Think about what interests you, what you like doing, and tailor your trip accordingly. Seeing one place slowly is so much more rewarding than seeing many places in a flash. You'll be less stressed, gain a deeper understanding of where you are and have more time to build relationships with the people you meet.
India Travel Tips
Ensure that your passport is valid for at least months after your arrival date in India; also check that you have enough spare pages for visa stamps.
India’s time zone is GMT/UTC +5.30, so chances of jet lag cannot be ignored. It is advised that you get onto India’s time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep on Indian time. Also, if you reach India early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset.
- There are many five star, deluxe and heritage hotels all over India waiting to serve tourists to standards in line with international standards of hospitality
- Home stay is becoming popular in many ‘touristy’ destinations and can sometimes give a much closer view of India.
- There are a number of budget hotels and guesthouses for budget travellers.
- Tourists can also stay at the YWCA and YMCA hostels located in different parts of India.
- India is well connected by air, trains and road transport. Advance booking is possible for all of them, hence try to make a tentative plan for your stay / travel in India.
- Have photocopies of all the important documents like passport visas travel insurance and driving license etc just in case it is lost is a wise way to ensure you at least have a copy.
- Keep important emergency numbers with you.
- Don’t forget cash. Credit cards /Debit cards / travellers cheque are the safe mode of payment, however in many situations cash would be required. Try to keep some local currency in hand.
- Hiring taxis from prepaid booths or availing of services of registered cabs is always safer. If you do travel by local transport, insist on going by the meter or fix the fare in advance to avoid being fleeced.
- If you are unsure about booking local transport yourself, ask your tour operator to do it for you.
- On the whole, India is a safe country. But all visitors should exercise the usual levels of vigilance.
- Always drink bottled water or packaged mineral water
- Avoid spicy food, especially if you’re not used to it.
- Beware of touts; be assertive and confident and don’t give them the impression that you are unfamiliar with India.
- Familiarizing yourself with a couple of commonly used words or phrases in the local language will help you while shopping or talking to the local people.
- India is geographically varied, therefore the climate also varies. Always be aware of the weather before you travel to a region. Always make sure you carry the appropriate clothing to keep yourself comfortable, so you can enjoy your trip.
- English is a commonly used and understood language throughout India. However, interpreters and guides for other languages are also easy to book.
- Indians are fairly friendly and helpful
- One can find all basic food / amenities confirming to international quality and standards.
- All banks in India function from Monday to Friday. There are many ATMs from which one can withdraw cash 24x7.
- All post offices in India are open from Monday to Friday
- All the government and administrative offices in India operate from 0930 to 1700 hours on weekdays.
Do’s & Don’ts
- DON'T carry your passport and important travel documents at all times
- DO carry attested photocopies of travel documents in person and keep the originals safely.
- DON'T buy air/rail or travel tickets from unauthorized persons.
Kerala Travel Tips
MoneyThere is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that visitors can bring.
Banks are open for transaction from 10:00 - 15:30 hrs on weekdays and from 10:00 - 12:00 hrs on Saturdays.
Main hotels, restaurants and shopping centres honour major credit cards.
(Hours fast (+), slow (-) on IST)
USA: -10.30, Germany: - 4.30, Canada: - 10.30, France: - 4.30, Australia: + 4.30, Spain: - 4.30, UAE: - 1.30, UK: - 5:30.
Best time to Visit
High season: September-May
Monsoon Rejuvenation programmes: June-August
Cotton outfits; hats, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion etc.
Heavy penalties including imprisonment for possession of narcotic drugs.
Go only to those Ayurveda centres that are classified/approved by the Department of Tourism.
All standard restaurants offer a variety of cuisines including Continental, Chinese, Indian and typical Kerala fare.
Tap water is purified and quite safe to drink. It is not advisable to drink water from slow moving streams, lakes or dams. Bottled water is also available.
Police control room: 100
Fire station: 101
Ambulance: 102, 108
While traveling on Highways (Highway Alert Number): 9846 100 100
While traveling in Trains (Railway Alert Number): 9846 200 100
Some temples do not permit entry to non-Hindus. Strict dress codes are followed in most of the temples. Footwear is banned inside the temple premises.
Nudity is not allowed in any Kerala beach.
Smoking is banned in public places.
Footwear in House
Visitors to most Kerala houses leave their footwear outside before entering the house.
Demonstrativeness in Public
Behaviour, demonstrating affection in public like hugging or kissing is not an accepted practice in Kerala.
To visit a wildlife sanctuary, prior permission has to be taken from the authority concerned of the sanctuar
Travel Tips You Really Should Know
THERE'S an art to travelling well. Some little secrets you learn on the way, but we decided to save you time. We asked our travellers for their best travel tips. Here’s our ultimate travel advice list. Have we missed any? Let us know.
- Get folders for travel documents and itineraries. Keep them organised so you don’t have to mess about digging through pockets in your bag at the airport check-in.
- Get travel insurance. It's obvious, but probably one of the most important items on this list.
