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Traveling With Parents in India – PART 1 (Idea)

Taj Mahal - Kaspars traveling to India with his parents

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o travel together with my parents to some far away country is something I (Kaspars) started to think about a little bit more than a year ago. That was a time when we had just returned from our 11 month trip, during which we went to India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and France.

And while showing them our pictures from all these places I caught myself thinking, that I would love to take them with us. To show them how beautiful our world is.

Little did I know, that just a year later we will be all together on the same beach we were looking at right now.

Head to Traveling With Parents in India – Part 2 to read about our arrival to India, and first impressions.

Important notice before we continue – at that time my mom had been abroad only once (we walked one part of the Camino de Santiago, 1/3 way across Spain, together year earlier), but for my dad that would be his first time abroad. Traveling for Latvians isn’t something high on their lists. In a lot of people’s eyes it’s luxury, something only those rich folks can afford.

finish of walking camino de Santiago in Spain

In Finisterre. Reaching the ocean after walking 350 kilometers in 10 days.

I hear you asking – first time abroad and you are taking your dad to INDIA? Dude, why? Are you crazy? Easy, that wasn’t like I was thinking, what’s the craziest place, where we could travel together. There were few reasons, why we chose India. But more about it below!

Less than 3 months later we were ready to leave Latvia again. We wanted to travel more. And we needed money for it. That is why we decided to spend next 6-9 months in Europe, to travel a little bit around and most importantly – to earn money for our future travels.

As thoughts about traveling with parents didn’t leave my mind anymore, my brain was constantly generating new and new ideas. About how and where we could travel together. And shortly before we left Latvia, I said to my mom:”We can meet after 5 or 6 months, let’s say, in London, and go to Morocco together. Or Spain. Or Portugal. Or somewhere else interesting. Since it’s possible to get there with low cost airlines and it’s not expensive. We all just need to save some money… Let’s think about it!”

Let’s think about it! That’s how we left it.

8 months later. We were in the Netherlands, working hard and saving every cent. And determined to continue doing this way for at least 5 or 6 months, to save as much money as possible and to return to Asia at the end of the year.

It was our first month in the Netherlands. We saw that financially things are going pretty good. Even better than we were planning before. And even though work was hard, hours seemed endless and saving 70 or more percent of your income is never easy, it made us even more determined.Amsterdam the Netherlands

And so at some moment thought about traveling with parents was back again. Maybe mom and dad could come with us for the first few weeks, I thought. Why not, said Una, when we were talking about it a little bit later.

I could cover biggest part of their costs, and then it would be my present on their 30st wedding anniversary. I did a little bit of calculation, estimating how much 2 weeks of traveling would cost. And… I called my mom to ask for her opinion about it.

At first her answer was no, we can’t do it, because I will not be able to get vacation at the end of this year. From her voice I heard, that she also was unsure about such a plan in general. And here I should remind you, that a lot of us, Latvians, see traveling as a luxury. It’s something we think about only, when all the other things seems going perfectly. You know, when your apartment looks like you want it to look, when you have a car better than your neighbor’s, when you have good health, and so on. But, as you know, nothing is ever perfect.

And there is no better time than NOW.

So I continued: “Ok, we can’t go this December. But what about January? It will be already next year, and you both with dad will have 4 weeks of vacation time again? Let’s think about it, ok?”

Few days later we talked on the phone again, and this time we decided – we are doing that. At the very beginning of 2016 we will go on a trip together. Where? At that time we were thinking that it will be a trip to Malaysia and Singapore. Or Thailand. Or to all 3 of them, if we will see, that we can manage it.

What made this decision for them easier is that my brother agreed to join us, too. He would be their guide through all the airport and immigration procedures on the way back, because we with Una wouldn’t be returning.

My mom and dad doesn’t speak English. And initially we were planning to teach them on the way about all the things you need to know at the airport, so they would be able to return alone.

Though we had no chance to try it out, but my thinking then was like this – if all those Russian tourists we have seen are traveling on their own and they often know only Russian language, why can’t my parents travel on their own? And they know Russian language, too.

When thinking about our return to Asia we had different thoughts about where this journey could start. But as an idea about returning to India one more time, for 5-6 months popped up in my mind, we decided to go to India first. Because it would make the visa part easier. Obtaining Indian visa in your home country is easier. In case of Indian visa, it means that you will get tourist visa for 6 months (not 3 or 4, as it may happen when applying abroad).

Then, one day, Una found a good deal for flights to India with Transaero (second biggest Russian airline at that time). One-way ticket would cost us about 50% cheaper than with any other company, but return ticket – 20% cheaper. We were bought. I called my mom, we talked about it for some 20 minutes, and in about 2 hours we already had tickets to India. We were going to India? Yes, at the beginning of January we were going to India all five together!

At this time there wasn’t any persuading needed. Not even about the fact, that we would be going to India. They knew what’s our opinion about India. They knew, that it’s just another country, huge and interesting one. So most of these 20 minutes, that we talked, we just chatted about what we could do in India and where we could go.

Time went.

And about two months later we learned, that our airline has went bankrupt, and our tickets are cancelled. Ooops!

At the same day we requested a money refund. And four days later we bought new tickets with another company, Finnair. By the way, Finnair had a special offer at that time and so those new round trip tickets cost us about the same – about 400 EUR – as with Transaero.

For those of you who are curious, about how easy or hard is to get your money refunded, when airline goes bankrupt – we bought our tickets separately; for few tickets we received a refund after 4 months, for few others – almost half a year later. All we did – sent one email requesting a refund right after we got to know about bankruptcy.

At the end of December my mom, dad and brother applied for 30 day Indian e-Tourist Visa. We with Una applied for 6 month Indian Tourist Visa. And we were ready to go!

traveling with parents - Mumbai India

To read about our arrival to India and first impressions head to Traveling With Parents in India – Part 2

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