Travel Tips

Travel Tips

Woman Travelling alone to/in India :

Travelling as a solitary lady to India can be an exhilarating experience but it indeed comes with its risks. However, if you just follow a few useful tips, there is no reason you will not return home with an amazing experience worth boasting about! Aside from good walking shoes and sandals, stock up on inexpensive cotton “suits.” The three-piece suit (in Hindi, salwar kameez) consists of a long or short tunic over fitted or wide-legged pants, topped with a long scarf, called a dupatta. These outfits suit the climate, the need for modesty and will help you fit in, mitigating your status as a moving target for gawkers, touts and beggars.
Even if you don’t opt for wearing the costume preferred by many women in India, the “suit” or salwar kameez, always travel with a long scarf made of light-weight fabric. It will come in handy for situations where modesty will be more convenient and allow you to go into mosques, gurdwaras and more traditionally minded Hindu temples.
In India, never go out for the day without a mini pack or two of tissues, a small bottle of hand disinfectant, a cell phone. Use the cell phone to call a friend (or guesthouse/hotel) and report the number of the taxi, so that the driver can hear you. (If no one answers, just pretend!) In markets and bazaars, sometimes turn up the iPod/phone so that u can avoid the noise.

Tips to Ensure Your Safety

Pre-book your accommodation: Your first day in India might be really bewildering because of the gaping change in culture, surroundings and language that you will face along with the jet-lag so it a good idea to pre-book your first night’s lodging beforehand. This will ensure that you have a place to freshen up and take some rest when you step on the Indian land and will also spare you the horror of looking around for good hotels on your very first day.

Transport tips: When you step out of the airport or the railway station, always make sure that you avail the pre-paid taxi services who will take you to your destination safely without charging extra. Because there are chances that drivers will dupe you by asking more charges. It would also be a great idea to have tie-ups with reliable cab services so that you can have a ride ready for your sightseeing sprees.

Your dress code in India: While travelling alone in India, it is very important that you do not dress provocatively as it will instigate the eve-teasers to harass you. You could try the traditional out-fits of India such as Saris and Salwar Kameez or you could also stick to denims as long as they are teamed with kurtis or long tops. It is also a great idea to try the local ethnic dresses of the place that you are visiting so that you can blend yourself in the local color.

Home stay is a great lodging option: If you are planning to stay in a city for quite some time then it is a great idea to avail homestay facilities that are made available to a lot of tourists. Make sure that the family that you choose to lodge with is a reliable one. For this, get all your home-stay lodging information from dependable sources like reputed home-stay operators such as Mahindra. There are manifold advantages of residing with a good family. The best families who provide home-stay facilities will take care of you as their own and will also give you useful travelling tips as well as information about the various things to do and places to see in the city that you are staying at that moment. Try to stay at home-stay facilities that provide meals as well so that you don’t have to eat out in restaurants all throughout your trip.

Beware of pick-pockets: A lot of famous tourist attraction spots in India have pick-pockets who are looking to make quick cash through wrong means. Do not keep all your money in one place and be sure to keep your handbag or wallet close to you at all times.

Stay indoors late at night: It is advisable not to leave your lodging late at night as that is a never a safe time for solo women to wander about unescorted. Make sure that you do not interact with unfamiliar people too often, especially after dark.

 Visa on arrival :

Citizens of Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam can get a Tourist Visa On Arrival. Its validity would be for 30 days, it would be valid only for single entry and is available only at the international airports at Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Trivendrum. This visa can neither be extended nor converted to any other kind of visa during the stay in India except in certain exceptional circumstances. Of course, the citizens of the above countries can also get the visa in advance of their travel.

 Eligibility
Tourist visa on Arrival would be issued subject to the following conditions:
International Travellers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation , sight seeing , casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit.
Passport should have at least six months validity.
International Travellers should have return ticket or onward journey ticket,with sufficient money to spend during his/her stay in India.
International Travellers having Pakistani Passport or Pakistani origin may please apply for regular Visa at Indian Mission.
Not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders.

 How it works :
Apply online. Upload Photo & passport page.
Pay Visa fees online through Credit/Debit Card.
Receive ETA online. ETA will be sent to your e-mail.
Fly to India. Print ETA and carry at the time of travel.

