Preparing for a personalized tour of India? Here are our top India travel tips from our destination experts to help you plan the best India tours.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). The Rupee is linked to a basket of currencies and its value is generally stable. Please note that foreign travelers are not allowed to bring rupees with them into India. Major currencies such as US dollar, British pound and Euros are easy to change throughout India.
Modern 24-hour ATMs are found in most large towns and cities. The most commonly accepted cards are Visa and MasterCard. Credit cards are accepted at growing numbers of shops, up-market restaurants, mid-range and top-end hotels.
While international transfers can be received via money changers affiliated with MoneyGram or Western Union, these often include a hefty transaction fee. To collect cash, you will need your passport and the name and reference number of the person sending the funds.
Do’s and don’ts
Mobile phone communication has skyrocketed in the recent years and you can expect mobile phone coverage everywhere when you visit India, except in very remote rural areas. Internet cafes abound in urban areas and many modern/business hotels offer WiFi services to their guests. Kindly note that only a few hotels offer complimentary WiFi in public areas and that most hotels provide internet on a chargeable basis. While embarking on a wildlife safari, remember that there will be no mobile network coverage inside the national parks.
India’s country code is +91.
It is advisable to start early in the morning for inter-city drives. This way you avoid office traffic and reduce your drive time. When starting early for inter-city drives, please carry packed lunches from your hotel. Please carry toilet paper with you on all long drives since public washrooms may be always be clean.
Train journeys in India can be challenging, however, they offer a truly unique look at life in India. With us, you don’t need to worry – your Enchanting Travels representative is happy to assist you at the station.
Do’s and don’ts
It is advisable to reach the airport one and a half hours prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours in advance for international flights. While the weight restrictions vary by airline, type of aircraft and sector of travel, the general rule of thumb is 30 kg (66 lb) for business class passengers and 15 kg (33 lb) for economy. You are allowed 1 piece of hand luggage weighing 7 kg (15 lb) for all domestic flights within India.
India is by and large a very safe country that will leave you mesmerized and mystified. However stimulated, inspired, awe-struck or overwhelmed you might feel while here, it is always important to remain alert. Here are a few basic guidelines for staying safe in India.
All Enchanting Travels cars are equipped with bottled water; please avoid drinking water from outside, even if it is sealed and of a good make. Also, please avoid eating vegetable salads, fried foods, and beverages from roadside vendors unless recommended by your guide. These may seem tempting but can be unhygienic.
When ordering food, please feel free to request orders ‘non-spicy.’
Your guides and chauffeurs will know reputable restaurants, and all of your hotels with restaurants will be a good choice for dining. Also, please keep in mind certain cultural sensitivities while eating at restaurants. Please do not ask for beef products unless it is listed in the menu. Vegetarians will find their diets easily catered to, however it is good to remember that in India eggs are not considered vegetarian food. Your personal Trip Coordinator is happy to share more India travel tips and stay in touch with you throughout the duration of your trip.
As a rule of thumb, visitors to the larger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, or Bangalore will find that a mix of Indian and Western clothing is acceptable and is worn by many young Indians. However, in many popular tourist destinations such as Rajasthan, modesty in dress is recommended.
Please also keep in mind that modest behavior is also appreciated as public displays of affection, even between spouses, is considered in bad taste in many parts of the country.
Important note: The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) Department has issued a notice to the temples under its control to strictly enforce a dress code for entering temples in Tamil Nadu, South India. Other temples that do not fall under the government control may also enforce their own dress code. As a result, Hindu temples in southern India have begun turning away visitors in western clothing after a court order banning jeans and shorts as inappropriate for spiritual worship came into effect.
Photography: Most monuments are open from 9 am to 6 pm. It is always a good idea to start early in the morning for sightseeing so you can make the most use of your day. Cameras are allowed in most of the monuments; but there are few places such as temples where it is considered disrespectful to take pictures. There are also places where you need to take prior permission for photography. When in doubt, always ask first.
Charity: Please don’t give to street beggars, no matter how hard it may be. Criminal organizations who profit from their misery enslave most beggars in India. If you want to give, a registered charity is the best choice.
Shopping: Avoid buying souvenirs and gift items from ‘touts’ in and around monuments. In case you do like something, just ask your tour guide to help you bargain and pay the right amount for items.
Worship: Although India is the largest secular democracy in the world, the spiritual life of her residents permeates into both public and private spaces. Respect for others beliefs – whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist or another, is shown by speaking with tact and sensitivity on these subjects and by observing codes of dress and behavior such as removing shoes and covering your head in places of worship.
Food habits: Due to cultural differences, avoid asking for meat at a restaurant if it isn’t mentioned on the menu. Also remember, eggs are not considered part of vegetarian cuisine in India.
The best time for your India tour depends on which region you wish to visit. Follow this link to read more about when to travel in parts of India.
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