There are approximately 90 Indian Rupees (₹) to a pound and 65 to a US Dollar. Rupees are circulated in notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 2000.
Rupees are a protected currency and in theory they are not supposed to leave India. Therefore, you can’t obtain rupees before you arrive. You can exchange your money for rupees at the airport and/or your hotels.
It is quite common to pay for goods and services in cash, though ATMs are widely available and can easily be located with the help of your driver or guide. However, some branches do not work with international cards, so you may need to try one or two before having success. We recommend that you call your bank first before arriving in India, to inform them that you’ll be travelling, otherwise they may freeze your card when you attempt to use it in India (this happens a lot and can be a real nuisance for our guests).
We recommend scheduling an appointment with your doctor at least four weeks in advance, who can offer qualified advice whilst also taking into account your medical history. Recommended boosters include Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid. Other vaccines to discuss with your GP are Cholera, Diptheria, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. Rajasthan and the surrounding area is considered to be a “low-to-no-risk” area for Malaria and not high enough to warrant antimalarial tablets for most travellers.
Whilst in India, we recommend sticking to bottled water, and ensuring the seal is opened by you or in your presence. Aerated drinks such as soda and sparkling water are fine. If taking ice cubes in your drink do check that they’ve been made with filtered or mineral water.
We’d recommend eating moderately for the first few days to allow your system to get used to the changes, though familiar western options are available in hotels and restaurants as well.
Indian beer, gin and rum are fine. You may not find some of the local whisky very good. Wine, if available, would generally be expensive. Check the price before ordering. Imported liquor is available but expensive.
We would recommend carrying with you a small supply of medication from home, such as anti-diarrhoea tablets, insect repellent, sun cream and pain killers. Although these are available in India the security provided by brands one is used to is reassuring.
We highly recommend taking out an appropriate travel insurance policy at the time of booking. Ensure that it includes repatriation costs.
Most hotels, including the more exclusive ones, do not insist on formal wear in restaurants and smart casuals are acceptable. However, finer restaurants (such as those in the Oberoi and Taj hotels) would ask that men avoid wearing shorts or open-toed shoes.
During the day it is best to wear light, comfortable cottons with a pair of good ventilated walking shoes (Open-toed sandals let in dust and pebbles) and cotton socks.
For the sightseeing sessions, you may find a good pair of sunglasses and a sun-hat handy.
At some of the monuments/temples/mosques, it is advisable to avoid sleeveless tops and short skirts. You may also be asked to remove your shoes; in such cases, airline socks are useful as the stone peripheries of some monuments tend to get uncomfortably hot by mid-afternoon.
Early morning and night temperatures in Northern India, especially from December through February can be quite low, often touching freezing point, adequate warm clothing should be carried.
Most mid-range heritage hotels and forest lodges do not have central heating and snug sleeping clothes are recommended. Also, the floors may not be carpeted, and slippers are advised indoors.
In wildlife parks, neutral clothes are recommended but there is no dress code as such to adhere to. Early morning game drives in open vehicles can be very cold – mittens, mufflers and layers of clothing are recommended. As the day progresses some layers can come off.
Most hotels and resorts offer same day laundry service though it is generally quite expensive. A portable iron can be handy when pressed for time. In remote areas, laundry service may not be available and even when available may not be reliable.
There is a fee for carrying cameras into monuments and wildlife parks, however Indian Excursions are happy to pay for one camera per person, with compliments. Please let us know if you plan on carrying a tri-pod or taking photographs for commercial use as permissions need to be taken from the appropriate authorities.
At first glance, the driving system in India does seem completely bonkers! However, we assure you that there is a logic and system in place.
To start with, all our drivers at Indian Excursions have full clean driving licenses, with years of experience. They are extremely skilled on the road, and know the routes like the back of their hand. However, India is a very big place and not well sign-posted; therefore, it is not uncommon for drivers to ask for directions along the way. Please do not be alarmed if you driver winds down the window and asks a local for directions at a fork road, this is common practice in India and not a sign of your driver’s skill. He is doing so to ensure that he is taking you to your destination as quickly as possible.
Indians drive on the left side of the road. However, if there is space on the other side (right side) and it’s safe to drive, it’s very acceptable and common for the driver to use this lane. Your driver would then move back to the left lane in plenty of time, should there be any oncoming traffic.
