Should I use auto and bicycle rickshaws?
For itinerant within a city, the auto rickshaws are a very cheap way to go, and bicycle rickshaws are even cheaper.
Should I take local busses?
Avoid busses at any cost, unless you’re on a tight budget.
Should I use the trains in India to travel?
Absolutely. You should take trains between cities at least a couple of times during your time in India. But keep in mind that the trains in India cannot be compared like European or high standard trains.
What class should I travel on in trains?
The luxurious class is called air-conditioned class, and these classes are comfortable while travelling in hot Indian climate. On all classes of trains, you can observe the train track go by through the underneath of the toilet, so watch wear you step if you’re ever walking the line in India! Note: Be attentive if you are getting off at a particular stop – sometimes trains can take off rather hastily. Be prepared for your stop.
How clean are the hotels?
The 5 and 4 star hotels are pretty much like any high quality western hotel, and many of them are western chains. But the quality drops radically in 1/2 stars – anything considered below 3 stars or less in India is basically a crap shoot.
Should I bring sheets or blankets for sleeping?
If you are staying in the higher hotels, blankets are not needed. Not worth carrying around unless you need them. In some cheap hotels say for 1 or 2 stars the sheets are dirty, or there are no sheets at all, so you may want to buy sheets when you’re in India, they are really cheap.
What kind of luggage should I bring?
Use a large soft bag or if you are on a tour with more days then buy expedition trunk, with a large volume capacity which had both luggage inline rollers and backpack capabilities.
How should I carry my money?
In a money belt or in a passport small bag that is carried around the neck. This way it is always in front of you, in your sight. Any travel store has these passport purses.
What are the expectations regarding tipping?
20 rupees is good for carrying bags, 50 in an up sale place. Lonely Planet has a section on tipping. Many restaurant bills enclose a service charge, which consist of the tip, so check it out. Normally, it’s 10% for restaurants.
How do I deal with taxi drivers’ fees?
Pre-negotiate. Anything they quote firstly is too high. Most won’t use a meter, and many times you will find that the meter is broken. Just walk if the price is high – they will come down real fast. “Friend, I do not want to buy your taxi, I just want to ride in it” is a good line. Maybe Rs. 10 per kilometer… 15 in the city? Check Lonely Planet for more info.
Where should I buy souvenirs?
Ask around and stay away from taxi drivers, as they get commission to bring you to places. Buy souvenirs, in the last days of your trip Stay away from the common areas as they are tourist’s traps. Ask from the locals, they always know the best places. Always ignore someone who has come to you on the street. They get commissions by souvenir shops.
Should I bargain with vendors?
Always! Be prepared to walk away. In fact, try walking away, and see how quickly the price comes down! Be firm, while things seem very cheap, you have to get into the form of the local economy.
How much money should I bring along?
Depends on your journey is – the class of hotel you are keen to use, kinds of restaurants, means of transportation, moving around you do. As time passes by, this becomes less of an issue, and you can use the ever rising number of ATMs in larger cities.
What forms of rupees should I exchange money for?
You will receive slab of money in different forms, and you must ask for 1, 5 and 10 rupee notes from the teller. The reason is to always have small quantity of money for beggars. If you start giving out 100 Rs notes to beggars you will turn out to be the most well-liked person in town.
When should I exchange my money?
Absolutely take your time to exchange the money at the airport when you arrive. It will acclimatize to you to how things work in India, standing in long lines, etc., and be prepared for stepping out into the real world of India, cash in hand.
Are ATMs available in India?
Yes you can find and used them in Delhi, Bombay and Madras. Also you can find several American bank branches in these cities.
What kind of injections should I get before going?
Tetanus,Meningitus,Hepatitus A,If possible take an oral vaccine for Typhoid.
It is a good idea to check various websites to determine if there are any outbreaks of diseases in the areas to which you plan to travel.
Should I drink the water?
No! The quality of water is substandard, so it’s best to keep away from local water as much as possible unless you’ve been there for several months.
Is the bottled water safe?
Yes. Bisleri, and ‘Kinley, and other brands of bottled water on the street are easily available. But check broken seals around the cap. They have been identified to refill bottles with tap water.
Should I wear shorts?
In spite of the hot weather, very few locals wear shorts. Also your white legs will stand out in a crowd and give new meaning to the term ‘ugly American’.
How covered up should I be, so as to not offend the locals?
It is a bigger issue for women. The best way is to try to unify with the locals, which is not hard to do. Exposed skin is mostly an issue in the denser Muslim areas. See Lonely Planet for women.
How should I dress on the street?
Dress like natives: short sleeves, long pants, and do not show like you are carrying lots of money, dress as ‘poorly’ as you can. This is for safety reasons as to limit you being an objective of touts, scams and everyone else trying to sell you something.
When is the best time to travel in India?
From October to till mid April.
What travel books should I bring along?
Buy Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide as you will have a wider choice of information than carrying only one book, only if you can handle the load of these two fat books, it’s worth it.
Are airport transfers included?
Yes, if you are arriving on the day your tour begins and departing on the day your tours ends. Alternatively if you book any pre or post tour hotel we include airport arrival and departure transfers from the suitable airport in the related city.
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