How to plan a trip to India

Trip Planning

India is a Shangrila for the western traveller. It offer the most adventure, the most adventure the most exotic romance of any possible travel destinations. Still at an bargain price Indian is become more and more popular with traveller as a must go destination. As an English speaking traveller you are in to a great advantage because English widely spoken in India as it is the official language of business and the courts. Indian especially are gregarious and love to meet new people by striking up conversation with visitors. The concept of 'travel as god' is still intact in many parts of India, do not be too naive though they are many bad people who will prey on foreigners. Over all India is safe by way of theft or robbery and thankfully it still an uncommon occurrence, you can feel safe to bring your camera or laptop and it should not be stolen.
Travel cost have risen especially if you plan on visiting the cities or popular tourist spot such as Goa or Manali in the high season. There is an estimate shortage of 500,000 hotel beds in India. Don't let this put up off guesthouse and hotel prices are still cheap by global standards. If you travel smart you'll find you can travel cheaply in India. A traveller can consider $20-$30 per day for a comfortable budget. Keep in mind your taste for alcohol or domestic flight will make a difference. Guesthouses on the budget comfort level will run about 400Rs – 1000Rs or $8 to $20 more in the cities.
It's only fair to warn you that travelling in India make take a bit of thick skin, a sense of humour and keen sense of adventure. Pollution is an ever present and growing problem in India especially in the cities, may make travelling difficult. Burning of plastic or garbage, poor water supply, noise pollution poor food quality are some of the problems a tourist must endure.

The weather and season that you come to India should be a concern, India can get too damn hot and wet and sometimes cold. Monsoon ends and the start of Divali in October is the classic time to begin an odyssey in the subcontinent. From the cool and green hills of the Himalayas or the dry dessert or down to the lush beaches in Kerala, lots of good stuff awaits you in India!


Planning you trip

The main criteria a traveller can consider when planning a trip to India are season, time and money.


The best strategy you can take in India is to travel when and where there is the best weather. This generally revolves around the north monsoon June to August when most people avoid to see the most of India.


Let's face it when people go on vacation they like to enjoy nice weather. In India follow the weather report.


October: Plains or mountains

November: Plains, mountains, mid south

June-Sept: Northern Mountains (Ladak, Manali)

December-March: plains, all of south.

April-May: Mountains perhaps Kerala than can have less monsoob but still hot.

The Mountains The incredible Himalayas are rich in culture, history and scenery. During the monsoon season (April to September) the plains will be too hot, reaching 45+C Many Indians take refuge in the cool mountains at this time. Although it does rain in the Himalayas up until the rain shadow in Kashmir and Ladak. During the winter months the mountains get very cold and but can offer clear views of the mountains if your lucky. Lodges are usually NOT heated or lack adequate insulation, most are made with concrete wall, keeping cold in. The best season in India for mountains is September to December when the monsoon has passed and the air is clear. No coincidence that this the time of Divali also known as the harvest season.

The Plains

Central India is generally dry and dusty but there is more forest than in the central parts. The best time to visit is September to-December,  the monsoon has passed and the sky is clear from dust, the trees are bright green.   Post monsoon there

will be many mosquitoes though.
December to March is still good, but can get cold, wet and dismal during the winter north of Delhi. In winter it gets cold at night but the mosquito will have died.
By February and March it’s getting hot, dry and dusty again.
April to June may reach ultra high temperatures, 45+ degrees. Followed by the monsoon rains.
The plains can also be noted for the high population and high level of pollution problems particular in the cities or towns.  It is better avoid the monsoon in the plains from April to September.


The South


The far south, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the monsoon rains end by December but it will still be hot and muggy. January and February being the cooler dryer months and are the best for traveling. The south is hot except for the Mountains areas such as Kodai Kanal at 2100m. The south Indian mountains can get down to 6 degree in the winter (Jan to Feb) which may seen too cold for some light feathered people.   South India Mountain station will be very crowded during the spring and summer with locals trying to avoiding the heat and smog.

South Indian Hindus culture is different to that of the North.  A Tropical feel and some of the friendliness of  folks compared to other part of India. The south is easier to travel because it offers many green hills and beaches to relax in.  Consider that the south starts in Bombay, Goa and then the far south Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bombay,Goa.  Monsoon pattern is different in the far south starting rain In September to December. Mosquito and sand flies will be a problem after the monsoon. December to April is the tourist season. By April it has become very hot in Indian and by June it may start to rain.


    TIP: During the month of October and around Divali the hill stations will be very crowded with Indian tourists which you may want to avoid. Also book trains maybe difficult. This festival seems to last about one month starting with Dussehra. It is also celebrated in Nepal so you can not escape. Goa too will see some tourist increase but not as much as the north.

Dates of Divali

2012 - Tuesday, November 13 2013 - Sunday, November 3 2014 - Thursday, October 23 2015 - Wednesday, November 11

Monsoon or not monsoon?

