Not many people have the opportunity to travel to India. But for our Flightie Samantha, this was something on her bucket list. She recently made the trip out to this beautiful country on an Intrepid Travel tour and came back learning an important lesson: Always buy travel insurance!
India was always the holy grail, the golden goose for travel for me. It was a place that I only dreamed about going but never thought I would have the opportunity to travel to. So when the opportunity with Intrepid came knocking, I had no choice but to answer. Am I ever glad that I did because it was truly an experience of a lifetime!
My adventure started off in Delhi. From the moment I left the airport gates, I was flooded by unique smells and sounds. I was greeted by an Intrepid representative that guided my self and a fellow Flightie to our transfers. I was very happy that we pre-ordered a transfer, as it was a bit overwhelming. It was very late at night so I was unable to see much on our way to the hotel, Pooja Palace.
Filled with excitement I woke early the next morning eager to start the day. We had about 4 hours to kill so we decided to venture out into the bustling city of Delhi on our own. Unfortunately our first experience wasn’t what we hoped for, and soon learned how valuable our guide would be to us. On the plane ride over I was reading in my trusty Lonely Planet that often the Tuk Tuk drivers will agree to take you to where you want to go, and then half way there tell you that it is closed. In turn they will take you to a store or market where the shopkeepers will give them commission. Well that is exactly what happened to us. With a stern voice and much insisting we got him to take us back to our hotel.
Later that afternoon we met with the group and of course our guide. His name was Ni2 (that’s how he wanted us to spell his name), and he was one of the most interesting people that I have ever met. He was a very well educated 28 year old, who left the life of being a lawyer in India to be a guide for Intrepid. He was full of interesting and funny stories, and throughout the trip was everything from a photographer to nurse for members of our tour. In my opinion the trip would not have been the same without him and I am thankful that we had him as our guide.
Over the next 7 days our itinerary consisted of the “Golden Triangle” which is made up of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. We used every mode of local transportation to travel between these popular areas; their metro, trains, buses and tuk tuk’s. I loved traveling this way, as we were able to really experience the culture and their customs. For example we learned that on their metro system, men and women have to be separated on the train carts. As the population is so large, their transit system is very crowded. To avoid there being any inappropriate groping, they decided to separate the men and the women to provide a safer environment for the women. I found this so interesting; as most people have the mis-conception that India is an unsafe place for women.
Among the amazing sites that were along the way, my favourite experience was seeing the Taj Mahal. In my lifetime I have been fortunate to see many of the Wonders of the World, all magnificent and awe inspiring in their own way. However when it comes to beauty and serenity, the Taj Mahal has no competition. We arrived just before dusk, and were allowed to spend 3 hours on the property. I can honestly say that I took advantage of every precious moment there and that it was an experience of a lifetime.
The trip was fantastic in every way except for a stressful situation on the very last day. To sum the story up quickly, due to a long line of unforeseen circumstances, I missed my flight home. Ultimately there was a truck accident on the highway that lead us to be stuck in traffic on our way to Delhi from Jaipur. We were stuck in traffic for over 4 hours and evidently missed my flight. Thankfully I had RBC insurance and as we know a situation as this is covered under the Deluxe Insurance plan. I was able to call their 24hr line and they let me know what I needed to do. I ended up having to book a one way flight home for over $1100, not to mention my phone bill that I was racking up. Thankfully because I had RBC I was completely covered, and I will never travel without it.
I would highly recommend a trip to India for the curious and adventurous traveler, and I would undeniably recommend traveling with Intrepid Travel. They did a tremendous job with the itinerary, organization and hiring of enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides. This may be my only trip to India, but it will not be my last trip with Intrepid!
Samantha Osborne-Wong in an International Travel Consultant based out of our Fanshawe Park location in London, On and can be contact by e-mail, or calling 1-866-862-7015.