Travel in India

Travel Essentials for India

Travel in India can be challenging and exciting! Get to know a little more about the planet's second-most populous country before you go.
  • 01 of 08

    General Information

    India Travel
    ••• Blue skies can change quick during the India monsoon season!. Photo by Mckaysavage / Creative Commons
    • Official Name: Republic of India
    • Location: South Asia
    • Time: UTC + 05:30 (9.5 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time; Daylight Savings Time is not observed)
    • Country Phone Code: +91
    • Population: 1.21 billion (per 2011 census)
    • Capital City: New Delhi (population: 22 million per 2011 census)
    • Primary Religions: Hinduism and Islam
    • Drives on the: left
  • 02 of 08

    India Visa Requirements

    India Republic Day
    ••• Photo by Sudhamshu

    Most nationalities are required to grind through the lengthy and complicated process of applying for an Indian E-Tourist Visa. If traveling for less than 30 days, you may be eligible for the new visa on arrival for India.

    For now, only citizens from Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, and Indonesia are granted a visa upon arrival.

  • 03 of 08

    Money in India

    India Travel Tips - Paharganj
    ••• You'll need these India travel tips for places such as New Delhi. Photo by Greg Rodgers
    • Official Currency: Indian rupee (INR)
    • ATMs: Easily found in tourist areas
    • Credit Cards: Only accepted at large hotels and for online bookings
    • Tipping: Service charges are added in some hotels and restaurants. Read more about when to tip in India.

    Receipts in India can be a bewildering breakdown of various service charges and taxes levied -- at different rates -- for food, drinks, and services. Prices in shops should be inclusive of tax, however, hotels, bars, and restaurants will most likely tack on additional charges. Always ask for an itemized receipt in case you are entitled to a VAT (government tax) refund in the airport upon departure.

    ATMs in India are fairly reliable, although machines located in small towns may often run out of cash or have queues an hour long at times.

    Tip: Large banknotes (the 1,000-rupee note) can be difficult to break; many people simply don't have enough cash to provide change. Enter amounts into ATMs strategically to receive smaller denominations, horde...MORE your small change when possible, and use large banknotes for covering accommodation.

  • 04 of 08

    Electricity in India

    Holi Festival India
    ••• The Holi Festival of Colors in India. Poras Chaudary / Getty Images
    • Power: 230 volts / 50 Hz
    • Outlets: EuroPlug (round with two prongs); BS 546 (round with three prongs)

    Despite a history of British rule, outlets in India don't follow the same configuration used in the United Kingdom (square with three prongs). Outlets vary from place to place, with newer tourist establishments offering universal outlets that accept all the popular types of plugs.

    Unless your electronic device was purchased in Europe, you'll probably need a plug adapter to connect to power. Most electronics with a charging transformer (e.g., laptops and mobile phone chargers) will already work at 230 volts, otherwise you'll need a power converter to step down the voltage.

    Power in India can be 'unclean,' meaning that sags and surges may travel the lines and damage sensitive devices. Be mindful of the frequent power outages and try not to charge your electronic devices unattended.

    • See more about the voltage in Asia.
    • Learn how to protect electronic devices from damage while...MORE in India.
    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Getting Around India

    India Travel Essentials
    ••• Knowing a few India travel essentials will save you a headache upon arrival. Photo by Greg Rodgers

    India isn't just big, it's huge! Changing regions means taking either a domestic flight, train (the most popular option), or a bone-rattling bus ride.

    Once in a new town or city, you'll have an unlimited number of options -- and offers -- from taxi drivers and auto-rickshaws, the Indian equivalent of a tuk-tuk. Driving in India can be a real challenge; hiring a private car with driver is a better option than renting a car.

    Tourists are most likely to get scammed while on transportation in India. Always refuse to go inside any shops even if your driver stops at one. Don't believe your driver when he pretends there was an earlier miscommunication and asks you to pay more.

    • Read more about transportation in India.
    • The drivers in India are famous for scamming tourists. Read how to use taxis in Asia.
  • 06 of 08

    Accommodation in India

    Budget Hotel Room India
    ••• An excellent room at a budget hotel in India. Photo by Greg Rodgers

    There's a surprising amount of paperwork involved with checking into hotels in India, as your visa information will be recorded and photocopied. You'll need your passport each time.

    Tip: Always ask for a receipt when asked to pay your guesthouse or hotel bill halfway through your stay. A popular scam involves the front desk losing track of your earlier payments.

  • 07 of 08

    When to Go to India

    Manali India
    ••• Manali India is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. Photo by Greg Rodgers

    Each year India experiences two monsoons with heavy rainfall and plenty of scorching hot temperatures in between. Snow in high-elevation places such as Manali can block mountain passes during the winter months. Although India is large and natural features can affect weather, the months between June and October are considered the wettest time to visit as the southwest monsoon cools down the country.

    October is generally regarded as the start of the busy season as rains let off and more tourists begin to arrive.

  • 08 of 08

    Communicating in India

    Diwali in India
    ••• Photo by Grant Faint / Getty Images
    • Official Languages: Hindi and English

    A staggering array of languages and dialects are spoken across the Indian subcontinent, however, English is ubiquitous throughout India and is used by the government. Once you master the rate of speech and accents, you'll be able to communicate easily as you travel throughout the country.

    Even with the prevalence of English, knowing a few words in Hindi will come in useful and can enhance your trip experience.

    Perhaps the most famous cause of miscommunication for foreigners traveling in India is the Indian head wobble. Depending on the context, the fun gesture can be used for everything from saying 'yes' to showing gratitude or as an acknowledgement.