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Do I need a Visa? What about a Passport?
Good question! Your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section).
You will need to arrange an Indian visa before you arrive. Please read this section carefully!
If you only entering India once on this trip* and staying for less than 30 days, you are eligible for a Visa on Arrival. (Please click here to make sure your country is eligible for a Visa on Arrival). You can apply for a Visa on Arrival 4 to 30 days in advance of your arrival on this website. (*This means you won’t be entering India, then going to Nepal or Bhutan, etc, and then trying to re-enter India.)
If you plan on staying in India longer than 30 days, you can apply through Cox & Kings Global Services, but you must allow more time for this process (start at least 3 to 4 months before the start of the trip). This tip is only for Americans; please check with the Indian Embassy or Consulate in your country for specifics.
What about the Food? Special Diets/Allergies
I have special dietary needs—can I be accommodated?
Vegetarians should have no problem anywhere on our travels. The only thing that might prove difficult is veganism in India. Although meat is entirely avoidable, India is the world’s largest consumer of butter, and it is almost unavoidable in most of their curries, stews, and even breads. Many vegans that I have known to travel through India adopt what is locally referred to as a “pure veg” diet: no meat, no eggs, but it allows for dairy consumption. (It is worth nothing that some of the reasons for avoiding dairy consumption in the west is slightly mitigated here, as there is less factory farming and antibiotic use in livestock.) Milk can be avoided by not consuming creamy dishes or milk tea.
Gluten is also avoidable in India by choosing rice over chapatis and other local breads. Celiactravel.com has GREAT printable cards in local language to present to restaurants and hotels about your intolerance of gluten. Click here for the Hindi version. If you have multiple dietary needs, it may be worth your while to check out these specialty cards, available in 60 different languages.When you register for a trip, you will answer a set of questions, including a question about food allergies. We’ll take a look at your answers and let you know if we have any suggestions or concerns!
Can I drink the water?
In a word, No. Although many cities around the world are getting more advanced public water systems, we don’t recommend it. Not only from a pathogen standpoint, but it’s a different set of bacteria than your body is used to. Why risk an upset stomach if you don’t have to? We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
We require that guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense. It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind for very little cost. When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.
We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company (we can advise you if you like). Your instructor be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance before your departure.
What is the weather like?
It can be quite hot during the day in Amritsar, particularly with the white marble of the Golden Temple complex reflecting the sun’s rays. That said, it was also be chilly at night, and we’ve even experienced hail in February. Generally, though, the temperature is manageable and very comfortable in the shade.
“Amritsar has a semiarid climate, typical of Northwestern India and experiences four seasons primarily: winter season (December to March) with temperature ranges from 0 °C (32 °F) to about 15 °C (59 °F), summer season (April to June) where temperatures can reach 42 °C (108 °F), monsoon season (July to September) and post-monsoon season (October to November). Annual rainfall is about 681 millimeters (26.8 in). The lowest recorded temperature is −7.6 °C (18.3 °F), was recorded on 9 December 1996 and the highest temperature, 48.1 °C (118.6 °F), was recorded on 22 May 2013.“
(Please click the chart to see the full size)
All About Health! Vaccines, "Delhi Belly," and more.
What vaccines do I need?
None are required to enter India, but we suggest you work with your physician or your area’s travel health expert to decide what options are best for you. You can read the CDC’s recommendations here and the Scottish NHS recommendations here.
What about malaria?
Malaria is not a risk in the areas we will be traveling, but again—we request that you work with your physician or travel doctor when making these choices. Please see our blog about this topic for more information.
Any general health tips for travel?
How much money should I bring?
That is entirely up to you and how much shopping you want to do. All of your meals and transportation is covered, so you just have to gauge how much you want to spend on extras!
How do I get the local currency?
You can either exchange cash in India or Nepal (although not at the airport, the rate is terrible!) or use a local ATM (which we prefer). Better yet, a combination of both! Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling in India, so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world!
Can I use a credit card?
For large purchases (rugs, textiles, etc) many shops will take credit card (although they might charge a percentage on top of your credit card company’s international fee). For smaller items, count on using cash only.