Travel Information and FAQs

Within just over a month of posting the news about this wonderful retreat, all the open spots are full!  However, please let Lola know if you are interested in the trip and she will wait-list you in the event a spot opens up.  India, here we come!  lola@YogaLola.com.  And check us out at www.yogalola.com.  We have lots of great things going on!

Kevin took the picture above as we traveled (by car) from Rishikesh back to Delhi to return home. As you can see, cars and trucks mingle with oxen and wagons in India! Transportation can consist of pretty much anything, including rickshaws.  It can be a pretty crazy ride, no doubt about it.  But, getting from Delhi to Rishikesh and back is a snap - a comfortable private car makes the ride the sightseeing part of the trip!  Click here for full retreat schedule.

Rishikesh is a very SAFE area of India -- it is a haven for spiritual types of people from all over the world.  You will see many European and American faces in the crowd.  They are everything.  Rishikesh welcomes us with open arms.

Travel Info

***** VISAs and a valid passport are required for travel to India. ***** Participants must secure their own VISAs and passports! 

Passport:

You MUST have your valid passport with you at all times while in India. Be sure your passport does not expire during the dates of the trip. US residents can apply for a passport here. If you do not yet have a passport, please give yourself a minimum of 3 months to have your passport in hand once you have applied for it.

Indian VISA:

You can apply for the VISA online prior to departing for the trip. It is recommended you apply for the Indian VISA 90 days before you depart for India. Read more and apply for the VISA through Travisa Passport & VISA Services, located at 4550 Post Oak Place Dr, #251, Houston, TX 77027, Phone: (713) 961-3500 .  Website: www.travisa.com. Be sure to apply for the TOURIST VISA.

Travel Insurance:

Purchasing travel insurance is highly recommended! Yoga Lola does not provide refunds for cancelled reservations under any circumstances after November 1, 2015, so travel insurance is the way to protect your investment in the event of an emergency or natural disaster in India. Travel Guard is the company Yoga Lola recommends for travel insurance, however there are other options available. Choose the company that best fits your needs.

Travel insurance is not expensive at all.  You can get travel coverage for as little as around $45. Be sure to understand what all the insurance covers and what types of cancellation reasons it accepts.

Flight Information:

You will need to arrive in Delhi with enough time to travel the 6 to 8 hours to Rishikesh and be checked in to your room by 6PM on March 22, 2016.  If you can't make it in until later, that's okay too.  As you can see from the schedule, we'll be doing a meet and greet and a little yoga and meditation. 

Those of us that have already booked flights are flying United Airlines, leaving on March 20th and arriving in Delhi on March 21st at 8:20PM. We will spend the night in Delhi and share transportation to Rishikesh on the morning of the 22nd. If you are interested in taking the same flights, you can email Shannon at shannonyogalola@yahoo.com for the exact flight numbers and times.

Returning flights should be no earlier than March 29, 2016, unless you plan to stay over in India (on your own coordination and schedule) to absorb and experience more Indian culture and traditions.

Cost:

As of May 2015, most roundtrip flights from Houston, Texas into Delhi cost between $950 and $1500 (USD) from the United States. Cheaper tickets are sometimes available if you are willing to spend the time searching.  

International Date Line:

When booking your flight, be mindful of arrival date. You will cross the International Date Line flying to India which means you lose one calendar day. Additionally, some flights arrive in India two days after departing Houston depending on stops. Some flights have one stop, while other have two.

Phone and Internet Services:

There are a few options available to you to keep in contact with your loved ones while in India.  

Mobile Phones - Your mobile phone will likely work in India, but roaming charges for voice and data are substantial.  It is recommended to turn off your cellular roaming feature and use wifi instead unless you have international coverage on your phone. Using wifi allows you data coverage, but not talk and text.

Wifi - Our hotel has wifi access in the hotel and in the yoga room and there are internet cafes all over Rishikesh, so you can plan to email friends and family, post photos of your adventure and even use Skype to call home.

Landlines - Calling cards and STD phones are available throughout India at many convenience stores.

Time Difference - There is a significant time zone difference between India and Houston. During DST, there is a 10.5 hour time difference. (i.e. 1:00PM in Houston is 11:30PM in New Delhi)

Medical Emergencies:

There are many skilled doctors, hospitals and clinics that are very inexpensive by Western standards in India, so should you need medical care, it will be available. If you have unique health concerns it is important to discuss your travel plans with your physician.

Download the Emergency Information Form, fill it out and make a copy for each of your bags.  Should you lose your passport, become injured or ill, all your essential information will be available quickly.

FAQs

Q: Will those of us going on the trip meet before we leave for India?

A: Yoga Lola will organize a meeting with all participants accompanying us on this wonder-filled trip at our Studio (or via Skype for out-of-towners) where we will go over all the details of the trip and share information with you about all aspects of our journey together.  We'll arrange this meeting for sometime in January of 2016.

Q: What is included with trip package?

A: Package 1 is an event-only package - i.e., no room or board.  For packages 2 and 3, 7 nights/8 days in hotel, 2 meals per day, and all activities described in trip itinerary.  Airfare and ground transportation costs are excluded from all packages.

Q: Where do I stay if I arrive in Rishikesh on March 21st?

