India flights booked!

Credit card arrived and flights are booked!!!  I know I sounded like a complete blonde in my last post by knowing pretty much nothing about the benefits of paying by credit card, but in my defense, I have never had one and have lived the majority of my life in a country where everything was paid for in cash 🙂  Soooo, for people as ignorant as me –

Paying by credit card can give you valuable legal protection if the company you’re buying from goes bust or doesn’t deliver what it’s promised, and you may be able to claim a refund from the credit card company.

Problems that are covered

  • The company has failed to supply the goods or have supplied goods that are not up to standard, or
  • The company must have misrepresented what it is supplying or selling; for example, a software supplier that says a software package you’re buying will work with a particular computer when it doesn’t.

Now I know.  There are also perks that you get from your particular bank when paying for things by credit card (eg. discounts on hotel bookings).  I am not overly impressed by those offered by my bank, so perhaps should have shopped around.  However, in my “full of cold and sore throat” state, I figured that going with my current back was easiest and I just wanted to get the flights booked.  Prices go up every day (yes, the flight I looked at yesterday had gone up by £60 so I’m staying a day extra in India, yay!).  I can never sleep on planes, so I’m very excited to have a day flight back.  I’m hoping it’ll help with the jet lag as well!

Now I’m back on Pinterest and Google with renewed purpose – searching for tips on preventing Delhi belly.  My itinerary is pretty tightly packed for the first two weeks so I’d hate to get ill and miss something.  I have planned a few days in Dehli to start with (and I’ll be there for Diwali!!) so hopefully if I’m going to get sick it happens there and not on a bus or train.  I have to accept that it’s highly likely I will get sick, whilst at the same time taking every precaution not to.  A bit of a life metaphor I guess 🙂  So the plan of action is before I leave:

  • Start making and eating Indian food with herbs that are believed to have medicinal properties.  I just been reading about asafoetida, which I’ve never heard of before but is apparently very good for the digestion.
  • Eat live yoghurt and take pre-and probiotics
  • Get Dukoral vaccine for cholera and diarrhea
  • Take Pepto Bismol (which apparently turns your tongue black, sounds fun!)
  • Buy hand sanitizer and hand wipes
  • Buy water purifying tablets and a water bottle with filter
  • Buy rehydration salts and imodium
  • Ask doctor for a short course of anti biotics (not feeling hopeful on this one)

Oh, and some melatonin to prevent jet lag and mozzie repellent so I don’t get malaria!

Anything I’ve missed?  Probably….

Check list

So what planning am I doing 9 months before I travel?  Spending a lot of time on Pinterest for one.  Not that this is anything unusual mind you, but my browsing definitely has more focus than usual.  I have actually been surprised  by the lack of pins about Northern India, where to go and what to see.  I have come across a few “staying safe in India” blog posts which have been fairly generic and nothing revelatory, and I do wonder that people (especially single women) need to warned not to walk around alone at night?!  Maybe coming from a third world country has made me more aware of personal safety, but I think that can only be a good thing, especially when heading off alone to far away places.  The articles I have found most useful are of the “what to pack” genre and I have got some really good ideas that I think will make the whole experience so much better (packing cubes and travel sheets anyone?)

My Things to Do checklist goes something like this

  • Order credit card to pay for flights (done)
  • Book flights
  • Book and pay India Someday, for the awesome itinerary they have devised for me.  I still have a few pangs about not planning my own trip, but I have such a good feeling about this company and what they have suggested for me that I feel it’s the right thing for me.  Anyway, who am I trying to impress?  I know how to book travel and accommodation (in fact, I do it for a living) so I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, and if I can support a local business who has, I think, a fantastic thing going for them, then all the better.
  • Find out about vaccinations and get them done!!
  • Buy some Indian clothes (the plan is to buy a few kurtas and loose trousers or leggings).  It would be so cheap to buy them when I get there, but bargaining fills me with dread.  I know it is customary to bargain in India, however I just can’t stop feeling like I’m being rude, cheap and taking advantage.  I met a wonderful woman while working on an organic farm in Spain last year who told me that we should do things that are opposite to our personality in order to grow so I’m trying to see this as just such a challenge, I mean opportunity!)

 

As you can see, I haven’t done a great deal of actual doing.  I’ve had a sore throat and cold which has taken more out of me than it should have, and I’m waiting for my credit card to arrive.  I’m not sure of the exact benefits of paying by credit card (better security for your booking and good credit?), that’s still something I’m figuring out, but I know it’s a good idea!  Note. I do have the money in the bank – I’m not proposing you go and buy something you can’t afford!!

I’m looking forward to the moment when my flights are booked, because that’s when it all becomes real!  And then I can start buying clothes 🙂

 

The early stages of planning

I like lists, and planning.  Call me crazy, but I think half the fun of going somewhere or doing something is in the planning.  I will only be travelling later in the year, but by starting now I have a whole 9 months of excitement before I even step onto a plane!!  I’ll be running (walking?!) the Berlin marathon in September, but my first big trip will be to India sometime in October.  I usually plan the first few days of travel down to the last detail, then go with the flow as I get to know the country and meet other travelers.  This time, however, as a single female, the plan for this journey is to have everything booked before I arrive, so I can see and do everything I want with as little stress as possible.

India has been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember.  More recently I decided to complete a yoga teacher training course there.  As this has become the main focus of my trip, and it will only be my second time travelling alone, I have decided to keep it really simple.  I have contacted a local travel agency (India Someday), which I came across in another blog, and I’m hoping they will come up with a budget friendly, relaxed itinerary for me for 2 weeks to a month focusing on northern India (Rajasthan).  This means that all my accommodation and travel are booked in advance, I don’t miss out on anything, but most important, I have a contact in India in case anything goes wrong.   I will get to experience Delhi, Jaipur and the Taj Mahal and then I can easily get to Rikishesh where the yoga ashram is.