Planning vs Spontaneity in India

Aug 16th, 2011, 08:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 5
Planning vs Spontaneity in India

My wife and I are planning our first ever trip to India in the fall. As I consider options for hotels and domestic travel, I am torn between wanting to get all of our hotels, flights, cars & drivers, etc. reserved in advance versus leaving some things to chance.

While planning ensures we get the hotel rooms we want, spontaneity leaves us flexibility in our travel schedule. Having never been to India (we have traveled extensively elsewhere including China and Vietnam), I'm not quite sure which is most important.

Any advice (either philosophical or practical) on how to handle this dilemma in India would be much appreciated.

Trip details so far (things that won't change):
* In India from mid-November into early December.
* Flying into Delhi and out of Mumbai.
* We want to spend roughly the first half of our trip in and around Delhi/Golden Triangle and roughly the second half in Kerala.
* We plan to look for upper mid-range hotels.
Xunzi is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,134
I'm a strong believer in lining up your ducks before you go. Sometimes it's possible to rearrange a schedule a bit once you're there and encounter a place that you either love or hate. To me the overhead of planning on the go is just too much. We've done it and I regret the time spent trying to figure out where to go next, where to stay, etc. I find it so much easier to plan at home than on the road, even in easy destinations. Last fall I wasted an entire morning trying to line up a place to stay in Turin since I had succumbed to the desire to be flexible.

I hope some of the less regimented travelers chime in so you get a more balanced view.
Marija is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
india---there is a huge shortage of hotels...plan totally in advance...

sheratons provide good value at a medium price level for india...delhi hotels are outrageous...

i would hire a car and driver to get you around... i use castle and king for this service and for other help... google them..
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,924
You must book in advance. Hotels and trains especially are sold out weeks in advance. Train travel is big among Indians, so it's not just other tourists you're competing with for space.
Jaya is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 02:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,490
When I first visited India in 2001 I traveled with very few hotel reservations (I did have train reservations) but it was right after 9-11 and very few people were traveling. When I went back late last year I had hotel reservations and needed them. I would not do your itinerary on your dates without reservations.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 05:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 5
Four experienced India travelers are telling me to plan ahead. I'll take that as a sign.

Thanks, everyone!
Xunzi is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 09:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 300
Partly because you are traveling during prime tourist season, and partly because you want to save all of your time in India for enjoying India, it's best to have hotels, flights and train reservations booked in advance.

Believe me, even with your reservations pre-booked, you will have your hands full in India with so much other stuff.
Enjoy your planning.
magical is offline  

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