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Private Day Tour of Chennai

Indian Expeditions South India Holidays FAQs

Getting Prepared

Where do I get more information about the tour?

Once you’ve confirmed your booking we will send out pre-departure information for your specific trip, which will give you the lowdown about visas, vaccinations and other vital information. For any information, write to us.

What should I pack?

Once you’ve confirmed your booking we will send out a detailed pre-departure information pack covering all sorts of practical information, including a general packing list and any other special items you may need to bring.

What immunisations do I need?

We strongly recommend you visit your local doctor or contact a Travellers Medical and Vaccination Centre to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you about appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure, so allow plenty of time. Please note that in some cases a certificate of vaccination is compulsory in order to obtain a visa.

Do I need to take any medical supplies?

Your pre-departure information pack will contain a suggested list of items to bring, but it doesn’t cover medications. We recommend you carry personal medical items for managing common minor ailments such as colds, diarrhoea, blisters and sore throats etc. Travellers who take regular medication should take an appropriate supply. Asthma sufferers should ensure that they have an adequate supply of their routine medicine as some major cities have high levels of smog.

How much luggage can I take?

As a general rule you should pack light but bring all the essentials. Leave space in your luggage for souvenirs. You will be required to carry your own bags, and sometimes you will need to lift it on and off vehicles, so you should consider using a backpack or soft duffel bag. Suitcases are okay on some of our trips, but not always practical. Each airline has specific rules about luggage allowances – check directly with them or ask your travel consultant to confirm for you.

Will I be able to do laundry?

Most places we stay have express laundry facilities, and those that don’t may have laundry facilities nearby. It is a good idea to bring some travel wash and a travel clothesline to cut down on packing space. It is particularly useful if you are on a multi-day activity adventure, such as trekking in remote areas.

Do I need a sleeping bag?

It depends on the trip. We will let you know in the pre-departure information pack that is sent out to you on confirmation of your booking.

How fit do I need to be?

Our trips are designed to be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. However some trips visit remote areas with limited or non-existent medical facilities so you must be in good health. Some trips include an activity element or might be entirely activity-based (ie. cycling and trekking trips) so we recommend you become familiar with the activity before coming on the trip. Factors such as bumpy roads, dust, traffic, stairs, humidity, delays and unfamiliar customs and cultures also add to the physical toll. Keep in mind you will sometimes need to carry your own bags.

Do I need to get a visa for my trip?

India requires you to have a visa before arrival. After you’ve booked your trip we will send you a pre-departure information pack containing all the visa information. It’s best to get visas sorted in advance because the processing time can be quite long.

Do I need to take Travel Insurance?

Yes. Travel insurance is highly recommended and may be a requirement for your visa. Domestic government medical insurance and private health schemes will not cover you in most overseas countries. Please check the terms of the policy carefully, particularly the limits of cover (eg. for replacement of photographic equipment, baggage loss etc) and the procedure for making claims (most policies stipulate that claims must be made within a certain time after completion of your journey). Your policy MUST cover medical costs in case of hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation. If you are going on one of our activity holidays, make sure your insurance covers you for this activity. Once you have paid your deposit or full payment, certain fees might apply if you cancel. Therefore we recommend taking insurance at the time of booking to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. Your Indian Expeditions leader will need two copies of your policy – the Tour Leader and our Ground Operator will keep one copy each in the unlikely event of an emergency. The copies must show the policy number and the emergency hotline phone number.

Can I get online while travelling?

You’ll be able to access the internet in most cities, and unless you’re on safari or in the desert your tour leader can point you in the direction of an internet cafe. Most of the hotels we stay in are WiFi enabled. Be aware that the connectivity can be slow, unreliable and expensive in some areas, though it is generally good. You can avail 3G/4G services on a local mobile connection.

Will my mobile phone work overseas?

Your mobile will probably work in most major cities. Check with your service provider before you go if they have a reciprocal agreement with the countries you are travelling to and make sure you get international roaming turned on.

Can I get a local South Indian SIM card (mobile connection)?

Yes. We will help you get a pre-paid local mobile SIM with free incoming calls and data packs if you wish.

I am going on an activity holiday (trekking, motorcycling etc). Do I need to pack differently?

Probably. Once you’ve confirmed your booking with us, we send you an information pack that is specific to the trip you’re going on. If you still have questions or want more information you can always contact us via email, phone or pop in for a chat.

Families and Private Groups

What about my family? I want to travel with my children.

Most of our tours are family and children friendly. Check with us for discounted prices for children.

I’m worried about long travelling days

On our South India Holidays, we try to minimise long travelling times, and we don’t do any disruptive travelling at night. We tailor our family trips so that the travelling is broken up with fun activities and interesting sights.

