Saturday, December 12, 2009

Passage to India

A somewhat huge weight has been lifted now that we have our airfare and hotel booked. Next steps - starting the birth control pill and our IVF meds! (Wait a second. What’s my rush? Birth control and IVF meds?!?!)

It turns out there’s not much of a trick to finding the best priced flight. Despite all our efforts, we couldn’t beat travel search engines like Kayak (our favorite), Mobissimo, Expedia, Orbitz, etc. What does make it a bit complicated is choosing between direct flights from the U.S. vs. connections through Europe. Living in Boston as we do, even direct flights require a connection as no airline flies directly to Mumbai from our city. That said, it’s usually a quick hop from Boston to a hub like New York or Newark. The real question is the time. Do we want 16 hours in one plane – from the U.S. to India – or two 8 hour flights (with a possibly long connection) through a variety of European hubs? When all was said and done, Geoff and I allowed price to dictate our preference. Turns out that Continental flies direct to Mumbai from Newark. Combine that with a hop from Boston to Newark and we had the most affordable option. So we are now scheduled to leave on January 26 and arrive in Mumbai on January 27 – yay!

As for the hotels, Geoff and I thoroughly researched and compared prices for eight hotels in Mumbai and we finally decided to go with the Hotel Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach, a new hotel that had opened this past July. After talking with other intended parents, India surrogacy parents and from what we’d read in other India-based surrogacy forums and blogs, one of the ideal places to stay in Mumbai for Surrogacy India is a place on the west coast of the city named Juhu Beach. (We know you can't swim in the water or even sit on the beach but the idea of being near the coast would remind us of home and seemed tranquil.)

When researching, websites such as, Tripadvisor and Travelocity offered a great deal of information and helpful reviews, while the actual hotel websites offered specific hotel information and more pictures. Amongst a lot of useful resources SI has provided, Dr. Sudhir and Dr. Yash recommended Amit Kulkarni of Explore India Tourism, based in Mumbai, who could help with booking our hotel. (Helpful tidbit, Explore India Tourism only accepts cash payments.) Amit was extremely helpful, professional, friendly and quite responsive. We are doubly thankful because not only were we looking at reasonable rates provided by Amit, but two local friends graciously offered a "friends and family" rate to the JW Marriott and Taj Lands End, which we also considered. Luckily, we found an even better corporate rate for an upgraded room at the Hotel Novotel through Geoff's work.

It was very tough to make a decision as each hotel has a little something we either really liked or disliked and, let's not forget, cost plays a role in the decision when you’re staying for 10 nights. The point is not to stay in an amazing hotel as if we're on vacation - we're there to grow our family - but seeing that I'll be hopped up on meds, we also want to make sure we stay at a hotel that we're comfortable and safe in. And, if the hotel has a couple of restaurants that cater to Westerners in addition to offering Indian food, which the Hotel Novotel appears to do, we'll be very happy! Even better, we’re told the Juhu Beach area is littered with Western style restaurants. How often do people travel to India and come back heavier?!


  1. I just did the trip from boston to mumbai via newark last week on continental. it really wasn't that bad and the plane was relatively comfortable despite the long haul. if you can sleep on a plane you will be fine. i rec. eating dinner, watching one movie (you'll be 4ish hours into the flight) and then trying to sleep as long as possible. that was when you wake up you can watch another movie, move around a bit, eat breakfast, then get going! good luck and i look forward to reading how it goes!

  2. Congrats you two! I am glad you got all these travel plans worked out. We have booked our flight and now looking at hotels. Trying to figure out a flight for when the baby comes is stressful. We are going over on the 36th week. So we should be there for the birth! YAY! Keep me posted. You are almost there!!

  3. Congrads on booking your flights and hotel! I hear a lot of good things about Continental, and that’s the airline we're flying with too out of Newark. Thank god you didn't book AirIndia - that’s who we used for our initial trip to Mumbai, and to this day I say that this was the most uncomfortable experience of my entire life (bordering with cruel and unusual punishment).

    Don't expect to gain much weight while you are in Mumbai. Indian food is great but not as rich in proteins and carbs as what we Americans are used to. Most importantly watch what (and where) you eat, and bring some meds for upset stomachs.

    Sadly, you will be in Mumbai just a few days after we leave. I was really looking forward to meet you in person. Oh well, perhaps at some point in the future we can do a reunion with our India-born babies 

    Good luck!

  4. Congratulations on finalizing your plans! When we were in Mumbai last June, the Novotel at Juhu was still under construction (we stayed next door at the Sun-n-Sand) and it looked very nice. The beach is interesting to walk along in the evening and watching the families gathered there socializing with each other -- lots of children playing too.

    There is a good chance we will be in Mumbai around the time of your trip, but that depends on our babies being patient enough to wait until then! You will be well looked after by Drs. Sudhir and Yash and their team, they are as great in person as they are from a distance.

  5. Hostels usually feature security, social life, showers and rooms with multiple bunks.

    Rio Pousadas