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TRAVEL GUIDE TO INDIA

 

We’ve gathered the following information for  you in preparation for your trips which we thought were appropriate.  If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-785-1233.


Airport Taxes

Passengers embarking on trips to any place outside India from a Customs airport/seaport will have to pay a Foreign Travel Tax (FTT) of Rs. 500 (approx. $11) and Rs. 150 (approx. $3) on trips to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Baggage

On Domestic flights, passengers are allowed 44 pounds of luggage per person. On International flights, passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Excess luggage fees will be charged if you check more than the stated allowances, and these charges are your responsibility.  At most major airports, baggage carts are available for your luggage, usually for a small additional fee

Climate and Clothing

November-March is the best time to visit India. During this period, temperatures range from 40-60 F/5-15 C in the north to 65-85 F/19-30 C in the south. March-June is dry and exceedingly hot (85-110 F/30-44 C), and June-October is monsoon time (20-80 in/50-200 cm of rain will fall in one season). During the rainy period, the monsoon washes away many roads in game parks and rural areas.  During the winter, Kashmir (30-45 F/0-7 C) and Ladakh are one of the coldest inhabited regions on Earth.

Plain cottons or cotton/synthetic blends are the most practical and the coolest in summer. It’s best to avoid synthetic fabrics that don’t ‘breathe’. For protection from the harsh sun a hat with a wide brim is recommended. When traveling during monsoons, a collapsible umbrella comes handy. During the winter months, sweaters and light jackets are required. For functions carry formal suits for men and skirts and tops for women. To enter a holy shrine, women should wear a long skirt or dress or trousers. Travel in a Muslim community calls for even more discretion.

Communications

Telephones & fax facilities are available in major hotels and tourist locations. Postal mail is fairly reliable but slow . Most places you travel on cultural tours have some basic internet/email service. Cyber Cafes are common in the major cities and in many tourist areas.

GSM and CDMA mobile phones are widely used in India, whereas SIM card is rarely sold for public.

Internet kiosks are available everywhere, and the charge is very low. However, wifi hotspots in India is limited, only paid wifi can be found in airport and major stations.

Currency

The units of Indian currency are the rupee and the paisa (100 paisa is equal to one rupee). Paper money comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 rupees. Coins are in denominations of 25, and 50 paisa, one rupee, two rupees, and five rupees.  The current exchange rate is approximately Rs45 to $1. The currency is listed at US$1 to aprox. 60INR (July 2013)

International airports have currency-exchange booths that are always open for arriving or departing overseas flights. It is a good idea to change certain amount of money in small denominations. Always change money from an authorized money-changer and do not forget to take the encashment slip. Some banks now charge a nominal fee for this slip, which is necessary for paying hotel bills or travel expenses in rupees. The encashment slip is also required when reconverting rupees into another currency.

Customs Regulations

Visitors are generally required to make an oral baggage declaration in respect of baggage and foreign currency in their possession. They are also required to obtain the Currency Declaration Form from the Customs. They should fill in the Disembarkation Card handed over to them by the airline during the course of the flight.

Electricity

The voltage in India is 220 Volts AC. Electrical appliances will require an adapter that can change the shape of the plug prongs, as well as an electrical voltage converter that will allow a normal 110-volt American appliance to take the 220 Volt current.

Food and Water

Tap water is not potable in India. Only drink purified bottle water. Bring water with you at all times. Eat only thoroughly cooked meat. Avoid pork products, fried food from street vendors and dishes using excessive oil.

Health Matters

No inoculations or vaccinations are required unless coming from or passing through an infected area. originate or are transiting through Yellow Fever endemic countries. Otherwise, foreign tourists should carry their Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate conforming to International Health Regulation.

Health risks include Cholera, dengue fever, dysentery, hepatitis, malaria, meningitis (trekking areas only) and typhoid. Travelers with respiratory ailments may wish to take precautionary measures. As a precautionary measure vaccination against Hepatitis B is recommended, if staying for a longer duration. To avoid Malaria, Dengue, carrying mosquito repellents, nets, clothes covering the body and using sprays against insects in rooms is sufficient.  Drinking only mineral or boiled water curbs down the chances of stomach ailments, thus whenever going out carrying a bottle always comes handy. This will also keep dehydration at bay.

Holidays

Republic Day – Jan 26th
Idu’z Zuha/Bakrid (Feast of the Sacrifice) – January/ February
Muharram (Islamic New Year) – February
Holi – March
Sri Rama Navami (Birthday of Sri Rama) – March
Mahavir Jayanthi – March/ April
Good Friday – April
Milad-Un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) – May
Buddha Purnima – May 4th
Independence Day – Aug 15th
Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday – October
Vijaya Dasami/Dussera – October
Diwali – November
Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) – November (3 days)
Christmas Day – Dec 25th

Passports and Visas

Visas are required for US Citizens for entry to India. Click here to obtain Visa application instructions.

Time Difference

Standard Time in India is 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 10.5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, USA.

Tipping

On tour tipping of $10-$12 per person per day is customary.

Tipping is important. In tourist restaurants or hotels a 10% service charge is often added to bills. In smaller places, where tipping is optional, you need only tip a few rupees, not a percentage of your bill. Most major hotels include a service charge of 10%. Waiters, room service boys, housekeepers, porters, and doormen all expect to be tipped. Railroad porters should be paid Rs. 5 – Rs. 10 per bag, depending on the weight. Set the rate before you let him take your bags. Taxi drivers don’t expect tips unless they go through a great deal of trouble to get to your destination, but if you hire a car with a driver, tip him about Rs.50-Rs. 100 per day, depending on the distance traveled. If you hire a local guide, tip him or her Rs. 40 for four hours, Rs. 80 for a full day.

The Indian concept of baksheesh includes tipping, but is broader: In India you’ll be expected to pay small amounts in order to get things done, as well as to reward for jobs already accomplished.

Transportation

All ground transportation, airport transfers and sightseeing, will be provided via private car and guide. Taxis are available from major hotels and the use of mass public transportation is not recommended.

While the transportation network is extensive, traveling in India can be quite challenging. Infrastructure can be poor and conveyances are almost always crowded.

 What to Pack?

Valid Passport. Travelers Checks. Copy of Your Airline Ticket. Mosquitoes repellent. Your Medicines. Medications for diarrhea and other digestive system ailments. Departure documents. Travel alarm clock. Camera(s), batteries & films. Sunscreen/Tan lotion.  Pocket size Kleenex. Extra luggage locks/keys. First Aid kit. Soft, foldable slippers. Extra set of eyeglasses. Folding Umbrella.  Comfortable walking shoes.