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India Travel Guide:Tips for traveling to India

Tips for traveling to India: recommendations to enjoy your first trip

A lot of guests say that you either fall in love with India or hate it try India Travel Guide. Although as per our travel expert, we like extremes, we are aware that India is not only a country, it is a continent, nevertheless you can travel easily in India. Therefore, to make both the preparation and the landing as easy as possible, we have put together the tips for traveling to India that we would have liked to read before exploring India. We will talk to you about visas, necessary documents, health, and necessary vaccinations, but we will also give you recommendations for transport, food, and practical information to make your day-to-day easier. Stay with us and discover the best tips for traveling to India.

Delhi Travel Guide

Visa and documentation to travel to India

The first advice for traveling to India that we can give you is to check the validity of your passport to get down to business with obtaining the Indian visa. Your passport must have at least 6 months of validity to be able to apply for the Indian visa online or eVisa. Once you have this clear, the most comfortable thing is to access the official page through this link and not through others, since there are cases of false pages or agencies that will charge you more.

The Indian eVisa can be made for 30 days, 6 months, 1 year and 5 years, but the maximum continuous stay in the country is 90 days and in a single year you can only stay 300 days. Try to start processing your visa at least a week before the trip, since, although they are usually quite fast, they can take more than 4 days.

This type of visa allows you to enter India through the following 24 airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow , Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum and Varanasi. And 3 ports: Cochin, Goa and Mangalore. In the event that you are going to make a different entry to India, you must request the Indian visa through postal mail to the Embassy or the different consulates of India.

On the other hand, if you plan to drive a car or motorcycle in India, keep in mind that you will need an international driving permit. If you come from a country where yellow fever is endemic, remember that you will have to bring your international vaccination card showing that you have applied this vaccine.

As in every trip, a piece of advice is to scan all important documents and upload them to a cloud like Google Drive.

You can find out all the necessary documentation here: Requirements to travel to India and mandatory documentation

Health and Vaccines in India

As indicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the sanitary conditions in India are comparable. Although there are good hospitals and clinics in the big cities, the prices are not expensive but payment is required in advance. So it is essential that you carry with you a travel insurance to India that pays due attention to you. In this case, we recommend the best for this destination, since it has great coverage and also covers adventure sports such as trekking, hiking, cycling, expeditions and rafting etc. In addition, it will also cover you in cases such as theft, problems with your luggage and even if you had to be repatriated.Do not risk it in India and get your insurance

Another important tip for traveling to India is to be very proactive when it comes to vaccinations. As you may have imagined, India is not the most hygienic country in the world and there are several contagious diseases that can be avoided with vaccinations, so it is essential that you make an appointment at an international vaccination center for at least 1 month before your adventure. To do this, you can do it directly.

Although a doctor is the one who has to advise you which vaccines are important to travel to India, the usual thing is that they prescribe the corresponding ones to deal with the following diseases: hepatitis A, typhoid fever, cholera, rabies and hepatitis B (although all the tourist usually have them since we were kids). Some doctors also recommend Japanese encephalitis.

On the other hand, in certain areas of India there is a risk of malaria. There is no vaccine to prevent it, but there is prophylaxis. Evaluate with your doctor if you should take it or not. There are also other diseases such as dengue, chikungunya fever or Zika that are transmitted by mosquito bites, so it is essential that you use a good insect repellent, especially at dusk or dawn.

In addition, in India it is essential that you be very careful with food and drink. Without falling into paranoia, do not drink tap water and watch where you eat. Our stomachs aren’t used to it, so it’s easy to get traveler’s diarrhea or pick up some bacteria or amoeba.

Itineraries to travel to India: on your own or with an organized trip?

Another of the most important tips for traveling to India is the organization of the itinerary. India is a huge country, almost a subcontinent within Asia, so the biggest mistake you can make is wanting to cover too much. Of course, you can use the services of a travel agency, which will be the best if you don’t have much time to plan, but with a little patience, you can travel to India on your own without any problem. It is a very economical country and in which it is totally feasible to travel improvised.

Although it is true that the appearance of low-cost airlines has made it much easier to travel long distances, there are no airports in many of the places of interest and you will have to use trains, buses or cars. Also, India is an intense country that takes time, so don’t make the mistake of running from one place to another. If you like it, you will surely come back!

Most travelers who have 15 or 20 days to make a first trip to India tend to focus on the north, seeing places like Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra to see the Taj Mahal and Varanasi. Even so, in the south you will also find jewels such as the state of Kerala, Goa or Tamil Nadu. The best thing is that you find out what each region of India offers you and decide for yourself what you want to visit.

Transport: how to move around India?

Once you have chosen the route, you will have to decide how you move. Surely you have read that traveling by train is quite an experience, however, the reservation system can be a bit chaotic. Our advice to travel to India by train or use local transport from renowned agents. 

