1. Do Not Fall Into the Typical “Festival” Scam of Taxi drivers at Aéroports
- Some malicious Taxi drivers make tourists believe that the access to some parts of the city is prohibited because of a Hindu Festival running on. They make them believe that there is no way to get to their hotel and that they need to find another solution. They then take them to a travel agency to sell their pre-organized trip, or a transfer to another city for double or triple of the normal price. They take advantage of tiredness of the tourists, their lack of information and above all their stress and fear of the unknown to get what they want.
- Take an Uber at the airport if you can get some Internet connection
- Refuse to go to any travel agency with the taxi driver.
- Do not give the Taxi driver the prepaid ticket before he drops you at your hotel. ( That way he can’t get payed unless he does)
- Do not panic and keep in mind that there is always an other alternative to the problem.
- Get out from their scams and find your way alone.
For more details , please read my article about my hectic arrival at New Delhi, and how I managed to avoid falling into te taxi scam.
2. Make sure you have sufficient cash ( in the currency you prefer) to cover your trip.
- Except in hotels (that may charge a percentage fee in addition to every credit card payment) and some restaurants it is difficult to pay by credit card in India. People are more accustomed to using cash and ATMs take large commissions for foreign credit cards .
- Before traveling make sure to take sufficient cash to cover the small daily expenses and even the payment of some of the accommodations .
- Carefully check out the rates before changing your money.
- Avoid changing at the airport, in hotels and tourist areas.
- Exchange your money at exchange agencies.
3. Remember to make the necessary vaccinations prior to traveling.
- India is a country that still has a lot of hygiene problems. This explains the presence of fast- spreadable disease outbreaks . Most of them will not kill you, but will surely ruin your vacation.
- Get informed about the vaccines and treatments recommended for a trip to India .
- Consult your doctor preferably eight weeks before departure. Some vaccinations ( such as rabies ) require several injections over several weeks.
- Do not necessarily do all the suggested vaccines , some of them might be useless for short term travel, or for the region you plan to visit .
4.Book in advance your train tickets.
- India is an overpopulated country, so it is crucial to plan ahead for your travels by train. It is almost impossible to successfully buy a train ticket to the destination you wish few hours before departure.
- Go to the nearest train station and buy the train tickets to the desired destination a few days before departure.
- Most web sites selling train tickets only accept Indian cards, better buy your tickets directly at the counter.
- Try to look for the tourist counter, the waiting time is shorter and the service usually more efficient.
- If there is no tourist counter and you are traveling in group, line up into the priority counters for women, eldery, and disabled people (way too macho for my taste but helped me a lot to avoid never ending lines)
5. Buy a local SIM card
- From my personal experience, in very touristy areas, there are so many Scams and people with bad intentions. It is always safer to have access to a reliable information source such as internet.
- It is much easier and much cheaper to move from a place to another in major cities in India by “Uber” or “OLA” (local application of private drivers). Rides are often much cheaper than a normal taxi or even a Rickshaw ride. You are sure to reach port without any scam. Both applications require an internet connection to order the car that will pick you up wherever you wish.
Sim Card, truly made my life easier during my stay in India
- Do not buy Sim card at the airport, it will cost three times what it costs in the city.
- Make sure to have a picture of you and your passport before going to an agency to buy one. No this is not a joke, phone operators require pictures and a valid passport for foreigners.
- I am not informed on all telecom companies in India. The one I used is “Air Tel” and I was satisfied with their network.
- Make sure to activate your sim card in the same city where you bought it, other wise you won’t be able to use it.
6. Make sure to bring clothes adapted to the weather
- India is a big country, and its climate is very diverse. Winter is from January to February, Summer from March to May, The monsoon, or Rainy Season from June to September, and finally the Post-monsoon Period or Fall is from October to December.
- Large cotton clothing are advisable if traveling during Summer and Monsoons.
- Bring warm clothes for winter if you plan on going to desert region or mountain region (in January or February)
- Umbrella or rain jackets are a must if you travel during the Monsoon period.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking. The streets are generally very dirty, it is better to walk on closed shoes.
- Always have socks in your bag in case you visit Hindu temples.( it is forbidden to enter with shoes in these holy places)
- make sure to wear discreet and decent clothing if you are a women. India is a country where sexual harassment against women is very common, so it is best to be discreet ladies.
7.(For ladies ) Make sure to have enough quantity of your intimate hygiene products
- This could make many of you smile, thinking I’m exaggerating a little, but the fact is, prices for women’s intimate products (tampons and sanitary napkins) are literally exorbitant, and it is sometimes difficult to find them even in large cities.
Stock on your favorite products before your trip.
8. Bring a first Aid Kit
The first aid kit is an essential companion for your trip and especially in India. It is sometimes difficult to find the drugs we are used to and very easy to get sick, get diarrhea or food poisoning.
- Make sure it has the essential items for first aid and general cleaning (scissors, safety pins etc …)
- If you are under medical treatment, make sure to have enough medicine to cover the duration of your stay.
- Bring basic medicine (eg: Tylenol, Smecta, etc …)
Hope this article helps you in your pre-travel organisation. If you like it share it with your friends and loved ones on your favorite Social Media.