 Instructions:
Instructions for Tourist Visa on Arrival (Enabled by ETA)
Applicants of the eligible countries may apply online minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. Example : If you are applying on 1st Sept then applicant can select arrival date from 5th Sept to 4th Oct.
Recent front facing photograph with white background and photo page of Passport containing personal details like name,date of birth, nationality , expiry date etc. to be uploaded by the applicant. The application is liable to be rejected if the uploaded document and photograph are not clear and as per specification.
Tourist visa on arrival (TVoA) fee is US$ 60/- per passenger excluding interchange charge for credit/debit cards.The fee must be paid 4 days before the expected date of travel filled by you otherwise application will not be processed.
TVoA fee once submitted is non refundable.
Applicant should carry a copy of ETA along with him/her at the time of travel.
Biometric details of the applicant will be mandatorily captured at Immigration on arrival in India.
The validity of visa will be 30 days from the date of arrival in India.
Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is valid for entry through 9 designated Airports i.e. Bangalore,Chennai,Cochin,Delhi ,Goa, Hyderabad,Kolkata,Mumbai & Trivandrum .
This facility is in addition to the existing Visa services.
Tourist Visa On Arrival (TVoA) is allowed for a maximum of two visits in a calendar year.
Tourist Visa On Arrival (TVoA) once issued on arrival is non-extendable, non-convertible & not valid for visiting Protected/Restricted and Cantonment Areas.
Applicants can track the status of their application online by clicking visa status.
For any assistance call 24 * 7 Visa support center at +91-11-24300666 or send email to indiatvoa@gov.in
Application & more details are available on the website of Government of India (link : https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html)

Beat the heat in India :

 Beat the Heat When Traveling In India: Are you planning to visit India during the summer vacations? You need to know how Indian summers are like. Summers in India are hot and a good portion of the country reels under a severe heat wave as temperature of majority of the Indian states lies above 40 degrees in the Celsius scale during summers. Of course hill stations are a respite and ideal for a summer visit.
Following a few simple tips you can stay as cool as a cucumber and can enjoy your trip to India and take back wonderful memories of a lifetime. Here are a few guidelines that will help you beat the heat of Indian summers.

 Some General Tips: Do apply sunscreen (preferably with an SPF 15 and above) before going out in the sun and always keep a tube in your handbag. Use sunglasses Avoid deep colored synthetic clothes. Wear light, lose fitting cotton clothes instead. Indian kutis along with leggings or Tshirts and cargos are ideal. Drink plenty of water and always carry a water bottle with you. Eat plenty of salads and fresh fruits because they will help you to regain the moisture you lose through sweating. Avoid oily food as they reduce the percentage of water in the body. Indian foods, especially the street foods have lot of deep fried items Avoid moisturizers in this weather especially, if you have an oily skin, and do not forget to put on talcum powder as they help to lock moisture. Frequent cool showers are the best way to refresh yourself and get rid of all the sweat and dirt.

 Special Ones Just for the Indian weather: The searing heat waves of varying intensities grip the entire country during this time. So, a few special tips can help a lot to survive these waves. Don’t drink liquids containing alcohols or sugar as they drain fluid out of your body. Also avoid cold drinks as they may cause stomach cramps. Don’t wait to feel thirsty. But ensure that you buy only bottled water. Avoid water or juices from street side shops. Try to stay in an air-conditioned space. If you are planning to go out in the city hire an ac cab. People who live in India enjoy a spicy meal even when it’s hot, since the capsaicin in the hot peppers will make them perspire and when the sweat evaporates it makes one feel quite cool! So do try a spicy dish on a hot summer day in India to experience this magic!

 Must and Must-not Visit Suggestions: There is nothing better than going to a hill station in this hot summer. India has lovely and beautiful hill stations which not only provide a mesmerizing scenic beauty but also immense relief from the hot and humid climate of the plains. Darjeeling and Gangtok are hill stations in east India, which are good choices if you want to feel the cool and fresh mountain air, see some of the world's highest peaks like the Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest etc. Nainital is a hill station in Uttarakhand, famous not just for the snow-capped mountain peaks or beautiful lakes but also for its ancient temples, myths and legends. Other recommended hill-stations to visit during the Indian summers include Dehradun, Shimla, Khandala, Ooty etc. Avoid cities in the plains like Jaipur, Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, Ajmer, Kolkata and some regions in south India including the Kerala backwaters as they turn extremely hot and humid in summers and also experience heat waves of high intensity. Follow these tips and you can have a vacation you will cherish forever.

Get out of the city :

Though perhaps a cliché, the only way to get a true sense of India is to visit smaller villages. The real benefit is that it’ll get you out of the sprawling and vastly overpopulated cities. Once you’ve cleared your head, say with a trip to the mountains or into the slower-moving land of Kerala in the south, you’ll be far better placed to enjoy the famous hospitality of the Indian urbanites.

