India 2021 - NEED ADVICE

Old Jul 26th, 2020, 03:43 PM
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India 2021 - NEED ADVICE

Hello! Thank you in advance to anyone who assists - I am a late 40s woman looking to travel to India in October 2021. Iíve traveled extensively all over the world, but never to India and it has been a dream of mine for over a decade. My spouse has no interest in joining me. Can you guys recommend a female-only small group tour company that is reputable and reasonably priced? Ideally I would like to go with a small group of women, or I would love to find one woman who has traveled India previously and is also looking for a travel companion. If only there was Tinder or Eharmony for travel companions
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Old Jul 26th, 2020, 04:51 PM
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Can't help with "female only" (even though I am one), but I would go with Intrepid - https://www.intrepidtravel.com/us

You might find something here: https://www.cntraveler.com/package/women-who-travel

I have traveled solo in India, but it is not a safe as I would like, and these days I would arrange a car and driver. There are a number of companies that have been recommended here, and it is not as expensive as you might think.
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Old Jul 28th, 2020, 08:51 PM
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Another option could be to engage a female escort for the tour. She will join you in the morning and after the day's sightseeing, take your leave when you have returned to your hotel. However, this could be convenient arrangement when no internal flights are involved.
Enjoy your travels!
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Old Jul 29th, 2020, 06:55 AM
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This is a women only website to find travel companions:
https://www.thelmandlouise.com/en-gb/

I met up with a Canadian woman while we were both in Mexico, we got together a number of times and are still in touch so from my one use of the site I'd recommend it.
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Old Aug 31st, 2020, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Spazzyspinner View Post
Hello! Thank you in advance to anyone who assists - I am a late 40s woman looking to travel to India in October 2021. Iíve traveled extensively all over the world, but never to India and it has been a dream of mine for over a decade. My spouse has no interest in joining me. Can you guys recommend a female-only small group tour company that is reputable and reasonably priced? Ideally I would like to go with a small group of women, or I would love to find one woman who has traveled India previously and is also looking for a travel companion. If only there was Tinder or Eharmony for travel companions
You may try Veena Travels or Thomas Cook India.
Veena Travels has various customised and package tours for families and only women too. Thomas Cook also has a range of tours. If you take a package that suits you, you don't have to worry about an only women's tour. They are reputed, safe and comfortable and also reasonably priced.priced.

You may have 1 or 2 bases.
You may do one trip to Rajasthan, Agra... You may skip Delhi or just use it as a transit point, if you are short of time. You may take a 10-12 days package tour starting from Delhi or Mumbai.
You will also like Kerala.
Goa is fun but more for the locals or hippies. You can get better beaches elsewhere in the world.
Hampi is an offbeat but beautiful destination. It is a lost civilization and a megapolis in olden times. You may look for my travelogue on Hampi.
I am an avid traveller and a die hard fodorite based in Mumbai. Of you need any help in planning or booking, please let me know.

IIndia unique and different than any other part in the world.
It gives you much more than just sightseeing.
It is quite safe. I travel all the time with my wife and 2 young daughters.
you must try to convince your spouse to join you.
Show him a ppt presentation on Rajasthan and Kerala.
Best time for you to travel is November and Jan Feb. December is too touristy and pricey.
You will love India... Whichever way you go...
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Old Aug 31st, 2020, 02:07 PM
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Sorry, but I entirely disagree that India is "quite safe" for a woman traveling alone. I have done it, in 2001 and 2010, but I am reluctant to do it again. The fact that an Indian man traveling with his family feels safe is irrelevant to a foreign woman traveling alone.
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Old Sep 20th, 2020, 07:58 PM
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do they open for tourist now?
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Old Sep 20th, 2020, 11:39 PM
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The good news is that the weekly caseload figures are now showing a downward trend. Hopefully in a couple of months, we should put this scourge behind us.
The economy is gradually picking up. The Hotels are now open and so are the restaurants, clubs, sports stadiums etc. The senior schools will probably open in October.
Taj Mahal and other well-known monuments are going to open today, the 21st Sept.
Keep an eye for your Travel Insurance vendors green signal. The moment they agree to cover your travels, it should be time to start planning. At this stage, only essential travel is possible.
We are nearing the end of a strange, dark tunnel...Happy travels!
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Old Sep 21st, 2020, 09:30 AM
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Thank you VP for the updates.

