India Spring Break
This compact Indian journey will introduce you to three very different northern cities and the colorful rural life of Rajasthan. From the hectic pace of Delhi, with its bustling markets, magnificent monuments and colonial past, travel by private transport to Agra and the mesmerizing beauty of the Taj Mahal—truly one of the wonders of the world. Discover why Jaipur is called the Pink City and get a taste of village life in Abhaneri with its magnificent stepwells. Photographers and culture lovers won't be disappointed on this classic adventure.
GEEO and the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on this program. In addition to the local guides arranged by GEEO, you will be accompanied by an academic representative from the University of Texas, who will help you process the experience for your classroom.
This program is open to all educators and their guests.
March 8 : Delhi
Arrive in Delhi at any time. Some of you may be arriving very late in the evening.
March 9 : Delhi/Agra
Visit Old Delhi by subway, explore the spice markets or opt to visit Jama Masjid and Connaught Place. Drive to Agra in the afternoon
March 10 : Agra
Visit to the famous Taj Mahal, Baby Taj and Red Fort.
March 11 : Bharatpur
Stop at Fatehpur Sikri, the now-deserted former capital of the Mughals. In the afternoon, we arrive at Bharatpur where you can relax or take a rickshaw ride in Keoladeo National Park.
March 12 to March 13: Jaipur
Visit the Palace of the Winds and wander the organized streets of the 'Pink City'. Enjoy a visit to the Amber Fort, famous for its mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Option to watch a Bollywood movie in Raj Mandir.
March 14 : Delhi
We return to Delhi in the afternoon. Enjoy an included walk through the backstreets of Delhi with a young adult taking part in the Planeterra-supported New Delhi Streetkids Project. As a former street kid, your guide will offer a unique insight into the real Delhi.
March 15 : Delhi
Today is free to explore Delhi. There will be an optional day tour offered.
March 16 : Delhi
Depart at any time.
March 8 : Delhi
Welcome to India! Arrive in Delhi at any time. There are no planned activities, so check into to the hotel and enjoy the city. Check the notice board or ask reception where and what time the group meeting will be held. Chances are the group meeting will be held on the morning of day 2 as most flights get in after midnight.
March 9 : Delhi/Agra
This morning we dive into the heart of India’s capital to explore Old and New Delhi. Visit Delhi’s famous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and climb the minaret for a bird’s eye view of the old city. Walk through Chandni Chowk, one of India’s oldest and busiest markets, and learn the history of the Sikh religion at the important Gurduwara, (Sikh place of worship). Stop for photos at the colorful spice market before finishing at Connaught Place, one of the most prominent architectural remnants of British rule.
The Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, commonly known as the Jama or Jarna Masjid (Great Mosque) of Delhi is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Masjid-i-Jahan Numa means "mosque commanding a view of the world, " whereas the name Jama Masjid is a reference to the weekly congregation observed on Friday (the yaum al-jum`a) at the mosque. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and completed in the year 1656 AD, the Jarna Masjid is the best-known and largest mosque in India; its courtyard can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers. The mosque houses several relics in a niche in the north gate, including a priceless copy of the Qur'an written on deer skin.
The Sikh holy site of Gurdwara SisGanj stands at the site where the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was beheaded in 1675 on the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to accept Islam. During a time when the emperor was waging a war against Hindus, Guru Tegh Bahadur argued for freedom of worship and was executed as a result. Before his body could be quartered and exposed to public view, it was stolen under cover of darkness by one of his disciples, Lakhi Shah Vanjara, who then burnt his house to cremate the Guru's body. The severed head (Sis) of Guru Tegh Bahadur was recovered by Bhai Jaita, another disciple of the Guru, and cremated by the Guru's son, Gobind Rai, later to become Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last Sikh Guru.
The giant circle of New Delhi’s Connaught Place, sitting at the center of any map of Delhi, radiates with roads like spokes from a wheel. The circle’s obviously Victorian architecture was modeled after the Royal Crescent in Bath, England.
