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Thread: Bag/packing advice for India trip

  1. #1
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    Bag/packing advice for India trip

    Hi all!

    I’ve been agonizing over a packing strategy for my next trip and wanted to get advice from some of the experts in this forum. Sorry in advance for the long post.

    I‘m leaving shortly for a business trip to India (3 cities, almost 2 weeks total in duration). I will need clothes for approximately 6-7 days of meetings (dress pants plus tops) plus a few days worth of more casual clothes for travel days and a little sightseeing. It is going to be HOT--around 110 degrees in one of the cities--so I can’t count on wearing anything twice. I might have an opportunity to get some laundry done in the hotel the last week, but I don’t want to count on it.

    I usually travel using a wheeled carry-on bag (about an inch smaller than maximum allowed in all dimensions) plus a computer bag. The flights to and from India shouldn’t be a problem, however my domestic flights within India have carry-on limits of 7kg and 8kg (Air India and Jet Airways or vice versa). One of the domestic flights has an approximate one-hour transfer in Mumbai. I’m paranoid about losing my luggage especially during the transfer in Mumbai. I absolutely hate the feeling of waiting for bags in baggage claim. So stressful!

    I was considering getting a Tri-Star as a single bag to carry on to replace the wheeled bag but with a computer included it would be heavier than 7kg and I worried that I might have to check it, thereby risking losing all my clothes. And then of course the decision was made for me when the Tri-Star went out of stock last week while I was debating

    The Aeronaut seems too big for me and I’m not a fan of the large center packing area. Plus I’m not sure I could keep it packed to less than 7kg and therefore might have to check it.

    So, after endless reviews of this forum I decided to order my first Tom Bihn bag--a Western Flyer (it should arrive on Wednesday, the suspense is absolutely killing me). My current plan is to try out packing all my clothes in the Western Flyer and if it works use it instead of the wheeled bag (and still bring the computer bag). If that doesn’t work, I’ll use the Western Flyer as a computer bag and pack my 3-1-1 bag, electronics, and a couple changes of clothes in it. Then when I have to check my wheeled bag I will have an emergency supply of clothes to reduce the impact if my bag gets lost. With those two bags I should have enough space to not have to do any laundry during the trip.

    What do you guys think? Is there a better option? Has anyone had trouble with a Western Flyer being over 7kg and having to check it? Is there any problem with a 3-1-1 bag in India (would I have to put it in a checked bag)? Any advice is welcome…

    Note that the coworker I am travelling with thinks I am nuts for even considering going carry on only for this trip.

  2. #2
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    hi OnMyWay,

    i've flown between amritsar and delhi and delhi and bangalore a few times with my aeronaut, but i haven't gone through mumbai. while i raised security concerns in amritsar because i initially did not check my aeronaut (i then realized i should because i was carrying something that could technically be used as a club), i have not been asked to weigh my aeronaut in india. that doesn't meen it could not happen, but the likelihood is less because they see the bag on your back rather than on wheels being pulled behind you.

    it will indeed be hot this time of year. i was there over memorial day weekend and it was over 100. i hope you will have the luxury of not having to travel in business attire.

    linen and cotton are you friends if you can arrange that for your business attire as well.

    it is very easy to have laundry turned around the same day at business and luxury hotels, at least that has been my experience in amritsar, bangalore and new delhi. typically, you give you laundry in the morning and it's washed and ironed and folded and waiting for you in your room when you return at the end of the day. they will also turn it around faster (~4 hours) as part of their rush service.

    they also make an effort to go above and beyond. i remember i was in bangalore for business some years ago. i realized at the office that i had to move up my departure to that afternoon, but had given the hotel my laundry that morning. my original plans were to depart the following day. i called the hotel on my way back from the office. i got to the hotel and packed quickly so i could make the flight. my laundry wasn't back, but they assured me that they would get it to the airport. they further assured me that if they couldn't, they would ship it to me. i got to the airport and was waiting to check in, and the hotel personnel arrived with my laundry washed, folded, ironed and packaged for me to take.

    definitely stick with carry on. besides saving time, you'll avoid lost baggage headaches.

    let us know how the western flyer works out for your clothes.

    i'm not sure if you've been to india at this time of year before, but drink plenty of mineral water to keep yourself hydrated.

    have a wonderful trip, and also let us know how your travels go!

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    Thanks Maverick!

