• Travel as light as possible. Clothing
and laundry are both quite inexpensive.
• Its better for women to avoid tank tops
or short skirts / shorts. The best outfit, especially
during the hot summers, is a T-shirt worn with
loose cotton trousers. You can purchase them anywhere
in India, at very reasonable rates, at any of
the shops. Ladies can also try wearing the comfortable
• If you give the impression of being from
a different country, chances are that you might
be stared at, especially in the smaller towns.
Don't be offended - they mean no harm, it is just
• In India, public toilet facilities are
few and far between. Take every opportunity you
can to use a clean toilet in places such as hotels
and restaurants. Make this a habit wherever you
• Do not let them hassle you, and do not
encourage them by giving the money.
Food and Drink
• Drink only bottled water. Many popular
brands are available. In restaurants insist for
a sealed bottle
• Beef is not served in many parts of India.
Pork is also not easily available.
• Eat non-vegetarian food only in good restaurants.
The meat in cheaper and smaller places can be
of dubious quality.
• Good quality vegetarian food is easily
• Curd or Yoghurt is served with most meals.
It is a natural aid to digestion and helps temper
the spicy food.
• Try to shop in government handicraft shops
& few others private shops. The prices are
fixed and the quality is certified. If that is
not an option, check the prices at a few shops
before making a choice. Bargaining is standard
in most places and is entertained by all.
• Get used to the fact that you will probably
be charged more than the locals. If possible,
take a local along when you go shopping.
• In hotels and restaurants, tips are not
normally included in the bill.
• Some hotels include service charges on
their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary.
• The standard tip is 10%.
• In hotels, porters and room service attendants
are normally tipped at the end of the stay, though
an early tip is likely to get you better service.
• Tipping of taxi drivers is not customary.
• Dress codes for religious places can include
covering your head, being barefoot etc. Ask, so
that you don't unwittingly give offence.
• Some temples do not permit any leather
articles at all on their premises.
• Certain temples are not open to Non-Hindus.
Please check before visiting the temple.
• Most museums in India are closed on Mondays
and Site Museums, those near archaeological monuments,
• The dry summer heat can drain you completely.
Drink lots of water and fluids.
• The sun is strong. Remember to use sunscreen
on exposed parts of the body. Wear sunglasses
to screen out harmful rays.
• Photography is not always permissible,
and at many places it is permitted only at a fee.
There is usually a higher fee for using a video
• Smoking is not allowed at public places.
All properties of the Indian Railways including
trains and railway stations are strictly non smoking
zones with stiff penalties for violations.
• English is spoken at almost all tourist
centres, but you can also request Government-trained
and approved guides who also speak different languages,
German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian or
• Always drink bottled water.
• For the first few days it might be advisable
to clean your teeth in bottled water.
• Eat fruits you can peel.
• Always wash the fruit well before eating
• Wash your hands before and after eating.
• Always keep a tube of mosquito repellent
• Always carry a kit of the basic emergency
medicines you might need for diarrhoea, fever,
etc. Also, band aids and an antiseptic ointment.
• If you do catch a bug, do not panic. It
will go away in a few days - but try the following
tips to keep it down.
• Drink lassi - a yoghurt drink. It will
help tone down the bacteria.
• Eat plain rice, or try a simple khichdi
- an easily digestible mixture of rice and lentils.
• Drink plenty of coconut water. It's cooling,
and naturally sterilized.
• Drink plenty of fluids and take some electrolyte
salts if the bug persists.
• Everything in India takes time - longer
than in most places. So always give yourself extra
time for whatever you may have to do - even if
it is just a visit to the post office or changing
• Indians joke about the concept of "Indian
Stretchable Time" (IST). Certainly, if you're
a super-punctual sort, India can be frustrating.
Make allowances for this.
• Keep extra photocopies of the relevant
pages of your passport. This will be required
for Indian permits. Also, keep extra photographs
of yourselves. These will be required for permits,
filling out forms etc.
• Taxi and auto-rickshaw fares keep changing,
and therefore do not always conform to readings
on meters. Insist on seeing the latest rate card
(available with the driver) and pay accordingly.
• Insist on the taxi/auto meter being flagged
down in your presence. As much as possible, especially
from the airport or railway station insist on
using the pre paid services which are available
at most important places.
• In cities you can change major foreign
currencies and any brands of travellers' cheques
- but you'll widen your options and save yourself
hassles if you stick to US dollars or pounds sterling,
and either Thomas Cook or American Express travellers
• Most big cities have ATMs which accept
Visa and MasterCard as well as American Express.
The ATM network is ever expanding and in some
states, you can find them even in some smaller