FAQ

This is a short list of the most useful information that we have found travellers to India require.

Q: Do I need a visa on my British Passport to visit India
All visitors to India require a Visa which MUST be obtained before arrival in the country. The usual visa is valid for 6 months from the time of issue and is good for multiple entries to the country. Visas are issued by all Indian embassies and consulates and can take up to 2 weeks to process. You must hold a valid passport to enter India. Your passport must have two blank pages for your visa and must be valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa application. The guidelines regarding passport validity on arrival in India are unclear. We therefore advise you to ensure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.

A wise precaution is to carry a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or theft. If your travel document is lost or stolen notify the police immediately and obtain a police report. A replacement passport can only be applied for at New Delhi. However, Mumbai, Chennai, Goa and Kolkata can issue an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) in dire emergencies. Straightforward applications are normally issued within 20 working days.

Q:  What is the best time to visit India?
The best time to visit tropical South India is during the winter months, but even then there are some distinct regional variations. The peak season is from December to February when the climate is at its most pleasant – Kerala is less humid at this time, it is dry and daytime temperatures range from 22 to 30’C. Temperatures and humidity start to build from late March. The monsoon rains fall from May to October in Kerala and on the east coast of Tamil Nadu they extend through to November which is the wettest month.

 Q:  What vaccinations are recommended to visit India?
You should Contact your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the ‘National Travel Health Network and Centre’. Most doctors recommend vaccination against the following:
Tetanus
Polio
Hepatitis
Meningitis
Malaria
The majority of visitors return home having suffered no problems at all. The most common complaint is an upset tummy caused by a change in diet.

Q:  Can I take my existing medication to India?
Medicines may be taken to India so long as you carry with you a bona fide doctor’s prescription for them. You could also check for the equivalents that could be available at the major medical pharmacies. Narcotic drugs are illegal in India. There is a minimum sentence of six months for possession of small amounts deemed for personal consumption only. A 10-year sentence for possession of other amounts applies.

 Q: Which airlines fly to India from the UK?
The biggest airlines flying direct to India are British Airways, Jet Airways, Virgin Airways and Air India. Many other airlines fly to India with a stopover. Please contact us for more information.

 Q: What is a Child Fare and What is Infant Fare?
This is the level of fare that is applicable to children aged between 2 to 11 on the date of departure. Hence a booking made before a child’s 12th birthday for departure on or after this day will no longer be eligible for the child fares. In most cases, children are usually charged a percentage of the applicable adult fare. Infant fare is the level of fare that is applicable to children below the age of 2 years, who do not occupy a seat. Infants normally pay 10 percent of the adult fare. If a seat is required for the infant, the corresponding child fare will apply.

 Q: Is a Travel Insurance necessary?
We recommend you obtain good personal travel insurance. Please contact us for advice on which policy suits your requirements. Generally we recommend you have a  policy that covers medical, hospital, loss of baggage,  personal money, delay and cancellation. A wise precaution is to carry a photocopy of your policy alongside your passport copy.

 Q. Holiday Money – what currency is accepted?
US Dollars, Euros and British Sterling are the best currency to take with you. Travellers cheques in these currencies are also widely accepted. In most of the major cities Visa, Mastercard and American Express will be accepted at popular and medium to high quality outlets. It is also wise to exchange for some Indian Rupees and carry 10, 20, 50 and 100 rupee notes for smaller transactions.

Q. What is the tipping procedure in India?  
There is no specific procedure that is followed for tipping in India but it is expected in most places. From the baggage delivery person to the driver, a nominal amount is expected as a tip for the service offered. Depending upon the work done, a tip can range from Rs.20 to Rs.100. At restaurants, usually 10% of the bill amount  is considered as the tip for the person serving you. Make sure you do not over-tip or you might be ‘marked’ for the rest of your trip.

Q. How safe is India for Tourists?
Like anywhere around the world, there are a few aberrations in the Indian society who pose a threat to the vulnerable. But most of the country is safe for everyone who is well informed and cautious. When in India, be an Indian. At least to whichever extent possible. It is very easy to identify  tourists who are not of the Indian origin and thus are easy targets for the beguilers. A few important things to keep in mind when in India.

  • India is a conservative country despite the many urban developments in the metropolis. It is thus advisable to wear modest clothes that suit the occasion and not attract unnecessary attention. Try on some native clothes while there, it could just make your trip a bit more interesting.
  • Do not travel alone and late into the night unless you have reliable means to take you around. A lone tourist on the road late at night is definitely asking for trouble. Ensure you have your Hotel chauffeur is around to guide you or book taxis from reliable sources online.
  • Carry photocopies of your passport and identity cards at all times. Also ensure you have the contact details of your Hotel, in case you need reliable help getting around. In case of emergencies call the police on 100 (or 108 for medical, fire or other emergencies)
  • English is widely spoken all over the country but a few remote tourist locations might not have enough people to guide you around. Learn the basics of the local language just to be extra safe.

There is always no dearth for safety measures and precautions that could be followed. Ensure you check the general safety situation of a destination before you reach there and stay protected!

If you require any additional information that is not covered by the above please contact us and one of our travel advisors will be happy to answer your questions.