Monday, June 2, 2014

Planning for India

Friday night and Saturday were spent at home doing NOTHING other than working on trip planning.  (Sunday was all running, Chinese dumpling fest with neighbors, Chinese class, and blueberry festival menu planning, I'll have to post about that separately.)

In terms of trip planning, we accomplished two main things.  We narrowed our flights to two basic options.  And we narrowed our list of possible destinations to a list that is close to do-able. 

We've both gotten clearance at work to leave on October 8, so I'm hoping that we'll have some concrete plans (cities, maybe some hotels, transit between places) by the end of June, and likely flights booked across the pond by mid-June. 

As for flights, we have two basic options, and I'm torn.

Option One Cons:
Takes longer to get to Stop One (likely Kathmandu or New Delhi). 
Airline will be very average and unremarkable. 
Flight is earlier in the day on Wednesday (I have to work that day, it's not so early it's unmanageable, but it would be tough).
Slightly more expensive (difference is negligible).

Option One Pros:
Miles.  About 16,000 of them on my first choice airline.
New to me country.  We'd have about 14 hours in Qatar (why it takes longer). 

Option Two Cons:
No miles.  Well, 16,000 of them in an airline network that is fairly useless to me.

Option Two Pros:
Flying in the lap of luxury (Emirates airlines).
Faster (regardless of whether Stop One is Kathmandu or New Delhi)
Cheaper (by the tiniest bit)
Leaves Wednesday night, allowing a full and honest day's work. 
Layover on the way home in Dubai, somewhere I'd love to see, new to me country.

Thoughts?  It really comes down to how much are those miles worth for us.  It would buy me another year of elite status basically. 

As for destinations, this is how it shook out for us:

90% certain we will visit:
Agra/Taj Mahal

50% certain we will visit (no chance we'll have all of these on the itinerary, but maybe some):

90% certain we will not visit (i.e., places we cut from the list of options): 
Ajanta Ellora 
Lakshadweep (island) (no visit permits being issued!!)
Jaisalmer (too close to Pakistan per husband)
Andaman and/or Nicobar
Amristar (too close to Pakistan again)

If you have any experience or thoughts on these options, I'd love that as well of course. 

Definitely starting to get excited.  Possibly buying plane tickets in the next couple weeks.  It's almost shocking how many hours of two adults researching non-stop it took us to come up with the info I summarized above.  Researching flight options, researching cities to try to decide which ones we want to visit, sites of interest. 


  1. Ooohhh I love travel talk. I have never visited India, but I work with a woman whose parents are from India and still has a great deal of family there. I work with her tonight. Also my sister has been to Goa, Taj Mahal and I believe Jaipur as well. I'll get some information from her.

    Last year when we were trying to get back to Mozambique for the holidays it took me months of searching flights. In the end my husband got laid off and flights skyrocketed at the time we were planning to travel. A reasonably priced Egypt Air flight with a long layover in Cairo kept appearing in my search. I was excited because I found that we could easily see the pyramids and get back to the airport in plenty of time for our next flight. However, every time I tried to book the flight it didn't actually exist and I couldn't reach a person by phone. It was bizarre!!

    Flying in style sure sounds appealing. I've heard Emirates is amazing, but I do understand how valuable those miles are and that is certainly a lot of miles to pass up. That's a tough one.

    1. I would greatly appreciate any insight your coworker or sister have -- whether those places should stay on the list, how long (for time-crunched people) to see the highlights, anything in particular they think we might not know to check out but should. I'd love it all! Thanks! We've definitely found some listed itineraries or fares that were not actually available, much like your Egypt experience, so frustrating!

  2. Sounds like an awesome trip, either option you pick. When you talk about a 14 hour stay in Qatar, is that trapped in an airport, or do you at least have the opportunity to pop out and see an attraction or landmark?

    1. Think we should be able to get out of the airport for a while in Qatar, so I'm considering it a pro (being stuck in the airport that long would stink, no matter how great the airport is). They do visas on arrival there, so we could at least get a taste of the place