India Travel Tips
• In addition to a valid passport, you will need a visa to travel to India. The India Embassy in the U.S. has outsourced the visa process to Travisa Outsourcing. The link is: https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/get-a-visa? The process involves an online application along with mailing in hard copies of required documents. This visa application process should be started as soon as possible and not less than two months before travel.
• Another option for obtaining a visa for India travel is the relatively new e-Tourist Visa. This process is simpler, faster and less expensive. But please be aware it is only for stays of up to 30 days; it only works at arrivals in certain designated airports and if's for a single entry only. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days in India; or if you are flying into a non-designated airport; or if you plan to leave India and go into, say, Nepal and then come back to India, you will need to use the traditional option outlined above. For the e-Tourist Visa, follow this link: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
• For up to date information about traveling in India, check out the U.S. Department of State web site: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/india.html
• Check with your doctor or a travel clinic regarding vaccinations you should take. Also, ask which anti-malarial drug is recommended for you. The CDC web site is a good place to check for travel health updates. Here is the link with India info: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationIndia.aspx#notices
• Don’t bring any clothes that you value
• Use hard-side suitcases with locks for security and durability. Suitcases should always be locked when checked at the airport and left in a hotel room.
• Pack light by bringing quick drying (i.e., nylon) clothes that can be hand washed.
• Check to sure that your electrical appliances are 110-220V to avoid having to bring a transformer. Then all you need is an A/C Converter tip for US to Asia (blade on female side and round posts on male).
• A passport pouch that can be worn under your shirt is a secure way to carry your passport, currency and other important papers.
• Tylenol PM (for Overnight Flights) or whatever sleep aid works best for you
• Comfortable, easily removable shoes – you will be taking shoes on and off a lot when you enter homes, temples, churches, etc.
• Lightweight Bible
• Hand sanitizer
• Protein bars (You will be eating Indian food virtually 100% of the time. If you cannot tolerate Indian food, you will need to pack a lot of snacks...)
• Gum and candy
• Kleenex for your purse or pocket (Toilet paper is often unavailable in public restrooms)
• Clothing should be modest. Bare legs and shoulders and tight fitting clothing are inappropriate in India.
• To ensure packing clothing suitable for the weather, check the norms and forecasts for the time and places you will be traveling. South India is generally very warm and humid, but the north can be quite cold in the winter months.
Departing Airports in India
• Check the total weight of your bags to make sure they are under the airline’s maximum limit. Individual bags should also be checked for weight limits.
• When you first arrive, you are responsible for taking your bags to be scanned after which time a seal is placed across the opening. Next you should take your bags to check-in.
• Every time you check in make sure each carry-on bag has a new airline tag. As you pass through security the bag will be scanned and this tag stamped. EVERY bag, including purses and passport pouches must be tagged. Putting all these smaller things into your large carry-on is a good shortcut. DO NOT remove the smaller bags from the larger one until you board as security will check for this tag on each piece as you board.
• Security operates a separate line for women passengers on one side or the other. Everyone is frisked.
• Expect delays due to fog at the Delhi airport from December to February. These are the winter months
• For tired backs on long flights, try doing fanny squeezes
• Use dual time watch to help track time at home
• All of India is in the same time zone. There is a 10.5 hour time difference (9.5 hours during DST)
• Don’t count on regular Internet access. Some hotels will have Wifi, but coverage is spotty.
• Bring gifts for your hosts and treats for kids at schools or orphanages
• 50 Rps per bag is adequate for porters at airports