To make your trip as smooth as possible, a bit of preparation and planning will be required. Below are resources that will help you have things prepared. If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The Indian government now offers two options for tourist visas: Traditional and India Electronic Tourist Visa. Currently, a traditional Indian visa issued to Canadian citizens is valid for 6 months years and allows multiple visits. The India Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV) allows a single entry for a stay of up to 30 days in India. Apply online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html no earlier than 34 days and no later than four days before the date of arrival. Currently, the visa fee is U.S. $60 per traveler plus a credit card processing fee. Fees are payable by debit/credit card and subject to change. Once approved, you will receive an email authorizing you to travel to India. You must carry a printout of the authorization as immigration authorities at the airport will need to stamp the entry date into the country and your passport should have at least two blank pages available for this purpose. The eTV visa process entails capture of biometric data of passengers on arrival at the airport. Electronic Tourist Visas can only be processed at 16 designated international airports (Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Gaya, Jaipur, Kochin, Lucknow, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruchirapalli and Varanasi). Without the Electronic Tourist Visa authorization, visas are not available upon arrival for Canadian citizens and you will be denied entry. The visa cannot be extended or converted during your stay in India and can only be issued twice in a calendar year.
Apply online no earlier than 34 days and no later than four days before the date of arrival.
There are no vaccinations legally required to visit India. However, most travel clinics suggest Hepatitis A&B as well as Typhoid. We strongly suggest that you visit your local travel clinic to review your individual situation. If you are taking any specific medication, it is advisable for you to bring it along as locally available formulations may vary.
We suggest travelling with some U.S. or Canadian dollars to be exchanged for local currency upon arrival. Most big cities have ATMs and larger establishments accept Visa, MasterCard, Maestro etc. as well as American Express.
Daytime attire: Conservative clothing such as lightweight pants, loose shorts, trousers and short sleeved shirts are recommended. Bring fabrics that breathe and that you can wear in layers to take off during the heat of the day and put back on for cool evenings. Women should pack a scarf large enough to cover bare neck and shoulders. Evening attire: Somewhat smarter, but still casual; formal clothing is not necessary.
Note: Laundry service is readily available at your hotels and is generally inexpensive.
During the winter months (November to March) temperatures in Northern India can get cold, particularly in the evenings. This includes travel to Agra, Amritsar, New Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Pushkar. Pack a few warmer clothing items including a fleece jacket, a few thin sweaters, long pants etc.
Visitors to national parks and wildlife reserves should wear browns or olive greens as they are best for blending into the environment; binoculars are also highly recommended.
The voltage supply at most of the hotels across India is 220 – 240 volts. Most of the plugs in India are different from those in the West. Please bring your own adaptor as you may need it during your travel.
At most international airports, passengers cannot be met inside secured areas. This includes Immigration, Customs Halls and Baggage Claim. Your Explore India representative will greet you as soon as you exit these restricted areas; look for the person holding Explore India signboard. In some instances you will be instructed to walk a short distance to a transportation parking area. Later, you will be transferred to your accommodation. If for any reason you do not connect with Explore India personnel, please go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to phone an Explore India representative at any of the numbers listed below.
We also advise you to carry copies of your airline tickets. Airports in India require passengers to present a copy of their ticket or other documentation with the name of the guest, date of departure & flight number. Please keep a copy of your itinerary handy when heading to the airport.
It is advisable for you to have your original passports for verification and check-in purposes. You may be required to present your passport (or a copy of your passport information) upon arrival at each hotel. This is required for security reasons. It is a good idea to prepare copies in advance to expedite this process.
Check-in time is usually 2pm or later. Check-out time is 12 noon. If you arrive early in the day or depart in the evening, most hotels will allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later.
You will get all your internal flight e-tickets and hotel vouchers at your destination. An Explore India representative will review these documents and provide them to you after your arrival in India.
