A trip to India is not something which is part of your common vacation itinerary. It’s not something like taking a flight from Cincinnati to Chicago or to any other U.S. destination. Those would be just domestic destinations, whereas India happens to be an International destination in a totally different time zone and thousands of miles away. Your trip needs careful planning way ahead. You would be flying to a different continent, experience a different culture, different demographics with a brilliant array of colors, splendid beauty, aromatic smells and a serene environment.
Be prepared. Research and get to know about the country. Learn a few words or sentences in Hindi, the National language, such as “Namaste”, for hello, “Aap kaise hai?”, which means, How are you? and “Dhanyavaad”, for Thank you. You could also probably ask somebody, “Gaadi kab ayegi?”, which means, when will either the bus, train, taxi, car or jeep come? “Gaadi” just means a vehicle! You can easily communicate in India with a lot of people, since most people speak or are quite fluent in English, besides speaking their mother tongue. There are 18 or more official languages and more than 1,000 dialects, with each of the 29 states speaking its own dialect.
Before you book your tickets, contact your nearest Indian Embassy or Consulate, regarding Visa requirements for your trip. A U.S. Citizen is required to hold a valid Indian Visa (Tourist) by paying the required fees to the respective Consulate. Applicants from Cincinnati, Ohio should contact the Indian Consulate in New York at www.indiacgny.org. You will have to take pictures, send your original U.S. Passports (returnable) and also pay a courier fee for Travisa Outsourcing, since the Consulate has outsourced certain services. Indian citizens, holding a Green Card are exempt from visas. An e-mail service is available as well.
Next step would be booking your air tickets. Booking your tickets through a recognized travel agent is highly recommended. It helps you keep your itinerary well organized, get probably cheaper rates and if you are lucky, you might even get more selections on flights. In Cincinnati, Ruby Travels, based in Mason is a reputed Travel Agency. They are specialists in Cruise and vacation packages, besides offer discounted International airfares. Ruby travels could be reached at Rubytravelsagency@yahoo.com. You always have those popular online travel sites such as kayak.com, Vayama, Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline.com, besides Delta.com offering the “Best Fare,” Guaranteed. Ticket fares are cheaper in August-September, compared to June-July, being the peak season, when schools in U.S. are closed.
If you are already enrolled in a Frequent Flyer Program like Delta Skymiles (Northwest) SkyTeam or Star Alliance (United and Lufthansa), besides able to fly other qualified airlines in the program, you could also save a lot of money. Try searching for your bargain or almost free tickets, months in advance. Popular destinations don't last for a long time! A round trip on Coach to Mumbai via Paris from Cincinnati on Air France, with 80,000 saved Delta Skymiles in February 2007 was able to save more than $1,000.00, except paying international taxes, less than $90.00, which was a great deal! Delta has since simplified miles redemption policy and has more tier levels, where you could even pick your seats online. To save more money or avoid extra fees, don’t book your tickets through the telephone Reservation system, but try Delta.com.
The Cincinnati Airport is in Hebron, Kentucky in Kenton County and serves the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky passengers, apart from visiting travelers and people taking connecting flights through CVG. TANK buses are available from Cincinnati and Kentucky. There is plenty of transportation available with local taxis, rental cars and comfortable accommodation available, nearby. For more information on the Airport, go www.cvgairport.com. More tips to come..