VISA/ PASSPORT

You need a visa to enter India.

You can submit your application in person or through USPS with Cox & Kings Global Services: 

https://www.in.ckgs.us/visa/

or through Ambassador Visa which is located in Los Angeles: 

http://www.ambassadorpassportandvisa.com/visa-services/india/  

The process can be very frustrating if you are not excellent with convoluted government paperwork. Ambassador Visa charges a fee, but sometimes it is worth the expense. Make sure to get a minimum of a 6 month visa – the 6 months begins from the day they issue the visa.

You will need to have the address of where you are staying:

  • Address: Kamakhya, Guwahati, Assam 781010 India

  • Phone:+91 361 273 4624

You will also need the information for a contact person:

  • Rachael Hensley

  • 6709 S. Himes Ave., Tampa, FL 33611/ (phone) +001 808 635 3146

Passport:

You will also need a current passport that is valid 6 months past your departure date from India. If you do not have a passport, or need to renew it, you will want to start the process. You can do this through Ambassador Visa: 

http://www.ambassadorpassportandvisa.com

or through USPS. You can download a copy of the application and see the fees at: 

https://www.usps.com/international/passports.htm


IMMUNIZATIONS

Immunizations are a personal choice. The Indian government does not require US citizens to have any immunizations to enter the country. You can read info at the CDC’s website.

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india


WHAT TO BRING

  • toiletries - bring anything that you can’t live without

  • pillow case - I found this to be useful for a multitude of things, least of all your pillow

  • flashlight

  • light weight towel

  • modest clothing - you will probably feel more comfortable  if your shoulders and legs are covered. Long skirts, loose pants, light scarves, etc. Clothing is inexpensive throughout India, so you can pick up anything you might need.

  • Sunblock

  • Batteries for cameras, etc. - You can find them in India but they are not very good.

  • Yoga mat and clothes

  • Journal and pens

  • Toilet paper - you can usually get this here, but you will want to bring a small stash to get you started.

  • Jet lag remedy http://www.amazon.com/Lewis-N-Clark-No-Jet-Lag-Homeopathic/dp/B00007KUX7/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403493372&sr=8-1&keywords=no-jet-lag

  • Grapefruit seed extract - this will help keep your stomach in good shape

  • Room temperature stable probiotics

  • Any immune boosters that you like

  • Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) tablets. Studies have shown that 2 tablets taken before a meal can prevent you from having food related stomach distress.

  • General antibiotic – you may want to bring a 7-day run of antibiotic in case of stomach distress. You can also purchase these at the pharmacy in India.

  • Light blanket/ shawl - good for the plane and while you are there

  • Insect repellant

  • Copies of your passport, visa and plane tickets – it is also a good idea to leave a copy with someone at home in case yours is lost and you need a copy. I usually take a picture and email it to myself so that I have access while traveling.

  • Plug converter (they make a great surge protector/ converter in one) http://www.amazon.com/QUALITY-TRAVEL-ADAPTER-PROTECTION-GROUNDED/dp/B0034E2TFS/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1403492882&sr=1-3&keywords=travel+surge+protector+us+to+india

  • hand sanitizer

  • comfortable sandals

  • prescription medication

  • clothes pins

  • a couple of safety pins

  • zip lock bags

  • a list of all contact information – pack this in your carry on bag

  • small satchel/ daypack/ bag for running errands in town

  • USB pen drive. This makes sending emails a breeze at internet cafes.

  • Keep in mind that domestic flights have different weight allowances than international flights (approx. 33lbs checked luggage and 15lbs carry on).


Getting There

  • Flights: I have been searching for flights, and have found that the price ranges from $450 - $1500 depending on where you are departing from. Expedia and Orbitz and Google Flights have good information to start comparing cost. Etihad and Emirates have great planes, Cathay and Air India have great prices. Lufthansa, British Airways, Continental... almost everyone flies into the major cites in India. Your final arrival destination city is Guwahati, Assam (Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport) and your departure city is Varanasi (VNS)(see departure details in 'Getting Home' below). Delhi is one of the easiest airports to book a reasonable international flight into, and from there you can take a domestic flight to Guwahati . We will have someone in Guwahati to transport you to your lodging upon arrival. Most flights from the US arrive 2 days later, so you will want to buy your tickets so you arrive in time to meet us anytime on March 9, 2019.  If you would like to arrive a day or two early to give you a chance to recover from jet lag, I can give you information on hotels and suggestions for things to do in Delhi or whatever major city you arrive. I have found that it is best to book directly through the airline whenever possible so that you are able to change the tickets if needed – many people decide to stay a few weeks longer once they are here.

Getting Home

  • Your Departure city will be Varanasi unless you plan to stay longer. When you book your flight, make sure to search using the multi destination feature. This will allow you to book a round trip ticket with an arrival in Deli and a departure in Varanasi. You may also find it easier (and less expensive) to book your international travel in and out of New Delhi. Then buy a separate ticket from Varanasi (VNS) to Delhi (DEL) for your return flight. You can look for the India domestic ticket at www.cleartrip.com or www.expedia.com or through a travel agent.

Changing Money

  • You will want do this at the airport when you ARRIVE in India. Check current rates before you leave so you have an idea of what it should be. There are usually several places within the airport where you can exchange currency - save your receipt, as you will need this to exchange back to US currency upon departure.  ATM’s are readily available throughout most of India and give you the best exchange rate. Change some currency at the airport, but you will be able to access cash throughout the trip. Make sure to notify your bank that you will be traveling in India or they will put a hold on your card.

Phone/ Internet

  • You can check with your cell provider to see if you can use your U.S. phone - it is usually very expensive. There are several companies that provide international phone service prepaid online – these are usually significantly less expensive than your US mobile. Trying to find a SIM card in India can be difficult. If you need mobile phone service, please plan on getting it before you arrive in India.

  • There are Internet café’s throughout India. They are inexpensive but the Internet is often rather slow. Great to send an email and stay in contact, but sometime difficult to video chat or upload photos.