Didn’t play it safe in India

This item appears on page 57 of the February 2011 issue.
This is subscriber only post.
Get one year of online-only access — only $15!
Below is a sample of the article.
Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I read the letter titled “India Travel Tips” (Dec. ’10, pg. 51) and strongly disagree with most of the advice given on what not to eat and drink.

I’m a senior traveler. In 1990 I spent three months traveling all over India on a railpass. For all my train journeys, I always filled up my water bottle at the public fountain, just like everyone else; I did not buy bottled water. At the zoo I bought cups of ice water. I didn’t get sick from that either! I stayed at youth hostels, YMCAs and YWCAs and ate local fare, including lettuce, tomatoes and veggies.

Now, due to the “rock laundry,” my shirts did lose most of their buttons. Better to just bring tees.

Traveling by train, I was often able to stay cheaply at those famous “Railway Retiring Rooms*.” The only problem was in Calcutta, when I would have had to pay a lot more because I was the only female there!

Instead, I just went to the Red Shield Guest House (a Salvation Army-run guest house at 2 Sudder St., Kolkata; phone 033 2286 1659) for the amazing low cost of 7¢ a night! (2011 prices run $1.31-$13 per night.)

SAMANTHA SARTAIN

Colorado Springs, CO

*Railway Retiring Rooms are basic, dormitory-style accommodations, available on a first-come, first-served basis. For a list of what is available by station, go to the Government of India Indian Railways website. On the left side of the page, click on “Passenger Information” and then “Retiring Room Details.” Prices in 2011 run RPS30-RPS600 (87¢-$13), depending on the number of beds per room and whether or not there is air-conditioning.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I read the letter titled “India Travel Tips” (Dec. ’10, pg. 51) and strongly disagree with most of the advice given on what not to eat and drink.

I’m a senior traveler. In 1990 I spent three months traveling all over India on a railpass. For all my train journeys, I always filled up my water bottle at the public fountain, just like everyone else; I did not buy bottled water. At the zoo I bought cups of ice water. I didn’t get sick from that either! I stayed at youth hostels, YMCAs and YWCAs and ate local fare, including lettuce, tomatoes and veggies.

Now, due to the “rock laundry,” my shirts did lose most of their buttons. Better to just bring tees.

Traveling by train, I was often able to stay cheaply at those famous “Railway Retiring Rooms*.” The only problem was in Calcutta, when I would have had to pay a lot more because I was the only female there!

Instead, I just went to the Red Shield Guest House (a Salvation Army-run guest house at 2 Sudder St., Kolkata; phone 033 2286 1659) for the amazing low cost of 7¢ a night! (2011 prices run $1.31-$13 per night.)

SAMANTHA SARTAIN

Colorado Springs, CO

*Railway Retiring Rooms are basic, dormitory-style accommodations, available on a first-come, first-served basis. For a list of what is available by station, go to the Government of India Indian Railways website. On the left side of the page, click on “Passenger Information” and then “Retiring Room Details.” Prices in 2011 run RPS30-RPS600 (87¢-$13), depending on the number of beds per room and whether or not there is air-conditioning.