India Packing List & General Info

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India Group Tours

Below are some general packing tips and information. Please read the luggage requirements and travel insurance information carefully.

Please do your best to keep your luggage to 1 medium sized suitcase & 1 smaller carry on size for convenience. An additional backpack/camera bag is OK.

Recommended Packing List

Clothing: LAYERS is the name of the game here! 

(Very cold mornings and cool days while in the Himalayas . Please pack accordingly)

  • shorts
  • T-shirts/short sleeve shirts (quick dry preferred)
  • light weight long sleeve shirts (for cool mornings and mosquito protection) (quick dry preferred)
  • light weight long pair of pants or trousers (quick dry preferred)
  • underwear and socks
  • ear plugs (especially if sharing a room)
  • rain protection gear
  • fleece jacket and/or warm jacket
  • wide brimmed hat/baseball cap
  • warm winter hat and/or ear muffs (for cool mornings in the Himalayas)
  • sandals/flip flops for hotels and pools
  • comfortable running/tennis shoes
  • bathing suit
  • sunglasses, prescription glasses and a spare pair

Please remember: Neutral colors are best for our tiger safari. Avoid bright colors and white clothing. Light, quick drying pants, shorts and tops are best.

Toiletries & other essentials

  • insect repellant/bug spray (SHOULD CONTAIN 20-30% DEET (any more than this is NOT more effective and can damage clothes and your health!).
  • sunblock
  • toiletries: shampoo, lotion, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. (try to avoid strong scents)
  • Prescription medications needed
  • Malaria pills
  • SheWee (For women) (https://www.backpacker.com/gear/the-complete-guide-to-female-urination-devices)
  • personal first aid kit (Immodium, Pepto Bismol, Band-Aids, Neosporin, etc.)
  • Camera, extra memory cards/sticks, extra batteries or recharging gear
  • **Binoculars 
  • cash (small denominations are best like $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills for tipping and spending)

Weather in September/October

We will be visiting India at the beginning of Fall BUT traveling to a number of different climate zones. Thus, the weather will drastically vary during each segment of the trip. For a rough guideline, see below:

New Delhi & Agra: Sub-tropical semi-arid (steppe) Climate

New Delhi, Agra, and the surrounding regions will range from high 80s to low 90s °F during the day and 75-80 °F at night. The chance of a wet day over the course of September is very rapidly decreasing, starting the month at 39% and ending it at 14%. Humid with partly cloudy skies will be the typical forecast.

Ladakh (Himalayas): Mountain/Alpine & High-Altitude Desert Climate

It’s already cold, by now (especially at night), but pleasant by high noon. The days are a lovely 60-68°F and all of Ladakh is rinsed by ample sunshine. The nights are back to being cold with lows around 35- 40 °F. Mostly sunny with few clouds & almost no chance of rain should be the typical forecast.

Varanasi: Humid Subtropical

We’ll be here during the tail end of the rainy season and the chance of a wet day over the course of September is very rapidly decreasing, starting the month at 54% and ending it at 25%. We don’t arrive until end of September so weather should be much dryer. Varanasi will range from high 80s to low 90s °F during the day and 75-80 °F at night.

Khajuraho: Humid Subtropical

In Khajuraho Group of Monuments, the chance of a wet day over the course of October is very rapidly decreasing, starting the month at 20% and ending it at 5%. Khajuraho will range from high 80s to low 90s °F during the day and 75-80 °F at night (same as Varanasi).

Sawai Madhopur & Ranthambor National Park: Subtropical, Dry Climate

The month of October in Sawāi Mādhopur experiences gradually decreasing cloud cover and temperatures will range from the low 90s °F during the day and low 70s °F at night. The chance of a wet day over the course of October is very rapidly decreasing, starting the month at 12% and ending it at 2%. Humid with partly cloudy skies will be the typical forecast

Time Change

India is GMT + 05.30hrs (11.5 hours ahead of PST and 8.5 ahead of EST). Though a large country, India has chosen to keep one time zone throughout the whole country. This means that the length of daylight (sunrise/sunset times) will vary based on the region we are in.