In the afternoon we will drive to Agra, which will be a good time for you to catch up on sleep.
Drive time : Approx 5 hours 210 Kms
March 10 : Agra
We see sunrise this morning in the Muslim city of Agra a city that is best known as the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. We visit the great icon of Mughal architecture the Taj Mahal in the early morning for the best light- be sure to have plenty of memory in your camera! This afternoon we visit I’timad-ud-Daulah, also known as the ‘Baby Taj'. It was built before the Taj Mahal by Nur Jahan, Queen of Jehangir, for her parents. The first Mughal building to be faced with white marble and where ‘pietra dura’, (precious stones inlaid into marble) was first used. We also ride one of the cycle-rickshaws to visit the Agra Fort.
Constructed between 1631 and 1654 by a workforce of 22 000, the Taj Mahal was built by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz had already borne the emperor fourteen children when she died in childbirth, and it is the romantic origin of the Taj as much as its architectural splendor that has led to its fame worldwide. Actually an integrated complex of many structures, the Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, itself a combination of Islamic, Hindu, Persian and Turkish elements.
The walled city of the Agra Fort was first taken over by the Moghuls, at that time led by Akbar the Great, in the late 16th century. Akbar liked to build from red sandstone, often inlaid with white marble and intricate decorations, and it was during his reign that the fort began changing into more of a royal estate.
However, it was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan (who would eventually build the Taj Mahal) that the site finally took on its current state. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan preferred buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems, and he destroyed some earlier buildings inside the fort in order to build others in his own style. At the end of his life Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the fort by his son, Aurangzeb. It is said that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal.
The fort was also a site of one of the most important battles of the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company's rule in India, leading to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.
March 11 : Bharatpur
This morning we travel to Bharatpur. En route we will stop at Fatehpur Sikri, the now deserted former capital of the Mughals.
The political capital of India's Mughal Empire under the reign of Akbar the Great (1571-1585), Fatehpur Sikri was eventually abandoned due to lack of water. Considered the crowning architectural legacy of Akbar (who also built the Red Fort) and still almost perfectly preserved, today the site is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The building material predominantly used is red sandstone, quarried from the same rocky outcrop on which it is situated. In its day, Fatehpur Sikri shared its imperial duties as a capital city with Agra, where a bulk of the arsenal, treasure hoards, and other reserves were kept at its Red Fort for security. During a crisis, the court, harem, and treasury could be removed to Agra, only 26 miles away, less than a day's march.
In the afternoon you have the option of visiting Keoladeo National Park. Now declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, duck-hunting reserve of the Maharajas is one of the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. Some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian Crane, have been recorded in the park. We will overnight in Bharatpur.
Approx Travel Time: 2 hours
March 12 to March 13: Jaipur
Depart early morning to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. En route we will stop in Abhaneri. Abhaneri is supposed to have been established by Raja Chand. Many believe that Raja Chand was in fact Raja Bhoja, a celebrated king who ruled over the Gurjar kingdom in the 9th century. Abhaneri was earlier known as Abha Nagri or the city of brightness. Today, this ancient village is in ruins but yet attracts many travelers from all across the world.
Close by the Harshat Mata Temple is the step well Chand Baoli, belonging to the 11th century AD. The desert kingdom of Rajasthan has many such tanks which served as community centers, and constructing them was considered an act of great generosity and benevolence. These baolis or step wells were no ordinary structures; they were marvels of architecture. The Chand Baoli has beautifully carved panels inserted into the sides. The steps, in sets of 4 or 5, are in the shape of an inverted 'V'. The carved stone pillars, which are somewhat damaged now, were once strong enough for supporting pulleys to draw water. Several storied verandas surround this beautiful step well.
Founded in 1728, Jaipur, or “The Pink City” as it is often called, is unlike any other pre-modern Indian city, in that the entire town was planned according to the principles of Hindu architectural theory. The city is in fact built in the form of a nine-part mandala known as the Pithapada, which combined with wide streets makes for an unusually airy, orderly atmosphere. That the results of this urban planning have so endured to this day (present day population approximately 3 million) is nothing short of miraculous.
