I made the decision and finally bought our tickets for our fall break. We are going to India! It’s not a new destination for us, so it was not easy to convince the family of the merits of returning. But after being away for a little more than 2 years, I really miss it and *need* a visit to my home away from home.
Never one to miss out on travel experiences I cannot go to India and “just” see the places we have been before. I need to add something new to my travel list. Both my husband and I have been to Kerala before, separately, but it has been more than 10 years for each of us. My son’s only requirement for this trip was “somewhere hot, but not too hot and animals”. Kerala is the perfect choice. It is India-lite as I like to call it. There are plenty of hill-stations with not so hot weather and there should be plenty of opportunities to see animals for my park ranger in training pre-schooler.
The plan at the moment is to spend a week in Mumbai visiting friends, getting health care at a low cost and eating our favorite food, followed by a little more than a week in Kerala.
The annoying things of planning a trip to India after no longer living there is that we must get visa’s and we have to think about travel vaccinations. Which is what most visitors obsess over from afar.
Getting a Visa for India:
Getting a visa for India used to be straight forward and very quick from the SF consulate, but things have changed (and will probably change again by the time this post is published). We will now need to drive to San Francisco at our given appointment time to hand in our paperwork. We can do it through the mail, but I have waited a little too late since my husband has a foreign passport that we feel safer handing it in, in person in case there are any missing documents. It is estimated to take 2-3 weeks for my husband’s visa since he is not a US citizen. (note to self: don’t wait so late in the future!). My advice, check out your country’s visa requirements well in advance and apply at least a month in advance or more if possible. Indian visa’s also come in multiple forms. At the very least, get a 6 month multiple entry visa and if you think you might go again, splurge for the 10 year tourist visa so you don’t have to worry about it again for a long time!
I know in my mind that we will be fine, but now that we have lived away from India for 2 years our bodies are no longer quite as used to the water, food and weather. Also when you travel you tend to be in less desirable locations that when you are living there. After consulting with our friends who still live there, we have decided that the only vaccination that we need to update is typhoid. Several friends and friends of friends have recently contracted typhoid in Mumbai, so we feel that is the safest way to go. We will not be getting malaria tablets as we proscribe to the method of avoidance rather than pre-treatment. This is a tough decision when you have children, but we feel confident that it is better to continually be prepared and avoid the mosquitos since there are other diseases you can get from mosquito bites that have no cure.