A: You can contact Hotel Yog and request an additional night stay in your room due to early arrival.

Q: Is the water safe to drink?

A: It is advised you only drink bottled water, even at the hotel. There are amoebas in the water that we do not have immunity to and can make you very ill. There is bottled water available is practically every shop in Rishikesh as well as in the hotel. Your hotel room will also have a hot pot enabling you to boil your water (if you choose) helping to reduce the bottled water expense.

Q: Is the food safe to eat?

A: The food at the hotel is perfectly safe to eat, but it IS NOT recommended you eat anything outside of the hotel.

Q: Can I bring snacks?

A: Yes, please do!  Dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, breakfast bars, pre-popped popcorn, packaged grits, oatmeal, soups etc., are all wonderful items to have on hand.  However, do not bring items that are meat-derived (i.e., beef jerky). 

Q: Which airlines fly to New Delhi?

A: Currently, United Airlines, Lufthansa, United Arab Emirates, Canada Air, Air France, ANA, Delta Airlines, and other lesser known airlines show flights to and from Delhi.

Q: What kind of food will the hotel serve?

A: All food in the area of Rishikesh is strictly vegetarian.  Therefore, all meals at the hotel are VEGETARIAN for the 2 meals provided each day during the retreat. Eggs are not eaten in the area, nor is any kind of beef, pork, fowl, fish, or seafood.  There are dishes with cheese and milk, and butter is used.  The hotel features an American food menu, a Chinese food menu, and an Indian food menu.  Kevin and I ate there for ten days and the food is always freshly prepared, delicious, and nutritious.  The Indian food options can be spicy, so if your system is sensitive to spicy food, you might want to stick with the American and Chinese food options.

Q:  Does the hotel serve alcoholic drinks?

A:  No. There is to be absolutely no alcohol or meat during this trip.  We will be in an area of Hindu culture, so please be respectful of it.

Q: What is the environment/culture like?

A: For someone who has not been out of the United States, travelling to India can be an eye-opening experience. Cows, dogs, monkeys, and other animals are free to roam and co-mingle with the human population. The perfume of cow manure often fills the air.  It is a very different culture.  In places, India may also seem like a third world country as compared to the way many Americans live. Go with an open mind and an adventurous spirit of experiencing a new culture and you will come back a changed person.

Q: Do I need to get any vaccinations prior to going to India?

A: Yoga Lola requires all travelers to be current on the Tetanus and all Hepatitis vaccines. 

The Centers for Disease Control recommends a number of vaccines when traveling in India. You can review their current recommendations HERE.  You should also discuss vaccinations with your doctor to evaluate which ones are right for you given your own unique health needs and personal beliefs about vaccines.

Delhi Belly seems to be a rite of passage for many traveling in India. It can be as mild as a bout of gas or as uncomfortable as extreme dysentery. Eating only at the hotel will help you avoid this, but you may want pack some over-the-counter medications just in case.

Malaria outbreaks are very rare in India and are generally in areas very far from where we will be traveling. Because the side effects of anti-malaria medication can be harsh, travelers to Northern India usually choose not to take it. Still, you will want to discuss this with your doctor and make your own informed decision.

Q: What is required if I refuse the vaccinations Yoga Lola Studios, LLC?

A: You will be required to sign a waiver.

Q: Is it safe for a woman to travel to India?

A: India is generally a safe place to travel, however, women should dress modestly to reduce the chance of any unwanted attention. Public displays of affection with the opposite gender are not appropriate. It is never advised for women to walk alone at night whether in India or most other countries around the world.

Q: What will the weather be like in March in Rishikesh?

A: During the day, expect mid 80’s to low 90’s; night should be in the mid 60’s

Q: What do I bring to wear?

A: Modest loose clothing is suggested. Tight form fitting clothing is not appropriate where we are going, so if you will be wearing tights/leggings of any kind, please have a skirt or such to wear over them. Men and women should keep their shoulders covered at all times, so no tank tops, etc. Please bring tops with sleeves.

Q: Do I need to bring my yoga mat?

A: No. The hotel provides yoga mats and blankets in the yoga room.

Q: What is the currency, and how can I exchange my dollars?

A: The currency in India is the rupee. Your local bank can order rupees for you, or you can exchange funds at the airport. Keep in mind the airport exchange fees are much higher than the bank. There is also money exchange in the Delhi airport and Hotel Yog can also exchange money for us.

Q: How do I get from Delhi to Rishikesh?

A: There is public transportation available, but it is recommended you make accommodations with Hotel Yog for transportation from the airport to Rishikesh. Those of us arriving at the same time will share transportation provided by Hotel Yog and share the expense.  Contact Hotel Yog 

Q: Where do I get travel insurance?

A: Travel Guard is the company Yoga Lola Studios recommends. There are other options out there so choose the company that best fits your needs.

Q: How much is travel insurance?

A: The amount due will depend on how much insurance coverage you select. Your age and travel destination do factor into the price also. You may be able to get coverage for as little as $45. You will want to make sure you are ensured for the price of the trip including what you pay for airfare.

Q:  What are the airport codes?

A:  IAH is the airport code for Houston's Intercontinental Airport; DEL is the airport code for Delhi India