13 February 2009

What was your route to Anand, India?

Notice: All content here, and new additions can be found on a forum of the same name: http://dr-patel-surrogacy.com.

For those of us in the US, it seems depending upon where one lives, travel to India can be quite different. Being in California, we trekked westward, over the Pacific Ocean and through Asia. From the accounts of those who live in the eastern US, they travel eastward over the Atlantic Ocean, through Europe and/or the Middle East. I'll share some particulars of our journey...

After speaking to an Indian colleague who is actually from Ahmadabad (AMD), and who travels there yearly with his family, he convinced me to go with Singapore Airlines. Given the duration of travel (30+ hours from the US), he really likes that Singapore Airlines stops in Singapore for about 7 hours. This length of a stop would be bad, but there's a hotel inside the terminal which he said is a godsend. It gives travelers a chance to shower and get some legitimate sleep before the last leg into India. Upon arrival into AMD airport, those going this route are well-rested and feeling good, or at least better than otherwise. He recommended this route as he feels it's better to avoid Mumbai (Bombay) when possible, especially when AMD is the destination or very near to it. For those who don't know, AMD is about a 1 hour drive to Anand...

Here's the link for this Singapore Airport hotel, terminal 2, which is what you'll want for convenience purposes:


For the past few years, and for when we traveled in late 2008, terminal 2 was where the departing flight leaves from to AMD. You might want to double-check though. We got some nice sleep and were totally re-invigorated with sleep and a shower. I especially wanted my wife to be as rested and comfortable as possible for what we were about to embark upon...

Singapore Airlines was also quite good in terms of service, food, and handling my inquiries while in Anand when I was trying to get an earlier flight out for us, which we were able to do. We, like many couples, planned to be in Anand a bit longer than probably ultimately necessary. Part of the reason for this is not actually knowing when the procedure will begin as it's pretty much dictated by when the menstrual cycle begins; and as I've come to learn, this can fluctuate by several days, especially when stress is present (and this certainly qualifies). So, I'd recommend building some cushion into your itinerary, and try to make sure there is no penalty by the airlines for changing the departure date. Just so folks know, once Dr. Patel has your current cycle (she asks via email), she will provide a schedule, and with that, a date to arrive in Anand, and a date for departure. From our experience, and that of others, the requested stay is a little over 2 weeks. We booked our travel for three weeks, so as not to have any added stress in case we needed to start earlier or later than expected.

Oh, here's the website for Singapore Airlines:


And while on the topic, Singapore Airlines, unless in first class, I think like most airlines now, allows for two check-in pieces of luggage per traveler, at a max of 23 KG or a little over 50 lbs each. If like us, you'll be packed to the limit, so check beforehand to avoid issues at the airport. We used our scale at home a lot, and it was well worth it. I will have separate post for a discussion on what exactly to consider bringing...

So, our route went like this: SFO -> Hong Kong to refuel (quick stop) -> Singapore (airport hotel, shower/sleep) -> AMD

So once in AMD airport, then what?

I didn't mention earlier, but we flew the day after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Suffice it to say, my wife, family and colleagues (yes, they knew) were quite worried. I suppose I was as well, but unless the US government was going to intervene and prevent such travel, I was on a mission; and this was not going stop me/us.

When we left Anand, I had the hotel arrange for a taxi, and upon request, they put it on the hotel bill, which I paid with a credit card (better record-keeping, was low on Rupees & credit card perks). The hotel said for me not to pay a tip as that was already incorporated into the payment for the driver (1,830 Rupees, or about $36 USD at the time).

So, that's the scoop on our travel to AMD, and transportation to/from the airport. I hope this info will be helpful to others. Oh, another thing nice about working with Dr. Patel is that she provides all of the meds, and are included in her pricing. There is not a need to purchase meds separately and carry them abroad, and deal with airport security.

That said, my wife needed to bring meds for her lupus. We got a letter from her doctor that we had ready, but never needed. So for those who also must bring meds, for whatever reason, get a doctor's letter. It is my firm belief that this trip will be the most important in our lifetime; so take all precautions to make sure it goes smoothly as possible.

Ok, I'm sure I missed some things and I know others took different routes to Anand! Hoping others will chime-in with these paths and their experiences...

My wife just reminded me of something that can help others. If you change your plans to leave sooner, print-out your updated itinerary and bring it to the airport. The hotel lobby should allow for this option. We were held-up about 5-10 minutes at the AMD airport as our itinerary and tickets were for a few days later. Safe, ha travels to all.


  1. We flew from San Francisco to Mumbai and then Jet Air to Vadodora which is the closest airport to Anand. We flew British Airways and stopped in London. We liked this route because it broke the trip almost exactly in half- about 10 hours on each side of London. We liked the route so much, we did it twice, in fact. We chose to spend the night in London at a commuter hotel near the airport called the Park Inn. We got a deal through BA so it was only about $100USD. This is an excellent price for London. The tickets were about $3000 round trip for both of us. For us this was about the limit of our travel endurance. Any flights longer than this would be too much for us too handle, I think. At least without heavy sedatives..

    We also chose to spend the night in Mumbai at the Leela. I can highly recommend this hotel. It is fantastic at almost every level, but it is also as expensive as any hotel in London, New York, etc. I think we paid about $400 for a night. If you can afford it, it is a well deserved treat after the long travel.

    The Jet Air trip was another $100USD or so and was less than an hour from Mumbai to Vadodora.

    Depending on your preference and how well traveled you are, you can have a driver waiting for you to drive to Anand, but you should have no problem hiring a driver outside the airport if necessary.

  2. I think I might like your route better, and I like ours! And, I didn't realize that those of us in the western US can fly that way (eastward). Makes sense though with it being British Airways. The hotel deal is the clincher too. Good find!

    The hotel in Singapore was like 60 bucks. With the hotel being in the airport, and not having to deal with customs and transportation was nice though...

    Our tickets were about $1,600 roundtrip for each of us, or $3,200 total. But this got us to a local airport (AMD), not Mumbai. So, the overall flight costs about the same... From what I've heard of Vadodora airport, it's nicer than AMD, besides being a little nearer to Anand.

    If we are so fortunate to pick-up a baby in Aug, we will fly through Mumbai as stop will be needed there on the way home to get the baby's passport. And, I really like this BA option! Thanks Spanky.

  3. I don't see a way to edit comments... Just wanted to add Vadodora's airport code: BDQ. Go figure as it looks nothing like the city name...

  4. Uday is a great source of information about the local area as well as the surrounding areas.

  5. Good point Crystal. When we were there, he took couples on local tours alright. Two couples actually vetured out to New Delhi to see the Taj Mahal for a couple of days (not with Uday), and took their meds with them... My wife and I thought about it, but decided to stay local, near the clinic, and just focus on why we came to India. I feared some travel issues, terrorist activity, and not being to get back to Anand, complicating the whole IVF / surrogacy plan.


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