Tickets bought, tour package booked, now what do you do? For a successful trip to India you’ll need to do some homework and more planning. Determining what to pack and how much will fit into a new piece of luggage is just part of the process. Traveling to India requires a government issued passport as well as an India visa. If there are any underlying health concerns, now is the time to look into them. And travel smart by informing your government of your whereabouts in case of natural disaster or other emergency.
Baggage ID: One simple piece of paper can help reunite you with baggage if it gets lost or rerouted to another destination. Call it piece of mind or extra precaution, it never hurts to have your bases covered.
Check List: Create a simple yet thorough packing list to organize your thoughts before crunch time. Reminders about mundane tasks, such as watering the plants and turning down the heat before you leave home, can save you time, money and disappointment upon your return.
Clothing/What to Pack: A few basic items can take you through weeks of travel. Remember to stick with darker neutrals to avoid stains from pollution, dust and sand. Also remember to respect a conservative populous not impressed by garish brand names and certainly not accepting of revealing, sloppy western attire. Bollywood movies are far from the realities of what tourists will want to wear in order to fly under the radar.
Customs – What you can bring into India: Avoid any unexpected fees or delays when passing through India Customs with some helpful information.
Health Issues: Advanced healthcare is generally within reach of even the most desolate regions. Always consult with a medical provider prior to International travel. Be sure to pack any necessary medications for ailments as brand names and dosage strength likely will not be available in India. Doxycycline vs. Malarone | Vaccinations | My Brush with an Indian Doctor | 8 Tips for HIV+ Travelers
Internet/Computer: Keeping in touch with friends and relatives is simple in a country littered with internet cafes and WiFi signals. Hostels, budget, Mid-Range and Luxury commonly offer WiFi or cabled connections. And internet cafes appear everywhere the tourists go and beyond. New Rules for Public Internet Usage
Language: English is the only language needed as a tourist to enjoy India. Travel agents, drivers, hotel employees, guides and primary figures related to the enjoyment of traveling in this country will speak English. Many quick-learn courses are offered online and in-person in India for those interested in learning a basic background of Hindi.
Money: Options, options, options. Smart travelers carry (at minimum): 1 credit card, 1 debit card (separate from credit card), home currency or US Dollar currency and travelers checks. Travelers checks, despite their declining popularity, are still a valuable form of currency as an emergency back-up. Be sure both a credit and debit card have cash withdrawal ability in the event one account is frozen or compromised.
Packing: Accommodate your needs, not your whimsical side. If your purpose of travel is for work/job related reasons, then plan accordingly with appropriate business attire. Conservative shirts, ties and trousers are acceptable, no need to purchase clothes once you’ve arrived. Tourists on vacation for leisure/sightseeing also are smart to error on the side of conservative. Either traveler should plan a complete toiletry list as well as packing needs for computers, phones and travel documents. How to Pick the Right Luggage for Your Trip | 5 Things Not To Forget in Your Bag | Best Packing Videos
Read: There is no reason to go blindly into India. An abundance of resources in newspapers, books and magazines exist in print and online form. Stay easily informed before, during and after your travels.
Register with Embassy: In case of emergency or natural disasters, your embassy can help coordinate your evacuation as well as offer assistance with lost or stolen passports. Register your travel dates and basic location details online in most countries. Email notifications are available for travel warnings, updates on regional issues and more.
Safety/Security: Stay one step ahead of the scams and touts while staying in-line with the laws of the country.
Visa/Passport: All foreigners except for nationals of Nepal and Bhutan need a visa to enter India. Additionally, your passport must have a validity of at least 6 months remaining to be granted a visa for entry.
Water/Food: Safe drinking water (bottled) is readily available, even in the most remote areas. As with other countries, India’s tap water is not drinkable without first boiling or using some of the handy travel purification devices. Tourists can prevent upset stomachs from food by being vigilant about general hygiene, washing hands before eating and avoiding some, but not all, street vendors. 10 Ways to Avoid Traveler’s Diarrhea | Bottled Water in India