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Travel Tips

 

TRAVEL TIPS FOR INDIA | Everything You Need to Know Before You GO!

 

 

VISA AND PASSPORTS

  • Please check the expiry date on your passport. Travel outside of the United States requires a passport that is valid for at least the next six months.
  • All US citizens need a valid passport and a valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose. Visas are not available upon arrival for US citizens. If you do not have a valid passport and visa, you may be immediately deported. The US Embassy and Consulates General in India cannot assist you if you arrive without proper documentation. This information is for US citizens only.
  • A tourist visa can be obtained through the Indian Consulate, or you can arrange an e-visa, which is a simpler process. For a tourist e-visa, the documents to be submitted/uploaded are minimal: the relevant page of the passport (with your photo and details) and a passport size photograph.
  • You can find all the relevant information and instructions regarding the e-visa here, as well as the application for the e-visa: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html                                                      
  • Please note that your passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India and the passport should have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.
  • Please note that the e-visa application can be submitted from 120 until 4 working days in advance of your arrival to India. We recommend starting the process approximately 60 days in advance so that there is no rush and you are sure that you have the e-visa arranged in advance.
  • US citizens wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate. There are generally no provisions for changing your immigration category (e.g., from tourist to work visa) once you have entered the country. Indian visa regulations change frequently, often with little advance notice, and changes may be poorly advertised and inconsistently enforced. Travelers are urged to check the website of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C.before any travel to India to review the most current information. If you travel on a tourist visa, you are generally given six months of legal stay upon entering India; extensions are rarely granted.

 

CONSULAR INFORMATION
The US State Department provides Country Specific Information sheets for every country in the world as well as Travel Alerts and Warnings. For this information, call 888 407 4747 or 202 501 4444 or see www.travel.state.gov.

 

HEALTH

  • Plan to visit your doctor or local travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow time for any vaccinations to take effect or to fill any prescriptions.
  • We strongly suggest purchasing appropriate trip insurance covering medical, baggage, and trip cancellation as needed. 
  • The quality of medical care in India varies considerably. Medical care in the major population centers approaches and occasionally meets Western standards, but adequate medical care is usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas.
  • Before traveling to India or any other destination, we recommend consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information on required and recommended vaccines and medications. Visit cdc.gov/travel or call 800 232 4636 for more information.
  • Some vaccines such as Typhoid, Influenza, and Hepatitis A are recommended for all travelers and other vaccines such as Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rabies are recommended for high-risk travelers.
  • For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO), which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
  • If you received any vaccinations in preparation for your journey, pack your vaccination certificates in your personal carry-on baggage in case you are asked to show them on arrival.
  • Make sure that any medications you require, as well as copies of your prescriptions, are packed in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked baggage.
  • Special meals and allergies: If you require special meals for health or dietary reasons, please let your Da'at tour operator know at least 60 days prior to your departure.

 

TRAVEL INSURANCE
We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance. Please discuss land, air, and health insurance options with your insurance provider or contact Travel Insured at 1-800-344-6226, ext. 257. Some insurance programs provide more comprehensive coverage when the policy is purchased in close proximity to the initial trip deposit. We therefore recommend that you secure insurance within 14 days of your initial deposit payment date.

 

CURRENCY AND BANK INFORMATION

  • The official currency used in India is called the rupee and banks, hotels, and authorized moneychangers can exchange foreign currency for rupees. Receipts (called “encashment certificates”) should be retained, as these will enable you to reconvert the balance into dollars, or any other foreign currency, when you leave the country, provided the receipt is no more than 30 days old. Most large cities have ATMs that accept Visa and MasterCard as well as American Express. The ATM network is ever expanding, and in some Indian states you can find them in smaller towns. International airports have currency exchange booths that are always open for arriving or departing overseas flights.
  • Foreigners are not allowed to bring Indian currency into India, so you cannot change your currency to Indian rupees in advance of your trip.
  • Click here to obtain the most current exchange rates.
  • We recommend that you contact your bank in advance of departing on your journey to determine whether you will be able to use your ATM and credit cards while traveling. When contacting your bank, notify them of your travel dates so that they will anticipate charges being made outside of your hometown and do not suspend your cards for what may appear to them to be “suspicious” charges. We also recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back sides of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your cards are misplaced, lost or stolen.
  • For more information about money in India, click here.

