In true Kev fashion, step 3 started at the same time as step 2, which of course was well before step 1. But hey, that's the first rule of project management isn't it: define your deadline and work backwards.
So just how do you travel around in India? I think you can break this down to three types of people:
- The Trophy Hunter. Typically really want to go somewhere to add it to their list and have photos of it. Travel in planes, want to see the sights but don't want to integrate with the locals whatsoever. Absolutely can't stay anywhere without a swimming pool or a Michelin chef. Trains are no problem as long as there's silver service and a pianist.
- The Integrators: Typically want to 'feel' the place they're going to. Eat where the locals eat, travel like the locals and perhaps try to speak like the locals.
- Me (and many others): Typically wanting to be an Integrator but a little scared about what might happen and certainly without the money of the Trophy Hunter.
For me, planes are out unless absolutely necessary and as it works out, for this trip, they're not.
I'm prepared to travel on a train, but first class, second class or third class, but I'm not ready for sleeper class yet. For more information see: http://www.seat61.com/India.htm.
Trains are probably the cheapest way to get around in India but it's no good if the train times don't suit or there's no station near where you're going.
How about taxis? Hiring a taxi from place to place is a good idea but you've always got to pay the driver for a round-trip as he's got to get back home. But the cost of labour is cheap in India so it is an ideal place for hiring a car+driver for whatever time.
The decision was made: we'll travel by car+driver to start with and once we're a bit more confident we'll take the train. Out of the air we plucked the time when we'd switch to trains as 12 days in, halfway through our trip.