India is an amazing destination to travel in, so colourful with such a rich history and culture and diverse enough that you could travel in India for a lifetime and not see it all. There are a lot of different types of trips that you can take in India like monument trips, wildlife trip, beach vacation, nightlife getaway and so on. There are a number of things you should do before you travel to India, but where to start with it all?
The right preparation can go a long way to making sure your first trip to India is memorable for all the right reasons. These steps and information will help you to create the best trip in India in which you would spend less time and hopefully take some of the stress out of your preparations.
Decide When & Where You Want to Go
India is so vast and diverse country and travelling here can be challenging. It’s really difficult to decide where to go, especially if you have got time constraints. It is a good idea to at least research when and where you want to visit and try to plan a rough route around the main attractions that you want to see to avoid wasting time. There are a lot of destinations in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Agra, Darjeeling, Shimla, Ladakh, Goa Beaches, wildlife sanctuary, Mountain trekking, River rafting and so on. The Golden Triangle is a popular first time route that encompasses the big sights in the capital Delhi, Agra (home to the Taj Mahal) and the pink city of Jaipur.
The best way to pick a destination is based on the season you are travelling and occurrence of any festival in that destination. Generally speaking for most areas the best time to visit India is in the winter from October to February as cooler temperatures make travelling more pleasant. At this time, if you start in the north and finish in the south, the nice weather will follow you around the country, but summer is best for the far North near the Himalayas.
Work out on budget for your trip to India
Travelling in India is so affordable and it is still one of the cheapest places to travel in the world. Your budget should have following sections; travel, accommodation, eating, fun and backup. If you have prebooked your travel and accommodation related expenses, you can concentrate on the rest. Although, India is modernising there are now many options to travel in more comfort with world class luxury hotels. You can check with your travel agent about the best travel package that would suit your budget.
Apply for a Tourist Visa for India
All visitors need a visa for India, except citizens of neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan. Visitors staying in India for less than 72 hours can obtain a Transit Visa, otherwise an Indian Tourist Visa is necessary. Remember that the visa is valid from the date of issue, not form the day of your trip. The Indian government says the do “visa on arrival“, but it’s really “Register online and provide us all documentation in advance and we’ll send you a doc to show at the airport.” India has recently introduced an electronic travel authority for Citizens from 113 countries including UK and Ireland, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many European Countries. Citizens of these countries are now eligible to apply for the ETA from 15 August 2015. You can apply for an E Visa to India; however the ETA is only valid for 30 days.
Book Trains and Flights
There are a lot of travel agencies from which you can book a ticket. You can also use official websites to book tickets. Train travel is a cheaper alternative to expensive flights. Some trains can fill up months in advance on popular routes during holiday times, making early bookings a must. Advance reservations for flights aren’t as necessary as for trains, however many airlines do offer discounts for 14 or 21 day advance ticket purchases.
Know About: Luxury Trains of India
Book your accommodation
Not just your accommodation, you need to book your travels, rental car and every other service that you might need in India. It is a good idea to book your accommodations in advance, especially in major cities and during peak travel times. International flights often arrive at night and it’s easy to feel disorientated in an unfamiliar place. Choosing a private transportation might be a problem if you are not sure where to go. It is always better to book your accommodation and pay for pick up services from hotel.
Get your vaccinations
Health issues are often a major concern of visitors to India. However, there’s plenty you can do to avoid getting sick. You should visit your doctor well in advance of your trip to India to find out what precautions you need to take against certain illnesses. This is a very essential trip if you are planning to take your kids with you. Hygiene in India is developing and even if you were to fall sick during your trip, there are a lot of high standard hospitals to check in. But, to make sure you do not burn your wallet, it is better to get a medical insurance if possible.
Don’t forget to take a travel insurance
Anything could happen when you’re travelling whether in developed countries or developing ones. The best time to get insurance is after prebooking all your accommodations and airfare. Do not pick an insurance company blindly. Do your research and choose the one that suits your needs. Hygiene in India is developing and even if you were to fall sick during your trip, there are a lot of high standard hospitals to check in. But, to make sure you do not burn your wallet, it is better to get a medical insurance if possible.
Apply for an International Driving License
An international driving permit (the 1949 version) is required to ride a motorbike in India, you can get this from the Post Office before you leave for only £5.50 and it is valid for a year. Police often stop tourists to check if they have the international driving permit and fine then if they don’t and be aware that the international permit is only valid when accompanied by your normal driving license so you need to carry both with you.
Decide what to pack
When packing for India, it’s important to take into account the country’s conservative dress standards. Remember to learn about climate of your destination and Pack your clothes accordingly. Loose and lightweight clothing is the best option and remember that pretty much anything you could ever need is available to buy in India. Some of the things that you should give consideration to are the type of luggage (backpack or suitcase) to take, clothes, shoes, medicine, personal care items, money (ATMs are now widely available in India), and other useful items such as plug adapters, flashlights, and padlocks.
Mentally prepare yourself with India’s culture
Although nothing can really prepare you for travelling in India reading up and learning as much as you can will certainly help prepare you for the culture shock and sensory overload of visiting India for the first time. The Indian people are amazingly welcoming and hospitable although sadly first time travellers to India can be target for many common scams and general annoyances. But with a little research and reading up on the common scams you should soon be able to spot these a mile off and avoid them.
Last minute items
Some things cannot be packed till it is almost time to leave. Make a list of those things like your wallet, debit cards and so on. Make sure you go through this list before you start from your house.
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