Additional Information About Travel to India
TippingAt the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter India, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter India. You can obtain an individual visa through our recommended provider VisaCentral (www.visacentral.com/goaheadtours) or apply directly to the Indian consulate. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Indian consulate for your specific entry requirements.
The flights for tours beginning or ending in India will arrive or depart from Delhi. On-tour transportation is provided primarily by private motor coach, but may include planes, trains, boats, ferries, or other modes. During free time, you may wish to explore the cities by public transportation, and your tour coordinator and tour guide will have suggestions.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. Temperatures throughout India can be exceedingly high, so it’s a good idea to dress in light, breathable materials. A sturdy pair of walking shoes is recommended for exploring the cities. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and rainwear are advised. Remember that it’s preferable not to visit religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).
India operates on the European standard 220 volts or 240 volts.
Please note that some excursions may include a stop at a market or specialty store. World Edventures and Service Tours, and our travel partner, Go Ahead Tours, has no relationship with these vendors and encourages you to research any items you’re interested in purchasing abroad before you leave to ensure you’re receiving the best deal .
There is some risk of the following diseases in India: malaria, rabies and dengue fever, among others. Travelers should make sure to wear protective clothing and insect repellent when outside, particularly in forested/rural areas. Sun protection is also highly advisable. No vaccinations are required for entry, but we strongly recommend that you check with your doctor at least eight weeks prior to departure for recommended vaccinations and the latest updates on requirements. In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend that you drink bottled water and refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth, avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled, and bring a small first-aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications. For the most updated information on travel in this area, call the Centers for Disease Control and Protection at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or visit its website at www.cdc.gov/travel and view the sections on South Asia.
In the northern regions of India, you’ll encounter a great deal of tasty meat-based dishes, including rogan josh and korma, as well as kebabs and biryanis. Tandoor cooking, probably the most popular cuisine in this region, involves vegetables, paneer (Indian cheese), or meat that has been marinated in spiced yogurt, cooked over coals. These are then served in a spicy gravy or sauce or as a kebab. However, if you’re not a meat eater, rest assured that many Indians are vegetarians for religious reasons, so delectable and flavorful vegetarian dishes abound as well. Throughout India, you’ll find that your meals are almost always served with either rice or bread—from unleavened rotis and tandoor-baked breads to the deep-fried puris and bhaturas and pancake-style breads.
The Indian rupee is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, which can be used to access cash at local banks, as needed. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges and freeze your account.
India is 13.5 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). When it’s 6 a.m. in California, it’s 7:30 p.m. in Delhi. Because there is no daylight-saving time, India is only 12.5 hours ahead of PDT during the summer.