Pre Departure Info (India)

ARRIVAL IN INDIA

Your flight will land at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Immigration and custom will take approximately an hour. No porters are available inside the airport’s arrival terminal but free trolleys are placed near the conveyer belts. Please collect your checked-in bags from the conveyer belts and walk towards the exit gate along with your bags where you will find our executive holding a welcome placard with your name on it at the visitor’s lounge. You will then be transferred to your hotel.

TRANSPORTATION

All our vehicles fulfil the vehicular legalities. We ensure that the relevant documents are in place before your journey starts. Our drivers are experienced and have been serving our clients for quite a few years. They are well aware of the roads and speak the local lingo. They understand and speak English reasonably well. An air-conditioned vehicle provided by Travel Inn will be at your service in accordance with your itinerary.

CHANGING MONEY

Delhi International Airport has a money exchange counter where you can easily change money. There are money-changing facilities at some of the hotels you are staying at. Most of the wildlife resorts across India may not have this facility. It is recommended that you have enough Indian money on you, which you may require for your purchases, tipping, food and other expenses.

TIME DIFFERENCE

IST (Indian Standard Time) is 5½ hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is consistent throughout the country.

JET LAG

Jet lag depends on the number of time zones crossed rather than the length of the flight. It is especially bad when flying east.

Prevention / Cures for Jet Lag:

- Eat a light meal containing plenty of carbohydrates and greens before travelling.

- Try to arrive well rested and healthy at your departure airport.

- Try to get a flight with no/few stops as the changing cabin pressure exacerbates jet lag.

- Set your watch to destination time as soon as you board the plane.

- A homeopathic remedy for jet lag is Arnica.

TRAIN TRAVEL IN INDIA

Trains are one of the most fascinating ways of seeing the “real” India. The railway platforms are like mini bazaars, swarming with people, the appearances and attires changing as you cross from one state to another. Fellow travellers invariably strike a conversation, often in remarkably good English, and you may find yourself discussing the meaning of life or denouncing politicians, yours and theirs.

India has the world’s biggest network under one management – Indian Railways - with almost 63,000 kilometres of track and 6867 stations. Indian Railways also has 1.6 million staff, which makes it the world’s biggest employer.

While train travel is a worthwhile experience, the upkeep of the trains is generally lacking. The washrooms are quite basic and there are no toilet rolls available. It is therefore recommended to keep an adequate supply of toilet paper with you while travelling on train.

Since the air-conditioned coaches in the trains have centrally managed cooling plant, the temperature cannot be adjusted as per the passenger’s requirement. We suggest that you keep some light woollens to keep you warm, if required.

We also suggest that you have at least 2 drinking water bottles with you, which can be easily bought on the railway platforms.

[Note: No alcoholic drinks are allowed on the trains across India.]

Our representative will always escort you for boarding. Similarly on your arrival you are requested to kindly de-board the train and wait in front your coach till our representative is able to locate you (this may take up to 10-15 minutes at times).

Useful tips while travelling on trains in India

  • Beware of pickpocket while boarding or de-boarding the train.
  • Do not accept any eatables from unknown persons/unknown fellow passengers. Refuse politely.
  • Never leave your luggage/valuables unattended especially when the train is not moving. Take extra care of your cameras and other small but valuable equipment.
  • After de-boarding from the train, wait for our representative at the platform itself. Railway stations normally have more than one exit. If you have arranged a pick up service with us and in the unlikely event of our representative not already being there, it is advisable to wait at the platform for him, making it easier for him to locate you.

FOOD & DRINK

Water: Avoid drinking tap water while in India – consumption of bottled water is advisable. Do not forget to check that the cap is securely sealed while buying the bottle and remember to dispose it off properly. Avoid taking ice with your drinks unless in a place where the water is boiled and filtered. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and booze are fine from a bacterial point of view, though not so really from a dehydration standpoint! Sharing water bottles with fellow travellers may not be absolutely safe.

Food: Avoid raw fish, food kept warm for long, salads, uncooked food and ice cream from dodgy sources. Food that you can peel or shell yourself is most recommended. However, in many resorts across India vegetables are farm fresh. Do not miss out on those opportunities!