- Know where the embassy is. Seriously. Find it on your map. Don’t think just because you are in a "safe" country you won’t need it. All it takes is a quick Google search, write down the address and put it in a safe place.
- Keep an emergency stash of money. If you lose your wallet you will still need to eat. An empty Chapstick is a fantastic secret hiding spot.
- Always carry a hard copy map of the city you're going to. Save your phone charge for when you really need it.
- Make sure your bank cards work. There is nothing more annoying on holidays than spending hours on the phone to the bank back home.
- Scan your passport and travel documents. Give copies to family/friends. If you lose your passport or travel documents, this backup will save you a lot of heartache. It will also help your family to find you in the event of a disaster.
- Learn a few phrases of the local language. Speak to the locals. Experience their culture. Don’t just wander through it.
- Learn the basic geography of the country you are visiting. There’s nothing worse than a traveller who has no idea where they are travelling.
- Be aware of the local laws. Don’t expect our law system to follow you around the world.
- Learn how to say "no thank you". Most travel advice columns will tell you to learn how to say "hello", “yes please", "thank you" and "do you speak English?". But in some countries you really want to be able to say "no thank you, please leave me alone". Think about the crowded market places in Asia. Knowing how to say "no thank you" in their language is going to give you a lot more peace.
- Roll your clothes when packing. No creases and more clothes fit into your suitcase.
- Ask the locals for advice, tips. The best beach probably isn't the most popular one. The locals can help you find those secret spots you will rave about.
- Eat where the locals eat. The best restaurant probably isn't the most popular one. Ask the locals where they eat. Go there instead.
- Know the scams of each destination. Thai driver want to show you his best restaurant?' It’s probably his mate's. Get on the internet and work out the scams so you don’t become a sucker.
- Learn the art of haggling. Haggling saves you money. Be bold. That extra $4 will buy you a coffee.
- Wash your clothes in the sink / shower. Use the hotel soap. Or take a little traveller sized bottle of laundry detergent with you. It's much easier than finding a Laundromat in a foreign country. And there are only so many times that you can wear the same pair of undies.
- Learn how to use a needle and thread. You've only got space for a few items of clothing. Sewing a broken button back on will save you a lot of hassle.
- Carry baby wipes / facewipes. This can be used to feel clean when there are no showers. Yes, sometimes there are NO showers.
- Grocery stores are a traveller’s best resource. Cheap food, local flavours. Find the nearest one to your hotel and you will save yourself a heap of cash. Have a picnic lunch every day.
- Learn how to drive a manual car. Stuck at an airport after your flight has been cancelled? You could drive. You will be smacking your head on the desk if they only have manual cars.
- Always keep a stash of spare plastic bags for dirty clothes / shoes. Smelly socks will make your clean clothes stink Always.
- Learn how to swim. You never know when you might need to on the spur of the moment.
- Learn how to pack light. You do not need to take 20kg for a week of travel. You CAN wear trousers two days in a row or more. The less you have to carry, the happier you will be travelling.
- Know how much it should cost in a taxi. Carry a card with the hotel address and a map. Ask for taxi drivers to use the meter. Make sure they are legitimate taxi drivers.
- Carry tissues that can double up as toilet paper. Plus carry a hand sanitiser.
- Pack sandals or thongs for use in showers. Showers can be gross. You don’t want your feet to touch the floor.
- Learn how to change a tyre. Murphy's law says if you don't know and you head off on a road trip, you're bound to get a flat.
- Be prepared to sleep anywhere. Ear plugs and eye patches will help block out the light.
- Learn how to take a decent photo. Don’t come home with a bunch of Instagram selfies. Memories fade and you'll want something to remember the scenery by.
- Learn basic first aid. This is just a great life skill, if nothing else.
- Use public transport. It's fast. It's easy, it's cheaper and it will give you a better travel experience. Get a map, learn the different ticket types.
- Get your vaccinations if you need them. Yellow fever is not fun. You will kick yourself if you could have prevented it and you didn't.
- Learn how to use a compass. Sounds extreme but it could help in a crisis.
- Allow relaxation time to get over jet lag. You don't want to be on the go for six weeks straight. It should be a holiday. You should relax at some point.
- Keep a change of clothes and basic toiletries in your carry-on. If your luggage gets lost you will be very glad.
- Take thick socks for the plane. Cold feet will stop you sleeping.
- Take Imodium and panadol/nurofen. The cuisine of other countries can be harsh on the tummy.
- Find out if the country you are going to sells tampons. Some countries don’t. Or they are really hard to find. Even places you wouldn’t think of - like Athens.
- Check if the drinking water is safe. That includes brushing your teeth, ice in cocktails and drinking water in the shower.
- Be aware of altitude sickness. Give yourself time to adjust between altitudes, drink a lot more when you are high up.
- Know the local road rules. Rules are different in each country.
- Be respectful. Pay attention to how local women dress to work out how you should.
That's our list. Have we missed any? Share your ultimate travel tips below.
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