 

ELECTRICITY

  • The standard voltage in India 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power plugs and socket types can vary.
  • For more information about this, visit worldstandards.eu.
  • Electric shavers, traveling irons, phone rechargers, and other small appliances may require adaptors and/or converters, which you can purchase prior to your departure or at the airport.

 

TIME ZONE
All cities on this journey are located in the same time zone and are 5.5 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (or Greenwich Mean Time). India does not observe Daylight Savings Time or other seasonal adjustments. To determine current time in major cities around the world, visit timeanddate.com.

 

CELL PHONES
Tips to avoid international roaming charges:

  • Use your existing plan – contact your local carrier to find out plans and prices for data roaming.
  • Rent a device – Rent a phone, download your information, and use the borrowed device as if it were your own.
  • Get a local SIM card – See below.
  • Wi-Fi only – Turn off your cellular data, switch your phone to airplane mode, and enable a Wi-Fi connection to access Internet hotspots in your destination.

 

  • SIM Card Restrictions for Tourists in India: As of September 2012, The Government of India has issued a directive to mobile phone service providers that SIM cards for mobile phones that are purchased by tourists should not have a validity beyond that of the Indian tourist visa held by the purchaser of the SIM Card. The maximum validity of a SIM card should also not exceed three months at a time regardless of the duration of the visa. To get a SIM Card in India, foreign tourists need to have copies of: passport, Indian visa, photo of applicant, local address of the place of stay, signed application for SIM form.
  • How to get a new SIM card in India for your foreign cell phone:
    1. Visit a phone SIM card retailer. Most retailers carry SIM cards for all the major GSM phone companies. Major companies are Airtel, Hutch, Idea, and MTLN.
    2. Select the SIM card of your choice. Cost of SIM card with a new local phone number for India is approximately 100-125 rupees (US$ 3 approximately).
    3. Photocopy the first page of your passport (the pages showing your details and photograph) or driver’s license. This photocopy is required by the cell phone companies as proof of identity. DO NOT GIVE YOUR PASSPORT. LEAVE ONLY A PHOTOCOPY WITH THE RETAILER FROM WHOM YOU BUY THE SIM CARD.
    4. Fill out the SIM card purchase application form that will be provided by the SIM card retailer, (name, address, etc.). As proof of identity use the photocopy of your driver’s license or passport.
    5. The retailer will install the SIM card you purchased in your telephone and you will have a local phone number immediately. (Some outlets due to changes in identification laws now need about 24 hours to activate your new number.)
    6. Add prepaid calling time to your new number in the amount you wish. Additional call time can be added as you desire during your stay in India. The phone retailer from whom you buy your SIM card should be able to explain the various choices and denominations of prepaid vouchers for phone.
    7. PLEASE NOTE: The recharge coupons that are sold have three components, "Call time," "Processing Fee," and "Service Tax."

 

HOW TO MAKE CALLS

  • Once you have installed your new SIM card in your cell phone you will have a local Indian phone number. Cell phone numbers in India usually have ten digits.
  • Making local calls: To call any landline phone in India, dial the relevant STD code (STD code is similar to what is called the Area Code in US/Canada) followed by the number. For example, to dial a Delhi landline phone number you must first dial the Delhi STD code, which is 001 and then dial the number you are calling.
  • To dial other cell phone numbers, you can just dial the full 10-digit cell phone number and area codes are not require

Free incoming calls to your cell phone in India:

  • The way cell phones work in India is slightly different from some of the western countries. In the United States or Canada, if you had no money left in your prepaid cell phone, your cell phone would not allow you to receive or make calls until money was added to your cell phone account.
  • However, India has a different system. Most cell phone companies in India allow free incoming calls to their SIM card users. So even if you have no prepaid time left on your phone and cannot make outgoing calls, you can still get incoming calls. The only condition is that the validity period of your SIM card should not have expired.
  • For example, if your SIM card is valid for another month and your prepaid account balance is nil, you will not be able to make outgoing calls until you add money to your account. However, as your SIM card validity has another month to go, you will still receive calls until your SIM card validity runs out.

