08:21
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#4
I don't know why people think the Eurail pass exists in other regions in the world - it doesnt. Not to say that you can't train around India but it all depends where you are going. Going from Chennai to Agra for example, would be an extraodinarily long trip.

Choose an area of India you want to visit - either North India or South India. Buy a guidebook based on that. You don't have to have a set plan but I would think it better to have some notion of where you want to go.

As for peanut butter - yes you can get peanut butter in India. Grape jelly may be harder to find.
#5 Jun 14th, 2005, 08:26
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by rv224 I don't know why people think the Eurail pass exists in other regions in the world - it doesnt.
The Indrail pass exists for sure.
#6 Jun 14th, 2005, 08:56
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#6
Indrail pass is just to make the fare cheaper than the cumulative trip fare.
But there are other hassles like the reservation etc. Not so clear. Steven_ber should be able to answer.
#7 Jun 14th, 2005, 09:11
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#7
I often read here peoples plans for their trip... a new town, a new train or bus every single day solidly for a month.
And then I've talked to others who remind me that India is not Europe. You can't do things too fast, and the journeys are hot and bumpy and exhausting.

So I've also been making an Itinerary, but I've been ruthlessly trimming it back. Less places, more time in each place, with perhaps day journeys off to the side if energy and enthusiasm permits.

I guess it also depends on whether you are 18 or 40 years old too.
#8 Jun 14th, 2005, 09:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emjoi So I've also been making an Itinerary, but I've been ruthlessly trimming it back. Less places, more time in each place, with perhaps day journeys off to the side if energy and enthusiasm permits.

I guess it also depends on whether you are 18 or 40 years old too.
It also depends to a great extent on the climate. A stay in the hills in the right season can make a 40 year old feel like an 18 !
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !
#9 Jun 14th, 2005, 09:25
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#9
I like the Indrail passes very much because -- having paid for it in hard currency -- there are almost always berths available for persons holding this pass.

Yes, you will still have to fill in the form and stand on line for reservations -- that will not change. But even at Diwali time, you will get a reservation!

Which class of Indrail pass do you plan to get?
#10 Jun 14th, 2005, 09:56
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#10
I'm not entirely sure which pass I want...still have to research it some more. Not the AC class, and not 2nd class, so whatever is in the middle. I'm not sure if first class, ac 2-tier, ac 3-tier, and ac chair car are all different passes, or if they are all included in one. I should really look into that....
#11 Jun 14th, 2005, 10:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eirik I'm not entirely sure which pass I want...still have to research it some more. Not the AC class, and not 2nd class, so whatever is in the middle. I'm not sure if first class, ac 2-tier, ac 3-tier, and ac chair car are all different passes, or if they are all included in one. I should really look into that....
The indrail pass fares for AC 2-Tier/AC 3-Tier/AC Chair car are the same, so that makes your task easier. However, what is more important is whether you should really go for one, or buy point to point tickets as required.
#12 Jun 14th, 2005, 10:24
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#12
1st class, ac 2, ac 3 and chair car are all the same price, but are they all the same pass? Or do I have to choose between a 1st class pass, ac2 pass, ac3 pass or chair car pass?
#13 Jun 14th, 2005, 10:30
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#13
You can buy a pass for 2AC; this will entitle you to travel by 3 AC and CC too.

See this excellent thread on the indrail pass by steven_ber :

http://www.indiamike.com/india/showthread.php?t=1795





EDITED to remove highlighted words from linked page. (steven_ber)
Last edited by steven_ber; Jun 14th, 2005 at 12:26..
#14 Jun 15th, 2005, 03:05
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#14
With two months, No you do not need an itinerary. Go where the wind blows you.
Reject violence.
#15 Jun 16th, 2005, 11:49
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#15

Air Deccan may also be an option

Why buy a rail pass when you might want to fly! Some flights on air deccan are cheaper than a train trip.

Don't confine yourself to just one area as flights get you across and up and down the country cheaply & quickly. There's a lot of India you'll miss in overnight trains just as much as you would, flying! Have a great trip and get a good guidebook like Footprint and read up on places that might interest you.

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