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Travel Tips to India
Best time to Visit India
India is vast in size and therefore has a wide range of climate and weather patterns across the country. Most of India has tropical weather and contains three major seasons: summer, winter and monsoon (rainy season). Summers get very hot, so the winter months are a more favorable time to visit most places in India. The best time to visit Delhi and surrounding is during the winter, between October and March as it tends to be dry and have moderate temperatures. Summer (May and June) will have very hot weather but if you must visit during that time we recommend tours to be done early morning or late evening. July through September is monsoon season that includes heavy humidity and heavy rains in July and August.
Passport and Visa Requirements
You need a valid Canadian or American Passport. Your Passport should expire at least six months after your intended departure date from India, and should have empty pages.
American and Canadian Passport Holders need a Visa to enter India. It must be obtained on line prior to departure.
  • Online application must be submitted minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. Example: If you are applying on 1st of September, you can select arrival date from 5th Sept to 4th Oct. That is one can apply more than 30 days or precisely 33 days in advance of actual date of visit.
  • The validity of visa will be 30 days from the date of arrival in India.
  • The fee is US $60/- per person excluding interchange charge for credit/debit cards.
  • You are allowed for a maximum of two visits in a calendar year for each online visa.
  • On-line visa is for single entry, non-extendable and non-convertible.
  • This visa is not valid for visiting Protected/Restricted/Containment Areas.
  • The link for the visa is https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
  • The rules for applying for multiple entry visa are different. You will need a multiple entry visa if you are visiting India twice.
Airline Fees
Airline seat assignment. Advance seat selection is subject to airline fees, paid directly to the airline at the time you select your seats.
Please note that airlines reserve the right to change/cancel the pre-selected seats due to schedule changes or Flight equipment change.
Note that there also some airlines that they do not allow advance seat selection.
Checked Baggage Fees. Many airlines have checked baggage fees; once you receive your tickets contact the airline with your airline reservation code for specific charges + terms and conditions.
You can also visit the airline's website, for more details: Click Here >>
Airline tickets are 100% non-refundable/ unchangeable. If the airline allows a change, the change is always subject to change fees that vary from USD250 and up + the difference in fare; charges are per ticket, and every airline has specific policies and fees.
Airline flight schedules are always subject to change, we will always try our best to accommodate to these changes, but we are not responsible for any losses incurred due to missed-connections, flight cancellations or flight schedule changes. Is strongly recommended you purchase Travel insurance to cover these circumstances.
Health Regulations and Medical Requirements
You should consult with your General Practitioner 6-8 weeks prior to traveling in order to have any possible health risks assessed and vaccines recommended. The Indian Government has introduced a new vaccination requirement for travelers who both reside and are citizens of Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, or Syria. Such vaccination requirements do not apply to U.S. or Canadian Citizens.
Some Tips to keep you healthy while travelling in India
Whenever you visit a country where you are unsure about the quality of health care, it is a good idea to get evacuation insurance. Although major cities in India have healthcare comparable to Western standards, evacuation insurance gives travelers the option to be transported to Bangkok or Singapore or to fly back home if there is an accident or a sudden illness. Ensure that your drinking water is purified and clean. Avoid ice in your drinks and brush your teeth with bottled water only. As a westerner traveling to a third world country, it is important to stay strong and healthy by following proper health precautions. Always keep yourself clean and wash your hands frequently- especially before you eat. Eat small meals to keep your digestion on track and avoid dysentery. All Hotels will have modern sanitation and food preparation standards. Please avoid buying produce from street vendors, and if you do choose to purchase these foods, be sure that they are products that have a skin or peel to keep them clean.
If you are spending hours out in the sun, make sure to keep well hydrated. You may need as much as 2-3 liters per day just to keep hydrated. Taking electrolytes in your water may be useful to make sure you are properly absorbing water. Also be sure to bring lots of strong sunscreen and wear adequate sun protection.
Language
There is not one language spoken in India, but 22 official Languages spoken across the country. The majority of Northern Indians speak Hindi while the majority of Southern Indians speak Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam. Although it may be helpful to carry a pocket translator on you depending on where you are in the country, most people in the travel industry as well as tourist spots are able to communicate in English.
Currency
India's currency is the Rupee which is divided into 100 paise. You cannot import or export Indian currency but you can get foreign currency at the airport or through ATMs, although some ATMs charge a hefty fee. Throughout India US dollars are widely accepted. Make sure to carry small denominations of US dollars or Rupees for tipping waiters, baggage handlers, drivers, and tour guides. Major cities will accept an array of bank cards including debit cards, American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Smaller towns will most likely only accept cash, MasterCard and Visa. Consider bringing two credit cards in case one is lost or compromised, and always be sure to advise your bank of your travel plans. Typical Banking Hours are: Mon-Fri 1030-1530; Sat 1030-1300.
