Where My Travels Took Me in the First Six Months in 2017

in-love-with-trams

If someone told me that I would travel a lot in the first six months of 2017 I would not have been surprised. After all, I traveled a lot in 2016 too. What I didn’t expect was so many foreign trips. This year I have already clocked two personal trips too! So here is where … Read more

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What to Expect on a Tiger Safari in India

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Are you excited about your tiger safari in India? You want to go see tigers in the wild? While it is indeed thrilling to spot a tiger in the wild, you will enjoy your trip more if you understand the ground realities. Here are some tips, some do’s and don’ts of going on a jungle … Read more

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Travel Insurance – Love it or Hate but You Need It!

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Summer vacations are almost here, and people in India are gearing up for family travel! The outbound market from India is big now! I know as a travel blogger because the tourism boards which in the past told bloggers they don’t work with Indian Bloggers are now coming back to promote their destination in India! … Read more

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Summer Holidays are Here Again!

summer-holidays

I have mixed feelings about summer holidays. On one hand it makes family travel easy, on the other it turns the whole of India and beyond into fish market! As we Indians are family oriented and over 1 billion, summer vacations mean crowds, high prices and a wait everywhere. And I am not a fan … Read more

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When I Book Holidays on My Own

When-I-Book-Holidays-on-My-Own

When I started blogging in 2005 I never imagined it will lead to anything. But it did, I literally went places with travel blogging. Along the way personal trips went down as I was constantly on one FAM or another and I am deeply thankful for that, because in the end travel costs money. On … Read more

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The Strange Schengen Visa Experience with the Czech Republic

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Strange is the word to describe my Schengen Visa experience with the Czech Republic. Here is a brief background about us and the trip. I have been travel blogging since 2005 and have been to 20 countries (excluding India) till date. But the number of trips I have done is much greater, as UK alone … Read more

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The Grand Indian Holiday Sale by Thomas Cook India

Thomas Cook - creative

It is going to be summer vacations! There would be no rush in the mornings for school but there would be a rush to travel soon! Thomas Cook India has come up with the Grand Indian Holiday Sale for the holiday season. The theme of the sale is “AB POORA INDIA GHOOMEGA!” A wide variety … Read more

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Applying for Czech Republic Visa with Minors in India

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I actually had no plans to take my kids to Prague this year. Suddenly in January my younger nephew, also known as Brat 2 asked me to plan a trip. By the time I was near completion he backed out sighting too much work at office. By then I was hooked and I decided to travel to Prague with my daughter and niece- Chhavi and Vasu, also known as double trouble! And therein lies the story of applying for Czech Republic Visa with minors in India.

I was able to submit our applications successfully today. I still need to get the passports back but then I will update this post once I get know the outcome.

To get the Czech visa one needs to apply for Schengen Visa. They have a VFS office in Delhi. There is a comprehensive Czech Republic VFS website which lists the documents to be submitted along with the application form for each type of visa. The application form can also be downloaded from the website. We clearly need the tourist visa. The visa fee can be paid in cash at the VFS which is a blessing as I do not need to get demand draft made.

Even though I have taken the girls abroad before, it was Hong Kong which used to be visa on arrival when we visited in 2014. This time it was different as we all need a visa.

If you are traveling with a minor, the first thing to be careful about is parental authority. In my case my husband is not traveling and in Vasu’s case both her parents are not traveling along with us. I needed a no objection from my husband and a parental authority letter from my sister and brother-in-law, signed by both. It had to be done by a notary on a stamp paper. Photocopies of parents passport irrespective of whether they are traveling or not is also to be submitted. The logic is clear, one parent should not be able to run away with the child to another country. I totally get it. I had to submit their school ids as well along with their applications.

I am a little surprised tough because last year when Seshadri (my husband) took Chhavi to USA no such document was required even though I was not traveling. Also last year Vasu went to USA on her school trip and only one of the parents signature was required for the authority letter to the school.

For the kids I could sign off their visa application forms as both are under 12 years of age. Kids under 12 are exempt from bio metrics too. So, thankfully I could go and apply the visa for all three of us, there was no need to bring in the hyper kids in tow!

The rest of the documents are routine- completed application forms, valid passport, the return tickets, recent photos, the hotel booking, proof of funds, IT returns, six months bank statement with bank seal and signed by a bank employee! The bank seal and signature bit also surprised me a bit because even UK accepts online bank statements! But such are the vagaries of visa rules and the trick is to follow them to the letter!

After gathering all the documents, I took an online appointment and  got it for the next day. I took the 9.00 am time as the VFS is not too busy at that point of the day. I needed to take the token and then go to the relevant counter. The VFS staff was super efficient. They took my forms and asked me to wait. After a while I was asked to proceed to pay the visa fee and bio metrics. Even though mine was not a very straight forward application, at no point did they ask me any irrelevant questions. They were professionals and I am thankful for that.

When I went for the bio metrics there were three passports in my kit. I did my finger scan and then the lady asked me to send in the next applicant. I looked out and said there is no next applicant! Then I realized that I didn’t have a receipt of any kind. So I randomly stopped an employee and asked him how come I don’t have a receipt even though I have done all the formalities. He took me back to the bio metric room and the lady smiled and said my kit had two more applicants! I too laughed and told her they are minors. She said she asked me to send in the next candidate because she saw two more passports in my kit. And I thought it was a general request. She promptly handed me the receipt and I walked off after thanking her and the two young boys would initially accepted my application!

Now let us see how long does it takes for the passports to arrive and what is the outcome! I will update this post once I know the outcome.

PS. All the passports in the picture belong to my family members! Three of them are mine, one current passport and two expired ones.

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Travel Round Up 2016, Best Wishes for 2017

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I feel a lot of gratitude for 2016, it was a fabulous year travel wise, so much so that I have changed my new year greeting. I used to say may we travel more but now I say, may we travel well! So here is the travel roundup 2016! [table id=3 /] I extended two … Read more

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Blacklane Taxi Services- A Professional Service for Sure!

blacklane-car

I often go to the airport but Blacklane is not my usual taxi service. Blacklane provides business class cars like Mercedes. When they asked me if I would like to use their services as a blogger I said yes. Blacklane is available in 200+ cities across the world. They operate within 10 Indian cities too. … Read more

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