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Important Information

Important Information

GENERAL INFORMATIONS FOR A TOURIST ON INDIA TRAVEL

 

AIRPORT TRANSFERS

Our representative would remain present at the arrival lounge of the airport and would be holding a placard in your name. He will also assist you during your hotel check in. The same procedure will be followed whenever you make an internal connection by air or rail and again on your final departure from India.

 

IMMUNIZATIONS

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before. Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.

 

INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF VACCINATION BOOKLET

Carry Your Certificate You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.

 

PASSPORT & VISA

You are requested to get in touch with the nearest Indian Embassy/ Commission who will appraise you with the other formalities required. Or you can visit http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia/visaservices/index.html for more information.


You must carry a valid passport and have obtained all of the appropriate visas, permits and certificates for the countries which you will visit during your trip.

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 few weeks to process.

Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the duration of the trip. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of the correct visas, permits and certificates for your trip. We are not responsible if you are refused entry to a country because you lack the correct passport, visa or other travel documentation. 

Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.

Note:For your visa application you need to include the following information under the local contact section towards the end of the application.

Name: Gaurav Sharma

Address: Pan India Tours 
1814, Film Colony,
Chaura Rasta, Jaipur - 302 003
Rajasthan, India

Mobile: +919314313392

 

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance is mandatory for all our travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking.  Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide your travel insurance policy number and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number 15 days before the tour starts. You will not be able to join the trip without these details.  If you have travel insurance connected to your credit card or bank account please ensure you have details of the participating insurer, the insurance policy number and emergency contact number with you rather than the bank's name and credit card details.

PROBLEMS AND EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information 15 days before the tour starts, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader.

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, transfer or accommodation issues, you can reach our local India office on their 24 hour number: Emergency contacts:

India Contact

Name: Gaurav Sharma

Address: Pan India Tours 
1814, Film Colony,
Chaura Rasta, Jaipur - 302 003
Rajasthan, India

Mobile: +919314313392

 

Australia Contact

Name: Karam Singh

Mobile: +61416301790

 

MONEY

The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). It's symbol is ₹ The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via ATMs, which are readily available in most towns. Cash shortages at ATMs can be a problem in rural areas. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.

With regards to the exchange currency, it is recommendable to carry adequate US dollars. US dollars are widely accepted and would be hassle free to get it changed. It is also advisable to carry adequate local currency i.e. Indian Rupees while travelling in India especially in small towns, remote and wildlife destinations as you will find no ATM there.

 Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops, but not usually in hotels in the wildlife parks. Do not allow your credit card to be taken out of your sight in restaurants and shops. ATMs are available in major cities and towns.

 

SPENDING MONEY

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier.

 

CONTINGENCY FUNDS

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra money for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

 

TIPPING

On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. Where applicable, this will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides, restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff. This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service provided throughout your trip. We suggest around $A5-7 per day. You may also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination. Please ask your tour leader for guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.

 

THINGS TO CARRY/PACKING FOR INDIA TRAVEL

Hotels provide a fast, reliable laundry service. So, it is unnecessary to pack a large amount of clothing. We recommend checking local weather advisory websites before departing to get a better understanding of what to expect and how best to pack. Bringing extra layers and a beanie could improve your overall experience. The standard allowance permitted by most Indian domestic airlines is 15 Kg plus hand baggage. A medical kit, toiletries and camera should be brought. All clothing is economical throughout India and much of it of excellent to good quality, particularly in the large towns.

 

MAIN LUGGAGE

What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances including up and down stairs and in busy places. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Small, wheeled suitcases that can also easily be picked up and carried are the best for travel in this part of the world, although if you prefer, a back pack is also fine.

DAY PACK

A day pack for carrying essentials when exploring destinations as well as for short overnight stays will be useful. On overnight trains packing this with the essentials you need to access during the trip will also be very useful.

ESSENTIAL LIST OF EQUIPMENT AND DOCUMENTATION

  • Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts
  • Colour photocopy of main passport pages, visa, travel insurance and air tickets Spare passport photos
  • Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card, Money belt, Small padlocks
  • A mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers
  • Smart clothes for dinner in bigger cities
  • Clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples
  • Raincoat
  • Head scarf for women (for when entering temples or mosques)
  • When travelling in cooler climates - Wind and waterproof jacket.
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks.
  • Camera/Phone
  • Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm
  • Personal medical kit - Such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent
  • Water bottle
  • Padlocks to keep your luggage safe and secure.
  • Ear plugs/eye mask
  • Travel wipes
  • Small hand towel
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required) 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)

 

VALUABLES

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy/scan all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals.

 

 

WIFI

WiFi access is widely available; it's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in room use. Please ask your tour leader or the specific hotel reception upon check in. Many restaurants and cafes (especially in tourist areas) offer customers free WiFi. Ask for the password when ordering. Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas.

 

MOBILE

You can purchase a SIM at the airport (or at kiosks everywhere) for use while travelling in India. Airtel or Vodaphone are a good bet. SIMs are relatively cheap. You will need to usually provide 2 passport sized photos and a copy of your passport will be made.

 

MAIL

Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15. International airmail postcards cost around ₹12. For postcards, stick the stamps on before writing, as the post office can give you as many as four stamps per card. The post office is always a fun adventure in India!

