Whether you’re planning to see the sights, do business or dabble in a little bit of both, your travel to India can be a breeze with these 10 tips.
1. Get your visa before your flight.
While standard practice to most countries is to book your flight and hotel before you get your visa, travel to India requires the opposite. Even with Swift’s expedited Indian visa services, visa processing times are at the sole discretion of the Indian Consulate. The consulate provides no time frames and recommends you secure your visa before you confirm or pay for any travel accommodations.
2. Hire a driver if you’re in a bigger city.
Traffic in India is enough to floor even a seasoned New York City cab driver. Drivers are extremely inexpensive and can be a blessing to take you around town. Good ones can also provide awesome restaurant and shopping suggestions.
3. Visit a temple or two.
American author Mark Twain noted that “India has two million gods, and worships them all.” It would really be a shame to head to this ultimate holy land peppered with temples of all shapes, sizes and faiths without checking out at least one or two.
4. Go to cricket match (if they’re playing).
Cricket in India is like baseball in America – only bigger. Matches are played at various times throughout the year, with schedules available on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
5. Come bearing American chocolate.
American candy is much richer and has much more sugar than the Indian version of the same treat, making it a must-have gift for your Indian pals or business associates.
6. Don’t fret about adapters for electronics.
While you don’t want to forget the chocolate, you’ll probably be OK if you forget your adapter. Most places in India have electric outlets that accommodate American-style electronics.
7. Download an app to avoid costly calls.
If you’re staying at a place that has a good Wi-Fi connection, use it for Wi-Fi calling with an app like WhatsApp. This way you’ll avoid a costly international calling plan while using one of India’s popular apps for texting and messaging.
8. Ask about dietary preferences.
Before heading out to the nearest beef curry house, it’s customary to check in with your dining companions. Ask if they are vegetarian, vegan or have other dietary preferences before selecting a restaurant.
9. Prepare to stay up late.
Days in Indian start and end much later than the typical 24 hours in America. That means you can expect to eat meals later, work later, get back to the hotel later and wake up later than you’re accustomed to.
10. Enjoy your breaks!
Breaks are a priority throughout the day, and you’ll offend your associates if you decide to skip them to keep working. Expect breaks at lunch, tea time and at other intervals, and also expect to socialize, socialize, socialize.
Travel to India can be educational, profitable for business and a heck of a lot of fun – especially if you remember to bring American chocolate! Feel free to contact us with travel questions for any country; we’re always happy to help.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.