Clothing
India is very modern in all of the cities; tourists do not need to worry about conservative dress codes in heavily populated areas or non-religious areas. Though while visiting some temples or places of worship, both men and women should dress in a respectable manner. Both men and women should cover their legs and shoulders in these areas. All footwear must be removed before entering a religious place. Most women in India carry a light stole, pashmina or scarf to cover their head as relief from the heat. For men, loose cotton shirts or t-shirts and long linen pants are good options.
Electricity - Time Zone
India uses 230 volts, typically with either two or three round pins. If you plan on bringing any electronic appliances from the United States or Canada you will need a voltage converter and plug adapter. Alternately, people traveling from places with 230V currency such as Australia and the UK, you will only need to take a plug adapter.
India is 9.5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Telephone and Internet
There are many internet cafes all over the large Indian cities. If you don't want to risk losing your phone, you can buy an unlocked smartphone and sim card from a local mobile provider as soon as your arrive. With an Indian sim card, you can easily access the internet from your smartphone for a cheaper price.
Mail
Regular mail will take over a week to reach the USA or Canada.
Shopping
Shopping in India is an exciting adventure, as its large and diverse country and history has lots to offer for those looking for custom made clothes and shoes, beautiful carpets, and handicrafts. Custom made shoes and clothes are a popular service in India, and they also cost a fraction of the price than in the western world. If needed our Guides may assist you on this matter. Some of the world's most beautiful and unique jewelry is made in India. There are many merchants and bazaars where you will find the most ornate jewelry. You may also want to bring home a textile piece of which India is famous for, whether it is cotton and silk clothing, wall hangings, or table cloths. Many of these hand-made textiles will come adorned with beading and/or embroidery. Outdoor shopping centers and markets in India are busy and colorful and are a complete treat for the senses.
Bringing children on an India Tour
Traveling to India with children can be an incredibly exciting experience as it is vastly different from Western culture. Make sure to be up to date on all vaccinations and pack a small medical kit with an over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, hand sanitizer as well as any of medications your family uses. As Indian foods can be spicy, always limit your child's intake of spicy foods, and select your restaurants with caution. You should stick to upscale restaurants such as ones in your hotel to ensure the quality of the food and preparation meet safe health standards. The people of India are very welcoming to families and will make you feel very comfortable traveling with children. Lots of tourist areas offer tamer versions of popular Indian cuisine to help Western families adapt.
Cuisine
Indian food has a well-deserved reputation as one of the world's great cuisines. There is a basic distinction of Indian food between the North and South of the country. The north of India is characterized by its rich meat and vegetable dishes in thick sauces accompanied with thick breads. In contrast, South Indian food is almost exclusively vegetarian, with spicy chili flavors and lots of rice. The country is a vegetarian's haven, for some of the country's best food is meat free, such as delicious dhals and vegetable curries. There are also lots of tourist restaurants found across India that offer dishes for those with unadventurous taste buds. You can also find international-style fast food in larger Indian cities. Don't be tricked into thinking all Indian cuisine is spicy – there are lots of popular mild dishes. Whenever traveling to a foreign country, always make sure to eat in moderation and never over-eat to let your body adjust to the change. Street food is in abundance all over India but you should always avoid it, however tempting. Most traditional dishes are prepared in the restaurants of good quality Hotels who take all the mandatory food safety precautions; therefore you are able to try them and not miss the highlights of the Indian Cuisine, ask your Guides to assist you with recommendations.
Photography
Always respect the privacy of people on the streets in India if you plan on taking their picture. Often, Indian people love to interact with foreigners and having their picture taken, but always ask for their consent and be polite. There are certain religious and sacred places that don't allow pictures to be taken, as well as the burning ghats.
Travel Insurance
It is the smart decision to get travel insurance when traveling to India to ensure you are protected against unseen medical and non-medical emergencies. Make sure you read your policy carefully and understand all the applicable exclusions and limitations. Usually you pay for small medical bills while on destination and claim upon arrival, but in the case of a major emergency you must call the insurance company immediately (or have someone call on your behalf), not doing so affects the eligibility of your claim. It is always a good idea to give the details of your policy to a close relative back home and to your travel companion. Protect your investment by also having trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
Tipping
Typically, tipping 10% when eating a small meal such as breakfast is expected. On larger bills ranging between 300 to 1000 rupees, you can tip around 7% - 10% of the total bill amount. Large cities like Delhi and Mumbai often contain a service charge where no tip is expected. In times you feel you should tip a member of service at the hotel, small notes of 10 to 30 rupees are a good tip. As for Tour guides you can leave $10 USD to $20 USD per person per day. For the drivers $2 USD per person per day. Some public washrooms through India will have an attendant providing toilet paper at the entrance; in exchange a small tip is expected.
Delayed or missed Flights
Should this events occur let us know as soon as possible 1-800-842-6943 for USA and Canada. Or e-mail us at savemore@traveldiscounters.ca to call long distance dial 416-481-6701.
Lost or delayed luggage
You must file a report with the airline before leaving the airport. Very important to have a copy of the report with you for insurance purposes, a case number in lieu is also accepted.
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