Tipples: India has a wide range of drinks to choose from including ‘Indian Scotch Whisky’. The tipples policy with the resorts that you visit allows you to bring your own and this is suggested for Gin-Tonic drinkers. Though beer and spirits are available in most of the resorts unfortunately Tonic may be unavailable in most resorts that you would be staying in. There are some good Indian wines available and though they are not as dry as the French or Australian ones they are fruitier and usually have a lighter body.

HEALTH & HYGIENE

A safe and sound health increases the pleasure of your stay in India. The common problems that may bother travellers are minor infections, which are caused due to the lack of a natural immunity against these infections. Please destroy plastic bottles before disposing. It is the most common cause for the spread of diseases like Hepatitis B/C and the likes. In remote areas where it is difficult to get water to wash your hands a bottle of antibacterial liquid wash is very helpful.

All our cars have a first-aid kit, with basic supplies. We, however, strongly advise you to ensure that you carry the regular medicines and drugs you require while you are in India. The following are advisable:

  • Soluble Aspirin and Paracetamol
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Antihistamine cream or powder
  • Anti-nausea or anti sickness tablets
  • Insect Repellents
  • Bandage and band-aid with crepe bandage

If you are suffering from Deli-Belly a.k.a. diarrhoea...If there is time, do the natural cure. Drink a lot of clean water. For maximum absorption of water generally, add ½ a teaspoon of salt and 3 teaspoons of sugar to a litre [2 quarts] of water, and in the case of Deli-belly double the salt and sugar levels. [Do not take salt tablets; they can cause stomach irritation and vomiting]. Do not eat for half a day at least, and then restart solids slowly, with plain, easily digested foods such as boiled, watery rice or plain bread. This will encourage your body to develop a stronger health defence system. If you are in a hurry Lomotil or similar works well – but does not kill the bug; it just stops your insides turning to water every thirty minutes.

Common Cold and other allergies should not be taken too lightly as they tend to become chronic and result in complications later. If you suffer from particular types of allergies, please advise us prior to your departure.

VACCINATIONS / MEDICAL HELP

No vaccination is mandatory to travel to India but we would recommend taking your doctor’s advice on the same.

There are excellent medical facilities in all modern cities of India and to a certain extent in the towns as well. However the villages and the remoter areas do not have the best of the facilities and if you have a past medical history we request you to pre-inform us. We try and arrange the best possible help within the limitations of the place we are in.

EQUIPMENT

The voltage supply at most of the hotels across India is usually 220 volts. Most of the plug-in pins in India are different from western made plug-in pins. It makes sense to carry an international adapter.

FILM & PHOTOGRAPHY

It can be difficult to get spare films in smaller towns / cities, so please ensure you buy them on arrival at the port of entry. If you are taking slides, it is advisable to bring the film with you, as coloured slide film is available only in big cities. Photography itself presents some special problems in India. In the dry season the hazy atmosphere makes it difficult to get sharp shots or to get much contrast between what you are photographing and the background. Everything looks washed out and flat even with a polarizing filter. In the mountains you must allow for the extreme clarity of air and light intensity, and take care not to overexpose your shots. In general, photography is best done in the early morning and late afternoon. Be careful what you photograph, as photography might be restricted especially at places of military importance. Photography may also not be permitted at some railway stations, bridges, airports and all military installations. If in doubt, ask. In general, though most people are happy to be photographed but it is advisable to seek permission.

SHOPPING

India is a shopper’s paradise, particularly for silks, brassware, carpets, jewellery and a wide range of locally produced handicraft. When making an expensive purchase always check the level of duty payable on your import. Please remember VAT (value added tax) is payable even if an item is exempted from other import duties. Most hand woven carpets used to be exempted from import duty; this is no longer the case. Indian bazaars are an exciting place to shop where you can exercise your bargaining skills.

POST

Postage stamps are available at all the major towns / cities of India and to a certain extent in the interiors as well. The cost depends on the weight of the envelope and the Post Office staff will indicate the value of stamps to be affixed.Stamps can also be arranged at the resorts / hotel you stay at. You may ask the front desk at the hotels(s) to help you with the postage.