 

FACILITIES FOR THE DISABLED

  • Travel through India for people with special needs is challenging, although the Ministry of Tourism is taking active steps to improve the current reality.
  • The decision to participate in one of these tours is at the sole discretion of each participant.
  • When making dinner plans, your hotel will be able to recommend restaurants that can accommodate your needs. Should you require specific equipment or facilities, please contact us.
  • Should you require handicapped facilities, please contact our office.

 

LANGUAGE
Many different languages and dialects are spoken in India. According to a census in 2001, 30 languages were spoken by more than a million native speakers, with 122 languages spoken by more than 10,000 people. Hindi, written in Devanagari script, is the most prominent language spoken in the country.
Hindi is classified as the official language of the central government in India, with English as a provisional official sub-language. However, individual state legislatures can adopt any regional language as the official language of that state. As such, there are "official languages” at the state and central levels but there is no one "national language."
British colonial legacy has led to English being a language for government, business, and education and English is widely spoken throughout India.

 

WEATHER

India has a large variation in climate from region to region.

Use a website such as weather.com to find average temperatures and rainfall during your travel times.

 

Average daily high/low temperature in Delhi

 

MONTHLY AVERAGES

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES  
 FAHRENHEIT

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES   

 CELSIUS

 AVERAGE
 PRECIPITATIONS

 LOW

HIGH

LOW

HIGH

IN MILLIMETERS

JANUARY

45°

69°

21°

20

FEBRUARY

50°

74°

10°

23°

20

MARCH

59°

84°

15°

29°

15

APRIL

70°

96°

21°

36°

20

MAY

78°

102°

26°

39°

25

JUNE

82°

101°

28°

38°

71

JULY

80°

94°

27°

34°

236

AUGUST

79°

92°

26°

33°

236

SEPTEMBER

76°

93°

24°

34°

114

OCTOBER

67°

91°

19°

33°

18

NOVEMBER

55°

82°

13°

28°

10

DECEMBER

47°

73°

23°

10

 

  • July, August, & September have the most rain.
  • November & December are the driest months.
  • May, June, & July are the hottest months.
  • January, February, & December are the coldest months.

 

 

Average daily high/low temperature in Mumbai

 

MONTHLY AVERAGES

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES  
 FAHRENHEIT

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES   

 CELSIUS

 AVERAGE
 PRECIPITATIONS

 LOW

HIGH

LOW

HIGH

IN MILLIMETERS

JANUARY

62°

87°

17°

31°

0

FEBRUARY

64°

88°

18°

32°

1

MARCH

70°

91°

21°

33°

0

APRIL

75°

91°

24°

33°

0

MAY

80°

92°

27°

34°

20

JUNE

79°

90°

26°

32°

647

JULY

77°

86°

26°

31°

946

AUGUST

77°

85°

25°

30°

660

SEPTEMBER

76°

87°

25°

31°

309

OCTOBER

74°

92°

24°

34°

117

NOVEMBER

70°

92°

21°

34°

7

DECEMBER

66°

90°

18°

33°

1

 

  • June, July, & August have the most rain.
  • December-April are the driest months.
  • The temperature does not vary much by month.

