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International travel is life. Just imagine being in a foreign country and looking for adventure around every corner. The thrill of the unknown is exhilarating.
But what do you do when some of the countries on your bucket list are a bit dangerous and not female-friendly?
No problemo. That’s where G Adventures fits in.
G Adventures is an adventure travel company that offers safe and affordable small group tours.
So let’s take a closer look at what makes G Adventures an attractive option for international travel. This G Adventures review is based on the Essential India group tour that I took back in October 2019.
Essential India Group Tour Pre-Trip Preparations
Download the G Adventures app for up-to-date trip information. You’ll get access to resources such as maps, itineraries, a packing list, vouchers, weather information, local currency rates, and emergency contacts. Check out this blog post to prepare for your first long haul flight: The Ultimate Guide for Surviving a Long-Haul Flight.
Introverts can reduce the anxiety of traveling with strangers by getting to know the other travelers via the chat feature in the app.
Rest up before your trip because the itinerary is jam-packed with activities.
What to Pack for a Trip to India
G Adventures provides a packing list that you should follow. The sun is scorching hot, and it was over 100°F daily. Pack clothing made of breathable fabric such as cotton or linen, so you’re not sweating like a pig. Been there done that.
Use a scarf to cover your head during temple visits or your arms when wearing a sleeveless top or dress. Keep it modest. After all, you’re still in India.
This trip includes multiple cities, and you’re responsible for carrying your luggage to and from the lobby, train station, bus, and airport. So pack light.
India is dusty and has many dirt roads. I took my fairly new Samsonite carry-on, and let’s just say it doesn’t look quite as new now. And the wheels are a bit wobbly. Sigh! Trust me and leave your new luggage set at home.
Are G Adventures Group Tours Diverse? Well, It Depends
In my opinion, G Adventure tours are more diverse than other tour companies. Our group of 11 included folks from Europe, Australia, and North America. Although G Adventures is based in Canada, most travelers hail from somewhere in Europe.
An overwhelming majority of the group was female — solo female traveler to be exact. The three males, who were present, came with a female traveler. So you won’t be meeting prince charming on a G Adventures tour. mmkay. But you’ll meet some amazing like-minded women.
Millennials and Gen’Xers love to travel. Our group was almost an even split between both groups. Everyone kept up with the pace regardless of age.
The CEO (tour guide) was Indian, and I’m black. We were the only non-white people in the group. In fact, I didn’t see another black person in the entire country for two whole weeks. The extra stares and finger-pointing drove me up the wall.
Let me take a wild guess. You’re probably wondering if 11 complete strangers got along for 15 days. And the answer is yes! We operated like a family and took care of each other. No drama. It was a beautiful thing to experience.
Attractions in India
Convenience! Convenience! Convenience!
Think about this for a moment. You’re guaranteed to see all the Instagrammable places, and you won’t have to figure out how you’ll get around. What’s more, other travelers can capture these special moments. No more asking strangers, setting up a tripod, or pulling out a selfie stick. Can I get an Amen!!
G Adventures group tours are chock-full of free and paid activities. Aside from included activities, you can choose from a small selection of optional activities. All costs associated with optional activities are your responsibility — this includes admission and transportation.
The CEO will provide historical information about each attraction. G Adventures employs local CEOs (tour guides), so you’ll learn lots of valuable information that’s been passed down through generations. Click here to virtually explore the Taj Mahal.
Food in India
I love food. I’m a total foodie. Did I mention how much I love food? Your CEO will take you to the best spots that are often off the beaten path. How awesome is that? Get ready for some mouthwatering, spicy, flavorful, and fragrant Indian cuisine.
And the best part?
There’s no need to worry about food poisoning. Your CEO will take you to popular local spots that are clean and reputable. I wasn’t blessed with a cast-iron stomach, so I’m always popping Imodium while traveling.
Although food isn’t included in the tour price, you can still get your grub on. Indian food is inexpensive, and portion sizes are huge. Consider splitting meals with a fellow traveler if you’re on a tight budget.
Hotels, Motels… Let’s Just Call It Accommodations in India
I’ll start with the pros.