 

CLIMATE

India has a wide range of climatic conditions from tropical in the South to alpine in the North. Most of the country except Himalaya region is best to travel between October and March. During this time, days are pleasant to cool and rain is very rare. The summer season begins in April and ends in September. It is interrupted by the south-west monsoon which arrives around the mid of June. In the winter season i.e. from November to March, woollens are needed from early evening to mid-morning.

 

North India

April - June: Hot, dry and dusty with temperature 35-42 degree centigrade

July - August: Hot, Humid and rainy

Sep - Mar: Pleasant days and could get cooler in the night

 

South India

April/May & Aug/Sep: Hot and Humid with average temperature 38 degree centigrade

June/July/Oct/Nov: Hot and Heavy rains

Dec - Mar: Hot but less humid

 

GROUP LEADER

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

 

SAFETY

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

WOMEN'S SAFETY

Women should exercise caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling: - Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home - Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day - Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night - If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers - If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. -When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (i.e. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you. www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/women.html

 

PERSONAL BELONGINGS

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

 

FESTIVALS

Travelling in India during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on this day. It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day. Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid-October to mid-November every year) is celebrated by local people letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks.

 

PERSONAL SAFETY

While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

 

SCAMS

Scams involving ATM and credit cards, train tickets, taxis, temple donations and tourist guides operate throughout India. If you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to the nearest police station. Even though they may not be able to get your money or goods back, they can issue you with an official loss report for insurance purposes.

 

AIR POLLUTION

The high levels of air pollution in New Delhi (and across urbanised India) may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these types of medical conditions. You can check the pollution index levels for many cities on the following website: http://safar.tropmet.res.in/ Our tour leaders have a supply of masks for sale at the joining meeting should you wish to purchase one.

 

VERY IMPORTANT RULES

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Sharing a room can be a great way to get to know people quickly and make close friends. It just takes a little effort on your part.

 

TRAVELLING ON A GROUP TRIP

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

 

FOOD

Western food is available in larger hotels. Indian food is delicious and varied, and vegetarian food is widely available. In hotels the spicing is often milder to suit Western tastes. It is recommendable to eat hot and freshly cooked food and to avoid salads, cut fruit, any food which is not cooked. Avoid yogurt and lassi unless milk has been boiled. Ice cream is only safe if produced using a heat treatment method. Rice which is not freshly cooked is a common cause of food poisoning. Hotel buffets can cause problems if food is left standing for a long time (if in doubt, order freshly prepared food from the a la carte menu).

 

EATING OUT

In some locations we will recommend restaurants you may like to try. Food is often excellent but service can be variable. Delays are not unusual, and the component parts of a meal do not invariably arrive together! In some hotels staffs are local people, who may be shy and inexperienced. Even in five star properties staffing may occasionally be unequal to the challenge. Elsewhere you may find service over-attentive, often understood as good service locally! Patience and a sense of humour will help you enjoy your meals.

 

WATER

Dehydration is a common and serious problem in hot climates, especially in children; make sure you drink plenty of water. Tap water is not safe to drink. You should drink only bottled mineral water, which is widely available. You should also use mineral water when brushing your teeth. Ice is not safe unless made with boiled or mineral water, which is rarely the case, so is best avoided.

 

INTESTINAL UPSETS

Most of our guests experience no problem during their tour. A mild upset can sometimes be simply the result of a change of diet, so go easy for the first few days if you are unused to spicy foods. Bring a supply of ORS (oral rehydration salts) and if you do experience any symptoms, take these immediately, rest and drink plenty of water. Seek medical advice for any severe or persistent symptoms. It is useful to bring Loperamide, but this should not be taken unless absolutely necessary. Ciprofloxacin is a good antibiotic for bacterial diarrhea but is not effective against other types so is best taken under medical advice. ‘Preventative’ antibiotics are not effective.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

Most temples and monuments charge a fee for a camera permit, which is included in the package. Special permits may be needed for tripods and lights. It is not permitted to photograph statues of the deity in temples. Always ask permission before photographing people – the moment may be lost, but photography without consent may cause offence.

 

BEGGARS

At the religious sites you may find lot of beggars. However please don’t get intimidated. The best thing is to avoid them completely and be firm. In India normally, if you make an eye contact it is considered to be a sign of acceptance or consideration so you may avoid making eye contact with the beggars. Please don’t offer them money, food or any other gift.

 

DRESS CODE AT RELIGIOUS SITES

We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees so we can be respectful and comfortable.

 

One should avoid wearing skimpy clothes like half pants or sleeveless dress during visiting a religious site. Full trousers, jeans, skirt or any other outfit with an appropriate top, t-shirt or shirt is well suggested. Wearing black dress should also be avoided. At many temples leather objects are also not allowed. One should cover his head especially while visiting a mosque or a Gurudwara (Sikh temple). Photographing people is generally welcomed though one should not forget taking permission before clicking a picture. Photographing the deity may not be allowed so please take permission before doing that.

 

There is specific time of visiting temples so please find it out with your guide or driver before visiting any temple. In South India most of the temples remain open from 0630 hours till 1230 noon and from 1630 hours till 2030 hours. In most of the South Indian temple’s foreigners are not allowed in the sanctum. 

 

In temple premises shoes, sandals or any other footwear is not allowed. For your convenience you may wear sleepers or sandals and may leave them outside while visiting the temple.

 

If you don’t have a guide you may check if any of the local priests could act as guide. Normally there are no guide charges but it is better to find out the same before using a local priest. Depending upon your satisfaction a tip of 50 to 150 Indian Rupees should remain appropriate. Kindly note tipping is not obligatory at all.