Bell boys US$ 1 for 2 bags Local tour guides US$ 10 per day per person Bus driver US$ 5 per person per day Bus attendant US$ 2 per person per day
Government emporiums, cooperatives and modern shopping complexes have fixed prices. However, you might need to bargain at places like roadside craft shops and stalls at the Pushkar fair. You can start by slashing down the price by half and then coming to a compromise.
Antiques & Wildlife Restrictions
The export of objects more than 100 years old is prohibited no matter what anyone says. The Indian Wildlife Protection Act bans any form of wildlife trade. Do not buy any products that further endanger threatened species and habitants- doing so can result in heavy fines and even imprisonment. "Shahtoosh" shawls have officially been banned, as they come from the endangered Tibetan antelope. Authentic traditional Rajasthani furniture & fittings and other forms of art, could fall into the category of antiques, so make sure you check before buying. Beware quality reproductions are widely available.
Conservative dressing is preferred in most places however, wearing shorts while sight seeing is acceptable. Make sure you pack your comfortable walking shoes, caps/hats, sun screen and swim wear. All the hotels have beautiful swimming pools!
As currency fluctuates constantly, it is advisable to check with local banks or a good site is www.xe.com for the current exchange rate. Most of the restaurants & hotels will accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Amex) It is advisable to keep some cash with you at all times, for incidental expenses. Traveler's cheques can be exchanged at hotels. ATM's are also available in most cities however we may not come by them easily. Sometimes, ATM's take 20-60 seconds to release the cash, so don't leave the ATM too quickly, thinking it isn't working. When you exchange money, make sure you have the smaller denomination notes. (Rs 10,20,50,100,500) There are also Rs 1000 notes but try not to use it as it may be hard to get change.
India has 3 main seasons - Winter, Summer & the monsoon October to February is the best time to travel in India as it is the coolest time.
230 Volts AC. You will need an adaptor
Travel & health insurance.
We advise that you get both these before commencing your journey.
Mobile phone & Sim cards
India is a very mobile friendly country. If you have roaming on your phone it will work just about anywhere in India but it could be expensive. You could also buy a local pre paid Sim card with proper identification. The Sim card itself would cost about Rs 100. You then buy recharge cards (top ups) from Rs 100- Rs 3400.The more credit you have on your phone, the cheaper the call rate. Reliable and most popular companies are Vodafone, Idea, Airtel & Reliance. Make sure the company you choose has national roaming facilities, as we will be traveling inter-state. Call rates for outgoing & incoming calls may be higher while roaming.
How safe is the drinking water
Tap Water is NOT drinkable. Always drink boiled water or bottled mineral water. You need not be concerned about using tap-water to brush your teeth, wash your face or take a bath. Most hotels/restaurants provide bottled mineral water. The safest brands of mineral water to have are- Himalaya, Aquafina and Kinley. If you buy water please make sure the seal is intact. Avoid Ice
Food, fruit and snacks
It is safest to eat fruits that you can peel unless you are sure that it has been thoroughly washed with clean water. Avoid fresh juices unless you are having it in your hotel. Packed and properly sealed snacks are safe to eat.
While traveling and sightseeing we strongly advise that you try to use the toilet we have on board the coach. Public toilets, unless in a hotel or decent restaurant, tend to be unclean and unhygienic.
The best option would be to use hotel cars if you would like to venture out on your own. Local taxis are also easily available in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and a few other major cities. Most of the drivers understand English even if they cannot speak it. In the other cities, it would be best to have the hotel order a taxi for you. Before leaving your hotel, try to get an idea of what the fare to where you are going should be so that the taxi driver cannot over charge you. Ask the taxi driver what the fare will be before you get into the taxi as well.