I think we will be all glad when 2020 is over with hopes that 2021 brings better fortunes for us all.

We can always hope!
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Old Sep 21st, 2020, 12:14 PM
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It took almost six months for India to record 1 million cases on July 17. Then, it took another three weeks to hit 2 million, 16 days to reach 3 million, and only 12 days to pass 4 million in early September.
...
Even when India isn't facing a pandemic, only 86% of deaths nationwide are even registered in government systems. And only 22% of all registered deaths get an official cause of death, certified by a doctor, said community medicine specialist Dr Hemant Shewade.
There are a few reasons behind this. The majority of people in India die at home or other places, not in a hospital, so doctors usually aren't present to assign a cause of death.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/11/asia/...cli/index.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...vid-19-crisis/

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronav...ed-by-covid-19
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Old Sep 21st, 2020, 08:32 PM
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Hi OP SS,
Absolutely positively, 'car & driver' is an excellent way to go for anyone, but especially for an individual female. You'll be surprised at just how many extra of the car/tour company's reps will materialize along your route, say just after you've arrived at your hotel. Thus the value-for-money is outstanding. As for organized groups, they too can be a worthy consideration and I concur with Thursday's 'Interpid'. Is their old Brit competitor 'Explore' tour company still operating?

If you choose to include Udaipur on your itinerary, I'd be happy to pass along the name and address of a local shop-keeper there who allows for travelers to visit his private morning sarod rehearsals at his home. He and his wife and kids are pleasant and welcoming types. *We got that tip from an old 'Lets Go' guidebook, of all places!

Do keep an eye out for whether the Lonely Planet site's 'Thorn Tree' forum comes back to life. It is closed down now and its reopening remains unclear. The India section there is a great place to ask questions such as yours.
Good luck.
I am done. The end.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 04:29 AM
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Explore still seems to be in existence. I had a less than stellar experience with them in Jordan and would not use them again. Admittedly that was in 2009, but a friend used them in Central Asia in 2016, and that didn't sound too good either.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 09:44 AM
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Hi Thursdaysd plus OP SS, what follows is lengthy.

My wife and I plus our Canuck pal, actually had a spectacular experience with Explore in the oases of Egypt way back in the early '90s. Our enjoyment then had a lot to do with their great Brit guide on that trek, Richard Ledbury. He was excellent. Our Canuck pal had just undergone a divorce. Richard noted that fact and so did his best to surreptitiously hook the pal up with the only other non-Brit among our troupe, a young lady from NY. Our pal and that lady have been married for over 20 years now!

That lady herself was already an experienced traveler and she had an amazing tale about a previous Explore trek in India that had gone terribly wrong. The Explore guide there in India had taken advantage of the fact that the tour was to be his last with that company, so he broke rule and brought along his girlfriend. The guide and his gal were so mediocre in their service, that there soon was a mutiny among the travelers, who basically told the guide to get lost (he did) while they took over to manage the remainder of the tour themselves. Thing is, our NY lady was seriously ill just then. Apparently, the troupe placed her under the care of some local villagers in the middle of nowhere, then took off upriver! Seems she woke up from her delirium to find herself alone/apart from the troupe 3 days later. Tres etrange.

OP SS, I wish that I could remember the exact name of the specialist India travel site that was often recommended and linked over on the aforementioned LP Thorn Tree India forum. Maybe it was 'India Dave'?? In any case, a Google/web search for the site would be worthwhile. The site offered a ton of very good advice and there is no doubt that you'd get valuable, up-to-date extra input there. 'Dave' and his various contributors seemed the undisputed heavyweights of travel advice for India.
I am done. The end.
You will have a great time in India someday!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 11:45 AM
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The site is India Mike: https://www.indiamike.com/

So, you are reporting one good experience and one bad with Explore, both fairly old. Not encouraging. For my experience with them start here: My mixed-bag month in the Middle East
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Old Sep 24th, 2020, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by zebec View Post
Hi Thursdaysd plus OP SS, what follows is lengthy.