 

 

Average daily high/low temperature in Cochin

 

MONTHLY AVERAGES

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES  
 FAHRENHEIT

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES   

 CELSIUS

 AVERAGE
 PRECIPITATIONS

 LOW

HIGH

LOW

HIGH

IN MILLIMETERS

JANUARY

72°

90°

22°

32°

0

FEBRUARY

73°

90°

23°

32°

0

MARCH

77°

91°

25°

33°

1

APRIL

79°

91°

26°

33°

4

MAY

79°

90°

26°

32°

10

JUNE

75°

84°

24°

29°

25

JULY

75°

82°

24°

28°

25

AUGUST

75°

82°

24°

28°

23

SEPTEMBER

72°

90°

22°

32°

0

OCTOBER

73°

90°

23°

32°

0

NOVEMBER

77°

91°

25°

33°

1

DECEMBER

79°

91°

26°

33°

4

 

  • June, July, August, & September have the most rain.
  • December-April are the driest months.
  • December-May are the hottest months.
  • June-November are the coldest months.

 

 

Average daily high/low temperature in Agra

 

MONTHLY AVERAGES

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES  
 FAHRENHEIT

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES   

 CELSIUS

 AVERAGE
 PRECIPITATIONS

 LOW

HIGH

LOW

HIGH

IN MILLIMETERS

JANUARY

43°

73°

23°

0

FEBRUARY

46°

78°

26°

5

MARCH

55°

89°

13°

32°

0

APRIL

67°

101°

19°

38°

2

MAY

77°

107°

25°

42°

6

JUNE

83°

105°

28°

41°

34

JULY

80°

95°

27°

35°

123

AUGUST

78°

92°

26°

33°

88

SEPTEMBER

75°

93°

24°

34°

54

OCTOBER

62°

94°

17°

34°

5

NOVEMBER

49°

85°

29°

0

DECEMBER

43°

73°

23°

0

 

  • July, August, & September have the most rain.
  • November, December, & January are the driest months.
  • April, May, & June are the hottest months.
  • January, February, & December are the coldest months.

 

 

Average daily high/low temperature in Jaipur & Udaipur

 

MONTHLY AVERAGES

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES  
 FAHRENHEIT

 AVERAGE TEMPERATURES   

 CELSIUS

 AVERAGE
 PRECIPITATIONS

 LOW

HIGH

LOW

HIGH

IN MILLIMETERS

JANUARY

49°

71°

22°

1

FEBRUARY

54°

76°

12°

24°

0

MARCH

63°

87°

17°

31°

0

APRIL

74°

97°

23°

36°

2

MAY

80°

103°

27°

39°

6

JUNE

83°

101°

28°

38°

13

JULY

79°

91°

26°

33°

15

AUGUST

77°

89°

25°

32°

5

SEPTEMBER

75°

92°

24°

33°

1

OCTOBER

69°

91°

21°

33°

1

NOVEMBER

59°

82°

15°

28°

0

DECEMBER

51°

73°

11°

23°

1

 

  • June & July have the most rain.
  • The remainder of the year is arid.
  • April, May, & June are the hottest months.
  • January, February, & December are the coldest months.

 

 

WHAT TO PACK
Click here for our suggested packing checklist.

 

BAGGAGE
Confirm baggage limitations with your international carrier before packing. Remember thatairlines can change their baggage restrictions at any time.

FLIGHTS AND AIRPORTS

  • Be sure to reconfirm your international flights with your airline 24 hours prior to your departure.
  • Passengers must check in for international flights from the US/Canada at least three hours prior to departure time.

Airport Security
Security checks are carried out routinely for your protection and safety. Expect to be asked about the contents of your luggage, who packed it, whether anyone asked you to transport items for them, and whether your luggage remained with you before you arrived at the airport. Do not take any mail, packages, or unknown items from anyone either before or after arriving at the airport.

