India Travel Tips
India Travel Tips Reviews
India on the Cheap Oct 26, 2009
Try to work out your itinerary before you go, and book your seats through a travel agent. Queues are long, staff are officious, and trains may be already booked out. Allow for a minimum stay of two days in each place and maximum journey of 500 km at a time.
Rucksacks are useless - you can’t leave them at a cloak room because they can’t be locked. The only advantage is that you have your hands free when you carry them. Someone should invent a Velcro harness for attaching to a suitcase on wheels with an extension handle. A solid suitcase that you can sit on would be an advantage too. The luggage should have compartments inside or Velcro dividers and should have only one lockable entry.
Containing camera, recorder, passport, wallet and other essentials. It must go over the shoulder and have a waist band, once again attached by Velcro. Hand spray, sugar, salt, pepper, pocket knife, spoon, bottle opener, earplugs, memory sticks, tapes, photo album, map of the world, small Aerogard. A Tupperware container for the inevitable leftover food in restaurants would be handy. Take a range of Australian coins and notes, Indians are always interested in seeing them, especially our plastic notes. Inflatable pillow, calculator, marmalade and Vegemite in a tube. Consider taking insulated beer glasses or metal tumblers.
Don’t take much, as you can buy medicines cheaper and without a prescription in India. Take Lomotil for runny tummy, Lycine for cold sore prevention - take one per day. What medicines you do take, make sure they are the smallest size available. Make sure you know the generic name for your medicines. Wet ones are excellent, but not the big cylindrical ones! 200 gm baby powder lasts one month. Small toilet paper lasts one month - keep in a sandwich bag and consider putting a stronger cylinder in the middle. Plastic cup and dental pick for teeth cleaning is essential as is dental floss, tweezers, lip balm.
Three underwear and socks (one for wearing, one for washing and one spare), two shirts with two buttoned pockets on each, and two trousers (one to wear and one to wash), one pair of shorts, boots, thongs - essential for showering, small towel, silk sheet sleeping bag and pillowcase, light jumper for AC buses, aeroplane, and hills.
Portable shower (2 litre minimum), electric water boiler (don’t take a metal billy - use a plastic jug), 500ml aluminium bottle of emergency water (you can pour the boiled water into it), plug adapter, or better still, take an Australian lead with a socket on one end of it and buy an Indian plug to make up a handy extension lead - most power points are high up on the wall! Clothes line and pegs, strap and bag for water bottle, bedside clock, world radio, detergent or soap in a tube, nailbrush, glue stick, scissors and scrapbook (leave places for photos-notebook and/or diary for details of all photos taken.) Put all your details in the diary - phone numbers etc. Don’t take rechargeable batteries and charger, buy ordinary ones there, and throw them away when they get flat. Indian Railways timetable, “India at a Glance”, might be handy. Door wedge, lock and key, swaged cable, torch, soap in a plastic box, toothbrush in a box, tooth paste. Don’t take an umbrella, buy one there and throw it away when finished.
Take some Australian gifts for special occasions, eg pins; map, flag, kangaroo etc. Taking some one penny coins in different dates was a great idea.
There are plenty of ATMs in India now. No need to take travellers cheques or American dollars. Allow about $30 (Rs1000) per day for everything: food, accommodation and transport. It’s easier to take Australian dollars and change them (away from the airport). Keep your encashment certificate so you can change them back when you leave. Departure tax should be already paid. Duty free in Mumbai airport is good value, about half price and much better than in Sydney. Make sure you have enough Aussie dollars for when you get back to Australia, especially a coin for a phone call. Thomas Cook give good rates as do money changers in remote areas. If you change about $400 (Rs12,200) at a time, a fortnight’s worth, then ask for the money in 5/1000, 10/500, 10/100, 20/50, 10/10 and the rest in 5 rupee notes or coins. If you accept it in Rs100 notes then you will have a very thick wad of money to carry around, much too thick for a wallet. Always have plenty of small change as most shop keepers don’t.
Have an address in India and a phone number eg the Red Shield Hostel, 30 Mereweather Street, Colaba, Mumbai phone 241824
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