You may at first be shocked by the constant horn honking. However, this is not a sign of aggression or road rage; it is the complete opposite. Horn honking in India is a defensive move, it is alerting other vehicles that they are there, it’s basically saying “hey, I just want you to know that I’m here and I’m overtaking you”. When a car is overtaking a truck, it is the cars job to alert the truck by honking. In India, it is each drivers responsibility to make sure that they are known to other drivers, rather than checking their mirrors (of course, they check their mirrors too, but generally it is common practice to honk). Your driver will try to limit his honking as much as safely possible, for your comfort. However, please do note that this is the driving style in India, and your driver does need to honk. Once again, honking is not a sign of aggression in the slightest; in fact, you will find Indian drivers to be very patient.
You will see a lot of daily life whilst being driven to your new destination. You will see local villages, busy towns and much more. At absolutely any time, you can ask your driver to stop the vehicle so you can get out and stretch your legs, photograph an interesting scene, use the bathroom or have a refreshment. Your driver would be carrying complementary mineral water bottles in the vehicle, so please do not hesitate to ask.
All our vehicles are scrupulously maintained and are fitted with standard safety features (airbags, seat-belts etc).
The free baggage allowance on domestic flights in India is 15kg per person for checked in luggage, and 7kg per person for hand luggage. However, if you think that you’ll be carrying more, you can purchase additional allowance at the time of check-in (it’s approximately ₹250 per additional kg). The allowance can be shared amongst those travelling on the same ticket together, provided that no single piece exceeds 32kg.
The voltage in India is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. Therefore, if you wish to use any electronic devices from the United States or any country with 110 Volt currency, you’ll need a voltage converter and plug adapter. People coming from countries with 230 Volt currency (such as Australia, Europe, and the UK) only require a plug adapter for their appliances.
Tipping can seem frustrating for those who are not used to it, since you’ve already paid for their service. However, that is how it works in India and tipping is deeply ingrained. Tips are common place in the tourism and service industries, and contribute a great deal to a driver/guide’s income.
At first, it can be confusing knowing how much is expected and when. The amounts mentioned below are a guideline, and certainly can be increased if you appreciated the service. If you are very disappointed with a service then please do not feel obliged to tip. However, if you are disappointed with a service, please let us know at the time so that we can put things right.
When the hotel staff first takes your luggage to your room, we would recommend a ₹50 to ₹100 tip. When you check out from the hotel, you may choose to tip ₹100 to ₹300 to each member of staff who assisted you the most during your stay.
In a restaurant, 10% of the bill is the norm.
At temples, you may wish to give a small offering of ₹50, and ₹10 for the shoe handlers.
For your guide(s), we would recommend a ₹500 – ₹1000 tip per day of their service. However, if you’re very pleased with their services, the amount can be increased to reflect that.
You can tip your chauffeur at the end of your tour, and we would recommend ₹300 – 500 per day of their service, at the end of your trip.
Please note that your guides/driver would interpret a very low tip as an insult, much more so than not tipping anything at all. If you would like to tip but realize that you only have a very small amount of change with you at the time, it’s better to not tip.
As a female, during sightseeing and at hotels you might feel that you’re being ignored. In Indian culture, it is seen as rude to address a female when she is with a male. Even if the topic is directly concerning the female, it would often be addressed directly to the male who is with her. This can be difficult to get used to, but please keep in mind that it’s deeply ingrained in Indian culture. The person speaking to the male and ignoring the female will feel that they are being polite, although in western cultures it can be perceived as very rude.
Indians don’t form waiting lines very well – they do push to the front of the line, which can be very frustrating at times. Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath!
Your guides or chauffeur may sometimes use words that you feel are a little rude or offensive. Although they speak English, their vocabulary is somewhat limited, and they can’t always find the right word to express what they want to say. They might choose the wrong word sometimes and it can be a shock. Please try to keep in mind that their vocabulary in English is quite limited and it is very unlikely that they were being intentionally rude. India is not yet as politically correct as the west.
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. You will need to obtain a 6-month tourist visa, or an 60 day e-Tourist visa. The e-Tourist visa is available to most (but not all) nationalities. We do not assist with visa applications, nor can we offer any advice or help on the application process.
We're open Monday to Friday 10:00 - 18:00. India is 5.5+ UTC.