TELEPHONES

All the places you are visiting have telephone facilities and most of the Indian cities / towns have phone booths with STD/ISD facility written on the boards. There is a nominal service charge attached along with the actual calling charges. Local calls within the city limits cost Indian Rupees 2-3 per minute. The hotels levy service charges on phone calls, which vary from city to city and hotel to hotel(most of the hotels levy exorbitant service charges on your phone bills, in which case we recommend using an STD/ISD phone booth outside the hotel or the resort if you do not wish to spend gratuitously). You may not get cellular phone connections in all the cities but they usually work in all major towns and cities of India. Also the landline network from remote areas may be quite erratic.

WEATHER IN SUMMER

Delhi

Maximum temperature (In centigrade): 38

Minimum temperature (In centigrade): 20

Ranthambore

Maximum temperature (In centigrade): 38

Minimum temperature (In centigrade): 19

Jaipur

Maximum temperature (In centigrade): 38

Minimum temperature (In centigrade): 20

FLIGHT CHECK-IN TIMES

Please check in early at all airports (at least three hours for international flight). Please be aware that during peak season, delays are often encountered on scheduled flights. Remember that you are on holiday…. relax and enjoy the ambience, which sometimes has no sense of urgency at all.

RECONFIRMING FLIGHTS

Our office staff will be doing this for you. All you need to do is to provide us your the international flight details.

GENERAL TIPS

  • Carry your passport and money with you. Do not put your passport in your checked-in baggage when travelling by air. If you decide to leave any valuable(s) in your room, please ensure to keep them in the safety box.
  • Place a photocopy of your passport in each and every checked-in bag that you give at the airport. Helps in case you lose your luggage!
  • Label all your bags and carry an extra set of labels with you.
  • It is not a good idea to travel with too much cash. Travellers' cheques are best. Whatever Travellers' cheques you may opt for make sure you take down the emergency call numbers
  • If travelling in the monsoon, carry an umbrella.
  • Make a list of all your personal medicines that you are carrying along. Carry the list with you wherever you go.

RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST

WINTER & EARLY SPRING (NOVEMBER – APRIL)

  • It can be quite cold in northern India from November to January, with temperatures dropping into the upper 30s Fahrenheit at night and early mornings. During the day it can reach the 80s Fahrenheit, but if you are not in the sun, it can still feel cool. Temperatures start to warm up in February and March, but the early mornings will still be chilly.
  • Plan to dress in 2–3 layers, including a warm hat, gloves, scarf, long pants, potentially long underwear, and a warm down jacket, especially while on wildlife drives. From November to January you may wear all these items throughout the day, while in February and March you will be more likely to wear them in the mornings and shed layers as it warms up throughout the day.
  • Wildlife drives can be extremely dusty at this time of year. We recommend bringing a dust-proof bag to protect your photo equipment during outings and eye drops if you are sensitive to dust.
  • We encourage you to take into account local attitudes toward modesty and propriety. Your style of dress will, in part, determine your acceptance by, and interaction with, local people. Always check with your guide concerning proper dress code for the day’s activities.
  • While you may see other tourists wearing these items, in general, shorts and tank tops (clothing that reveals your knees and shoulders) are considered disrespectful and are not culturally appropriate while in Delhi. This is especially true for women.
  • Wearing modest clothing is especially important in temples and monasteries. Shorts or other revealing items should never be worn.
  • It is acceptable, however, to wear shorts during wildlife drives while in the national parks.

In mosques you will be requested to cover your head.

SPRING & SUMMER (APRIL – JUNE)

  • Temperatures in Ranthambore National Park can reach well over 100ºF between the months of April and June. Please be prepared with appropriate lightweight, breathable clothing.
  • Wildlife drives can be extremely dusty at this time of year. We recommend bringing a dust-proof bag to protect your photo equipment during outings and eye drops if you are sensitive to dust.
  • We encourage you to take into account local attitudes toward modesty and propriety. Your style of dress will, in part, determine your acceptance by, and interaction with, local people. Always check with your guide concerning proper dress code for the day’s activities.
  • While you may see other tourists wearing these items, in general, shorts and tank tops (clothing that reveals your knees and shoulders) are considered disrespectful and are not culturally appropriate while in Delhi. This is especially true for women.
  • In Ranthambore National Park, it is acceptable to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts while on wildlife drives; however, long sleeves are recommended, as they offer greater protection from the sun.
  • In mosques you may be requested to cover your head and remove your shoes.
  • Wearing modest clothing is especially important in temples and monasteries. Shorts or other revealing items clothing should never be worn.