    This is my first trip to India so I didn't know what to expect--you have definitely relieved some of my fears. Now that I know that laundry isn't a problem I will make sure to pack as lightly as possible. I've been told the attire for my meetings is business casual so I think I can get away with lightweight slacks and some lightweight knit tops. Those should be easy to pack and not too wrinkly.

    I will definitely post after I receive my bag and have a chance to do a packing dry run and again after my trip to let you know how it went.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
    Thanks Maverick!

    This is my first trip to India so I didn't know what to expect--you have definitely relieved some of my fears. Now that I know that laundry isn't a problem I will make sure to pack as lightly as possible. I've been told the attire for my meetings is business casual so I think I can get away with lightweight slacks and some lightweight knit tops. Those should be easy to pack and not too wrinkly.

    I will definitely post after I receive my bag and have a chance to do a packing dry run and again after my trip to let you know how it went.
    hi OnMyWay!

    don't worry - you'll have a great time!

    might i ask where in india you plan to be?

    besides the mineral water (bottle water), stick to food that has been cooked and that is served hot. you'll be less likely to get an upset stomach.

    unless you're adventurous, don't be shy about asking for your food to be prepared mild - that is what i do, and i still find it spicy by what i am used to. i remember ordering food prepared in an andhran style at a restaurant. i didn't know what it was, but i thought why not try something new. one of my co-workers (this is in bangalore) ordered something from the andhran section of the menu. my mouth was ablaze!

    most hotels that cater to a western clientele will be able to accomodate a request for mild food.

    if you're in the north (delhi, punjab atea at least), they make a variety of flat breads (also called parathas or rotis). i highly recommend aaloo (potato) parathas served with yogurt.

    in the south, you can't go wrong with dosas (crepes) with a variety of stuffings (potatoes, for example) and idli for breakfast. definitely try it with the coconut chutney! interestingly, indian restaurants in the u.s. (and perhaps other parts of the world) serve dosas and idlis for lunch and dinner (perhaps because they aren't generally open for breakfast), but these are traditionally breakfast options in india.

    definitely try dishes with paneer (cheese). at least in the north, it's unlike the paneer you would have experienced in the u.s. in the punjab, you'll find it made with buffalo's milk rather than cow's milk.

    also try tandoori roti (flatbreads made in a tandoor or clay oven). roti is a common accompaniment to your lunch or dinner in the north. in the south, rice provides the carbs.

    as you can see, i'm all about the food. okay, i need to stop. writing this is making me hungry!
    -m

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    hi OnMyWay!

    don't worry - you'll have a great time!

    might i ask where in india you plan to be?

    besides the mineral water (bottle water), stick to food that has been cooked and that is served hot. you'll be less likely to get an upset stomach.

    unless you're adventurous, don't be shy about asking for your food to be prepared mild - that is what i do, and i still find it spicy by what i am used to. i remember ordering food prepared in an andhran style at a restaurant. i didn't know what it was, but i thought why not try something new. one of my co-workers (this is in bangalore) ordered something from the andhran section of the menu. my mouth was ablaze!

    most hotels that cater to a western clientele will be able to accomodate a request for mild food.

    if you're in the north (delhi, punjab atea at least), they make a variety of flat breads (also called parathas or rotis). i highly recommend aaloo (potato) parathas served with yogurt.

    in the south, you can't go wrong with dosas (crepes) with a variety of stuffings (potatoes, for example) and idli for breakfast. definitely try it with the coconut chutney! interestingly, indian restaurants in the u.s. (and perhaps other parts of the world) serve dosas and idlis for lunch and dinner (perhaps because they aren't generally open for breakfast), but these are traditionally breakfast options in india.

    definitely try dishes with paneer (cheese). at least in the north, it's unlike the paneer you would have experienced in the u.s. in the punjab, you'll find it made with buffalo's milk rather than cow's milk.

    also try tandoori roti (flatbreads made in a tandoor or clay oven). roti is a common accompaniment to your lunch or dinner in the north. in the south, rice provides the carbs.

    as you can see, i'm all about the food. okay, i need to stop. writing this is making me hungry!
    This made me hungry as well. I guess I'll be stopping at the Indian restaurant for dinner tonight!
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    hey, that's great katy - let us know how your meal goes!

    i can't believe i forgot the dessert!!

    many indian desserts are made with milk, at least in the north. ras malai, gulab jamun, milk cake, ladoo, these are some of my favorite things.

    india has a number of fruits that don't grow here. i am not familiar with all of them, but i highly recommend you try a variety of mangoes. there are a number of varieties of mangoes in india. find out what's in season and locally grown. mangoes do make you hot, so enjoy them in a nice cool place. but they are oh so sweet! there really are no words to describe the wonderful taste. you have to eat one to understand. and once you eat one yourself, you won't need any explanation at all. you will have experienced and you will understand.

    okay, i'll stop, i'll stop...

