Departure flight on Spotlight on India

I have signed up for a March 2022 trip to India. I can either take a 1:45AM flight or a 4:00 AM flight. How late does the farewell dinner on the last night of the tour usually go to? I am assuming that it would be either no sleep before flight or very little (which is fine with me). Just wish to gauge if I would be missing any of the farewell dinner if I choose the 1:45 flight. Any information about that last day would be appreciated. Also would there be enough time to schedule a trip to Elephanta Island between lunch and dinner? Any tips on this trip would be helpful and appreciated,


  • I did the Portrait of India tour and took a 2:35AM flight out of Mumbai. It was no issue w/r to the farewell dinner. It's probably similar for the Spotlight on India.

    One gentleman on our tour, a single traveler, stayed an extra play in Mumbai and planned to go to Elephanta Island. He decided against it when he got to the ferry. He said he didn't feel as safe as he would like. That's an individual thing. If you are planning to go with two or more people the feeling might be totally different. I think it would be a real rush job to do Elephanta Island between lunch and dinner, especially since you have concerns about impacting the farewell dinner.

  • edited April 2021

    Stay an extra day and tour WITH A GUIDE. Any daytime departures? Remember, Tauck will want to get you to the airport 3 hours early. How long is the trip from the hotel to the airport?

  • I think the tour has changed and now includes Elephanta.

  • We did the Northern India and Nepal tour in 2017 which also ended in Mumbai. Day 17 of the tour was listed as the last day of the tour however this was just a travel day. Day 16 was actually the last day of any touring and that evening we had what was the farewell event which was actually called “ Farewell Cocktails” in the EAU BAR of the Oberoi Mumbai Hotel. A majority of the other Tauck travelers had flights that left in the wee hours of day 17. Most people did not even go to bed that night since most of the airport transfers started between 9PM and Midnight.

    Our flight was scheduled for very late afternoon/early evening on day 17. There was another couple who had similar flight times so we decided to have the concierge at the hotel book a tour guide to take us to Elephanta Island on the morning of day 17. The trip was well worth it and we got back to the hotel with plenty of time to shower and change before going to the airport. The temperature was in the low 90’s with humidity about the same so showering before your flight is probably a good idea.

    By the way we decided to take a rickety Mumbai cab from the ferry terminal back to the hotel. We weren’t sure how much it would cost but we wanted to get back to the hotel as soon as possible. Four of us crammed into a very small cab. The final cost for the cab ride from the ferry back to the hotel was about 50 or 60 rupees which was about USD 75 cents. I gave the driver a very generous tip.

  • The Spotlight tour when we went, ended up back in Delhi, The Farewell dinner was the night before in another city. We had a flight back to Delhi early morning, Tauck changed the timing of the flight to then instead of an afternoon flight, we were only told I believe the night before. No one was pleased, and then we had to hang about the hotel near the airport the rest of the day. The tour director left us there and got a flight back to the US. Most of us were on flights that left about 2am
    The most unsatisfactory ending to any of our tours, to be awake for over twenty four hours before we even got on our fights home. I hope it’s different now!

  • Do you think it will be safe to travel or allowed to travel to India in early 2022?

  • Come on people. Why would anyone flag British for simply providing an answer to WRF's question. You could select Disagree with her response of No, but there is no possible reason for Flagging her response. Flag isn't the same as 'Strongly Disagree'.

    Two people did this!!

  • I worked for Air India under contract for a year … so I would not go to India. That being said, I know Tauck carefully guides their tours around the ‘rough’ stuff. When I was based in Bombay/Mumbai I made a point of not leaving the hotel until after nine in the morning so they had a chance to pick up the bodies and the people were done ‘going’ in the streets. It was a little bit like Market Street in San Francisco now. I’m certain that if Tauck runs the tour, it will be carefully guided to only the nice places. If I wanted to go to India and see the sights with Tauck, I would feel confident that Tauck would make it a great experience. It would not be like traveling with one of my crewmembers who insisted on traveling on third class trains with all of the goats and the sheep. That was fun.

  • Air India stories. I worked for Air India. I had an Air India ID card. But, if I did not ‘work’ a trip into India, if I ‘deadheaded’ in, I had to have a visa.

    So one day I took off from ‘Bombay’ on my way to Europe and lost an engine on takeoff (1 of 4), so I circled the airfield and came back and landed. No problem? The piece of paperwork authorizing the flight is called ‘The General Declaration’, it shows where you took off and where you are going to land, and the crew. So mine said, “Bombay to Frankfurt”. The Bombay authorities demanded to see a ‘Declaration’ that showed me taking off from somewhere else, and landing in Bombay. They could not understand how I could takeoff from Bombay and land in Bombay without have the proper ‘General Declaration’. (They learned this stuff from the British by the way.). So after arguing for an hour or so, they decided I could only re-enter through “departures”. So we walked upstairs and we back tracked through the terminal and to the hotel … the beautiful Juhu Beach Holiday Inn. I think they stole the sign. Actually, it was a pretty nice hotel on the beach. After waiting in Bombay for ten days for a new engine, or authorization for a three engine ferry to Europe, I wrote a Telex to the company. “I have registered to vote, and I’m considering the purchase of property.”. They sent me home.