Enter the heart of the mandala (on foot or by cycle rickshaw) and you are in the central palace quarter, with its sprawling Hawa Mahal palace complex, formal gardens and a small lake. Built in 1799, the Hawa Mahal, "Palace of Winds", was part of the City Palace, an extension of the Zenana or chambers of the harem. Its original intention was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. Constructed of red and pink sandstone highlighted with white lime, the five-storied facade is peppered with 953 small windows. The breeze (hawa) that comes through the windows keeps it cool even in hot months, and gives the palace its name.
We also visit the ruined city of Amber, former capital of Jaipur state. Founded by the Meenas, Amber was a flourishing settlement as far back as 967 AD. Overlooking the artificial lake south of Amber town stands the Amber Fort/Palace complex, famous for its mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture. At the bottom of a hill sits Amber Fort, initially a Palace Complex within the Fort of Amber on top of the hill (today known as Jaigarh fort). The two forts are connected through well-guarded passages, and there is even the option of an elephant ride from the town up to the palace courtyard.
During our time in Jaipur you may also wish to include a visit to the Jantar Mantar, or Royal Observatory. The term Jantar Mantar actually refers to a collection of architectural astronomical instruments built between 1727 and 1733 by Maharaja Jai Singh II at his then-new capital of Jaipur. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the then Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such observatories at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur; the Jaipur observatory is the largest of these.
Another great option is to see a Bollywood film in India it is much, much more than what we are accustomed to in the west. The atmosphere, energy and pure fun (not to mention volume!) has to be experienced to be believed. The Raj Mandir Movie Theater is widely acclaimed as the largest cinema hall in Rajasthan, and one of the best in the country. The exterior is adorned with asymmetrical curves and shapes with stars, illuminated by hidden lights at night. The reception has a number of glittering chandeliers hanging in domes from the ceiling. The auditorium is spectacularly decorated with indirect lighting of changing colors hidden behind the plaster troughs of walls and ceilings. Even if you do not understand the language of the film screened, you will be entertained anyway by the emotions involved in the movie and of course the crowd..
Approx Travel Time: 5 hours
March 14 : Delhi
We return to Delhi in the afternoon. Enjoy an included walk through the backstreets of Delhi with a young adult taking part in the Planeterra-supported New Delhi Streetkids Project. As a former street kid, your guide will offer a unique insight into the real Delhi.
Approx Travel Time : 6 hours
March 15 : Delhi
Today is free to explore Delhi. There will be an optional day tour offered to locations in Delhi that you did not have time to visit on Day 2.
March 16 : Delhi
Depart Delhi at anytime. Many of you will have already departed before sunrise. If you wish to add on a few days to your trip to visit Varanasi we will have an optional package you can sign up for.
Stuff You Need to Know
Terms and Conditions
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
India is a country which is very different to anything you will have experienced before. Although this means it is not the easiest place to travel, this is also what makes it so special. Pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this large and wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way.
In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Optimistic menus turn out to have only one dish available and everyone, just everyone, will want to know your name. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a healthy sense of humor, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by what India has to offer.
All the adventure with a softer landing
Upgraded transportation (private vehicles, trains and planes)
More inclusions (transfers, more meals and activities are generally included)
Hand-picked accommodations with additional amenities and services
Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.
Minimum/Maximum Group Size
This program is guaranteed to run and has a maximum of 15 participants.
Group Leader Description
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a large multi-day backpack, plus a small daypack, like a messenger bag or purse. There are lots of different backpacks out there, but in general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 50 to 80 cubic liters. For an example click here. (Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if that link does not work)
You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels.
•Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs
•Day pack for daily personal items
•Lock for all bags
•Wet wipes / Moist towelettes
•Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses
•Small towel and swim wear (many of our hotels have pools)
•Toiletries (biodegradable preferred)
•Sturdy walking shoes/Sneakers (closed toe is a good idea)
•Hiking pants/track pants
•Personal clothing for mild to hot weather (We recommend packing 8 or 9 outfits)
•Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry.