Avoid deals that seem too good to be true :

Government shops are probably the easiest way to avoid running foul of scams, but simple rules like paying for things with cash, to avoid card cloning scams, may save you a lot of unnecessary trouble later in your journey. You should also pay particular attention if you’re arranging to have things sent home by post, as it’s not unknown for shops to take your payment and send worthless items instead.

Watch those feet and hands :

Feet are considered to be unclean in India, so if you touch something with your feet it’s appropriate to swiftly apologize. Similarly, eating or passing objects with your left hand is considered unpleasant for reasons best left to the imagination. If unsure of local customs, keep an eye out for what others do and imitate.

Beware of transport scams :

India and Indians- both are really welcoming, hospitable and heart warming. Home to colourful and diverse places in so many ways, tourists find India a highly attractive location to delve into the architectural beauty, natural landscapes and sceneries.
Travelling is a major concern for a tourist across a country, which spans 3214 kms from North to South and 2933 kms from East to West. There are various modes of travel available, right from airways to railways and roadways. For local travel, one might look at taxis, autos, buses and rickshaws.

 Travelling Scams: Though India is a safe country, for a tourist of foreign nationality who doesn’t know the local language, it never hurts to be extra careful and stay on constant vigil against transport scams. Travel scams form a major chunk of mishaps that occur across the country to a tourist of foreign nationality. One should remain vigilant about luggage, money and one self.
Be careful about the place you have chosen to travel. Choose the places to go out partying with extreme caution and don’t get carried away. Check out the recent news to rule out any risk at the destination as a few areas around the country might be considered as sensitive for terrorist attacks and anti-social unrest.

 What you might have to face? There are a lot of ways that a tourist can get travel scammed. The drivers are good with words and their faces give nothing away. But a slight heads up in this regard will put your guard on and you will get through it. However, it goes without saying that wherever you go, you will always find good people who are honest and happy to help.
Mid way through your journey from the airport/railway station, the driver of your auto or taxi might reveal that he does not know the way to your hotel or might try and convince you that it gets full house during this time of the year. He will then persuade you to try other places around the city. A lot of people have fallen to these stories because they don’t know what to expect on their arrival or they are just too tired to argue with the driver. But try and stick to the hotel that you have pre-booked or want to go to. If there would be an accommodation problem in that hotel, then the alternate options could be looked into. A suggestion here- travel light.
An inconsistent meter is one of the major problems. Some taxi or auto drivers manipulate their meters to tick faster than the normal. The traveller should be on the watch out, at least for the first few minutes to check that the meter is running at a constant pace, and not too fast.

 Rule out Middlemen as far as Possible: The country has a reasonably nice network of online services. Railways, roadways and airways are well-connected and almost every state tourism department have their own online booking forums, so that the customers can manage their way through reviewing and booking travel/reservation tickets or tour packages and do not have to go through the trouble of looking for a middleman and coughing up the extra bucks. The packages and all the other details are easily available online for reference and information.

Be Careful About What You Chose To Eat :

A lot of times, travelling in local transport can be vexing for being more than just tiresome. Local cons and thieves often drug eatables and offer them and later escape with the money, luggage and any other gadgets.
There is police patrolling and protection at all the stations and major stops, but it is better to take your own precautions and protective measures against the petty thefts. And most importantly, book your tour with reliable tour operators only. Check the details and authenticity of the tour operator with whom you are booking your travel.

Clothing suggestions

Look your Best in Indian Attire Being the land where unity prevails in diversity, India offers variety in every aspect, be it culture, climate, geography or ethnicity. The diversity is well discernible in the different types of attire people adopt as per the region, religion, customs and culture. Indians are very colorful people and the same is reflected in the clothes they wear.
Conventional clothing in India
In order to enrich your traveling experience, you need to get mingled amongst the Indian population. For that you need to know how Indians conventionally dress up. Traditional clothing for Indian women includes Sari, Salwar Kameez and Lehenga and Dupatta. The quintessential sari, appearing like a dress, in fact a five to six yard long fabric cloth that can be worn in different ways. This national costume is worn with a closely knit choli and petticoat.
Next to sari, comes the Salwar Kameez which is also worn in numerous parts of India. The Salwar is a loose-fitting trouser worn tight at the waist and ankles. Trousers are worn along with an elongated top known as kameez. Salwar kameez is most popular in Punjab and is often worn with a Dupatta. Lehenga and Dupatta is a traditional costume with a touch of elegance. It constitutes a top, a long skirt and a Dupatta.
Conventional Attires for Men mostly include dhoti, a long cloth wound around the waist and legs along with kurta, a tunic. Kurta is also worn with lungi and pyjama, a trouser generally made of cotton. In formal events, especially during weddings, many men wear sherwani, a long buttoned coat which is often accompanied by a turban. Clothing tips for travelers heading towards India
India has pleasurable weather conditions all through the year. In some places like Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the climate can get extremely warm and arid in the summer season. In almost all the other states in India, the summer season is tolerable, for foreign tourists also. To make your clothing experience is India as comfortable as possible, read through.

