I have recently returned from a tour around the ‘Golden Triangle’ in India, taking in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and I wanted to share some of my travel tips with you all.
Before you travel–
- An Indian Visa is a requirement on entry, it is important to apply for this online in plenty of time, giving yourself an ample period to fill out the form and await the reply. The official site is www.indiavisaonline.gov.in as there are many other unofficial sites that will charge you for this service of filling out the forms. I can’t stress enough that you need to patient when filling out the form, as you may get timed out a few times, however you can log back in. I struggled with this and the main issue of the file size of your uploaded pictures. It is best to use an app to get the correct size passport picture, then save this to your phone or send it via email to your computer and upload from here. You will receive an email when the visa is granted and this normally takes less than 24 hours, then you need to print a copy. I would say print two copies so you have a spare in case. The cost is $75.00 per person.
- Check with your Doctor to see what necessary inoculations you may need for your travels. Malaria tablets were not necessary for the ‘Golden Triangle’ route. However please take precautions from being bitten, by using an insect repellent spray for example.
- Money and currency, In India the currency is the Indian Rupees and it is a closed currency. Meaning you will only be allowed to buy it within the country and won’t be able to being it back out with you. The exchange rate is currently 92 Rupees to a £1. My advice would be to change some money on arrival at the airport, the rate was 86 Rupees to £1, which is much better than the hotels exchange rate. We used Starling Bank app and card, which gave us the best rates and no charges in hotels and restaurants.
- Clothing, pack comfortable, lightweight cotton clothes that will keep you cool in the hot climate. There is no rules on what can be worn. Most sites provide coverups if required, as a sign of respect. For example; Mosques and Temples. However the Taj Mahal has no rules about clothing or keeping covered. You will find people in shorts and vests and some in the ‘Sunday Best’, whatever you feel most comfortable in and it purely down to the individual.
- Whilst packing make sure to add paracetamol, Imodium or similar and rehydration sachets to your case, just in case of any illness such as ‘Delhi Belly’ whilst away.
Whilst in India–
- Staying hydrated is so important, I would definitely suggest carrying a bottle of water or two with you at all times, especially when out sight seeing all day or having a wander. Even if you just simply take sips as often as you can. Most hotels give you two 500ml bottles a day complimentary per person.
- Anti bacterial handgel is a must and you should use it regularly.
- It is widely known that you barter in the Indian markets and with the street sellers. The general rule for street sellers is no more than 200 rupees for most items, we paid 100 rupees for a lot of the items we bought.
- Tipping is very similar to home in most of the restaurants and hotels, 10 percent. However, in a lot of the larger hotels they now combine tips for all the staff and there are envelopes at reception to leave your tips in when you check out. Toilets stops out and about you will be expected to give a small tip, 10 or 20 rupees for the toilet attendant.
- Food advice, avoid salads as a lot are rinsed in the unfiltered water. Avoid ice in your drinks and most people say sticking to vegetarian dishes is better than eating the meat. I personally didn’t eat the rice and opted for naan breads with the curries and dhal’s. Beware of the street food too unless it is being cooked fresh in front of you.
These are the main tips I wanted to being to your attention, mainly to provide information and help in making sure you have a happy and carefree time travelling whilst in India. Enjoy!!