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    Indian mangoes are the best! The ones we get in North America are tasteless in comparison!

    I want to go!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maria View Post
    Indian mangoes are the best! The ones we get in North America are tasteless in comparison!

    I want to go!
    Group trip!!!!
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    Katy! Great idea! Actually, I think the season is coming up too!

    Now if only we could bring back several Aeronaut's full of mangoes through customs. Oh my mouth waters just thinking of those mangoes, so delicious - so hard to describe. I dream of such mangoes! And have been spoiled by them.

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    Oh my--the food sounds wonderful. Thanks for the recommendations Maverick! Bread is my downfall diet wise and they won't have to ask twice if I want dessert. Now I can't wait to go!

    Katy, Maria, and Maverick--I wish you could come with me! I will be visiting Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Chennai. I will have the most free time (at least one Saturday) in Bangalore. The team I am visiting has suggested we take a trip to Mysore so hopefully that works out.

    Now back to work--my Western Flyer arrived today and I am busy planning what to pack in each compartment. I was expecting a great bag based on the comments in this forum but even so this bag has exceeded my expectations. The bag has perfect quality and there are so many ergonomic touches. I can't wait to use it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
    Oh my--the food sounds wonderful. Thanks for the recommendations Maverick! Bread is my downfall diet wise and they won't have to ask twice if I want dessert. Now I can't wait to go!

    Katy, Maria, and Maverick--I wish you could come with me! I will be visiting Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Chennai. I will have the most free time (at least one Saturday) in Bangalore. The team I am visiting has suggested we take a trip to Mysore so hopefully that works out.

    Now back to work--my Western Flyer arrived today and I am busy planning what to pack in each compartment. I was expecting a great bag based on the comments in this forum but even so this bag has exceeded my expectations. The bag has perfect quality and there are so many ergonomic touches. I can't wait to use it!
    you are going to love the western flyer!! we'd love to see some pictures as you pack and on your trip if you can manage it.

    i'm sure that folks there will have some wonderful suggestions for you. i remember enjoying dining at tandoor on mg road in bangalore - i think i went there twice on one trip. jamavar at the leela hotel was a delight in terms of ambiance, but i can't recall the food as being memorable.

    we did a road trip from bangalore to mysore. i got some pictures at a bird sanctuary on the way to mysore - click here. mysore palace was a bit of a disappointment, though, after seeing all of the wonderful pictures. we saw it during the day. it would likely have been more spectacular all lit up at night. so you may want to see if you can plan your trip to stay in mysore into the evening.

  12. #12
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    Wow! Beautiful photos Maverick. (First time I've seen them.)

    Yes please, OnMyWay - would enjoy seeing your photos too when you return, plus packing thoughts before and after!

    Safe trip!

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    I’m back!

    Just got back from my trip to India and wanted to let you know how everything worked out.

    I ended up using the Western Flyer as my carry-on bag/briefcase for meetings and checked a 21” wheeled bag.

    The Western Flyer was fabulous! It looked great as a briefcase and carried everything I needed it to while transferring between cities. My most important requirement was that I wanted to pack some clothes in my carry-on in case of lost luggage and there was more than enough space. The Absolute Shoulder strap was incredible. When I tried to carry the WF with the top handle it got heavy pretty quickly but when I switched to using the shoulder strap the weight literally disappeared.

    I will post my packing list shortly in the packing list thread. Sorry, I didn’t take pictures while I was packing—what was I thinking?

    The trip went really well—India is beautiful. I got to see quite a bit, including a day trip to Mysore to see the palace and a trip to the shore temple on the beach outside Chennai. And I did have a few adventures, which included missing a flight in Mumbai and using one of the Auto Rickshaw 3-wheeled taxis at 1AM to transfer to the domestic terminal. Imagine me speeding down deserted streets hanging on to my WF for dear life!!
    Last edited by OnMyWay; 07-02-2011 at 09:07 PM. Reason: spelling

  14. #14
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    Welcome home OnMyWay!

    If you have photos of your trip - would enjoy seeing them!


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