Voltage & Plug adapters

The voltage in India is 220-240. Please see link below for more information. Bring a plug adapter to charge camera batteries and any other electronics you may need. There are TWO types of plugs in India and you should bring an adapter for both.

India Group Tours

https://adaptelec.com/Country-Specific-Answers/Electrical-Plug-Outlet-and-Voltage-Information-for-India

Visa Requirements

US Passport holders WILL REQUIRE a Visa for India. The easiest process is via the E-Visa application which can be completed here: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

Eligibility

  1. International Travelers 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.
  2. Passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India. The passport should have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.
  3. International Travelers should have return ticket or onward journey ticket, with sufficient money to spend during his/her stay in India.
  4. International Travelers having Pakistani Passport or Pakistani origin may please apply for regular Visa at Indian Mission.
  5. Not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders or Laissez-passer travel document holders.
  6. Not available to individuals endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport i.e. each individual should have a separate passport.
  7. Not available to International Travel Document Holders.

Currency

The unit of Indian currency is the rupee. 100 rupees is written as Rs.100/-. Currently, $1 USD= 70 Rs

There are lots of ATM machines that accept Cirrus, Maestro and Visa bank cards and all hotels are certified money changers.  Amongst credit cards VISA and MASTERCARD are widely accepted. *

*Remember to have your passport ready when exchanging money since it is required by the government

Money & Tipping

Money:

See this comprehensive guide regarding all things money in India: https://www.frommers.com/destinations/india/planning-a-trip/money

SIDE NOTE: The Battle of the Haggle

Sure, things are cheap to begin with and you may feel silly haggling over a few rupees, but keep in mind that if you’re given a verbal quote for an unmarked item, it’s probably (but not always) twice the realistic asking price. Use discretion though, because items that are priced ridiculously low to begin with are hardly worth reducing further — either you’re being conned or you’re being cruel. To haggle effectively, make a counteroffer under half price, and don’t get emotional. Protests and adamant assertions (“This is less than it cost me to buy!”) will follow. Stick to your guns and see what transpires; stop once you’ve reached a price you can live with. Remember that once the haggle is on, a challenge has been initiated, and its fun to regard your opponent’s act of salesmanship as an artistic endeavor. Let your guard slip, and he will empty your wallet. Take into account the disposition and situation of the merchant; you don’t want to haggle a genuinely poor man into deeper poverty! And if you’ve been taken (and we all have), see it as a small contribution to a family that lives on a great deal less than you do.

Tipping:

Tips and gratuities to hotel, lodges, guides & drivers: Budget approx. $2.00 – $4.00 per person per day for lodge and hotel staff, $1.00 per bag for porters, $5.00 – $10.00 per person per day for guides, and 2-3.00 USD per day for drivers. Tips are optional but we highly encourage them if you feel the service deserves it. *Tipping guides and drivers is an expected practice similar to tipping waiters and waitresses in the USA.

Vaccines

IMPORTANT: We are not doctors and do not have the authority to give medical advice, including vaccine recommendations. Please consult your doctor and the website below and do as you see fit

No vaccination proof is “mandatory” in order to get through customs however for your own personal safety you will want to consider malaria pills & hepatitis A & B, & the typhoid vaccine is also highly recommended. Please consult your physician for more information and recommendations.

Please see the government recommendations here:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india

Culture Shock (note from our ground team)

Most people find India overwhelming on the first few days of the visit, the number of people, the traffic, noise and smells seems to be everywhere. By the third day most people are used to the change and by the end of the week feel able to venture out on their own. Most Indians are extremely friendly and inquisitive by nature. They are also very hospitable and we will find that even our guides may happily invite us home for a cup of tea! Most people are ready to talk about anything and may ask questions which we may find intrusive from a western perspective; this is part of the culture where the term ‘personal questions’ doesn’t even have a literal translation. Another cultural idiom is the avoidance of saying no. When you ask a local for a yes or no answer, most of the time they will say yes or nod their head in an ambiguous manner even if the answer is no. It’s important to be very specific and confident in the answer you are given when speaking with locals.

 


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