We at India By Car And Driver are always pleased to walk that extra mile to help our visitors to India enjoy their travels with us. So, we have compiled a brief guide that helps you understand some of the basics here in India.
- Never buy travel tickets or book any kind of transportation with unauthorised dealers or touts.
- Remember to carry all travel documents with you when you start your journey and update all important telephone numbers and carry them with you, in case you need to call home.
- If you are on prescription medication, please ensure you have adequate supply of both prescription/s and pills for the entire duration of your India tour and perhaps a little extra to cover unforeseen delay periods during travel etc. Do remember to carry a doctor’s certificate along with you to avoid possible problems with any customs checking procedures in India.
- It is easy to be tempted by the fascinating array of spices and dishes in India, but proceed with caution if you are a first-time visitor to avoid stomach upsets and make sure that you travel with a recognised medicine to deal with such eventualities. (Your pharmacist at home will be able to advise you).
- If travelling to out-of-the-way places, make sure you ask for an interpreter (we, at India By Car And Driver can arrange this for you). Playing “Lone Ranger” in a strange country can expose you to all sorts of scams and crimes!
- Mineral water is your best companion when travelling as tap water is not safe to drink in India. Make sure that you also clean your teeth in mineral water and avoid ice in drinks, as it may not be made from clean water.
- If you wish to make changes to domestic tickets in India (flight or rail reservations), do seek the advice of your tried and trusted travel agent.
- All foreign nationals can use credit cards or Traveller’s Cheques to settle their bills in India, but since demonitisation in November 2016, certain notes have been removed from the Indian economy including the old 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes. So, do change your money at a recognised dealer to avoid being handed these notes, which are no longer legal tender.
- Please remember that banks in India are open from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 12.00 (although some function after lunch). There are also numerous holidays when the banks remain shut, so please make arrangements for bank transactions keeping these business hours in mind. There are also ATM’s throughout India, where you can withdraw cash.
- Pack smart, travel light and take note of local weather conditions, culture and etiquette. India can be hot, wet and humid, so you are well advised to travel with a hat, sunglasses and sun cream. Shorts are not permitted in many of the temples and shoes may have to be removed, but this is all part of the Indian tradition, so be prepared.
Advanced Planning Tips We at Indiabycaranddriver.com understand the modern traveler’s need for comfort, convenience, concept-novelty and safety especially when you are touring new and exotic destinations, such as India. For this reason and to serve you better, we have put together some basic guides that bring you closer to preparing and experiencing India like a true-blue vacationer. The following sections cover some details your tour operator needs to know, guidelines for secure but fun holidaying, picking the right tour package and packing for enhancing the joys of traveling in India. Booking Basics help us customize the perfect holiday package for you!! Skim through the following check-list to boost your holiday spirits by being specific about the realities of your dream vacation-planning for Indian holiday spots. Cover basic ground for determining whether your travel consultant can professionally organize a tour package with all the ingredients you are looking for-and get set to have a holiday of a life-time!
If traveling with a partner or group, it pays to determine the needs and interests of each person and convey this to the travel agent. Even if you are travelling by yourself, the more specific you are about your tour requirements and what appeals to you, the easier it is for the tour professional to accommodate a perfect holiday package for you. Besides, with India being so vast and varied in terrain, concept tourism offerings differ greatly, so it’s advisable to know what you are game for -and also what the country offers before picking a particular tour package. Read up and research your destination and determine for yourself whether your tour operator can combine one or more interests in a single tour package.
Please try and be as specific as possible about the kind of accommodation you are accustomed to and what you require while in India. If traveling with a companion, check their needs for lodging as well; beds for example, may vary from King size to Queen size in some hotels and if you are particular about this aspect, do mention it at the time of booking.
For persons with mobility limitations/health conditions that require vehicular support devices, such as lowered steps or wheel-chair assistance, it is advisable to enquire before-hand of the tour operator whether arrangements can be made f or the same when being received at the airport/railway station and transported to hotels.
Do make it a point to let your tour operator know about what time of the day you’d like to arrive/depart from India to avoid unnecessary jet-lag and having to waste precious holiday time.
Ask your tour operator about the other activities and popular tourist attractions of Indian destinations you will be visiting and whether any of these can be accommodated with your tour package at extra cost, should you wish to stretch your holiday possibilities.
You can also contact the local Tourist Boards of various Indian states directly as these have offices in Delhi, should you require additional region specific information and guidance about what their State offers.
Decide before-hand the amount of sight-seeing/touring you wish to do on foot or the level of local transport means (cycle/auto rickshaws, boats, buses, horse or camel rides etc.) you will be comfortable with.