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Light fleece top (Just for the flight)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Closed toe sandals
•Ear Plugs (These are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Ziplock bags for wet clothing
•Washcloth (Most hotels don’t have them and some people like having a washcloth)
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas, additional passport photos or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.
Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
We recommend checking www.xe.com for the current exchange rate. There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Mastercard but these are limited to major cities.
GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.
Red Fort - INR100
Qutab Minar - INR250
Humayuns Tomb - INR250
I’timad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) – INR100
Akbar’s Mausoleum - INR235
Nature Park – INR50
Raj Mandir Cinema - INR90
Jantar Mantar - INR100
Elpehant ride to Amber Fort - INR960 per elephant (max 2 persons)
Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. No meals are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
Tour Company Fee
$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)
We suggest you bring along $100 USD for additional sightseeing. See itinerary to create your budget.
International Airfare from USA
$35- $200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travellers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.
We recommend $35 USD for your G Adventures tour leader if you feel they did a good job. Budget another $35 to tip other local guides. These tips will be made in rupees in small denominations, typically about 30 rupees per guide per day.
Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary
Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.
(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)
$0-$300 USD (Check with your doctor to see what you will need and what is covered by your insurance)
$75 USD for the Indian Visa for Americans. You must get the Indian visa in advance.
What mind set should I have if I am going to India?
Of all of GEEO's programs this is probably the one that causes the most culture shock. India is thick with history, wonders, smells, colors, dirt and bureaucracy the likes of which even experienced travelers have never encountered. It is amazing and at the same time overwhelming. You will see poverty. You will feel uncomfortable. You will almost certainly get diarrhea. India takes some getting used to for most people and the sooner you mentally adjust to the environment the sooner you will be able to enjoy yourself.
In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Optimistic menus turn out to have only one dish available and everyone, just everyone, will want to know your name. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a healthy sense of humor, then we know that you will be captivated by what India has to offer.
What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?
Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.
• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.
• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.
• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.
• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.
• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.
• We try to set up anywhere from 1-3 school visits per program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
What does this program have to do with the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin?
GEEO and the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on this program. Since 2008 the South Asia Institute has been promoting GEEO and have grown familiar with our programs. In 2013 GEEO ran trips in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin to Peru and Uzbekistan. This India trip will offer another part of the world to Texas educators, as well as other educators throughout the country that have a similarly scheduled Spring break. In addition to the local guides arranged by GEEO, you will be accompanied by an academic representative from the University of Texas, who will help you process the experience for your classroom.
Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?
Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.
When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. We will arrange for one free airport transfer that will pick up all of the passengers on the flight recommended by the South Asia Institute.
For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. Typically an airport transfer will cost about twice as much as a taxi would.
If you wish to book an airport transfer, just send us a request by email with your flight info at least 30 days before departure.
Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.
Americans need to purchase a visa in advance for travel to India. Americans must have a visa to enter India. The Visa costs $67, takes roughly two to three weeks to receive and can be obtained through BLS, the company the Indian embassy outsources to. The website can be found here. Americans need to purchase a visa in advance for travel to India. Americans must have a visa to enter India. The Visa costs $73, takes roughly one week to receive and can be obtained through BLS, the company the Indian embassy outsources to. The website can be found here. PLEASE NOTE: WE HAVE RECEIVED A FEW COMPLAINTS ABOUT BLS INTERNATIONAL FROM OUR GUESTS. IT WILL COST MORE, BUT IT IS PROBABLY WORTHWHILE TO GO THROUGH A DIFFERENT VISA COMPANY. A visa company that we have had a good track record with is VisaHQ, which can be found at this website.
Unless you have some wild criminal/espionage past, you will have no problem getting a tourist visa.
