Tips for Travelers
Do some background reading before visiting India, so that your visit becomes a great experience, something you had never dream could happen to you.
Don’t be concerned about living conditions in India. Our Luxury (Palace), Deluxe (5-star) and Superior (4-star) hotels, are of international standards and the comforts and cuisine they provide compare with anywhere in the world. The deluxe and palace hotels are a world apart and many have been accorded ‘Leading hotels of the world’ status. The Standard (3-star) hotels are there for the medium budget travelers.
Your travel arrangements should be made well in advance, especially if you are traveling between October-March (high tourist season) and May-June, the Indian holiday season. Travel facilities are limited in relation to demand so prior bookings are a must.
Indians are hospitable and friendly people, if they stare at you, do not consider it rude, it is only a matter of curiosity. A tourist need never be lost in India, most people are more than willing to go out of their way to guide you to your destination.
As with any foreign destination, the tourist is advised to drink bottled water, bottled drinks, coffee or tea. Most premier hotels have their own filtration system.
Avoid eating spicy food all at one time soon after you arrive in India. Take one Indian dish only with each meal and ask the waiter to cut down on the chilies. Within a few days your system will get used to Indian food, one of the most delicious of world cuisine. It is advisable to stick to only cooked foods and to eat fresh fruits whose skin you can peel off or remove.
Bring your own medicines, since all medications in India are locally manufactured and you may not find the same brand names. There are very good druggists and doctors everywhere, and they can advise on substitutes. If the necessity arises, ask your hotel to recommend a doctor.
Do not forget to remove your footwear when visiting a place of worship or mausoleum. Also some temples do not permit any leather articles at all on their premises. Certain areas of temples are not open to Non-Hindus.
Travel with a camera and a color film. India is a land of sunshine and color, begging to be photographed. Most type of films is available in India.
Most cities have Beggar Homes to look after indigent persons and to teach them a trade, but professional beggars find begging more lucrative. If you wish to help them, do so through a recognized charitable organization, not by giving them alms.
It is safe to travel in India as you will find out for yourself. Even if you read of some trouble in any town or region, do not be discouraged, since most of India is safe at all times.
Most museums in India are closed on Mondays and Site Museums, those near archaeological monuments, on Fridays. However, please check with us for timings.
India is a shoppers dream. Shopping is recommended from Government Emporia and suggested shops by us. Most of the large stores will ship your purchases for you, though, for convenience and to avoid postal delays, it is advisable to carry your shopping with you or to book it as baggage.
Do not crowd too many places into your itinerary. Make sure that you get an occasional free half-day for rest, shopping or exploring on your own.
If you wish to visit any restricted areas, as in the north- eastern region, check with the nearest India Tourist Office as to the permits needed.
Passports and Visa: A valid passport and entry visas are required. Make sure that your passport and visas are valid for at least three months after the end of your trip. Visa for India must be obtained prior to departure. If you travel to Nepal and return to India, you will need multiple entry visa for India. Usually, Nepal visa is obtained upon arrival in Kathmandu. For Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sikkim, the required visa travel permits will be obtained by overseas operators. If you want us to obtain your visas, the handling fee is 35.00 per passport per visa plus the visa fee and federal express charges. Forms must be completely filled. Call respective consulates for details and application forms.
Photography: For amateur photography of national monuments, there are no restrictions on taking photographs with a still camera (with flash inside the camera synchronized with exposure) or an 8mm.movie camera. It is prohibited to photograph places of military importance, i.e. airports, bridges, sensitive border regions. Certain temples may prohibit interior or exterior photography. Charges may be levied to photograph some monuments, forts or temples. Inside museums or when photographing art works, flash cameras are prohibited.
Credit Cards: Major credit cards are accepted by hotels, airlines, restaurants, handicraft emporia, boutiques, jewelry stores, department stores.
Tipping: Some hotels include service charges on their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary. Where this is not done, at tip of 10% is customary. If you are in a big group and the food bill is high, the tip on the total can come down to 5%. The porter who takes your baggage to your room is usually tipped Rs.5 per bag or Rs.10 to Rs.20 per trolley(These estimates are for 5 and 4-star hotels and are proportionately less in 3 star hotels). Tipping of taxi drivers is not customary.
Currency: The units of Indian currency are the Rupee and Paisa (100 Paisa equals 1 Rupee). Paper money is in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of Rupees 1, 2 and 5. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers’ checks a tourist may import, provided a Declaration Form is completed on arrival. This will facilitate the exchange of imported currency as well as the export of unspent currency on departure. Cash, bank notes and traveler’s checks up to US $ 10,000 or equivalent need not be declared at the time of entry. Any money in the form of traveler’s checks, drafts, bills, checks, etc., which tourists wish to convert into Indian currency should be exchanged only through authorized money - changers. Tourists are warned that changing money through unauthorized persons is not only illegal but also involves the risk of receiving counterfeit currency.
To exchange foreign money other than through banks or authorized money - changers is an offence. Please note that no Indian currency whatsoever can be imported or exported, except for Rupee travelers’ checks. Banks abroad to keep Rupee balances with their agents in India and are able to draw upon these balances to issue Rupee travelers’ checks to intending tourists. There are 24 - hour exchange facilities available at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai international airports.
Packing – General: Pack light. Lay out all the clothes and all the money you want to take. Then pack half the clothes and take twice the money!
Free baggage allowance is 44 pounds on domestic and two pieces on international flights. Please contact airlines for current policies.
Packing – Wildlife, River Rafting, Adventure and Trekking: Do not take bright colors clothing. Clothing should be Khaki or soft similar colors. Dress in layers so that you could remove or add when required depending upon weather, hiking shoes and sandals, bathing suites, back- pack, Rucksack bottled / mineral water, snacks, towels, tissue papers, paper napkins, toiletries, water – proof bags, caps, mosquito repellents, body lotion, tooth brush and tooth paste, pads and pen to record your memories etc.
Banned items: Animal and snake skins and articles made thereof, antique art objects.
Departure Taxes: At present it is about Indian Rupee 750.00 from India and Nepalese Rupees 300.00 from Nepal.