Travel Essentials - Guide to India Travel with Packing & Travel Tips
India Travel Essentials
The best way to have the right clothing is to buy when you arrive. Clothing is very cheap and this way you will not only have clothes to fit it, you will have clothes designed for the climate unlike what you are likely to find at home, so plan to go clothes shopping on your first day. You will need to find conservative outfits, usually long cotton pants and a long tunic and scarf for women and long pants and a shirt for men. Legs should be covered at all times with shoulders and chest covered. This modest dress respects the Indian culture. If travelling during the monsoon season, it is very important you have waterproof clothes and good footwear while in the summer, be sure to have a set of long sleeved tops to shade you from the extreme heat. A hat may also be necessary.
Health is a major issue when travelling to India. It is essential that you are very organised as you will need to be sure you have all the necessary vaccinations before you go and have the advice of a medical professional. The vaccinations recommended by the Centre for Disease Prevention include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and typhoid. If you are planning to be in rural areas for a length of time, other vaccinations might also be recommended. Keep in mind that some medications have to be taken a time before you leave so do your research well ahead of your travel dates. Malaria is a big risk so as your medical professional will advise, you should take one of the anti-malarial drugs available (each have different possible side-effects so consult your doctor to find out what is best for you).
Food and waterborne disease is the biggest threat so only drink purified water (either bottled or boiled) or alternatively carbonated drinks sealed in cans or bottles. Therefore avoid tap water and ice cubes especially. You can purchase water filtration kits, even drink bottles can be found that you can pour tap water into which will filter it for you before you drink. These are most likely to be found at your Travel Doctor. Food wise, be cautious of food you buy on the streets (most will advise you to stay clear), but most importantly make sure everything is thoroughly cooked and fruit is the kind that you can peel. Hence steer well clear of already cut fruits such as watermelon, no matter how good it looks!
Hydration is vital as especially in the summer months, the sun can really drain your energy. Make sure to have bottled water with you at all times to stop yourself from getting dehydrated. You should also use this water to brush your teeth.
Other health tips include washing your hands thoroughly with soap and carry hand sanitizer with you always. Because malaria is so dangerous, be sure to keep mosquito repellent on no matter where you travel in India as mosquitoes carry many diseases and you don’t want to end up sick at any cost!
As most will tell you – pack light and pack smart. Remember your western clothes are not much use here so bring one or two outfits and plan to buy the rest when you arrive. You should bring suitable footwear and not anything you want to keep as you will find your western clothing will wear out very easily in this country. There are many things to think about when packing for India but as a general overview the following lists some of the necessary items that should find space in your bag.
- toiletries (including hand sanitizers, toilet paper and (for women) sanitary items)
- sunscreen, mosquito repellent, water purification tablets
- footwear (sneakers, flip-flops) and plenty of socks as you have to take your shoes off in temples
- summer: sunglasses, hat, light covering clothes
- winter: warm clothes and waterproof gear if travelling in the monsoon season
A visa is necessary for all foreigners entering India. A tourist visa can be obtained and can be used for up to 180 days. It is best to contact your local Indian embassy to find what visa you will need for your trip.
When coming through customs at your port of entry, if you don’t have any dutiable goods, high value goods or more than US$2,500, you can walk straight through to the “green channel”, otherwise you will need to pass into the “red channel”. Also on arrival you must display a completed Tourist Baggage re Export form (TBRE).
The Indian currency is the rupee, for current currency conversion click here (http://www.xe.com/ucc/). Remember that you cannot bring any Indian currency in or out of the country. There are many ATMs in big cities and some in the smaller towns, but if venturing out of the cities make sure you bring enough cash as you will need in case you cannot find any on your way.
Before you start planning your trip, there are a couple of things to consider before starting the planning process. India’s climate can be extreme so determining the right time of year to travel is very important as you don’t want to be traipsing around the streets in 45°C conditions. Another important thing to consider is the culture of the place you are travelling to. This may mean you should plan to dress differently, behave differently and change your etiquette to match that considered respectful in the region. Also if you have any diet specifics, it is advisable to know the local cuisine to be able to choose the right foods compatible with your food requirements.