When applying for the visa make sure you state the the purpose of your trip is "tourism". If you write "educational" or anything that makes you stand-out as a non-tourist they may confuse you for either a student needing an study visa or a teacher requiring a work visa.
For the visa you will need our tour companies contact details in India:
Tower B, Delta Square
M.G. Road, Sector - 25
National Capital Region of Delhi
Tel: +91 124 4703400
Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee of $299 USD.
What is group travel like?
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
How long have we been running this program?
GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We have run an India trip every year since 2008. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running this India itinerary for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.
Who travels with GEEO?
GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.
GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.
Participants in our programs are permitted to bring friends or family members on their trip. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.
Is it possible to get references for GEEO?
Over 800 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.
To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.
Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.
Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?
Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Where can I purchase travel insurance?
One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $35 card (The individual plus option) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits.
To sign up for the card you can follow this link:
We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option.
Another option is www.insuremytrip.com. They offer different options from many different companies. You can also get your insurance directly through G Adventures if you wish.
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD.
Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?
We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.
Do you have advice on tipping?
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD20-25 per person, per week can be used.
Where can I purchase flights?
We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.
You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.
What vaccinations do I need for this trip?
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!
What is the weather like?
It will be in the 70's and 80's during the day and down into the high 50's to mid 60's at night. There will be occasional thunderstorms at this time of the year.
Is there any safety advice we should know about?
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Rishab (Delhi, India)
From outside of India: +91 99 7179 5447
From within Delhi: 99 7179 5447
From within India, but outside Delhi: 099 7179 5447
G Adventures Asia Office in Bangkok (If for some reason you can't reach any of India emergency numbers)
8am-6pm CST (GMT +7)
Tel: +66 2 252 6642
If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office, they have a toll-free line for North America, which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local transfer providers directly at:
From outside India: +91 9958 690755
From within Delhi: 9958 690755
From outside Delhi: 09958 690755
From outside India: +91 9958 690753
From within Delhi: 9958 690753
From outside Delhi: 09958 690753
Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
India uses 230V, 50 Hz C & D type plugs. The C has two circular prongs, the D has three circular. The voltage in this county is 230 Volts.
Is the water safe to drink?
Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.
Although it is not recommended that you buy street food, it is recommended that when in restaraunts, you try to enjoy Indian food. It is delicious! Drink bottled water only and ALWAYS check the seal. It is not uncommon for bottled to be tampered with. Because of high heat, dehydration can become an issue. Bring along something that you can add to your water bottle that provides you with electrolytes and potassium.
Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?
There are Internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/netbook/tablet computer if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of you valued items.
Will there be local guides other than my tour leader? Will they be taking me shopping more than I like?
While your tour leader will be with you throughout the trip, you will also have local guides for many of the cities we visit. They can provide a great deal of local insight that will enrich your experience. While it's great to have them, you should know we are required to use them because of the Indian tourism union. Tour companies in India are forced to hire local guides so that more people in the tourism industry will be employed. Keep in mind when you are brought to a store by a local guide or driver there is a decent chance they will be getting a kickback from that store. It's a part of Indian tourism that is difficult to avoid. On the bright side, typically you will be taken to a shop with high quality goods, so you are less likely to be ripped off with poor quality crafts. You should never feel preasure to buy anything. Most of these shops will demonstrate how a certain craft is made, which can be very educational.
Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?
Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.
The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.
What is the accommodation like?
A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used in India. These can vary in terms of service, efficiency and cleanliness. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home. Power cuts can and are a regular occurrence in many places, especially throughout North and Central India. Although a number of hotels have generators there may be times when these won’t work. It is also recommended when you are in your room to lock the door, as staff will sometime enter without reason.
What are the roads like in India?
Traveling by road in India is certainly not what people are use to in Western countries. Rules are not always followed, drivers appear to speed, do not stay in their lanes, overtake in seemingly dangerous situations, rarely use their mirrors or driving lights at night time. The horn however is used very frequently and can range from the latest Bollywood tune to Lady Gaga! In India, although the government is investing large sums of money improving the road infrastructure, there is a lot more to be done. As a result in India some of the roads are poorly maintained, pot holed and uneven. This gets even more pronounced particularly during and after the monsoon. Travel time covering relatively short distances is very long in comparison to Western countries.
Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?
In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting small rural communities or visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites as this may restrict your entry.
India is very conservative and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered at all times. The wearing of shorts is not allowed as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.
What is the poverty in India like?
From a recent traveler: "Even though you may be a seasoned traveler, you need to keep in mind that a trip to India is unlike most places in the world. Most people know that India is a poor country, but it can be a shock to all your senses when you arrive and experience poverty on a more intimate level. People, in massive numbers, are all over the place. You will see people sleeping on the street and children are out begging almost every step of the way. Women need to be mindful as they navigate on foot. In the cities, men are not as respectful to women and will sometimes grab and grope. There are "women only" sections on trains, which should be used. As you navigate through the country on foot, tuck-tuck, bus or train, you will often be accompanied by cows and goats and pigs, who use the streets to relieve themselves, along with humans. Garbage is everywhere. When you are walking, you might want to wear closed shoes because along with garbage, you will most likely be walking through animal and human wastes."
Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?
Quotes from past participants:
"This trip is fast paced and you will have to wake up early on several mornings. It's great because we see a lot, but know this isn't exactly a relaxing vacation."
"Pack lightly. You will be stressed out if you can't carry all your luggage at once for 5 minute intervals at a time."
"Bring anti-constipation pills, or a bag of dried figs, as you will need them after you take Imodium. In some cases, you go back and forth between stopping yourself up and wanting to "get it all out." It's a tough balancing act, but you'll want all the appropriate meds."
"Be well prepared for the vendors persistance and the poverty."
"Pack lightly with clothes that are easy to wash and bring shower slippers and a wash cloth with a few bars of soap."
"This is India so the hotels are not necessarily clean. They are safe, but some are borderline unclean, so be ready for anything, especially if you got to Varanasi. If you have low expectations, you can then be pleasantly surprised. If you are unhappy with your hotel room, don't be shy, ask the hotel to change your room as sometimes there are big differences from one room to another. If you know this in advance, you'll be less shocked upon arrival."
"Being sick happens to everyone. Some of the best things to bring with you are what works best for you. Just about everyone had a day or two of an intestinal issue. Over the counter pills, prescription, rehydration packs (that can be mixed with water), worked for most people. We had one that had to consult a dr, but it was a rare case. Others of us had a cough/cold due to the increased level of pollution. I would have loved to have known to get a medical mask or have a scarf with me at all times. Cough drops, airbourne (to mix in drinks), and vitamins would also be good things to bring."
"Do NOT bringing small US bills to India if you are bringing cash. A lot of the banks would only change $50 or $100 bills. The hotels would change money for you with NO charge and no crazy paperwork. (as compared to money exchange places, or banks). ATMs were plentiful and our tour leader was able to guide us to take out a certain amount if one was not available for a few days."
"This trip went far beyond what I expected! that said, here are some things everyone should know: Always have a role of toilet paper and had sanitizer handy. Be prepared for the lights to go out. Bring plenty of stuff to help with the indigestion issues. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to bring something of the prescription variety along. Immodium worked for me, but some people needed the prescription stuff."
""Bring your smart phone or ipad. I bought a data plan from my phone company which I didn't end up using. Buy an unlimited plan from Skype ($2.99/month) and use with wifi, which was available in every hotel. This will allow you to make all the calls you want to people back home. Wifi is available only in the lobby of the hotels, so no privacy. I wish I had brought my ipad as well but I was worried about security, in hind site I would've brought it to upload photos and for video calling."
"Don't worry about dressing to cover your shoulders and knees unless visiting a temple (our guide let us know ahead of time). We all wore knee length shorts and skirts, short sleeved shirts, basically what we wear at home. "
"You will not be able to read or write on the van/bus trips. The roads are too bumpy!"