What activities can I do on a family trip?

Our family trips are like all our other trips – varied activities featuring lots of encounters with locals.We often include fun physical activities like kayaking, cooking, fishing and snorkelling, but we know that it’s important your family has time to relax as well. Where possible we choose hotels with pools and keep out of the heat of the sun. Any activities always finish relatively early so you’re comfortably settled at your hotel by evening.

Can we go as a private group?

Of course! You can pick an existing itinerary and contact us and we can arrange the trip as a private tour. Or if you’re after something a bit different, if you have a minimum of four people for a trip, contact us and we can put together a tailored and personally designed itinerary for you. We have a Privates Group team that works with families, groups of friends, schools, clubs and charities to put together the perfect trip for them. Our team can help you decide on an South India Holiday itinerary that best suits your needs, provide specialist advice on your chosen destination such as the best time to visit, cultural expectations and so on, and provide support while you make decisions on which itinerary works best for your group.

Booking the Trip

Do I have to book online?

Yes. We can also book on the phone.

How do I know which trips are available?

We provide the booking status details for each trip, ie. whether the trip is closed, if places are still available and how many spots are remaining. Alternatively, you can contact us to find out.

Can I just do part of the tour?

Yes, usually. Some routes may not allow for doing just part of the tour though. Check with us

Does the tour price include international flights?

The prices quoted on the site do not include international flights.

How far in advance do I need to book?

This is a tricky one. We don’t know when other people will book, so it’s hard to know if and when the tour will fill up. Our advice is to book as soon as you’ve made the decision to travel, that way you won’t be disappointed. However, we can usually take bookings right up until the departure date if there are spaces left so take a look at the availability.

When is the final payment due?

The final payment is due in full 56 days before the departure of your trip. If you’ve booked your trip within 56 days of the departure date, full payment is needed at the time of booking. Last minute bookings require payment up front before confirmation.

You and Your Travelling Companions

Is this a typical group tour?

Our customers aren’t typical group travellers. Indian Expeiditions travellers are looking to see a side of a destination they wouldn’t see on their own. They want to immerse themselves in the cultures they visit. It’s all about authentic experiences with highly experienced leaders who are local to the region. Many meals are included, you will mostly travel in private transport and you will stay in comfortable accommodation with private amenities.

I am a single traveller, is that a problem?

Not at all. Every year we take tens of single travellers around South India. And because all our trips are twin-share (single ladies share with ladies, chaps with chaps), there’s usually no single supplement to pay. Of course if you’d prefer to have your own room (at a little extra cost) we can arrange this on most trips. Let us know when you book.

I am on a fixed departure holiday. Who will I be travelling with?

While every group is different, Indian Expeditions Holidays are generally an international crowd with people often coming from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and North America. Most Indian Expeditions travellers are in their 40s and 50s.

Are there any age limits?

There is no specific age limit on our tours, but the majority of our travellers are in their 40s and 50s. Some of our trips may involve walking on rocky terrain and climbing stairs, so check the trip notes to see if a trip is right for you.

How many people will be on the trip?

The maximum group size on all trips is 10, and groups usually consist of about 8 travellers.

Do I need to be able to swim?

Some of our trips might include travel by boat, ship or canoe. We will assume you can swim unless you tell us otherwise. If you cannot swim you must let us know so we can inform your tour leader. Swimming is by no means compulsory during any of our trips, and you do not have to swim if you don’t want to.

Is Indian Expeditions group style travel for me?
If you’re inquisitive and adventurous, want to travel in small groups and see a culture through the eyes of a local, then the answer is ‘yes’! Indian Expeditions Holidays take you to the must-see sites and some out of the way gems, our leaders are local to the region and we always look for comfortable accommodation. We take care of the transport, accommodation, transfers and entrance fees you so that you can spend more time getting to know and enjoy the country you’re in.

Money Matters

What’s included in the trip cost?

An experienced English-speaking leader local to the region, airport arrival transfer, all transport (mostly private), all accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees, many meals as indicated, 24 hour local emergency support, local and specialist guides where needed, quality equipment where needed. Fuel and repairs if you are on our motorcycle Tours

And what’s not included in the trip cost?

Items personal in nature. Alcohol. International Air fare. Anything that is not specifically included in the “whats included” section

How much spending money do I need?

Our trip notes give you an idea of some typical prices in the places you’re visiting, and your pre-departure pack will have more details. Remember that with Indian Expeditions most of your meals, your transport, accommodation and entrance fees to major sites are paid in advance so you don’t need to factor these into your budget.

What is the best way to take money with me?

