Emily: Hi everyone! You know how much I like traveling. Another passion of mine is shopping for locally handmade art and treasures in the places I visit.
To me, art is the absolute best thing to bring back home. It’s so unique, and there’s soul behind it. Of course, I also love bringing back small random gifts for family and friends.
Because the holidays are coming up, I’ve created a few posts on some of my favorite shopping destinations and how to get there on miles & points! And for those who don’t like shopping as much, I’ve also included my other favorite experiences in these cities!
Emily’s Top International Shopping Destinations Index:
Want a Truly Unique Shopping Experience? Mumbai, India, Is for You!
I love saving money. And shopping in India is a great place to do it! India is in one of my top 5 destinations in the world to visit because it’s like no other place on earth.
Because of the low prices, India is a great place to find unique gifts. But it’s key to know which streets will charge a fair price!
1. Colaba District, Mumbai
Streets like Colaba Causeway (or Shahid Bhagat Singh Road) are very touristy, so you can expect inflated prices unless you do some serious bargaining. To get a better price, try to overhear locals bargaining. I can find some things such as Rajasthani jewelry on the causeway that I can’t find anywhere else in Mumbai (Bombay), so for some, a trip may be worth it!
Near the causeway is Central Cottage Industries Emporium. They sell things like pottery, clothing, furniture, and detailed items made of animal bone. It’s such a fun place to wander!
They have a large selection of stunning jewelry, sarees, and shawls. They make great inexpensive gifts for yourself or your loved ones.
2. Kalbadevi and Fort Districts, Mumbai
Abdul Rehman Street in Kalbadevi is my preferred shopping area. That’s because the prices are set and the selection is huge.
It’s an outdoor market where you can find just about anything, from intricate jewelry, to colorful handbags. And at rock bottom prices!
Just a mile south of Abdul Rehman Street is The Bombay Store, with beautiful sculptures, decorative rugs, and wall art. There are a few locations around Mumbai. I highly recommend checking one out!
I recommend shopping around before purchasing anything, because items here can be marked up.
Mumbai is much more than a shopper’s paradise, though. Its vibrant energy is a treat for the senses. And you need to make time to appreciate the Neo-Gothic and Art Deco architecture! If you stay in South Mumbai, you’ll see it all around!
Combine Mumbai with a Cheap Flight to Picturesque Rajasthan
Rajasthan is my favorite place in India; it’s drop-dead gorgeous! You can fly from Mumbai to Jaipur, Rajasthan, for ~$80 round trip.
Seeing and touching the history of places I visit is the most enjoyable part of a trip for me. And walking through the forts and palaces from the 1500s was a huge thrill!
Many buildings have been amazingly preserved. Even the aging structures have a mysteriously tranquil and inviting feel. I always imagine how it might be to live in another time and to walk through the courtyards.
Rajasthan also has excellent shopping opportunities. You’ll find lots of colorful bohemian clothes, housewares, and tapestries.
Consider Bringing Gifts of Your Own
Every time I go to India or another developing country, I bring gifts of my own to hand out to kids and families who don’t have very much. The gifts don’t cost a lot – they are a combination of free hotel toiletries, used clothes, and toys donated by friends and family.
In India, thousands of hardworking families live on the streets, and anything helps. I saw a girl squeal with delight when she found a new comb for her hair in her new kid’s purse. Seeing kids and families so grateful for these little things always make me more grateful for what I have!
You Can Do It, Too!
You can use American Airlines to fly lots of different ways to India. American Airlines partners include:
- Sri Lankan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Malaysia Airways
If you want to fly with Etihad, first find the available flights on the Etihad website. Then call American Airlines to reserve the tickets. See this step-by-step guide for more information.
We redeemed 70,000 American Airlines miles each for 2 one-way tickets in Etihad First Class, and $60 in fees. But the American Airlines award chart has changed since then, so you’ll now pay 115,000 American Airlines miles one-way.
Flying on Etihad is a much cheaper way to redeem American Airlines miles for flights to India. That’s because you don’t pay high fuel surcharges (~$400 per segment) like you do when you redeem American Airlines miles for British Airways flights to India.
Each one-way First Class ticket can cost $8,000+! Business Class costs 70,000 American Airlines miles each way, and coach costs 40,000 American Airlines miles.
Earning American Airlines miles is pretty easy. Here’s my series on how to use American Airlines miles. It could also be worth using an award booking service to book the flights for you.
Another option is using Alaska Airlines miles to fly with Emirates or Cathay Pacific. And you can get the Alaska Airlines credit card more than once!
|2 One-Way First Class Tickets From the US to Bombay, India||Round-Trip Ticket from Bombay to Jaipur, Rajasthan|
|Retail Cost||~$8,000 per person||~$100|
|Our Cash Cost||~$60||~$100|
|Miles & Points Used||115,000 American Airlines Miles per person||N/A|
|Source of Miles & Points||- Citi American Airlines Platinum Select|
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles
- Citi American Airlines Executive
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles
|Alternatives||- Alaska Airlines|
70,000 Alaska Airlines miles one-way in First Class
- United Airlines
90,000-140,000 miles one-way in First Class
|Use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles to erase travel purchases of $100 or more from your statement!|
|Additional Information||- You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines at a ratio of 1:1|
- You can transfer Starwood points to American Airlines at a ratio of 1:1
1. Using American Airlines Miles
A one-way flight from the US to the India costs:
- 40,000 American Airlines miles in coach
- 70,000 American Airlines miles in Business Class
- 115,000 American Airlines miles in First Class
2. Using Alaska Airlines Miles
From the US to India you’ll pay:
- 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles one-way in coach (Cathay Pacific)
- 62,500 Alaska Airlines miles one-way in Business Class (Cathay Pacific)
- 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles one-way in First Class (Cathay Pacific)
You can book partner flights (including Emirates) on the Alaska Air website. Except for Cathay Pacific, which has to be reserved by calling Alaska Airlines customer service. See this post for more ways on using Alaska Air miles to get to India.
3. Using United Airlines Miles
You can also use United Airlines! To fly from the US to India, you’ll pay:
- 42,500 United Airlines miles one-way in coach
- 70,000 to 80,000 United Airlines miles one-way in Business Class
- 90,000 to 140,000 United Airlines miles one-way in First Class
Here’s a post on how to use United Airlines miles.
Mumbai, India, is filled with tons of great shopping opportunities, excellent ethnic food, and beautiful history. It is truly like no place on earth. India is in my top 5 countries to visit, because it is so unique.
Rajasthan is my favorite region in India, because of the historical forts and palaces, and the peacefulness compared to the larger cities.
You can use lots of different miles to get to India! And your vacation is cheap once you arrive, because of the super low prices. So there’s no reason not to go!