India on $100 a day HELP

Sep 11th, 2006, 05:31 PM
  #1  
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India on $100 a day HELP

I am on a budget of $100 a day which includes internal transport, hotels, drivers and transfers. I am travelling through the Golden Triangle and perhaps Pushkar or Varanasi. Custom tours exceed this amount and tour operators don't seem to want to book just hotels or flights. Any suggestions on how to go about planning this trip. I am starting to feel overwhelmed.
landini is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 05:48 PM
  #2  
 
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You could try http://www.rajasthantravelservice.com/ - they were pretty reasonable when I used them for part of my trip back in 2001. You could also buy Lonely Planet or Footprints or Rough Guide and do it yourself. I used an Indrail pass I bought from http://www.dandpani.dircon.co.uk/ who also made all my train reservations. India really does not have to be expensive. There are also tour companies within your price range - see http://intrepidtravel.com/trip.php?r...india&code=HSC There is an in-progress trip report on this board from someone traveling with Intrepid.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Plenty of people go to India on less per day. The cheapest I think is to find accommodation as you go along. That way you can check it out in person before you commit. Also, many of the budget places do not have any internet presense at all.
Try reading indiamike.com Excellent website with a wealth of information.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 11:28 PM
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If you want to travel on US$100 a day for hotels, meals, long distance and local transport, admission fees to sites (admission to the Taj is like US$18) you should probably take the words "driver" and "flight" out of your vocabulary, and the whole thing will become much more doable. Unless you can get very very cheap flights indeed (which are hard to find unless you are an NRI), you will find train fares are much cheaper. Fro example, the most expensive second class train fare from Delhi to Jaipur is about US$17 (first class is about US$22), you will be very hard pressed to find an air fare to match that and IMO won't find a car to be any cheaper. Overnight trains will also save you hotel charges for a night. Drivers for long-distance are not really economical, unless there are 3 or more of you and even then I don't think you can do it on a budget of US$100 a day.

Get the Lonely Planet guidebook which will be invaluable to you for restaurant reccos and hotels. I disagree with Kim and think you will find that even the smallest home stay will have an e-mail address (but not necessarily a website) which you can contact before hand to make a booking. India is extremely wired to the Net. Check the Lonely Planet guide. Another very good book is Alastair Sawday's booked called Special Places to Stay India. I just bought this for a friend of mine who moved to Mumbai, this has literally hundreds of very interesting places to stay, many in the range of less than US$60 a night and several in the range of less than US$30 a night.

For local sightseeing, you should be able to hire a local car and driver for about US$12 a day in Delhi and the same or a bit less in other cities.

You do not need a travel agent to do any of this. Train bookings can be made a day or so before a trip, or just at the station (other than overnight trains where advance booking is a good idea). Hotel bookings I would make as soon as you can, esp if you are traveling in high season, as even the cheaper hotels can get booked out. To make bookings, you will find internet cafe in many places, including in and near train stations where you can book ahead for your next destination, or book entirely before you leave. If you take flights, you can make these bookings yourself as well.
Cicerone is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 11:30 PM
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Try contacting Vini here

Email: [email protected] or web site: http://www.vinstring.com./main.htm

My daughter and her 20 classmates had been
using his services for the previous four months. He booked school travel and also all their personal trips. Being poor college students, many of their budgets were about $50 total for the whole 3 or 4 day trip. They all loved Vini, cause he made it happen!
I also used him on one of my trips and although our budget was a lot higher, I was just as pleased with his choices.

Are you by yourself? If so, you will most likely need to do more trains than drivers. Trains are very cheap, colorful, and friendly in India.

Tell Vini where you want to go and give him your budget, and he can make plans that will work for you. He will will book what you want; didn't give us any problems even though I had booked some of the internal flights and hotels prior to working with him.
lcuy is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 11:38 PM
  #6  
 
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Cicerone and I were posting at the same time...I agree with everything she says, but I also know that I was totally overwhelmed planning my first trip to India. Having the transportation and hotels done up front was a huge relief.

