Frequently Asked Questions
PREPARING FOR TRAVEL TO INDIA
Q. DO I NEED A VISA FOR INDIA?
A. Yes. You must apply for an Indian tourist visa prior to departing your home country. There are two types of visas for which you may apply. The first is an online visa valid for a maximum of 60 days, applications are made via indianvisaonline.gov.in. The second is paper visa valid for up to 6 months, applications are made via vfsglobal.com. The tourist visa fee is approximately AUD $105. Please keep in mind that these details are subject to change by the Indian government at any time, so for the most up to date information make sure you check the visa websites. When it comes time to apply for your tourist visa, we will happily assist you in this process.
Q. HOW SHOULD I BOOK MY FLIGHTS?
A. When it comes to booking international flights, there are many options these days. Please choose the option that best suits your needs. Whether you choose to purchase flights online or through a travel agent, ensure you have chosen a reputable company and have triple checked your flights departure/arrival dates & times. Ensure that you will arrive in India by the early afternoon of the tour commencement date.
Q. DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
A. Yes. It is a condition of MAD Tours that each tour guest holds valid travel insurance for the duration of the tour. Insurance must include comprehensive medical and emergency evacuation. We also recommend that it includes cancellation, curtailment and baggage cover. Please carry your travel insurance document with you as your tour guide will check the details on arrival at the starting point hotel. We will require a policy number and 24-hour insurance emergency contact number for your travel insurance provider.
Q. IM A SOLO TRAVELER, DO I NEED TO PAY THE SINGLE SUPPLEMENT?
A. No you don’t. We often have a number of solo travellers on our tours, so if you choose the twin share option, you will be paired with a same sex room mate. If there is an odd number of solo travellers, then someone will occasionally get a room on their own at no extra charge. If you wish to guarantee your own room throughout the tour, then you can select the single supplement which will be charged at slightly higher rate.
Q. DO I NEED TO GET VACCINATED?
A. Vaccinations are not required by Australian law in order to travel in India. However, it is a personal choice and some travellers do choose to be immunised. This is a decision best discussed with your doctor. If you live outside of Australia, please check your country's laws regarding vaccination requirements for travel inside India.
TRAVELING IN INDIA
Q. DO THEY SPEAK ENGLISH IN INDIA?
A. Yes, many Indian’s speak fluent or limited English, particularly in the cities and tourist areas. Hindi is the national language and primary tongue for 40% of Indians, however, there are 21 other official dialects in India.
A. CAN I GET INTERNET ACCESS IN INDIA?
Q. Yes. Many hotels, cafes and restaurants across India now provide wifi access, however you may find it is sometimes working very slowly or not working at all. This is part of the india experience!
If you are dependant on constant and (mostly) reliable internet access, then consider switching your mobile data to roaming and access the internet via your phone or hotspot.
Q. WHAT IS THE MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE LIKE IN INDIA?
A. Mobile phone coverage is widespread and generally very good in most parts of India. If you need phone access while traveling, then ensure global roaming is activated on your phone before you arrive.
If you wish to get a local sim card, this is possible, but can be a complicated process. To purchase a local sim card you will need: a photocopy of your passport photo page, photocopy of your visa and a passport size photo. Sim connection can take a few days to activate.
Q. ARE THERE ATMS IN INDIA?
A. Yes. ATMs are available in cities and most towns. Keep in mind that when withdrawing cash from an ATM, the exchange rate for that bank may not be as high as for a cash exchange. Your bank at home may also charge an international withdrawal fee.
Q. CAN I USE MY CREDIT CARD IN INDIA?
A. Credit cards are usually accepted by modern hotels, restaurants and medium-to-large shops in tourist areas. Smaller shops, cafes, market stalls and places in remote areas probably won’t have facilities that support credit cards, so ensure you have enough cash to cover expenses while in rural areas or when visiting smaller vendors and bazaars.
Q. SHOULD I BRING TRAVELLERS CHEQUES?
A. Travellers cheques are hard to come by and exchange these days. You are better off with a travellers money-card that can access your funds safely from an ATM.
