How to Reduce the Costs of a Trip of a Lifetime to India

How to Reduce the Costs of a Trip of a Lifetime to India

 

Traveling to India for the first time can be a daunting prospect and one in which needs to be planned meticulously to help minimize costs. If you live outside of South Asia then the chances are that such a journey will be extremely expensive and the focus on saving as much money during the planning stages are essential.

Taj Mahal India

It’s been well documented when it comes to travelers incurring additional costs when abroad and therefore eating up large parts of their traveling budget. The modern-day traveler has all the resources available to them via online websites offering useful information like what you will find in this article. So, below we have shared some useful tips to consider when devising your itinerary for your trip to India.

It’s also worth noting that many travelers never consider the lead up to actually getting to India regarding saving money, so this is the area in particular we will focus on.

Book hotels in advance

November and December can be extremely busy times for travelers in India so it’s best to book your hotels well in advance. Like when booking flights, make sure to book around 8 weeks before your date of departure. Leaving it late could result in higher costs or even worse, there could be no accommodation available at the hotel you wish to stay. Always use reputable travel websites like ours or Tripadvisor for the most up to date reviews on hotels.

Search online for pre-booking parking options

Horror stories are rife on the Internet of people arriving at parking lots and being startled by the costs of long stay parking. That’s why it’s best to take advantage of the ability to pre-book for most of the major airports services. Leading passenger hubs around the world, such as London Gatwick, have affordable short and long stay parking lots.  However long stay options will save you more money in the long run if you’re traveling for more than a couple days.

Download travel apps to save money

The savvy modern day traveler will never step foot on foreign soil without being armed with an array of useful travel apps in their armory. Top 10 Travel Apps published the essential apps for trips to India including apps such as India Travel Guide and Hindi Translation to help you on your way. This will eliminate the added costs of tour guides or buying city maps during your journey.

The above is an affiliate post written by Sam Channing.

Fun Activities For Kids Visiting Mumbai

Fun Activities For Kids Visiting Mumbai

Today I have a guest post from the team at Guiddoo, a travel planner app.  They have lots of suggestions for keeping children entertained in India’s glamorous centre of business and entertainment, Mumbai.  I hope you enjoy this great list of fun activities for kids visiting Mumbai!

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When you’re traveling with children, you would surely want a wholesome, fun-filled experience for your family. A city meant for all, there are plenty of amazing places and activities for kids visiting Mumbai that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Here are the famous places to look forward to when you’re in Mumbai.

A guid to fun activities in Mumbai with kids

Educational Activities in Mumbai

Teach Your Kids about Taxidermy

Your kids might not be interested in sculptures or historical artifacts kept in The Prince of Wales Museum but they should enjoy the Natural History section. Here animals, birds, reptiles and all life-size marine and animal life are kept on display. They also show you and your kids the process of taxidermy whereby these animals are preserved.

The Prince of Wales Museum

The Prince of Wales Museum

Experience the Marine World

Taraporewala Aquarium has an acrylic glass tunnel for you and your children to have a true underwater experience without even diving. They also have pools containing fish that your child can go ahead and touch. There is also about 400 species of fishes in lit-up tanks for the kids to enjoy.

A Trek amidst Flora and Fauna

There are more green areas in Mumbai than you can imagine from the roads and the smog.  One of the best of the lot is Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Take your kids for a walk in the thicket of trees.  Get them acquainted with a vast number of birds, dense wildlife and take a safari to see the lions and tigers.

You can also take them to the haven of aviators – Karnala Bird Sanctuary. You can trek there as your child stares in amazement at the pretty butterflies and falls in love with birds like Malabar Whistling Thrush, Paradise Flycatcher and Shaheen Falcons. The best time to visit visit Karnala Sancutary is from October to April.

For flamingoes you can head to Sewri Jetty to show your child the pink beauties squawking away as they enjoy the coastline. These flamingoes come to Sewri annually betweenthe months of November to March.

Learn as you Play

Head to Kidzania as your first learning hub where kids take up occupations as a part of a role play in the city and become a Construction Engineer, an RJ, a Surgeon, or CSI Agent etc. They also learn to, or pay to, get a service at the Culinary School, the Department Store, and a Driving School and so on. Its fun, interactive and the kids learn a lot.

Nehru Science Centre gives your child an opportunity to fall in love with science with the 500 interactive science exhibits based on energy, sound, mechanics, and kinematics and so on. There are also science expositions on various themes. If your child is more into stars then you can also take him to the Planetarium located nearby.