 

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRANSFERS

  • If your package includes arrival and departure transfers, this will be detailed in your travel documents which will be e-mailed to you up to one week prior to your trip.
  • If you deviate from the arrival and/or departure dates and time as specified in your travel documents, you will need to arrange your own transfers. Alternatively, you may request a transfer service up to three working days prior to your arrival and the cost of the transfer service will be added to your invoice.
  • When requesting a transfer service, please provide us with your flight information. Your arrival transfer is guaranteed for up to one hour from your scheduled arrival time in order to compensate for minor delays. 
  • Da'at or the transfer company will not be responsible for delays, for any reason, beyond one hour from your originally scheduled arrival time. In case of a delay, it will be your responsibility to contact Da'at directly and/or to make other transfer arrangements, such as by taxi.
  • Transfer costs are not refundable and any additional expenses will be your responsibility.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • Travel by Bus: Each city has a local bus network that can be a challenge to negotiate for newcomers. Though fares are cheap, buses can get very crowded during peak hours and this is not the fastest mode of transportation. Destinations are not always displayed in English; ask the conductor where the bus is going before boarding. Buses only stop at bus stops and do not always come to a complete stop – be prepared to hop on to a moving bus. The conductor collects fares and issues tickets. Bus passes are also available. There is separate seating for women at the front of the bus. Air-conditioned Volvo buses are being introduced in many cities, which offer a more comfortable and faster ride than the older city buses.
  • Travelling by Auto-rickshaw: The yellow and green (or yellow and black) three-wheeled auto-rickshaws (referred to as “autos” by locals) generally run on a meter system and are a convenient mode of transport. In Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad, drivers are required to use the meter and generally comply. In other cities like Delhi and Chennai, the fare must be negotiated. Auto-rickshaws are usually a good and cheap option for short, local journeys but uncomfortable for longer trips. Some smaller cities and some parts of Delhi still have cycle rickshaws, but these are not regulated. The auto-rickshaws should display a license (though many don't). They can be hailed in the street like taxis.
  • Travelling by Taxi: Mumbai and Delhi have old-fashioned black, yellow, or black and yellow taxis, which run on a meter and can be flagged down in the street. There are new national taxi companies with modern fleets of air-conditioned cabs running in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai, which can be reserved in advance by telephone or online. These include: Easy Cabs and Meru Cabs. There are many private taxi companies in every city running out of roadside offices. These can be rented for the day or for longer trips out of town. Rates are generally fixed by the hour or by the day.

 

CHECKING IN AT YOUR HOTEL
If you arrive at your hotel before the customary 3:00 p.m. check-in time, your room may not be available. Store your luggage with the concierge and take the time to walk around and get a feel for your new city.

 

PROTECTING VALUABLE ITEMS

  • Hotel safes are usually provided and can be used to protect valuables such as passports, medications, jewelry, money, and electronics. If you must carry valuables, keep them on your person at all times, be mindful of your surroundings, and take extra caution in crowds.
  • We recommend photocopying the personal information pages of your passport and leaving one copy with a family member or friend and packing another in a place separate from the passport itself. You can also scan your passport and email a copy to yourself for easy online access. This will help you to secure a replacement quickly should the need arise.

 

SHOPPING
Where and whether to shop while traveling with Da'at is a personal choice and shopping is never compulsory. If at any point during your journey you feel pressured to shop or make purchases, please immediately discuss the matter with your tour educator.

 

TIPPING GUIDELINES
We recommend the following for tipping (amounts in US dollars):

  • Groups of 20 participants or more:
    Da'at Tour educator/escort $8, local guide $5, and driver $3 per participant per day
  • Recommended restaurant tipping when lunch or dinner is “not included in package”:
    5%-10% depending on your satisfaction, unless there is a service charge on your bill, in which case you do not need to leave an additional tip.
  • Porter:
    Included in your package.

 

IMPORTANT CONTACT DETAILS

 

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE IN INDIA

Police | 100
Fire Brigade | 101
Ambulance | 102

 

DA'AT EMERGENCY INFORMATION

Da'at – Israel
19 Washington Street, P.O. Box 71047, Jerusalem, 91710 Israel 
972-2-621-3333

Da'at – USA
500 7th Ave., 8th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Toll-free number: 888-811-2812

 

USEFUL WEBSITES
Center for Disease Control
Electricity & Plugs
Foreign Exchange Rates
Weather
US Customs & Border Protection
Transportation Security Administration

Consular Affairs: Passport Information

Dates of Holidays in India

 

RESOURCES
Recommended Books and Films
Packing Checklist