Q. SHOULD I BRING CASH?
A. It is a good idea to bring a small amount of cash that can be exchanged if necessary.
Q. DO YOU NEED TO TIP IN INDIA?
A. Tipping room staff, porters, drivers and guides is customary in India. While not mandatory, it is a polite way to thank someone for their service to you.
Some tipping guidelines:
Restaurants: often include a service charge in the bill, but if not, 10% is a standard tip in good restaurants.
Local eateries - rounding up the bill by 20-50rs is adequate.
Room service 10% of the bill
Hotel staff member bringing something to your room Rs20.
Hotel Porters Rs20-50 per bag brought to your room.
Q. IS WATER SAFE TO DRINK IN INDIA?
A. It is not recommended to drink the tap water in India. But filtered or bottled water is safe and available everywhere. It is recommended to also avoid brushing your teeth with tap water or inhaling the water in the shower. It is also a good idea to avoid eating raw salads or ice in drinks except in more upmarket establishments. When eating fruit, make sure you wash and peel it throughly.
Q. WHAT ABOUT THE TOILETS?
A. While traveling in India you will come across a mix of western style and squat toilets, well maintained and poorly maintained toilets. Most hotels and some restaurant will provide toilet paper and a reasonable standard of cleanliness. Its a good idea however to always carry your own toilet paper and soap or hand sanitiser, for times when these are not provided. You can purchase toilet paper easily at many general stores, so there is no need to bring more than one roll with you.
Q. SHOULD I BRING SWIMWEAR?
A. There wont be a lot of opportunity for swimming, however some hotels will have a pool, so if there weather is warm you may wish to go for a swim.
Q. SHOULD I BRING MY COMPUTER OR IPAD?
A. Your choice. If you can do without them, we recommend leaving the world of technology behind for a while and fully immersing yourself in your India experience. However, if you do choose to bring these items, make sure your travel insurance covers you should they be lost, stolen or damaged.
Q. KINDLE OR BOOKS?
A. Yes and yes. There will be a couple of long train journey which will be the perfect opportunity to settle down with a great story. Download some books before you leave or bring one or two books with you. Along the way there will be opportunities to buy or exchange your books with ones travellers before you have left behind.
Q. DO I NEED TO DRESS CONSERVATIVELY?
A. Yes, India is a very conservative country and dressing skimpily will draw unwanted attention to yourself, whether you are a male or female. Lightweight, loose fitting, long legged clothing is best. Shoulders and knees should always be covered. If you are a woman, having a couple of light weight scarfs to drape across your shoulders and chest is recommended. If you dress respectfully, you will be treated with respect.
Q. WHAT ABOUT SHOES?
A. It really depends on what you are usually comfortable wearing. In the warmer months (March - October) you may be very comfortable in just flip-flops or sandals. If you want to cover your feet a light canvas shoe could be ideal. In the cooler months (November - February) a fully closed shoe that you can wear with socks would be a good idea. As it is often required to take your shoes off when entering temples, shops and homes, having shoes that are easy to put on/off will be helpful.
Q. WHAT ARE M.A.D TOUR'S TERMS AND CONDITIONS
M.A.D Tour's Terms & Conditions of travel can be viewed and downloaded here: Terms & Conditions
Q. OK, IM READY TO GO... NOW WHAT?
Great! Here is your check list of important things to do before you leave home:
Make sure you have arrange the following:
your plane ticket
vaccinations (if desired)
excess medications if need
items you are bringing.
Leave a copy of the following details with someone at home in case of emergency:
passport photo page
travel insurance policy
M.A.D tour itinerary.
M.A.D tour contact email and Indian phone number in case of emergency.
Make a photo copy of the following documents ready to give to your tour leaders upon arrival in India:
passport photo page
travel insurance policy, including your policy number and the insurance companies 24 hr emergency contact number.
Emergency contact details for two next of kin. Include: name, relation, email and phone number.