    Then there was the day the Indians gave me a flight plan for an Ilyushin 76 (Russian transport). No problem. I manually recalculated the fuel burn, and off we went.

  • Cathy - I've submitted a question/comment to Tauck, through the Contact Us interface, asking that they update their, Tauck Travel Forum Rules and Guidelines, to include the definitions and proper usage of each of the 5 flags (Flag, Disagree, Agree, Like, LOL). Right now it seems like there is a wide belief that the 'Flag' flag is being misused. If Tauck provides any sort of response I will post it to the Forum, unless of course they provide an update to their Task Travel Forum Rules and Guidelines.

    Here is what I believe the 'Flag' flag should be used for, but if people have differing opinions I'd love to hear what they are. Here is my definition:

    Flag - Used to indicate that you believe the associated comment posted was being used for one of several inappropriate purposes such as - advertising, abuse/bullying, political opinions, etc.

    If you disagree with a post/comment that doesn't fall within a 'Flag' category as defined above, then you should use the Disagree flag. There is nothing stronger than Disagree. 'Flag' shouldn't be used simply because you strongly disagree. Disagree is as strong of a dissent as you can post.

  • WRF asked for opinion and mine was no. End of comment.
    And Sealord, when we went to India with Tauck, things were not ‘sanitized’ too much, apart from paying some of the locals to keep some of the beggars from getting too near. We still got them...the ones that I found most interesting were the women, old women, carry small babies and empty feeding bottles coming right up to us, we could see the women pinching the babies under the wraps to make them cry and look more pathetic.
    And you can’t get more authentic than going by bodies being burned in funeral pyres, we saw that in their hundreds in Varanasi. We saw people pooping in the poopatoriums. My favorite pastime was seeing how early each morning I saw a man peeing in the street. Dodging cow poo was also an experience on the sidewalks.

  • I went to India with Tauck 2015 and had a total different experience! It was amazing and I love it. yes ! some areas are not sparkling clean , but NY is not either... and cows... Yes, most of them at rural areas, also in Varanasi or in the poor neighborhoods in Delhi. but Tauck is not known for visiting the slums. As for the Varanasi Ghats we never got too closed and we were told to be respectful and not to take pictures... we saw about 4 cremations than we continue to cruise around the Ganges, we offered a candle to the dead and to thank the river and finally finish our visit with a beautiful sunrise... it was all done very tasteful.
    Maybe I was more optimistic and friendly to the locals that always had a smile for me.
    Now, to answer WRF question , I would wait for late 2022 if not early 2023 too truly enjoy this trip and feel safe.. India is huge and the population is in the millions.. so it will take some time to vaccinate those at the rural areas as well as those that per their religious believe are reluctant to be vaccinated. .
    Now, my final saying... " India is totally worth the wait! "

  • edited June 2021

    India is an amazing trip. Indeed, mil and I had different experiences. We took the sunrise Ganges River ride, but there was also a scheduled evening Ganges ride where they ‘put the River to sleep’ this is where we saw the hundreds of funeral pyres and the lines of people carrying their dead to be cremated.
    As far as smiling at people, our TD specifically told us not to engage in any eye contact with the beggars and hawkers when we were all walking around, if we did, we were likely to become surrounded. It proved to be true when one of our party showed interest in what one of the hawkers was selling, she was immediately surrounded by others. The TD had already told us that if we were interested in any of the wears, she would arrange a price with the seller snd bring the items onto the bus where we could give her the money and she would give the seller the profits. It worked very well....but of course some people don’t listen to a very experienced TD.
    Cows, were everywhere, on the side walks, on the steps down to the river and so was the poop. I recommend taking old shoes with you that cover your toes that can be thrown away at the end off the tour. Or a pair that can be thoroughly washed when you get home. Bring plastic bags to put all your shoes in to keep them well separated from everything else in your suitcase.
    Taking pictures... there are many times the TD tells you it is not appropriate to take pictures, but again, people do not listen. There were several people on our tour who never asked permission. I can think of one particular occasion that stands out to me, where one of our group who was taking photos with a big iPad, put the iPad right up to the face of a woman to tske her picture. The woman put her hand up, indicating, no, put she took it anyway. There was also an expectation of giving money to take photos of certain people, like the snake charmers, again, some of our group did not abide by ‘ the rules’
    Just a few of our differences.

  • Thank you everyone for your input. It will be valuable when I do take this tour. Tauck has already cancelled the March 2022 trip and is not rebooking at this time. I sincerely hope I can experience this some time down the road. Your comments help to envision this.

  • Denise Rei Hi!
    Sorry to hear that Tauck has cancelled the trip already.. but if they did, be sure it was the right decision. For Tauck the main thing is the safety and wellbeing of their clients. I'm still waiting to hear about mine.

  • I got plenty of smiles........

  • Thanks BKMD
    I really enjoyed India, it is so magical.... I hope to go back one day.

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