By Caitlin Hornik
The wait is over! Our newest India packages are hot off the presses with fantastic destinations and sensational itineraries. You may have a variety of questions regarding visas, vaccinations, and more. We’re here to help.
All visitors entering India require a valid passport, an Indian visa, and a return/onward ticket. Those visiting for less than 30 days need to apply for the ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorization, prior to arrival.
Weather & Clothing
India is known for four seasons: summer, winter, monsoon, and post-monsoon. It is advisable to pack for all types of weather, especially if you are visiting multiple destinations within the country. A raincoat is a safe bet. Lightweight clothing is suggested for summer months, as the temperature is known to climb. Dressing conservatively at all times is encouraged to be respectful of Indian culture and to avoid unwanted attention. This is especially true when visiting temples and other places of religious significance.
You may be in for a bit of culture shock, regardless of how much you’ve traveled. Interactions, personal space, and greetings may be different from what you’re accustomed to. Trains and meetings may not run on time, and staring is rather common. Public displays of affection are not advised, as it is seen as inappropriate in Indian culture. It is advised to eat only with your right hand, as the left hand is seen as unsanitary.
English is widely spoken and understood across India, making it the largest English-speaking country in the world. Hindi is also commonly spoken and understood, so it may be beneficial to learn a few simple words and phrases ahead of time. Being the culturally diverse country it is, there are over a dozen languages spoken and understood across the country, so it is also helpful to research the specific places you’ll be visiting to know the local languages.
Food and Water
Indian food is known for blending different spices and tangy flavors. It varies greatly from the Western food many Americans may be accustomed to, and can therefore contribute to an upset stomach. It is recommended to not consume street food, but opt for a restaurant or cooking for yourself instead. It is also advisable to not consume raw foods, including fruits, vegetables, and salad, as it has likely been washed in water that could upset your stomach. Drinking sealed, bottled water is the best way to avoid becoming ill. This also means no ice cubes in beverages, not brushing teeth with tap water, and keeping mouths closed in the shower.
To combat the upset stomach you may feel after consuming new foods during your trip, you should definitely stock up on Imodium or Loperamide before your trip to help offset possible symptoms of diarrhea. Bringing electrolytes with you is another way to ensure that you stay hydrated and strong during your trip. Beginning a probiotic regimen prior to your trip is also a good idea! Of course, having the essential medications for headaches and other ailments is always encouraged.
The World Health Organization recommends certain vaccinations prior to visiting India. However, the only required vaccination is Yellow Fever and applies to those visiting India from a country or place where there is a risk of Yellow Fever Virus. Recommended vaccinations include Adult diphtheria and tetanus vaccine, Hepatitis A and B vaccines, and Typhoid vaccine, in addition to being up-to-date on Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccinations. For a complete list, click here.
India’s transit system was built by the British in the mid-1800s. Over 18 million people travel by train on a daily basis. Their train system is one of the most expansive in the world and is an excellent choice when traveling within the country. Just be sure to make reservations in advance! Air-conditioned buses also run city-to-city, and taxis/Ubers are available for trips within the city. If traveling by car, it is recommended to leave early to account for traffic.
Purchasing an International SIM Card prior to or upon your arrival in India is advised. Having your phone and map handy will make maneuvering the city much easier. Make sure you purchase one with data capabilities so that you can read restaurant reviews, avoid scams, and search on the go!
We recommend packing a few additional basic necessities, including sunscreen and antibacterial wipes. Most restrooms will not have toilet paper or hand sanitizer of any kind, so bringing these items is strongly encouraged. Also, bringing flip flops and a lightweight towel will ensure a more sanitary shower experience regardless of where you stay.