My wife and I plus our Canuck pal, actually had a spectacular experience with Explore in the oases of Egypt way back in the early '90s. Our enjoyment then had a lot to do with their great Brit guide on that trek, Richard Ledbury. He was excellent. Our Canuck pal had just undergone a divorce. Richard noted that fact and so did his best to surreptitiously hook the pal up with the only other non-Brit among our troupe, a young lady from NY. Our pal and that lady have been married for over 20 years now!

That lady herself was already an experienced traveler and she had an amazing tale about a previous Explore trek in India that had gone terribly wrong. The Explore guide there in India had taken advantage of the fact that the tour was to be his last with that company, so he broke rule and brought along his girlfriend. The guide and his gal were so mediocre in their service, that there soon was a mutiny among the travelers, who basically told the guide to get lost (he did) while they took over to manage the remainder of the tour themselves. Thing is, our NY lady was seriously ill just then. Apparently, the troupe placed her under the care of some local villagers in the middle of nowhere, then took off upriver! Seems she woke up from her delirium to find herself alone/apart from the troupe 3 days later. Tres etrange.

OP SS, I wish that I could remember the exact name of the specialist India travel site that was often recommended and linked over on the aforementioned LP Thorn Tree India forum. Maybe it was 'India Dave'?? In any case, a Google/web search for the site would be worthwhile. The site offered a ton of very good advice and there is no doubt that you'd get valuable, up-to-date extra input there. 'Dave' and his various contributors seemed the undisputed heavyweights of travel advice for India.
I am done. The end.
You will have a great time in India someday!
Thank you for sharing this remarkable story.

You just never know when the right one comes along.

Probably referring to India Mike.

All the best.

Larry
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Old Sep 25th, 2020, 07:36 AM
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Yo JW! Yes, it was India Mike, as thursday has noted. Btw, Mrs Z and I are currently taking our baby steps in finally learning how to scan old slides and analog photos. Cannot wait to get my India collection up into LightRoom, the layman's PhotoShop. Whereas I've recently posted Photo Essays here in the France and Italy sections, my best work was actually done in India.

I am done. The images.
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Old Sep 25th, 2020, 08:08 AM
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I will look forward to that!

Did you see my post about the new and vastly renovated Chandi Chowk in old Delhi? You may like it.

Cheers.

Larry
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 06:28 PM
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I did hire a guide & car the last time I was in India but I have also traveled with Overseas Adventure Travel (their small groups are capped at 16). They have a group tour-- Heart of India-- that has a women-only group going to India (Oct 5-21 2021): https://www.oattravel.com/trips/land...s:asia:hoi2021.
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 08:24 PM
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I went on one OAT trip, and you couldn't pay me to go another. The guide was bad, the itinerary was badly organized, the food was dumbed down for foreigners, and the paid-for business class tickets for the return flights turned out to be on standby.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 12:27 AM
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My good friend- a seriously independent traveler- went on an OAT tour to Machu Pichu last year and loved it. the trip was supposed to have 12 people, but they ended up with just 6 or 7 women. She had nothing but praise for OAT, which seeing as she always badmouthed tour groups, impressed me!. She was supposed to go to china in April, but that didn't happen. They did refund her money quickly, and offered credits for when they do the trip again. She has almost talked me into going on that trip with her!
I have a feeling that group tours depend a lot upon the guides, the group dynamics and sheer luck, like many non-group tours.
After about ten trips to India over nine year, both solo and with either a DD or DH on each, I don't think I'd do India solo again. Not totally due to safety (but it is a concern), but traveling in India is HARD, especially if you go off the beaten path. It can really wear you out sometimes, so it's nice to have a partner (or two) to offer support!
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