India has a well established infrastructure for western travellers. You need just a little extra patience and consideration to have a wonderful experience. The transport and the range of hotels in some ways eclipse those you will find at home (except in speed and luxury) and you will comfortably get by with English in any established tourist town or city.
What to Take?
As little as possible, you can buy just about everything when you are out there. Perhaps the only area in which buying in India is neither cheaper nor easily available is technical equipment (i.e. found in camping/trekking shops, although in Nepal, these abound).
What to Wear
Bare minimum – if you buy out there, you blend in better anyway. During winter months in the North and the highlands in the South do get cold at night, but at all other times light weight cotton is best. Respect their culture, discreet clothing for women especially. For foot wear – comfortable sandals are all you need.
Email / Internet
Now huge in India, particularly on all well trodden travellers paths. Connection can be slow but you will rarely fail to find a selection of Internet cafes. Good tip is to duplicate records of Travellers Cheque numbers, passport and plane details, etc. on your email accounts.
Travel Guide Books
The Rough Guide to India 6
Lonely Planet India
India Travel Guides Paperback
2006 Country Profile and Guide to India
National Travel Guidebook and Handbook DVD-ROM CD-ROM
Tourist Information Tips Do’s and Don’ts
Besides the originals, a copy of your passport, travel visas, airline tickets and travel documents. A list of any charge or credit cards you are carrying. Remember to keep the copies separate from the originals.
An International Driving Licence, which can be obtained through the automobile association. Even if you are not planning to drive, bring your driver’s licence with photo for identification.
- Consider purchasing special Travel insurance and medical evaluation plan programmes.
Avoid drinking water from an unknown source. When in doubt ask for “Bisleri, Kinley, Aqua Fina, Himalaya, etc” mineral water(check the seal). As a further precaution bring water purifying tablets.
As in any location, there are those who steal from others, so follow the same rules of safety that you follow traveling anywhere else with respect to using hotel lock boxes, and keeping travel documents safe. When in public places, keep them in your hotel, or with you all the time when moving about.
Men: Don’t carry a traditional wallet with you, the kind you put in your pocket (front or back).
Women: Avoid keeping valuables in a purse, which can be easily snatched off your shoulder.
Consider using an “interior wallet”, the kind that is either fastened around your neck, draped from a belt loop or worn, with a velcro fastener, around the calf or ankle. All three kinds are concealed underneath clothing.
- Taxis (cabs)/Auto Rickshaw (3 wheeler) are available from all hotels, and you negotiate the rate before commencing your journey. Use only authorised, properly identified taxis and buses. Avoid taxis that pick up additional passengers. Don’t accept an offer to share a taxi to your hotel unless you know the individual.
- Be wary of imposter porters or guides. Assure they are properly uniformed or identified. Never leave your luggage, briefcase or other items unattended.
- Train Journey: The image of the Indian Railways is rated poor with common complaints being making reservations is difficult or that the signage is only in Hindi. But the screaming need is for cleaning up the place or that it is just too dirty for comfort. Avoid traveling in the Second Class.
- The voltage used is 220 volts (the U.S. uses 120 volts). You can purchase a converter at most hardware stores for appliances that do not switch to 220V.
Current Spikes are common in india so use a spike buster
- There are some areas in India where malaria is still prevalent. Prior to your departure, get a prescription from your doctor for some anti malarial tablets.
- Pharmacies or chemists are available in every little town and village and you can buy medication. In case you need to see a doctor for a specific condition, ask for help from your hotel (most have doctors on call) or your tour operator. The cost of visiting a doctor is fairly low(less than a dollar) compared to western countries.
- Do remember to bring some insect repellent, mosquito coils or even an electronic repellent. Mosquitoes in India can be fierce.
- Avoid foods which have been laid out in the open, avoid sweets and candies from local markets.
- Wash fruits before eating them.
- Do carry sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.
- Always respect religious shrines and places of worship, Some places require visitors to observe a decent dress code. Take care not to violate any taboos in a mosque or a temple.
- Change currency only from official moneychangers. Remember to retain the currency Exchange receipts after each transaction. You will need them for re-exchange on departure.This are some of the big scams happening with international tourists …
you try to change currency unofficially as the touts and brokers promise to give a better exchange rate and as soon as they get hold of your money..they vanish into thin air
sometimes the police raid while you are exchanging the currency and you payoff the unscruplous cops to get out of it.
- Tipping is a matter of personal discretion. Although bills normally include a service charge, it is customary to tip in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists.
- Photography is prohibited in places of military importance, railway stations, bridges, airports and military installations.
- If ever you land in trouble, contact your Embassy and nearest Police Station.
*** In a Indian Police Station always speak with the Senior Inspector in Charge even if you have to wait couple of hours.
American Express, Master Charge, Visa and Diners Club credit cards are generally accepted by large establishments including hotels, shops, and airlines.
In case of complaints against taxi or auto rickshaw for overcharging or cheating, note down the number of the vehicle and lodge a report with Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic). you can get the Contact Phone Nos in Telephone Directory.
Ministry of Tourism Help Desk.