Although there are many trains in India, you have to know that, in many cases, seats are sold out up to weeks in advance. If you can’t do all the routes by train, don’t worry, you can also take the buses, which will also give you the experience of traveling by land without having to book months in advance. Many of them are also at night and have reclining seats or even beds.

Within the cities themselves you can opt for taxis or rickshaws. If haggling overwhelms you, use the local car, with which you can request both types of transport, even to cover long distances. If you are traveling alone, take a look at Delighted Journey, a similar service but more comfortable.

On the other hand, those travelers who want to travel more comfortably, have the option of traveling by car with a driver and taking a route. This is particularly interesting for Rajasthan & Kerala, where the distances are not that great and going this way saves a lot of time.

Backpack: what do you advise me to take on a trip to India?

Although you could do it with a suitcase, our advice is that to travel to India you opt for a backpack. It will be much more comfortable if you plan to take public transport.

As for what to bring, it is better that you try to go with as little as possible. In India you will find a lot of laundromats and the less you load the better. Also, surely you want to buy a lot of things, leave room in your backpack! To choose clothes, we recommend that you opt for cool cotton clothing, some long-sleeved clothing for the air conditioners, a raincoat, socks (you’ll need them to avoid burning your feet) and a sarong or pareo to cover yourself in the temples. It is also interesting that you bring a universal plug adapter and a sheet bag for those transport journeys where you see that hygiene is not very far.

Of course, it is essential that you also carry a first-aid kit with basic medicines such as antidiarrheals, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, bandages or antiseptics. A doctor will be your best adviser.

Security: scams and fraud in India

As we told you it is safe to travel to India, you can travel with confidence, but, as always, by taking a few precautions. In this list of tips for traveling to India, we would like to highlight the most common scams and fraud that occur in India:

When you arrive at the airport, especially the Delhi airport, the fraud people tell you that your hotel is closed and they have to take you to another one. Don’t believe them, take another taxi and go to your accommodation, which will be fully operational.
When you arrive at the station, usually the Delhi station, they are telling you there (in railway) is a strike and they are all full or cancelled. They will try to take you to an unauthorized travel agency to take a commission. That’s why we recommend you visit with an authorized travel agency.
In Benares (Varanasi) it is possible that some people will approach you asking for a “donation” to be able to see the cremations. Of course, don’t take pictures, but you don’t have to pay anything either.
Do not listen to those who tell you that the counters of the monuments are closed. Go to the official counters.

Other tips for traveling to India and enjoying it:

India, let’s not kid ourselves, is a complex and peculiar country. Here is another list of recommendations and tips for traveling to India and enjoying it as much as possible:

Be very patient and watch out for traffic. Cars or motorbikes rarely stop so you can pass, so be careful and do as they do: go slowly avoiding them.

Develop your patience to limits you didn’t know. Yes, in India they will be very surprised when they see you, they will look at you continuously and they will want to take photos with you. Likewise, you’re going to have to haggle on almost anything you want to buy. Don’t take it the wrong way, learn to say no (with respect) and enjoy these little things.

Be careful with the weather. In much of the country it is quite hot and humid, so try to hydrate yourself constantly.

It may sound a bit real to you, but one of the tips for traveling to India that we can give you is to be very careful with the monkeys. They are almost everywhere! Although it is rare for them to become aggressive, they are usually attentive if they see that you are carrying food and drink. Be careful with valuables such as cameras. You never know…

In India you will find ATMs everywhere and most of them do not charge commission for withdrawing money, so we recommend that you take a look at our article on the best cards for travel.

If you hire services like a car with a driver or a boat tour for one or several nights (as in Kerala), Indians will expect you to tip them. If the service has been good, it never hurts to leave something behind, even in hotels and restaurants. For chauffeur we advise Rs. 500 per day & at restaurent 10% of the bill would be a good number.

Having the internet on your mobile is not essential, but it is very useful on a trip to India. It will help you to use the Google translator, book transport and have a map at hand. This is especially interesting if you are moving with taxis or rickshaws, since this way you can avoid many scams considering the distances. And, as we mentioned above, you can order them through mobile applications and have to save yourself negotiating. Although you can get phone cards at the airport, it is best to wait until you arrive in the city because it will be considerably cheaper. Go to an Airtel, Jio or Vodafone store (these companies with the most coverage) and don’t forget your passport, which is necessary to buy a SIM card. 

You can have unlimited calling and data plans from Rs 300 per month.

Prepare your mobile to travel to India by downloading mobile applications such as Maps. (very useful for having maps without the internet) or those of Indian transport.

If you are thinking of visiting the Taj Mahal, keep in mind that it is closed on Fridays.

And finally, the best advice for traveling to India that we can give you is to go with a very open mind, willing to learn, to face challenges and, above all, to enjoy such an intense and rewarding trip. India is a unique country that has a lot to offer, don’t miss out!