Today’s blog post is the first one about my upcoming India trip! As I am writing this it’s only one week until my flight and I still haven’t really realised that I am actually doing this! So today I am going to tell you all about the pre-departure stress of the last weeks!
I booked my trip at the beginning of September at STA Travel in Cardiff. I have always wanted to go to India and having met some very lovely Indian people at uni, I got more and more curious about visiting this country. So when I had enough savings, I decided to just go and do it. Having split up with my boyfriend earlier in the year, I did need some distance and what’s better than flying half across the globe?
Having never done a backpacking trip before (well, Macedonia was kind of a backpacking experience) but wanting to see as much of the country as possible, I decided to book a guided tour that takes me through northern India and to Goa for a month.
I start my trip in Delhi and then leave from Mumbai where I’ve got a friend from uni. Although I would love to see the south, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well, I haven’t made any travel plans for going there yet. But, I do have a flexible flight on my way back and am hoping to meet some nice people on the trip who might want to go further. I did consider doing it on my own but I concluded that India is probably not the safest country for someone who doesn’t have much experience. We’ll see how everything goes when I am there I guess!
When I booked this trip I was totally aware that it would be different from any other trip that I have ever done and that there were loads and loads of things to consider before flying. The three most important for me turned out to be the following:
I knew that I had to have a few vaccinations but I never knew that it would be quite as difficult. When I decided to go to India, I also knew that I was going to leave the UK soon to go to Germany and live with my parents to save some money on rent. However, you do have to get multiple shots for some vaccinations. I did get the vaccinations for Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid and Hepatitis A in Cardiff and I also got the first of two Hepatitis B shots in Cardiff. But then I had to find a doctor in Germany to give me the second shot for Hepatitis B. Thankfully, my old doctor in Germany was kind enough to offer doing them for free, I just had to pay for the vaccination medication itself which was quite expensive. My doctor also convinced me to get three shots of the vaccination against rabies as it can be quite common in India. I have got 7 out of 8 vaccinations so far and will get the last one next week. For someone like me that absolutely hates needles, 8 vaccinations in 7 weeks definitely aren’t fun!
I am not sure why, but I was most petrified about not getting my visa in time. I went to the consulate in Frankfurt a month before I left and the application process was super easy and it took them only 3 days to process it. The confusing thing is that if you apply for the visa in person, it only takes 3 days but if you do it via post, it takes 2-3 weeks! When I wanted to pick it up on Friday in the same week, the consulate was closed due to Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and to top it off, my bus back to Koblenz was 4.5 hours late! The following Monday I was however able to pick it up and so relieved to finally have it!
My Cardiff housemate Tine went on a huge backpacking trip a few years ago through South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand and advised me to get my backpack from Deuter and to go for the 45l +10 size and for one especially designed for women. So when I was in Frankfurt I picked up the Deuter ACT Lite 45 + 10 SL Backpack. I tried it on in store and even with 15kg inside, I was able to carry it comfortably.
In the next post about my trip I am going to show you what exactly I am packing for my one month backpacking trip!
Have you ever gone backpacking? Did you find the pre-departure organisation bit as stressful as I do?