Clothing

  • Rain gear
  • Lightweight down jacket
  • Warm, windproof fleece - One that can be layered under your jacket is ideal.
  • Sturdy walking shoes / sport sandals - Bring comfortable shoes that are appropriate for walks and wildlife drives. They should be broken in to prevent blisters. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for cooler months.
  • Hat, scarf and gloves - Good to have for cold morning and evening wildlife drives.
  • Short Sleeved Shirts - Bring modest shirts that cover your shoulders. Although it is not required, it is respectful to wear a shirt with a collar when visiting temples and monasteries.
  • Long-sleeved, Lightweight shirts
  • long pants
  • Light sweater
  • Long skirt for women (optional)
  • Long underwear (top and bottom) - Good to have for early morning wildlife drives if you get cold easily. This is especially handy for trips from November to January.
  • Extra pair of comfortable shoes - To wear in the evenings after outdoor excursions.
  • Socks - Bring socks made of wool or other moisture-wicking material; cotton socks are not recommended for longer walks. As you will need to remove your shoes while visiting temples and monasteries, and floors in these public places tend to be cold and very dirty, you may also wish to bring an old pair of socks you can wear during these outings and throw away after the adventure.
  • Undergarments
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit (Optional)
  • Slippers - (Optional) - floors in the hotels and lodges can be cold.

Additional Items

  • Cash

— For discretionary gratuities (you may want to bring envelopes for discreet presentation)

— For personal spending (souvenirs, Internet use and food and beverages not included in your trip fee)

— For hotel transfers for early arrival, late departures or staying at a different accommodation (if applicable)

— Video camera fees (if applicable)

  • Binoculars

— Binoculars are a huge asset for wildlife viewing and are highly recommended. For optimal viewing, we suggest those with specs between 10x42 and 8x42. You may even try 8x35 but only if they contain high-quality glass. Practice using your binoculars before your adventure to make sure they are not too powerful or you do not have trouble holding them steady.

  • Water/dust-resistant daypack

— To carry camera equipment or other gear during outings.

— A dust-proof drawstring bag will also be helpful to protect your equipment when traveling in open 4x4s on wildlife drives.

Headlamp or small flashlight

— Power outages are not uncommon. Carry spare batteries.

  • Sun hat (with wide brim for protection) - A good option is one that also has a “skirt” to cover your neck.
  • Water bottle
  • Small, compact umbrella
  • Sunglasses (with UV protection)
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  • Battery-operated alarm clock or wristwatch
  • Earplugs
  • Toiletries - Shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion are provided at all accommodations. Quick-drying washcloth - You may wish to bring a washcloth if you prefer to use them, as they may not be provided by all accommodations.
  • Mini tissue packs
  • Toilet paper - As toilet paper is not always available in public restrooms, you may want to keep a roll in your daypack. Take out the center roll for easier packing.
  • Insect repellent and anti-itch ointment - Repellents containing DEET are the most effective against mosquitoes, but please be aware that DEET is a very strong ingredient that can damage plastics, clothing and equipment.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm (at least SPF30)
  • Small medical kit
  • Electrolyte/flavor crystal packets (optional) - Can be added to water to replace fluids in case of intestinal illness and/or enhance the taste to encourage hydration.
  • Melatonin - To help ease effects of jet lag.
  • Anti-bacterial gel or towelettes
  • Dry bags or reusable waterproof bags - Great for wet or dirty clothing and to protect camera equipment from the elements.
  • Sewing kit
  • Hairdryers are provided at all accommodations.

Also note…

  • The roads between the sectors that you are travelling on are mostly good and some drives do have toilet stops, which can be used. Please inform your driver if you a need a facilities’ stop or would like to stretch your legs. Most of your drivers understand English perfectly well but may not be able to converse well enough.
  • Beggars should be ignored completely. Beware that giving money to one will attract more and you are sure to be surrounded and followed. We advise you not to encourage begging in India.
  • Please note that some of the hotels in India do not provide the facility of sink plugs, eye pads and ear plugs in the rooms.

Please contact us should you require any further assistance during your trip to India.

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