Know Before You Go:
India Travel Tips
“But, what’s it really like?” As invigorating, exciting and intoxicating as it is to explore an unknown land, it can be inconvenient and even a little intimidating to go in completely blind. That’s where we come in. In this ongoing series, we pose some essential questions and arm you with the answers of our regional experts to help you get in deep and up close on your holiday in India—without frying your cell phone or bringing the wrong currency!
India Travel Tips
I don’t need to read Eat, Pray, Love to know that India makes an amazing destination. I can’t wait to go! Do I need a visa?
You will need an India visa, so make sure you start the application process in advance: you’ll need to secure a visa four to six weeks prior to departure. We strongly suggest checking with a travel site like our partner CIBT, who will process your visa application on your behalf for a fixed fee beyond the cost of the visa itself. (US passport holders can click here; Canadian passport holders click here.) Paying this fee is almost always worth the hassle and time saved over arranging a visa yourself, and your visa application may be processed quicker and more efficiently.
I don’t love spicy food. What kind of options will I have for meals?
No worries there. Indian cuisine doesn’t have to be spicy and can sometimes be mild. Hotels offer western food alternatives, but food is an integral part of Indian culture! In order to get the most of the experience we recommend you stay open to trying different dishes. Cleanliness is always paramount, as is quality of ingredients, so look out for both.
What is the currency in India? Will American cash work? What about credit cards?
The Indian currency is the Rupee, but you can’t bring them into the country. We recommend using an ATM or currency exchange at the airport upon arrival. Credit cards are widely accepted but American dollars aren’t.
India with B&R
B&R’s India Biking trip looks great, but I have to admit I’m a little nervous. Is it safe?
It is. We choose the safest routes and areas to bike and constantly monitor the areas we travel. Our trip visits the Rajasthan Province, which relies heavily on tourism and welcomes travellers. We do recommend wearing a money belt and sticking with your guide in some of the bigger cities and at large tourist sites, but we feel confident in the safety of the trip.
So it’s safe, but the next obvious question is: will I get sick?
B&R stays and eats at the highest quality hotels and restaurants and will take all precautions to ensure that doesn’t happen. Of course, any time you’re travelling to a new country, with different foods and sanitary standards, it’s always a possibility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you’re up to date on all vaccines before travelling, so take a look at their website to ensure you’re up to date.
I see the trip starts in Jodhpur. How do I get there?
To get to Jodhpur, we recommend connecting through Mumbai or Delhi.
What should I wear on trip?
When biking, please dress conservatively. Women should cover their legs and shoulders, and we recommend they not wear lycra bike shorts or tank tops. Men can wear baggy shorts. The dress code in the evenings is casual or smart casual, jackets and ties are not required. You will be dining outside some nights, so bring along something warm.
For me India could well be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Any suggestions for post-trip sights?
The Taj Mahal is a must-see for many and only a short flight from where our trip ends in Udaipur. But we’d also recommend the Himalayan hill stations to the north, Darjeeling and Simla, or heading south to the famous beaches and jungles of Goa.