Nehru Science Centre and Planetarium

Nehru Science Centre and Planetarium

Farmer’s Market at Maharashtra Nature Park in Dharavi  is the best place to give your child a complete farm experience on a Sunday. You can not only show where the vegetables and fresh produce comes from but also make them learn how organic or chemical fertilizer free vegetables are better for them. Enjoy sumptuous meals cooked with organic vegetables at their café and make it a day of nature-filled fun and learning. The market shuts shop in monsoons and appears only between the months of October to March.

Pure Enjoyment in Mumbai

Theme Parks

Adlabs Imagica is a magical place filled with fun-filled rides, roller coasters, haunted house, themed attractions, and rides for kids of all age groups. You’ll have a mind blowing time there.  I assure you one day wouldn’t be enough to see it all.

Aquamagica is another venture by Adlabs which provide you water life unheard of and your kids are surely going to love it.

EsselWorld is yet another amusement park with some super amazing rides like bumper cars, spinning teacup rides and everyone’s favorite Thunder ride which turns you upside down. EsselWorld too has rides for all ages.

Water Kingdom is close to EsselWorld and is a water park with massive pools and water rides that will leave you refreshed.

Beaches and Promenades

Mumbai beaches are not the conventional ones where you go to get a tan or go for a swim. Here beaches are meant for family fun and where college kids and the like come to play and chat. You can take your kids to beaches like Girgaum Chowpatty where there is a section for swings and slides for your little ones. On Girgaum as well as Juhu the kids have open space to build sand castles, play with a ball and eat some sumptuous Mumbai street food. Do make your kids try the Gola (find what is Gola in the Mumbai Street Food Guide) made with pouring flavored syrups on ice shavings.

Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai

Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai

There are beautiful promenades like Bandra Sea Face and Marine Drive where the sunsets are absolutely beautiful. Your kids will love the waves of the Arabian Sea lashing against the rocks as they enjoy the beauty of nature in all its simplicity. Not just this, Experience at Marine Drive  is something one can never miss when in Mumbai.

Parks in Mumbai

There are so many gardens in Mumbai that you’ll get choosy as to which one to take them to. My first pick would be Kamala Nehru Children’s Park where a tall shoe house or boot house is the biggest attraction, at least for the kids. They can actually climb up inside and peek from the topmost window. Lush green beauty surrounds this garden which is also known as the Hanging Garden or the Shoe Garden.

Another option is Priyadarshini Park or PDP which is also a sports complex and offers scenic views of the Arabian Sea where you can perch yourself on grass, drink coconutwater and watch your child play.

Acquaint Your Kids with Performing Arts

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an annual festival held in February when the entire place is filled with art lovers. There are plenty of activities for children like theatre, puppet shows, cooking, story reading and much more.

If you’re not around in February then there are amazing theatres like Prithvi Theatre and NCPA (National Center for Performing Arts, Mumbai)  which organize plays that adults and kids enjoy equally as well as plays specially meant for children.

Let’s Play Some Games

Mumbai surely has a lot to offer and arcade games for children have advanced to a whole new level. At “Smaaash” you’ll find a bowling alley as well a virtual cricket simulator where your child or you are the batsmen and who’s bowling to you? That’s right, cricket legends (virtually though)!  Your kids will get a complete 360 degree experience. They also have a rooftop go karting arena, ziplining, interactive theatre and a mind-boggling racing simulator to keep  your kids hooked.

Cricket in Mumbai

Cricket, a national sporting obsession

Wow! Didn’t expect so much for your kids in one city, did you? This is why we say Mumbai is for one and all. Even simple experiences like riding in the local train can be fun with kids but for a more organised trip choose from the above list and have fun!

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If you enjoyed these ideas of fun activities for kids visiting Mumbai, you can read get more travel tips from the Guiddoo Team at their website or follow them on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Seven Reasons I Had An Unforgettable Trip To India

Seven Reasons I Had An Unforgettable Trip To India

Anyone who visits chaotic and colourful India will come away with a jumble of opinions, impressions and memories.  I, too, had an unforgettable trip to India a few years ago. Even now, the memories flicker in and out of my mind when I least expect it.  It’s the scent of jasmine, the intensity of bright colours in the sunshine, the rhythmic beating of Kathakali, and the taste of black dhal eaten on a candlelit terrace on a warm night.

