23 Responses

  1. Gene
    Gene at |

    @ Seth — Visiting India was your primary mistake. I won’t be returning there. The place is disgusting.

  2. David
    David at |

    Your report is the third one I have read in recent days from experienced travelers visiting India. None of them have pursuaded me to add India to my travel plans. Then again, India has never been on my high priority or medium-priority target list. It’s a big world out there and I am fine going to other corners of the planet that fit better with my travel style.

  3. Kate
    Kate at |

    I first went to India on an around the world trip backpacking the summer after graduating from college. I traveled on a backpacker’s budget and did fine. (Youth is amazing) Last winter, much older, my husband and I spent almost two weeks in India on another around the world trip after our younger child started college. We traveled in the way the miles and points obsession makes possible, along with the money from being older. We flew into Delhi from Kuala Lumpur and spent the night inside the airport in a holiday inn before flying to Udaipur the next day. Even that overnight was exhausting, with numerous military check points to navigate before being able to check into the hotel. The air quality was 450 so I was glad we were not staying in Delhi.
    Arriving in Udaipur I confess I was surprised with no sidewalks basically anywhere. We ended up hiring a car and frequently a driver and separate guide almost everywhere we traveled.
    We didn’t get sick, part luck of course, and partly that we were fanatically careful, basically eating with great discretion at the hotels. During the day, we frequently had a prepackaged ice cream and nothing to drink so we wouldn’t have to search for a toilet.
    So many amazing sights, we visited Udaipur , Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. ( we got really lucky with Delhi in that it had rained immediately before we arrived and the air quality was ok. )
    We flew everywhere except the train from Agra to Delhi, and even though we had arranged for a car from the Marriott Meridian to pick its up at the train station, it was still really difficult finding the car and driver, and I don’t know how we would have without the kind help from a compassionate young Indian woman. I feel very conflicted about whether I will return. The filth in the countryside on a day trip outside of Udaipur was hard to bear. For people who only do the golden triangle, I guess it’s better. I also had no idea that rabies is the colossal problem that it is with perhaps tens of thousands of people a year dying from it, not that anyone would know the true figure. We felt sad and pessimistic for India when we left. I hope we are very wrong in that assessment. There’s so much to see there.

  4. DaninMCI
    DaninMCI at |

    India is hard for sure but travel burnout is a very real thing. I like the honesty and reasoning behind your blog post. I can’t wait to hear more on DLD podcast.

  5. debit
    debit at |

    No shame in admiting defeat. These trips really show who you really are. You have found you are no backpacker, and that’s fine.

  6. Ramesh Taklu
    Ramesh Taklu at |

    Yeah, most of India is not viable for budget travel – too many risks. I always make sure to stay in 5 star hotels and always hire a luxury car/driver. And only eat well cooked meat in nice places and drink bottled water – no exceptions. And no AirBnbs.

  7. RapSavedMe
    RapSavedMe at |

    Couple things:

    1) Getting sick – any ‘seasoned’ traveler would know not to drink anything that isn’t out of a plastic bottle or eat anything that may be the result of unfiltered water i.e. ice cubes, lettuce/salad, food that isn’t cooked at high enough temperatures, etc. This is all fairly common sense for well-traveled folks. There are plenty of ‘safe’ authentic road-side experiences you can have with a 5 minute Google search pointing out specific vendors in any city.

    2) Travel – Travel delays/cancellation happen everywhere in the world. There are plenty of credit card insurance policies in place that cover these (which is something you must have obviously used given the content on this site). Not sure why this is being addressed as a systemic issue specific to India. Everyone is frustrated by travel issues, but the tone here sounds somewhat disgruntled and looking to place the blame and frustration in an illogical manner.

    3) “…rarely a destination many speak of in the same breath as relaxation. Incredible, beautiful, powerful, emotional and more. But rarely relaxing” – You verbatim said “We also failed to plan time for relaxing” and then said “And also we don’t generally spend our travels sitting on lounge chairs by the water. For two of the weeks we were trekking above 10,000 feet with temperatures dropping below freezing at night”.

    You then proceed to say the country is not relaxing as a result of your planning methodology and that a mysterious group of “many people” has said this. Mumbai, Udaipur, Jaipur, Amritsar all have incredible places to stay, dine, explore, and relax, for every budget. By traveling there on a USD budget and a depressed INR, even a 5-star experience would be a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S.

  8. reeder
    reeder at |

    I’m not a lounge chair vacation person, either, and have accepted that I am happier if I give myself a “day off” every so often when traveling. Yes, I might pay a lot to travel and at some point I’ll want to watch stupid tv re-runs in my room (even bring my own downloaded shows). I call it vacation from the vacation.

    The getting sick thing – I don’t quite agree with the criticism. My Indian born colleagues and their families expect some sort of tummy trouble when traveling to India, even if they’re fanatically careful. I think people get worn down by the travel and busy schedules. Their travels are rarely relaxing because people are there to see family and friends, often spread out or in a harder to reach area.

    Nothing wrong with being ready to go home. Hope you have a good New Year!

  9. Karen
    Karen at |

    You make a good point about taking time just to relax. One of my favorite memories is of just sitting in the shade by the Marina Barrage and watching the world go by. Sometimes we try so hard to see everything and do everything when there can be so much pleasure in just being.

  10. DLD 273: Outsourcing your holiday mess making – Dots, Lines & Destinations

    […] Seth ended his extended trip earlier than expected, and it is not entirely India’s fault […]

  11. DLD 273: Outsourcing your holiday mess making - Wandering Aramean

    […] I ended my extended trip earlier than expected, and it is not entirely India’s fault […]

  12. I'm flying to the "wrong" city this evening - Wandering Aramean

    […] change, and also my recent adjustment to the South Asia itinerary got me to thinking. Between standby, same-day change and just buying new tickets I think […]