Other regular health tips to follow :

There are certain safeguards which you need to follow irrespective of the weather. Please read through to find some good regular health tips:

Consume bottled water : If you drink sealed water, you can keep your health secure by avoiding the body incompatibility towards the regional variations in the composition of water.

Medicines : Almost all the required medicines are available in India. Still it is advisable to carry simple stuff like bug repellants, antiseptics, band-aids, rehydration salts and medicines for motions and insect bites.

Maintain personal sanitation : A must do for every travel, carry hand wash soap or liquid, do not keep long nails and dress small wounds without delay.

In case you get traveler’s diarrhea : A gentle bout of traveler’s diarrhea or Delhi Belly, as it is commonly known in India, can be cured easily by a couple of days rest and consuming lots of fluids (without alcohol) and rehydration salts.

Consume safe food : If you area freshet it is good to keep away from street food at first. Eat freshly prepared food and avoid too much spice or oil.

Stay away from mosquitoes : Every tropical country will have its share of mosquitoes which can be easily evaded through using mosquito repellants, bed nets and prescribed anti malarial drugs.

Suggested vaccinations : Go in for at least few of the recommended vaccinations like MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), polio, typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis.

The overwhelming diversity of India is something to treasure. Keep yourself healthy and get immersed in the splendour of the land of Taj Mahal.

Monsoon travel in India :

Explore and Enjoy the Indian Monsoons
Contrary to the popular belief that the rains are a dampener for enjoying a holiday, traveling in India during the monsoons can in fact be an advantage. The proliferation of wildlife, waterfalls and lush green vegetation in India during the monsoon months combine to provide a memorable experience to every traveler. To add to this, as monsoons are offseason, you will get accommodation at cheaper rates compared to other peak tourist seasons. Off-season discounts are applicable in several shopping areas also. What you need to know about Indian Monsoons
Triggered by a low pressure caused due to the tremendous temperature of the Thar Desert as well as the adjacent areas during the summer season, the southwest summer winds bring considerable downpour in India during the months of June to September. Once the southwest monsoon strikes India, it divides into 2 entities: one moving northwards along the Arabian Sea down the coast of Western Ghats and the other blowing across Bay of Bengal towards Assam and Eastern Himalayas.
Usually the coastal regions experience tremendous amount of rainfall but as you move more towards the inland areas, the amount of rainfall tends to decrease. Among the metro cities, Kolkata and Mumbai experience heavy downpour. Parts of the eastern Himalayas, especially Shillong and Darjeeling receive maximum rainfall during monsoons. Cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi register lesser amount of rainfall.

Finest Monsoon Destinations in India :

Konkan in Maharashtra: Enveloped in a dense mantle of greenery, Konkan offers a magnificent spectacle to view during the monsoons.

Coorg in Karnataka: Beautifully set against the Western Ghats, this hill station is well known for its charming natural view as well as the coffee plantations.

Udaipur in Rajasthan: Differently known as Venice of the East and the city of lakes, this royal city even possesses a Monsoon Palace also called Sajjan Garh Palace.

Goa: The place is strikingly beautiful during the monsoon months due to the proliferation of natural beauty.

Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand: The name explains everthing. The exotic flowers in the valley are at their full bloom during the monsoon months engrossing the region in heavenly beauty.

Kerala: Better known as God's own country, Kerala is the perfect destination for relaxing massages, calm beaches, beautiful rivers, houseboats, coconut trees and lush greenery.

Ladakh: Being a rain shadow area, Ladakh is one of the favorite tourist destinations during the monsoon season. A handful of clouds brushing against the Himalayan ranges add a mystical awe to the entire atmosphere.