Is my nostalgia because I doubt if I will ever return to India?  Possibly.  I’ve been living with an immune disorder on the back burner for many years. Unfortunately, my trip to India sent my health into a tailspin. I’ve promised my doctors I will never return to India because they had no idea what was wrong with me.  They took the usual approach of zapping me with every antibiotic known to mankind which eventually did the trick. It was a harrowing experience which none of us are keen to repeat.  Before you ask, I stayed in 5 star hotels and was very careful what I ate.

Reasons why India is unforgettable

Here are seven of my favourite memories from our 3 week trip to India:

Vanyavilas in Ranthambore

The Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambore was my absolute favourite of the hotels.  I know the Oberoi Udaivilas gets all the hype for being the number 1 hotel in the world, etc. but I preferred Vanyavilas.  A small hotel with tented villas and exceptional service, this hotel set the standard for me in terms of glamping.  My husband has pointed out that it was hardly what you would even consider glamping.  Exactly.

The Oberoi Vanyavilas Hotel

Image credit: Oberoi Hotels

The Ranthambore Tiger Preserve

During our three days in Ranthambore, our guides were finally able to find a couple of tigers for us to see in the wild. They were two young tigers who were left alone while their mother was probably out hunting. The youngsters were less than careful about staying hidden.

Tiger at Ranthambore Tiger Preserve

Image credit: TausP.

The Traffic and the Transportation

We survived Indian public transportation as well – the tuk tuk, taxis, trains and planes.  There was only one mishap when our flight from Mumbai to Cochin was cancelled.  I found Indian traffic very much an adventure in itself.  Indian cars drive down the middle of the road play chicken with the car coming opposite until at the last minute one of them swerves.  In New Delhi, we got stuck in a traffic jam with an elephant standing in traffic right by my window.  I can’t get my kids to stand still in a queue never mind an elephant.

Indian Traffic

Image credit: Harini Calamur

The Houseboat Trip in the Kerala Backwaters

For my birthday (I won’t divulge which one!), we stayed in a houseboat in the Kerala backwaters.  The landscape was exceptionally beautiful and even worth being bitten by a zillion mosquitoes.  Our houseboat people made a special dinner for us which we got to eat on the deck of the boat under the stars. My husband was given some of the local moonshine which he had to drink manfully.  Mercifully, I got to avoid the stuff.

Kerala Backwaters India Memories

Shopaholics Rejoice!

I also did some serious shopping.  For my birthday, I got a sapphire eternity bracelet from Jaipur which wound up getting stolen at a wedding in Oxfordshire. Grrr.  I found lots of great stuff just in the stalls, the roadside vendors and the stores. One of my favourite bargains was a trio of vases (lassi cups).  I couldn’t resist buying way too many of these plastic bangles which my daughter has loved for playing dress-up.

The Amazing Architecture

Everyone knows about the Taj Mahal. In fact, the Taj Mahal is probably the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Indian architecture.  As great as the Taj Mahal was, there was so much more to see though.  We wondered at the New Delhi buildings created by Edwin Lutyens for the British Empire.  Then there was Fatehpur Sikri the city created and abandoned on an Emperor’s whim for the Moghul Empire. Rajasthan seemed to be full of palaces everywhere you looked.

India Gate in New Delhi

India Gate in New Delhi

Delicious Indian Food

The food was exceptionally good from the vegetarian dhals of North India to the fried fish and chicken curry of Kerala.  I did not even miss the fact that I did not have any fruit or salad the whole trip.  My husband though was craving a salad. When we had our stopover in Frankfurt airport, he had a salad and promptly came down with food poisoning.  It was pretty ironic since he was not sick at all during the entire India trip.

Kerala chicken curry

Although I had an unforgettable trip to India I would love to return one day.  There are so many more fabulous places in India to discover that we did not have time to visit. For example, this India travel blog gives 10 different reasons the writer loves India. We overlap on some of our reasons (Kerala, Ranthambore) but she’s done some cool things I’d love to do (attend festivals, see the Himalayas).

Who knows?  I have been dumb enough to ignore doctors’ advice before. I may yet have another India trip left in me.  It will, however, take some extensive wearing down of my husband’s resistance.

An unforgettable Trip to India

The City Palace in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan

Is there anywhere that you have been that has been particularly memorable? I’d love to hear where and why it was so unforgettable.

 

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