Jet Set to Jaipur: Part 1 – Planning and Introduction
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We took a 4-day trip to Jaipur, a city in the Northern part of India called Rajasthan. I really like Rajasthan for its historic palaces, extraordinary forts, and excellent shopping. And we even took a picturesque elephant ride! It’s different than anywhere else I’ve traveled, and that’s why I liked it so much!
This series of posts will cover the logistics of getting to Jaipur, the hotel we stayed in, the activities we did, and restaurants we visited.
Jet Set to Jaipur Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Planning and Introduction
- Part 2 – Getting to Jaipur, India
- Part 3 – ITC Rajputana Hotel Overview
- Part 4 – ITC Rajputana Hotel Room
- Part 5 – Activities in Jaipur – Amber Fort and Elephant Ride
- Part 6 – Activities in Jaipur – City Palace and Jaigarh Fort
- Part 7 – Shopping in Jaipur and the Hunt for Lacquer Jewelry
- Part 8 – Eating in Jaipur
- Part 9 – Conclusion & Blog Giveaway
Planning and Introduction
India is 1 of my top 5 places I’ve ever been. That’s because it’s a feast for the senses in every way! Here’s a video that highlights some of my favorite places I’ve visited in India. India will always be a magical place for me.
In later parts of this series, we will go into more detail about the airline, hotel, sights, shops, and restaurants. This post is a brief overview of everything we did.
Getting to Jaipur, India
We used United Airlines miles to fly from Austin to Chicago on United Airlines, then from Chicago to Mumbai (via Frankfurt) on Lufthansa.
We paid 60,000 United Airlines miles each for our seats in Business Class (these tickets now cost 80,000 United Airlines miles). But you can fly coach for just 42,500 United Airlines miles 1-way.
It was my stepdad’s 1st time overseas, so we wanted to make it memorable for him.
We stopped in Mumbai for 2 weeks, and then flew round-trip to Jaipur and back. If you are considering stopping in Mumbai or Delhi, you can read about our travels there in December 2013!
We took an IndiGo flight to Jaipur for less than $200 round-trip. IndiGo is a regional Indian airline. Last-minute flights are fairly cheap (unlike the US). There’s no good way to use miles, so we paid cash.
It took 1 hour to drive from South Mumbai to the airport at 9:00 am for our 11:20 am departure. The Mumbai airport was easy to get through.
The non-stop flight from Mumbai to Jaipur was just 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Ancient Forts and Lavish Palaces in Jaipur
Our 1st day in Jaipur, we went to the City Palace. It was built between 1729 and 1732 by the Maharaja of Jaipur.
We loved the old architecture and painted archways.
One of my favorite activities was to ride my 1st elephant up to the majestic gates of the Amber Fort!
We also found some excellent shopping (OK, us ladies did anyway!)
ITC Rajputana Was a Great Use of Starwood Points
The hotel was very pretty and had unique Indian artwork and architecture.
The rooms were very modern and comfortable.
We’d happily stay at this hotel again!
Indian Food Enchanted Our Tastebuds
We tried the local Rajasthani version of thali. There were so many little dishes to try! Everything was so flavorful and the portions were huge!
You Can Do It, Too
Here’s how we made the trip happen!
|Retail Cost||Our Cash Cost||Miles & Points Used||Sources of Miles & Points|
|Two 1-way Business Class tickets from Austin to Mumbai (via Chicago and Frankfurt)||$4,878 per person ($9,756 for two)||~$67 per person (taxes and fees) or ~$134 for two||60,000 United Airlines miles per person (160,000 United Airlines miles for two)|
Note: The United Airlines award chart has since changed. Tickets are now 80,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class plus taxes and fees
|Transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus to United Airlines|
|Two round-trip tickets between Mumbai and Jaipur on IndiGo||~$173 per person (~$346 for two)||~$173 per person (~$346 for two)||N/A||N/A|
|Three nights at the ITC Rajputana hotel||~$128 per night (~$384 for 3 nights)||$0||4,000 Starwood points per night (12,000 Starwood points total for 3 nights)||Used Starwood points earned from the AMEX Starwood cards|
Flights to India
We spent 60,000 United Airlines miles per person plus ~$67 to fly from Austin to Mumbai (via Chicago and Frankfurt) in Business Class on United Airlines and Lufthansa. These flights now cost 80,000 United Airlines miles per person.
That’s not the only way to get there! Daraius and I have flown to India numerous times using miles and points, including:
- American Airlines miles on British Airways
- American Airlines miles on American Airlines
- United Airlines miles on United Airlines
- American Airlines miles on Etihad
If you want to fly from the US to Rajasthan, you’ll have to 1st fly to a larger city like Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, or Delhi.
Hotels in Jaipur
We used Starwood points earned from our Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express cards to stay at the ITC Rajputana. It was an excellent deal – only 4,000 Starwood points per night!Note: The ITC Rajputana now costs just 3,000 Starwood points per night.
There are lots of other chain hotels in Jaipur where you can stay using points, including Hilton, IHG, Marriott, Starwood, and Wyndham hotels, including:
- Hilton Jaipur (20,000 Hilton points per night)
- Holiday Inn Jaipur City Centre (15,000 IHG points per night)
- Jaipur Marriott Hotel (15,000 Marriott points per night)
- Radisson Blu Jaipur (15,000 Club Carlson points per night)
We like using Hotel Hustle to see how much award nights cost and if there are any available for our travel dates.
That said, hotels in Jaipur are usually inexpensive. So it might be worthwhile to save your points for pricier stays elsewhere!
Visiting Jaipur was a unique, unforgettable adventure! Riding the elephant was my favorite experience, along with visiting the historic forts. This area of India is one of my top 5 favorite places in the world.
There was also some excellent shopping with very interesting jewelry and handicrafts that you can’t find anywhere else!
The ITC Rajputana was an excellent find for only 4,000 Starwood points per night (now only 3,000 points per night!). But there are plenty of other options to stay with points, including Hilton, IHG, Marriott, Starwood, and Wyndham hotels.
Stay tuned for more details on our flights to Mumbai and Jaipur!
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