Travel Tips for South India Holidays:
Entry requirements for India
You must get a visa before travelling to India. You can find further information about how to apply on the Indian High Commission website of your country.
Make sure you get the right visa for your travel.
The Indian government has relaxed the rules on re-entering the country while on a tourist visa. The previous rule of no re-entry on the same visa for 2 months after leaving India no longer applies to foreign nationals coming to India except in case of nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and stateless persons.
Foreign nationals arriving in India on long term multiple entry visas must register with the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Officer within 14 days of arrival.
If you overstay your visa you must report in person to the FRRO or Superintendant of Police you registered with to get permission to exit the country. You will be fined and may be prosecuted or detained and later deported. If you have overstayed your visa but did not need to register you must report to the nearest FRRO or Senior Superintendant of Police. See the Indian Immigration Bureau website for more information.
Your passport must have 2 blank pages for your visa and must be valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa application.
To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.
User Development Fees (UDF) apply at many airports. The fees are around Rs. 1,000 per international passenger and Rs.150 to 260 per domestic passenger. This should already be included in the cost of airline tickets. If for any reason the fee is not included in your ticket it will be collected at the airport check-in counter in Indian rupees.
From 14 February onwards, if you travel to India from Pakistan, Israel, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Somalia you will be required to hold a valid polio vaccination certificate. Please contact your nearest Indian Embassy or High Commission for further information.
Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
You can take medicines into India as long as you carry the prescription with you. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances are prohibited. For further information, contact your nearest High Commission of India.
Travel in India
When in India for travelling, there is nothing to worry. The infrastructure in India is well established to provide complete comfort to the travellers from all around. What you need is a little extra patience and consideration to have a wonderful experience. Transport and accommodation are well placed to cater to all the travel needs of the travellers.
What to Take :
Don’t carry too many things, as you can find almost everything here. Probably the only area in which buying in India is neither cheaper nor easily available is technical equipment which are only found in the camping / trekking shops.
What to Wear (Clothes) :
Light weight cotton are the most comfortable options throughout the year. But in the winter months you might need to wear heavy woolens while travelling the extreme north and the high altitude zones of India. In South India, light cottons are again the best option for almost all through the year, but you might want to keep a light woolen handy especially if you are travelling between December and February.
Avoid revealing clothes and for foot wear – comfortable sandals are the best for you.
You will find Internet cafes everywhere. Most hotels have WiFi access. Fast mobile 3G/4G services are available in most destinations and en route.
Health Tips :
– Always drink bottled water.
– For the first few days it might be advisable to clean your teeth in bottled water.
– Eat fruits you can peel.
– Always keep a tube of mosquito repellent with you.
– Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need for diarrhea, fever, cold, etc. Also, band aids and an antiseptic ointment.
– If you do catch a bug, do not panic. It will go away in a few days – but try the following tips to keep it down:
• Drink lassi – a yoghurt drink. It will help tone down the bacteria.
• Eat plain rice, or try a simple khichdi – an easily digestible mixture of rice and lentils.
• Drink plenty of coconut water. It’s cooling, and naturally sterilized!
• Drink plenty of fluids and take some electrolyte salts if the bug persists
In India, public toilet facilities are few and far between, and those that are there should not be ventured into. Take every opportunity you can to use a clean a toilet in places such as hotels and restaurants. Make this a habit wherever you go.
Respect The Culture :
Always respect the religious shrines and pilgrimage destinations. Some places require visitors to leave footwear at the door and to observe a decent dress code. Take care not to violate the rules and regulations in the places of worship – temples, mosques, gurudwaras, etc.
Currency Change :
Change currency only from official moneychangers. Remember to retain the currency Exchange receipts after each transaction. You will need them for re-exchange on departure.
Tipping is a matter of personal discretion. Although bills normally include a service charge, it is customary to tip in restaurants, drivers and other places that cater to tourists.
Photography is prohibited in places of military importance, railway stations, bridges, airports and military installations.
General Tips :
Besides the originals, a copy of your passport, travel visas, airline tickets and travel documents. A list of any charge or credit cards you are carrying. Remember to keep the copies separate from the originals.
Keep your travel documents and other precious things like jewellery and money in the safe deposits. When in public places, keep them in your hotel, or with you all the time when moving about.
Men : Don’t carry a traditional wallet with you, the kind you put in your pocket (front or back).
Women : Avoid keeping valuables in a purse, which can be easily snatched off your shoulder.
Consider using an “interior wallet”, the kind that is either fastened around your neck, draped from a belt loop or worn, with a velcro fastener, around the calf or ankle. All three kinds are concealed underneath clothing.
Assure that your guide are properly uniformed or identified. Never leave your luggage, briefcase or other items unattended.
Voltage Used :
The voltage used is 220 volts (the U.S. uses 120 volts). You can purchase a converter at most electrical stores for appliances that do not switch to 220V.
In Trouble :
If ever you land in trouble, contact your Embassy and the nearest Police Station. In a Indian Police Station always speak with the Senior Inspector in Charge even if you have to wait couple of hours.
Credit Cards :
American Express, Master Charge, Visa and Diners Club credit cards are generally accepted by large establishments including hotels, shops, and airlines.
GMT + 5 1/2 hours across India. No Day Light Saving Time
Drugs are illegal in India. There is a minimum sentence of 6 months for possession of small amounts deemed for personal consumption only. A 10-year sentence for possession of other amounts applies. The judicial process is slow and pre-trial detention lasting several years is normal.
During elections bans on the sale of alcohol are often imposed.
On 11 December 2013, the Indian Supreme Court set aside a 2009 ruling of the Delhi High Court that decriminalised homosexuality. Although prosecutions of gay people are rare, conviction for engaging in a homosexual act could lead to a prison sentence.
Foreign nationals have been arrested for bringing satellite phones into India without prior permission from the Indian authorities. More information on the use of satellite phones can be found on the Department of Telecommunications’ website.
You may need prior permission from the Indian authorities to bring equipment like listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars into India. Seek advice from your local Indian High Commission.
There may be very serious penalties for breaking a law which might seem trivial to you, or for doing something which may not be illegal at home.
The penalties for paedophile offences are severe.