Travel Tips

General Precautions

  • Before leaving on your trip, scan your passport and email this as an attachment to yourself. In the same email, you also include the details of your credit cards, health insurance policy, driver license number, travelers checks etc. and what phone numbers to call in case the need may arise. Additionally, also carry a photocopy of these documents. This way you will always have a copy of these documents, if the originals or the copies are lost.
  • As far as possible, drink only bottled water during your trip. If bottled water is not available, bottled soft drinks or hot drinks such as coffee or tea are safe to drink at any given place. By following this precaution, there is less chance of falling sick during your trip.
  • Dress conservatively. In particular, women should not wear any revealing clothing at public places with the exception of beaches and pools.
  • Carry enough money in local currency (Rupees) to meet your anticipated needs for at least 1-2 days as credit cards and travelers checks are not accepted in many places and currency exchange facilities are available at only few places.
  • Beware of pickpockets. Carry most of your money and other valuables such as a passport in a money belt that is worn under the clothing. Smaller amounts (equivalent of about $50-$200) could be kept in your wallet or purse. Be particularly careful of your wallet or purse when in a crowded place.
  • You should carry with you only those cards and valuable articles that you will need while you are in a market place or a day trip. Other items should be deposited in a safe in your hotel (make sure to take a receipt for it).
  • There are few public bathrooms available in most places in India and many of them will not meet the hygienic standard that you may be used to. Further, some of them could be of the Asian-squatting type and they may not have any toilet paper. Hence, make use of the good and clean bathroom facilities whenever and wherever they are available. If you need to use such services, try those available in restaurants and hotels. It is also advisable to carry a roll of toilet paper in the bag when you are traveling [Go to Top]
  • Always keep an eye on your luggage and other belongings at all times. If you are traveling by an overnight train, buy a metal chain and a padlock and secure your luggage to the seat post before going to sleep.
  • Always carry some basic medicines such as Tylenol, Imodium (for treatment of loose motions) and those for common allergies. If you routinely need a particular medicine, make sure to take enough supply of it to last during your trip.
  • The other useful items to keep with you include an Alarm Clock (as a clock or wake up service may not be available in a budget hotel), Torch light (in case there is a power blackout), mosquito repellant, sunglasses and flip-flops (or chappals) that you may need to wear in your hotel room or elsewhere when you are using the bathrooms.
  • Make sure to have insurance for any medical emergencies. The names of some of the best-known medical hospitals are provided elsewhere on this web page. Information regarding other recommended medical and dental specialists could be obtained by calling your embassy (the phone numbers of some of the embassies are listed elsewhere on this web page).

Currency Exchange, ATM machines

Currency exchange or traveller’s cheque cashing facility is available at international airports, major banks and hotels and several authorized money exchangers in the city. The facility at the Airport and Ashoka Hotel are open 24 hours. Money exchange facilities are limited in the city and often not conveniently located or available. However, there are now a large number of ATM machines available in the city (associated with major banks such as the City Bank) and they provide a convenient way to obtain money at a good exchange rate. Please enquire and check the location of the most convenient ATM machine. Since many small establishments (including shops, restaurants, taxis and other services) do not normally accept credit cards or foreign currency, it is important to carry enough local currency to meet the anticipated need for the next few days. It is suggested that you keep about $100-$200 worth of local currency for general needs. Most of the larger shops, emporiums, restaurants and establishments accept visa cards.

Telephone and Internet Access

The most convenient way to stay connected while travelling in India is to either carry a cell phone (referred to as mobile) or rent one. Mobile phones are available for rent at the airport and also at some hotels. For your own cell phone, you will need to obtain a SIM card (check at the Airport or some other mobile phone shop). The international calls can be placed from your hotel, but you could do so much more economically from various ISD/STD booths (or shops; generally yellow booths with STD/ISD signs) located in different market places. While the upscale hotels will have internal high-speed internet access, most budget hotels likely will not have such facilities available. However, there are numerous shops or cyber-cafes in most cities (in the marketplace) providing convenient internet access. You can ask someone at the hotel or place where you are staying for the nearest locations of a cyber-cafe. Most of these places only charge about Rs 20-25 for an hour of internet access. According to the new regulation, all users of the internet service need to have a photo identity (passport or driver license), which they will make a copy of for their record, to use the facility.

Tipping

In good hotels and restaurants, 10% tipping is generally the norm. In budget hotels and restaurants, 5-7% tipping should be okay. Tips are generally not mandatory for taxi and auto drivers. However, for private taxi rental, and for good and courteous service rendered, tipping between 5-10% is recommended.

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