Meghalaya : Meghalaya is a state in north-east India. The name means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit. It is is one of the favourite tourist destinations during the monsoon season. The waterfalls of this area add extra beauty.
Guidelines to make the Indian monsoons enjoyable

To make monsoon travel in India a pleasurable experience, you need to follow some simple guidelines :

Do not forget to carry a raincoat or an umbrella during the monsoon, even if the particular day appears to be sunny.

Carry clothes which are light in weight and dry fast.

Under extreme circumstances, due to the downpour, trains and flights might get delayed due to floods and roadblocks, especially in cities like Mumbai. So, travel accordingly keeping enough time in hand.

If you are travelling to Leh, remember that the most travelled road gets closed in October when the monsoon is about to end and winter sets in.

In the monsoon season, landslides are common in the north-eastern areas, particularly the states of Assam and Sikkim. It’s good to avoid those places when there are warnings of serious downpour.

Take care of health concerns like fever and allergic reactions.

To make the monsoons more enjoyable, reach Kerala and indulge yourself in the reviving Ayurvedic diets and massages to increase body flexibility.
Monsoon travel in India is immense fun given all the beautiful scenarios to experience. You just need to have proper information regarding how to travel and which areas to cover.

Permit to India :

How to Gain Access to Restricted Areas in India?
According to the Protected Areas Act for foreigners, the foreigners visiting India need to acquire PAP or Protected Area Permit in order to gain access to some of the areas in this country. Apart from the necessity of an Indian visa, the permit is an additional requirement. This type of restriction has been implemented because of security purpose.
There are some areas within the country which are restricted for Indian citizens too. For citizens who do not reside in that particular area, the ILP or Inner Line Permit is required. Because it is within the Indian boundaries, getting an ILP is comparatively easier. But ILP is not applicable to OCI holders, PIO card holders and NRIs (Indians who are staying away from the country for a period exceeding 6 months). In that case, you need a usual PAP. Although many restricted regions are away from the normal traveler spots, certain tourists are attracted to the restricted areas owing to beautiful landscapes and fascinating sites. Currently, PAP is no longer applicable for visiting Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and the Darjeeling region in West Bengal.

Prerequisites and Concerns
As a tourist, it is essential for you to travel in a group of minimum 4 individuals. In certain areas of Nagaland, this limitation does not hold true for married pairs. It is advisable that an authenticated travel agent should accompany the tourists. Some restricted places have specific entrance and departure spots. Again, certain areas are not at all accessible to foreigners. The span of a PAP is 10 days with an extension of 7 days. The Ministry of Home Affairs mainly issues the PAP but it can also be issued by overseas Indian missions, FRROs and some offices within the state in question. However, if you are a citizen of Myanmar, China, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the PAP will be issued to you solely at the consent of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
UFor maintaining the security and conserving the culture of the concerned region, foreigners are barred from permanently inhabiting the restricted places. The same is true for persons originally from India, but non-residents now.

Where Do You Need to Possess a Permit?

Read through to gain information about some of the main restricted areas requiring permit. There are specific authorities to issue permit in each area.

Uttaranchal: Main restricted areas are Nanda Devi and Niti Ghati. MHA and Uttaranchal government can issue permit.

Sikkim: Gangtok and Zongri are partially restricted. Permit issuers include MHA and FRROs amongst others.

Rajasthan: The region west of NH 15 serving as India-Pakistan border is restricted. MHA and DM can issue permit.

Nagaland: Kohima and Dimapur are two restricted places. MHA, FRROs and some other authorities can issue permit.

Mizoram: Protected regions are Aizawl, Thingdawl and Vairangte. FRROs and Mizoram government are two of the permit issuers.

Manipur: Imphal and Lohtak Lake are two main restricted areas. Some permit issuers include overseas Indian missions, MHA and FRROs.

Lakshadweep Islands: The restricted places are Bangaram and Suheli Islands. Lakshadweep Administration can grant permission.

Kashmir: Nyona, Nubra and Khaltse are the restricted sub-divisions. You can get PAP from District Magistrates and MHA.

Himachal Pradesh: Poo and Morang are mainly restricted. MHA, ITBP and others can grant access.

Arunachal Pradesh: Itanagar and Ahong are two of the restricted regions. Overseas Indian missions, FRROs, State government can issue permit.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Port Blair and Havelock Island are two of the numerous restricted regions. MHA and FRROs are the main permit issuing authorities.
You won’t be charged anything for a PAP. However, do not confuse restricted areas with dangerous areas. It is not necessary that a restricted area would be a dangerous area and vice-versa.