G Adventures doesn’t charge a single supplement. Woohoo! And you can avoid the private room fee by opting for a roommate. The private room fee is around $500, so I rolled the dice and requested a roommate. I said a prayer and the travel gods delivered. My roommate and I instantly hit it off and became good friends.
Now Onto the Ugly Stuff. Oh, Where Do I Start…
If you’re a budget traveler, you won’t have any issues with the accommodations.
For starters, accommodations were listed as standard. I know standards differ from country to country, but I was still dissatisfied.
Let me explain why…
- The beds and pillows were hard.
- The hot water was unreliable.
- Electricity went off frequently at Alipura Palace.
- Accommodations were located in undesirable areas.
- Wi-Fi was nonexistent, or the signal was so weak that you had to stand in the lobby to connect.
- The water pressure was low.
- There were no elevators, so we had to carry our luggage up and down a few flights of stairs.
Here’s the kicker…
The best accommodation was glamping in large tents in Dhula Bagh which was a short walk from Dhula village. Go figure.
Money – Indian Rupee
I strongly recommend that you get rupees from an ATM at the airport. You’re more likely to win the lottery than find a working ATM in India. I’m kinda not kidding.
Travel with smaller bills since businesses never seem to have change. *insert eye roll here*
While we are on the subject of shenanigans, expect to be hustled when your CEO isn’t around. It’s just how things work in India. Locals tried to charge us double or triple for water, snacks, and transportation when our CEO wasn’t around. So always haggle over the price.
Is India Safe?
Despite staying in undesirable areas, I never felt unsafe. We communicated via WhatsApp, and our CEO was always available and accessible. He handled all of our concerns.
Beggars in India are distressing, and handling them on your own is an overwhelming undertaking. An additional benefit of having a local tour guide is that they left us alone when he was around.
Transportation in India
The tour price includes transportation to and from attractions in the itinerary. Our main modes of transport were private buses and tuk-tuks. Other modes of transport included a sleeper train, a rickshaw, and an airplane.
The trip includes many long bus rides, so I suggest bringing a pair of headphones.
Every traveler contributes to the tipping kitty on day one. People who served us such as drivers, wait staff, and additional tour guides are tipped from the monies in the tipping kitty. Extra funds are distributed amongst the group on the last day.
On the last day of the tour, we gave our tour guide a tip for an amazing experience. We discussed this as a group and decided on $20-$25USD per person.
The CEO – The Boss – The Secret Sauce
A great CEO can turn a good tour into an excellent tour. Again, the travel gods heard my prayer, and I was fortunate to have G as my tour guide. G was phenomenal. His passion for adventure and Indian culture was contagious. G enhanced our trip and helped create a memorable travel experience.
Would I Book Another Group Tour With G Adventures?
Without a doubt, I would book another tour. By now you’ve realized that the emphasis is on experiencing the local culture, rather than accommodations. And G Adventures definitely delivers the goods.
Here’s the best part of taking a group tour with G Adventures :
You only have one job – to be PUNCTUAL At. All. Times. That’s it!
My Thoughts About India
India is unlike any country I’ve ever visited. It will awaken your senses. The earsplitting honking horns will drive you batshit crazy. But you will survive. You’ll get used to it. I promise. By day three, the honking horns will become background noise until you get to Varanasi. Varanasi is Delhi on steroids. But no trip to India is complete without a visit to the ghats and the Ganges River.
The conditions in some areas will break your heart. The way some people live will break your heart. You’ll be tearful, heartbroken, and grief-stricken. You’ll leave India with a greater appreciation for small things such as hot water and money in the ATM.
Conversely, there are stunning, breathtaking, and mesmerizing sites in India. The Essential India group tour was a life-changing experience for me. It gave me an opportunity to explore a country that I wouldn’t have explored otherwise.
Are you ready for an unforgettable experience? The first thing to do is get on their email list to be notified of specials and new tours. I hope your experience is as amazing as mine.
Words We Learned and Used in India
Namaste: Pronounced, “Nah-mah-stay,” is the traditional Hindi greeting.
Dhanyavaad: Pronounced, “Dun-Yuh-Vahd,” is a common and formal way to say thank-you.