Determine the distance of your hotel from the main town area, especially if you have a penchant for checking out local markets and cultural scenes for getting a personal glimpse into the soul of a city on foot. Although, Indiabycaranddriver.com does make the effort to include visits to specialty areas of each regional zone, such as cottage industries, crafter’s galleries, plantations and souvenir shopping points, it is possible you may like some alone time. However, please do not wander far from your lodgings on your own if you are unfamiliar with the local language/Hindi- for your own safety- and always inform the tour guide, hotel manager and any other guest about your reconnoitering plan.
If you have an affinity for any particular Indian tradition or holiday offering that is not currently available with us, rest assured that Indiabycaranddriver.com’s aim is to provide you with the best of Indian touring experiences and we will work on your request at the earliest to bring together your dream vacation plan.
Just let us know what attracts you (to India, that is) and the Indiabycaranddriver.com team will conjure up the most dazzling sun-rise breakfast on an idyllic South-Indian rice-boat or a traditional desert-meal against the backdrop of iridescent sands when in Rajasthan’s regal hotels, ferry you and your partner to the perfect hideaway beach in Goa or help you begin life anew-with that someone special: And most of all, remember you-if all you need to re-charge is a grand-scale shopping spree, fine exotic dining and or being nourished, body-mind-soul with ancient Indian therapies like Yoga and Ayurveda…..and we do all of this with a knockout view of India!
Packing Tips Indiabycaranddriver.com gives you handy tips for putting together the professional nomad’s Bound-for-India luggage, learning and outlook tour package. For all those of you that are headed for the mystic and modern charms of an ancient culture, India may come as both a surprise and a bit of an enigma, but, she is much like an interesting woman that captivates, nurtures and enthralls while giving you a glimpse into age-old civilizations that have endured countless invasions yet accommodates an essence of enduring forever, India is a spirit that lives beyond her shores. India-bound? Then, pack for a trip that will change more than your perceptions about a tradition-bound, globally recognized rising economic power that is fast-emerging as the preferred destination for concept tourism as varied as its land and people: from w eddings to festivals, from wildlife to luxury travel and back-to-nature or history tours, we have it all. Indiabycaranddriver.com handy check-list covers all the essentials for packing right and packing light: see for yourself!
Ensure you have all the relevant documents necessary for the duration of your India-vacation plan before you leave home. Take time out to ‘know’ the tour plan details and additional activities that are included or can be accommodated upon request: pack garments, footwear and accessories appropriate for these.
Bring adequate reading, music or video material for spending your time unwinding with; this is especially helpful to persons visiting India the first time as it is known to give a sense of the familiar when in a foreign place, making for easy adaptation to foreign surroundings.
If you intend to travel with jewelry or excess cash/other high-value items, please confirm with your tour operator about the availability of safety deposit boxes with the lodging site/hotel you will be staying at.
As any experienced tour operator will tell you, Murphy’s Law (when things go wrong if they), may very well apply despite the best precautions and preparations towards making the perfect vacation travel plan. For such instances, please pack a small overnight bag with basic change of garments, emergency medication and telephone numbers, toiletries, small hair-dryer, duplicate copies of important travel documents and extra cash (credit cards do not always work in all situations) to avoid distress over luggage arrival delays and other such similar situations.
Sensible packing of toiletries for India would include putting in hand sanitizers,(toilet rolls are not available at all transition points or in remote areas, where at times, even rest-rooms may be few and far between one major sight-seeing spot and another) your preferred brand of sunscreen (may not be available everywhere in India), essential make-up kit, mosquito repellant of your choice, water purification tablets and shower gel.
And if shopping is high on your priority list, please remember to add in another bag suitable for carrying your larger purchases.
Buy/download print-outs of guides to exotic and unfamiliar destinations and consult these during your journey to stay updated about travel specific problems or hazards at the Indian location you are headed for, so you have a clear idea how to deal with something similar should it happen to you.
Pack clothes that are made of natural fibers to allow a certain level of ‘breathability’ for your skin; Indian being a tropical country is never short of sunshine and sweat in most regions except the hills. Nylon fabrics are best avoided unless visiting cold regions in India or planning a winter visit. And do remember to respect the culture of India, as it may be inappropriate to wear shorts when visiting a temple or tribal village!
Carry only those things you will need in India with you, such as enough cash to cover emergencies or occasional urge-to-splurge, traveler’s checks and credit cards
remember to leave all those extra cards for clubs, stores and discounts at home, because you won’t be needing them in India.
Do remember to carry details of credit cards and ATM cards numbers, passport, traveler’s checks, tour itinerary, airline/railway tickets and hotel reservation slips, contact information of local British consulates.
Packing for India tour destinations becomes easy if you familiarize yourself with the events and activities of the destinations you will be visiting as acculturation to customs and laws will clue you in to what is appropriate.
A linguistic tool, such as a cassette or guide book that gives you knowledge of the native language is a handy item that can help you out of a sticky situation such as calling for the police, contacting a hospital or asking for help should you get in trouble away from your tour group.
Above all, a sense of humor, bewildered awe and camera to capture irretrievable moments definitely things you can’t do without when visiting India.