"Take less......washing clothing is possible in the hotel rooms and sending clothing out to be washed was also possible and not expensive."
"I kept having to withdraw money from the ATM so I would tell people to withdraw approx. 10,000 rupees in India. Many of these ATM's charge a $5.00 fee for withdrawing so the fewer times you do it, the less charges you incur. I would tell people that India is a cash country and very few places take credit cards. Sometimes it would be wiser to make large purchases with US dollars instead of by credit card because the vendor will charge 4% in addition to the charges made by the credit card company."
"Currency in small denominations is sometimes scarce. If possible, get it in the US ahead of time by ordering it through your bank."
"My wife shipped some merchandise from India via Federal Express. We were not here to sign for the package and it was destroyed. Now we are out the purchase price. We should have shipped signature not required."
"We exchanged money prior to the trip and asked for small bills. Rupee bills for 10 and 20 rupees are not the correct denomination. If we would have known we should have had 100 and 500 rupee denominations."
"I wish I had realized that I did not need to worry so much about this trip as I did. In talking to others in the group, we all realized that we were more worried about this trip than any others we had taken. Maybe because of how exotic the places would be and how we had to plan so much for medical issues. Comments about being so uncomfortable on this trip made me almost wonder about going. Please reassure people that they will be safe and adjust to the changes. Yes, it is different but not as bad as we had been told."
"I think going to the Central Cottage Industries Emporium in New Delhi is worthwhile. All products had prices marked. It's cheesy, but it was the only place I saw in northern India to buy a ready made turban in the men's clothing section. Also, seeing handmade cloth for sale by the yard was was a real treat. As well as the crafts the national tend to buy (fancy tea services).
It is located at Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan, Janpath, New Delhi, Delhi 110001 Tolstoy Rd, HC Mathur Lane, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India"
"I do not recommend swimming in any of the hotel pools. I believe that is how I got sick, along with another traveler, water through ears maybe gave us some sort of bacterial infection- I was so sick for two days, almost missed the Taj!"
"We recommend an extra day in Delhi at trip's start to visit the National Museum, the Crafts Museum, and the Gandhi Smirti."
"Availability of laundry service should be emphasized. We have traveled enough that we pack light, but could have gone even lighter if we had appreciated how convenient and cheap the laundry service was throughout the trip."
"I would just remind the new travelers to pack the appropriate clothing. I had a number of short pants and tops that I wanted to wear but I felt that no women wear short pants or tops without having the shoulders covered. It was not appropriate in the streets and much less in temples."
What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?
GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.
G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.
What is expected from me from an educational stand point?
Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.
How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?
This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:
"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $300-500 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.
I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.
When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.
I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.
I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."
What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?
GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience. We welcome feedback on our selections so we can develop and improve the list for the following summer.
For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.
For this program we have selected the following books:
India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
For those looking for more suggestions, here are some other books you may want to consider:
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, first published in 1997
The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar, first published in 2006
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, first published in 2003
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, first published in 2008
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, first published in 1988
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
India: A Portrait by Patrick French
Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India by Diana Eck
The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the History and Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent before the coming of the Muslims by A.L. Basham
India: A Million Mutinies Now by V.S. Naipaul
Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater
*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included
This program is guaranteed to run and has a maximum of 15 participants.
G Adventures Tour leader throughout, local guides
Charter bus, taxis, auto-rickshaw, cycle-rickshaw
Walking tour with a guide from the Planeterra-supported New Delhi Streetkids Project. Old Delhi walk with stops at the Jama Masjid, Gurduwara, Chandni Chowk and Connaught Place. Jaipur City Palace entrance and guided tours. Amber Fort and Fatephur Sikri visit. Red Fort visit (Agra). Taj Mahal visit. I'timad-ud-daulah (Baby Taj) entrance. Abhaneri village walk and stepwell visit.
Hotels (8 nts)
No meals (Allow USD $135-$175 for meals not included)
What's Not Included
Tips or gratuities
Meals not mentioned above
Optional Tours or optional admissions