Indus Grand Tour

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who is heading on this trip from 11th December.

That should read India Grand Tour

Hi, I'll be joining the tour from 11th. Looking forward to it ... November can't rush by fast enough.
Byron

Hi Byron
Good to hear from a fellow traveller on this trip.
Really looking forward to it, some great sites to explore.

I'm flying out from Manchester.
Steve

Ah I'm flying from Heathrow. At a nice civilised time too.

Are you travelling solo? Have you been to India before? (I am, I haven't!)

Byron

My flight is 15:20 but I am lucky as I am flying business class, I like to treat myself!

I may spot you in Doha when changing flights!

I'm a solo traveller and this will be my second trip to India, I went at this time of year 4 years ago and some of the first part of this trip I've done so will be a great revisit for me.

Ranthambore is a bit of a highlight for me as we couldn't go the tiger trails in 2012 so hopefully this time with the 3 game drives we will see something!

Steve

Hi guys! My husband Richard and I, will be joining this trip.
We will arrive a few days earlier to get into the Indian rhythm.
We have both been to India several times and we both love it.
Really look forward to all of it as it has been too long since our last visit ( 2003).

Good to hear from another traveller.

I'm sure it'll be an amazing trip.

Steve

Hello, I will be joining you. Its my first trip to India and really looking toward to it. Wendy

Nice to hear from you, getting exciting now!

This will be my first trip to India too, although I live in Los Angeles I am still a Brit. As I am almost 12 time zones away I am sure I will be sleeping during the day and awake all night to start off with...

Richard

It looks like there are a good few solo travellers on this trip and some new to India, not that I am any expert only having been once before.

Do those of you who have traveled to India before have any top tips for us first timers ? I do tend to pack everything including the kitchen sink so any advice would be appreciated on things like the availability of laundry services etc

I've just returned from an exodus trip where I overpacked. Exodus kindly provided a large complimentary bag which I took as a challenge to fill. I used about a third of the packing... the remainder I rather uncomfortably hauled on and off transport unnecessarily. I'm going to try and be ruthless with what goes in the bag this time. Though I've never been away for a month, so temptation to take the kitchen sink too is strong. It'll fit!

Great to read the messages from other travellers. Very much eager to meet you all.

Byron

I normally do as you do but I have had a major rethink, I am travelling much reduced with lightweight clothes that can be easily washed and dried quickly.

I am positive there will be plenty of laundry services but I think the issue could be with getting them back with the limited time we are in any particular location (aside from Goa). I'm sure our local guide can help on that.

I think the packing list and travel advice on here is very useful. Knowing how hectic Delhi railway station is and the fact we have to carry our own luggage and try to keep it secured, travelling as light as possible is a way to go with it.

Hi there

Just a quick message, wondering what plans any of you may have about currency on arrival. With the issues, I'm sure our guide will have tips once we are with them, but anybody planning to join a que at the airport for exchange? I've seen a picture this morning of the 2 hour que at Delhi airport for money, hence asking!

Byron

Hi Byron
I was planning to try and get some from the airport as you get a receipt from them so you can change any leftover back on departure.

Not so sure now?

Steve

I am worried about the money situation, I am not travelling on the group flight so I don't think I will queue for 2 hours as my transfer might wonder where I have got to ! I am hoping we will be able to get some money changed at the hotel, I am sure our guide will help us. I am trying to get some 1 dollar bills which might be acceptable in some circumstances.
Wendy

I'm just back from a different tour to Northern India. The currency situation was a constant pain.
I changed £50 (the max) at a terrible exchange rate at the airport. Got 2 x 2000 rupee notes. These were very hard to use as noone had any change. Basically the group needed to group together and take turns to use one. I did not change any other money during the tour as ATM queues were big.
Just used credit card. This did prove limiting when you wanted a small note just for this and that and to buy a beer for example. I would try to get as many 100 rupee notes at the airport as possible.
Having said that, the guide did an excellent job helping out where he could.
Hopefully the situation will continue to improve.

I am going to try (despite the various restrictions) getting some Rupees here in the US before I fly on the off chance I can get enough to see me through the first couple of days. My flight supposedly arrives at 2:40am on the Monday so hopefully the queue will be shorter, otherwise it is an ATM at the airport.

Seems like the money could be a big issue.
Hopefully we can sort something but thanks for the information Pete, looks like credit card is the way to go.

I called Niraj at Exodus and he says the that the exchange desk at the airport should be fine, the situation is improving and many hotels exchange money too. He was encouraging. Despite that, I'm reading reports more like Pete's message above... Smaller buys will be difficult which seems limiting in how I can support thier tourism economy. I guess there are bigger issues at stake for them, so I'll rely on VISA and patience.

Hi All.
Chaya and I have arrived a few days early and we are at the Taj Princess Hotel. Just a heads up on the cash side. Exodus sent out an email regarding this, which we received when we arrived at the hotel!
Cash is available at the airport, before customs. You can only get around 5000 rupees per person and you'll lose around 450rupees in charges. We arrived at 1am and waited for at least half an hour, probably longer. There are cash dispensers around - the one on the other side of customs was empty. Queues at banks outside the airport are very long. We heard that some people queue for 4 hours in Delhi.
I just called reception at the Taj Princess and they are not exchanging. Only official agents are exchanging but long queues. Long queues at cash dispensers the limit is around 3000 rupees.
We have not yet looked into the cash card that Exodus has advised.
When you take cash at the airport, ask for small notes, at least 10 x 100 rupees plus the rest. The official taxi stand advised he didn't have change - the taxi to the hotel is 500 rupees.
Ok, good luck. You are allowed to bring 25000 rupees into the country so if you have the possibility to exchange before, make sure you don't take 500 and 1000 notes.
Rich

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