We recommend a combination of cash, an ATM card and perhaps a credit card as back-up. Travellers cheques are a safe way to carry money, however in some places it can be difficult to cash them. As a general rule, American dollars are accepted throughout the world but make sure you have small denomination bills, and that they are not ripped or marked, as this may affect your ability to change them. And remember to check with your bank about using your cards overseas.

Do I need to tip the local guide?

Your tour leader works hard to ensure you have a great trip, so please don’t hold back if you feel they have earned a tip for their efforts. You can choose to tip them individually or make a group presentation at the end of the tour. Full details of tipping are covered in the trip-specific pre-departure pack that we send before you leave.

Can I bring gifts for people?

If you want to bring gifts for local people please ensure they are useful, like pens or school books and not lollies. We urge you to distribute gifts in an organised and responsible manner – either through the headmaster of a school or the director of a charity. You could even ask your tour leader for advice on the most beneficial approach, and they might have ideas of what you could buy locally that would be useful. Some children, and even adults, might ask for things as you pass them on the street or in villages. Handing them something might bring you each a moment of joy but it only encourages begging and is destructive in the long term.

On Tour

Why do you use local tour guides?

One of the main reasons travellers choose Indian Expeditions is because our tour leaders were born and raised in the region. They are highly qualified, speak excellent English and boast intimate knowledge of their homeland. Travelling with a local leader means you will enjoy a local perspective, meeting their friends along the way, eating where the locals eat and seeing sights you won’t find in guidebooks. Aside from the benefit to you we are providing income and training to local people. We work to ensure our staff and local partners are the best in the business. Throughout the regions we visit, our operators possess a wealth of knowledge and experience so you can be confident you’re in safe hands. They are out in the field, continually monitoring and refining our adventures to ensure we offer the most innovative trips, as well as the best value for money.

How much free time is there?

All our trips are a combination of organised activities and free time. Our detailed itineraries give you an idea of how much free time to expect. It also depends on the trip, eg. some of our trekking adventures may have less free time than other trips. Many of your most memorable experiences will occur when you branch out and do your own thing, so we know it’s important that you have time to yourself. The framework is in place and the details are taken care of, but on many days you decide what you want to see and do.

Will there be time to explore the start and finish cities or should I allow extra time?

Despite designing balanced itineraries that allow you to explore the places you are visiting, we know there is always more to discover. So if you want to arrive early or extend your visit after the trip has finished we can help arrange additional accommodation. We also have trip extensions around some of the start and end cities, so do check with us.

What standard of hotels should I expect?

You’ll stay in centrally located, comfortable accommodation with private amenities with a three star rating or higher. We generally choose smaller hotels to avoid large chains, and some itineraries even offer authentic homestays. The trip notes will tell you if accommodation differs from the regular style.

What will the food be like?

We love introducing you to the spicy flavours of South India. Our leaders are local to the regions you visit, meaning they can take you to out of the way places for the most interesting cuisine. Their local knowledge comes in handy for deciphering menus and you can get tips on local delicacies and the most interesting markets to visit. Meals are usually westerner friendly, and you can find a lot of continental options in the menu.

I’m a vegetarian or have special dietary needs, is that a problem?

No problem. Just let us know in advance so we can inform our local leaders. That way they can make sure you are looked after in the local restaurants. Keep in mind that in some places your diet might be slightly limited, depending on your needs

How do I get to the start of the tour?

Airport transfers are usually included in the price of Indian Expeditions Holidays – we pick you up and drop you at the airport. Tours always start in a specified hotel each day and we let you know exactly when you need to be at that hotel.

Can I book extra accommodation for the start or end of the tour?

Yes. In all cases, we can organise extra accommodation for the start and end of the tour. Just let us know and we’ll get a quote for you. We also have trip extensions in many of the destinations we travel to, meaning you can take a short break after the main event.

What form of transport do we use?

We mostly use air conditioned private vehicles, and sometimes local transport where it adds to the experience (example: auto rickshaws or tuk tuks). The trip notes can give you more information. In certain areas, whether it’s the old quarter of a city or a remote rural valley, the best way to explore is on foot, so we try to incorporate some walking. We might also use boats, ships, camels, elephants which can all add to the authentic nature of our trips.

Are there any long travelling days?

Our itineraries indicate travelling time and mode of transport. Although there are some days where we travel relatively long distances, our trips are organised to make travelling as convenient and efficient as possible. We occasionally take domestic flights. Travelling by land between different parts of the region is sometimes a highlight of a trip, with interesting communities and spectacular landscapes encountered en route.

What will the weather be like?
It can get hot in the summer in South India, and quite nippy in the winter, especially in the hill stations. You’re best to contact one of our travel consultants for an indication. More information on climate and seasonal weather is contained in the trip-specific information pack, which you will be sent on confirmation of your booking.

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