Generally speaking it is best to avoid the monsoon in India. However if your are the adventurous type and don't mind heat, humidity, rain, endless cloudy days you might want to give monsoon travel a try. There is the pre-monsoon when the air filled with dust and haze (probably the worst time.) The haze and dust start in February or March and it just gets hotter all over India. By May and June temperatures will reach 45' Celsius in North India! June start the rain which cools things down, some area such as in Rajasthan receive little or no rain, temperatures remain high until September.
One good think about when it is raining is that pollution levels go down as the rain clears the air. * Keep in mind that A/C is not always available, also there tends to be more disease outbreaks and other natural disasters during or after the monsoon.
* Goa and Kerala will be nice and green, but the seas will be rough and the sand flies will be horrendous.
Kerala has a different monsoon pattern with rain coming later from September to December, so many people will go to Kerala during July or August. * A major problem is LAUNDRY in the monsoon. There are no washing or drying machines and with it raining all the time all your cloths will soon be dirty and wet!


Asia Brown Cloud has set in by March! Dust and haze will make you feel ill and block the view. It will take rain from June to August to wash the sky, if the monsoon is heavy enough.

TIP: Travel during the monsoon is not only uncomfortable, it can also be unhealthy. Pre-monsoon there will be little fresh water for washing, and once the rain comes many dead things get washed into the river and into the local water supply.  You are more likely to become ill during the monsoon. Air conditioning is not widely available, transportation may suffer delays. Landslides are common in the Himalayas, wash out roads, buses and unlucky villages. You should be wary of living at the base of mountain the might suffer a land slide, also buses can more dangerous. Generally people like to plan a trip to India when the weather is at it's best. You may be lonely with out the regular tourists to make friends with. 

How much time do I need?


  There is natural tendency to plan too much. That's okay, just realize that once your India and start traveling around a bit you ideas will change; you'll become exhausted. For this reason you shouldn't got to gung hoe on the advanced bookings. How long of trip? At least 4-6 weeks is the minimum to enjoy a trip to India. Ideally 2-4 weeks per state over 6 month period. Although i think in the modern era, 3 months is plenty for a first
October to March is the classic cycle, with a nip over to Thailand for 3 weeks and then off to Nepal in March.    
    What? why you say? You only have 12 days? You only have 2 weeks? What's wrong with that?    

Problems with a short trip:

1.Jet Lag, if you are coming from North America or even Europe jetlag can be extreme, it may take a week or two just to get your sleeping on track.

2. Transportation. Indian roads and transportation is just not very reliable. So it is likely that travel times will take much long than expected and be more tiring than you expected. Going to too many places will become overkill,  especially as soon as your arrived in the country. If you only spend one day somewhere then go somewhere else, you'll miss the good stuff about India, the quiet times and spaces in between. Tip: Use ClearTrip to book cheap domestic flights in advance.

3. Culture shock. Takes some time to adapt to a new country.

4. Climate shock, weather, dust dirt. The heat can take some getting used to. 

    Where should i go for a short trip? Maybe Goa. You can do a short trip but try to keep it simple.  Also use airplane or short train travel to reduce overall travel times.


Domestic flights run 2500Rs to 4000Rs can save a lot of time and make India more enjoyable. But the trains is still cheap and great fun. The price of beer @120Rs and bottle might be a concern for some of you.
    15-30$ per day should be fine budget. Although costs have risen in India due to rapid growth and inflation!@


Accommodations will be your biggest expense in India. The reason is the rapid raise in domestic tourists who will compete to occupy the rooms. For a decent room it will now cost 400-1000Rs per night. In a city expect 800-1000Rs, in a small tourist town 400-600Rs in a premium tourist trap 600-1000. Supply and demand are the rule. Don't expect him to give the 150Rs a night you got five years ago.

In cities such as Delhi, Mumbai etc. prices for a 5 star reach $300 per night. A 600Rs room will be small, hot and noisy in Delhi. Better deals are found in the small parts. Also if you plan to stay long term you can always negotiate a cheaper price or even rent a house. Remember to always bargain, Indians love to bargain. Make sure you read How to Carry your Cash.

The Festival Traveler

        * Divali to Dushara: long stretch of holidays stretching for 3-4 weeks. Many Indians travel during this times. Loud Lulu and Drunk Devi. Rooms maybe scarce.
        * Camel festival: End of October in Pushkar, touristy
        * Ladak Festival, September


  * Christmas: where else but or Goa? Well anywhere with a large Christian population which includes Kerela and Tamil Nadu. Also Puri, Mamallapuram
        * Holi- Varanasi comes to mind. Anywhere in the north it will be celebrated with a vigor.
        * Kumbamela mini-mela: Sadhus babas hermits you name it - they smoke it! Varanasi
* New Years: Bombay comes to mind. Also Goa of course as Christmas. Small places such Puri or anywhere!

The Hillstation Traveler Interactive Map 

  The Fort Traveler Interactive Map

  10 Routes & Itineraries Interactive Map

Best of India 2014



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0 # soul hurry 2011-07-27 08:16
This is great info, a lot of people go to India and have not a CLUE what the weather is like. lol.

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