How long are you planning to be in India? If a long time, you might just book the first half, and leave the second half open... do check out IndiaMike.com and the LP guideboook for good budget travel ideas.
lcuy is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 06:24 AM
  #7  
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Thanks so much for the feedback. I only have 10 days in India, so I want to make the most of my time there. It seems like preplanning hotels and transport will make my trip more enjoyable, just trying to figure out the best way to go about it, without committing to a full tour. When booking flights and train reservations, how do you get your tickets? Through mail or pick-up in India?
landini is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 06:50 AM
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I have always done train bookings from within India, and frankly have always used a hotel to do the booking. They buy the tickets and deliver them to the hotel and charge them to the room. If your hotel does not have a travel desk, then you can go to a travel agency in any city who can issue you tickets right there. You can also just go to the train station either before the trip of the day of the trip. Unless you are taking a night train, you don't need to make a reservation for a train, so if you have not already had your hotel or a travel agent purchase them, you can just buy tickets when you arrive at the station.

For intra-India flights, you most likely will have an e-ticket and you will have paid for the ticket by a credit card via the airlines website. India is in the 21st century just like the rest of the world. (Other than Indian Airlines which may not do this.) Go to the websites of the airlines you are interested in and take a look. If you can't be issued an e-ticket, you may have to use a travel agent in the US to issue you a paper ticket. I have not lived in the US in many years so don't know the process, I don;t have any probelm getting travel agents here in Hong Kong to issue tickets.

With 10 days, don't try to do too much. The Golden Triangle, Pushkar and Varansi IMO is way too much (assuming you mean Jaipur, Undaipur Agra by Golden Triangle, and do you also mean Delhi?). Pick about 3 places, maybe 4 at most if you can fly (but there goes your budget...). You also don't mention time of year, unless you are there in winter, heat will slow you down. Even in winter, transport delays can occur, and even without that, you want to see and remember things, not it be a big blur.
Cicerone is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 09:02 AM
  #9  
 
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landini - as i said above, I booked all of my train trips, mostly night trains, ahead of time when I bought my Indrail pass - for a two and a half month trip, can you tell I'm a planner, lol. But I changed some of them in India, usually in person at the station. But with only 10 days follow cicerone's advice and have a travel agent or hotel do it for you, as doing it yourself can be verrrry slooow.

The Indrail pass is like a Eurail pass, good for a certain number of days in a certain class. You'd have to do the arithmetic to see if it's worthwhile for you, and you have to buy it ahead of time. I would recommend 2AC or maybe 3AC class. 1AC is double the price and not worth it - you'll freeze to death & its full of business travelers. Many people swear by 2nd or sleeper class, but I'm too fond of AC.

I only booked a few hotels before I got to India, but for a 10 day trip it makes sense to do it ahead of time. For $100/day you're not going to get the Lake Palace Udaipur, or the Oberoi, or an AC Land Cruiser with an English-speaking guide and driver, but it's still a gracious plenty for India.

I notice that the people who sold me my Indrail pass also do prearranged hotels and transport for what looks like very reasonable prices (even allowing for the current dollar-pound exchange rate!) See http://www.dandpani.dircon.co.uk/tailor.htm
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 11:22 AM
  #10  
 
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Vini picked me up at my hotel and drove me to their office since I wanted to pay all with a credit card (and they dropped me off to go shopping afterwards!).

If you'll be paying cash, he'll just meet you at your hotel and trade tickets for cash.

Most agents will do this.
lcuy is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 04:51 PM
  #11  
 
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You could travel comfortably in that budget . check with [email protected] . we have travelled with them in past & found them very cost effecive for the budget .
sums is offline  
Sep 17th, 2006, 12:10 PM
  #12  
 
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Pick a point of entry e.g.Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, etc. Plan on staying there for a couple of days. Take your itinerary to a couple of local travel agents. It is doable on US$100 a day. Overnight trains (book early for lst class) are a great way to save on accommodation. Be prepared to bargain. They want your business. Enjoy!
travellinbug is offline  
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