Avoid drinking tap water while in India. Consumption of bottled water is advised. Please ensure the bottle is sealed prior to purchase, and remember to dispose of it properly. Most hotels will provide guests with two complimentary bottles of water each day.
Traveling in India is relatively safe. Simple precautions, however, should be applied when travelling to any foreign country. Use the hotel safe to keep your valuables (passports, jewellery etc.) secure.
Dress codes for religious sites do apply. In other words, you may need to cover your head and shoulders and remove shoes as required. It is prudent for women to carry a scarf with them in case it is needed. If you are unsure of the protocol, please ask so that you don’t unwittingly cause offense.
All breakfast served in the hotel will offer a complete selection of both Western and Indian fare. Our goal is to provide you with a variety of menus that are included in your tour. It is important that you advise us by email of any dietary restrictions and/or allergies well in advance so that we can best accommodate your requirements.
We ask tour members to refrain from wearing colognes, perfumes and/or personal products containing excessive fragrance, out of respect for other vacationers on the tour bus who may be allergic.
Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. We suggest you to budget CAD $15 per person per day.
If you do not use a digital camera, it may be difficult to obtain photo film in the villages or in national parks/reserves. Please bring your own film or purchase upon arrival in the larger cities. Photography may not be permissible at some railway stations, bridges, airports and all military installations. If in doubt, please ask.
The weight restriction for luggage on domestic flights in India is 33 LBS (15KG) per suitcase with a limit of one piece of checked luggage per person. In addition, 15 LBS (7KG) of hand baggage is allowed. This differs from international flight luggage limits and should be taken into account when preparing for your trip. Excess baggage charge can be paid at the airport and is roughly $5 per kilogram.
Land tour packages allow for one piece of luggage per person plus a carry-on bag.
There is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our coaches arranged by your Tour Director in order to ensure that everybody enjoys an optimal travel experience. When tour dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed. In such situations, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances such as weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which could affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monument’s view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, however we will decide, based on the conditions, whether to amend an itinerary.
This visit is controlled by the Ranthambore National Park authorities who operate under strict guidelines intended to protect the natural habitat and wildlife. For this reason, members of the same tour group may be split between different vehicles, which range in size from a 6-seater Jeep to a 16 or 20-seater Canter. The Park Authority determines vehicle assignments based on availability and overall visitor numbers on the particular day of visit. You may be combined with visitors from other tour groups or countries. The park is divided into zones. Each zone features the same animals and scenery. However, viewing results may differ as park rangers distribute vehicles between zones and therefore group members may visit different zones. Your tour manager will provide the main commentary prior to arriving in the park. A park employed naturalist guide, who will show you the wildlife in the park, will accompany each vehicle. Please note that this guide may not be fluent in English. The route and program for each group can vary according to weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety issues and wildlife migration patterns. While on safari, it is important that you follow the directions provided by your guide. This includes, but is not limited to, safety procedures. Viewing wildlife as listed in the itinerary is based upon optimal conditions and sightings cannot be guaranteed. Please remain inside your vehicle at all times and keep noise to a minimum. Refrain from feeding the animals or leaving food waste or litter behind. In addition, it is forbidden to purchase, collect, or remove any animal products, rocks, seeds, plants, or nests from the wild. It is recommended to wear earth-colored clothing to blend with the surroundings (khaki, green or brown). Bring sunscreen and water. Binoculars are recommended. Flash photography is prohibited. Please note that the National Park does reserve the right to close the park without prior notice.
Participants must be prepared to traverse a variety of surfaces, which may include: inclines, cobblestones, sand, and gravel or natural paths. You will also need to climb steps or stairs on occasion.
In India, the official language is Hindi. Each state, however, has its own official regional language as well. English is widely spoken all over the country.
India is a shopper’s paradise. There is a wide array of handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, carpets, art, spices and so much more to choose from. Each region in the country has its own specialty. Included in our tours is an assortment of a few select shops that you may not find on your own. These shops have been specifically chosen for you, as they boast high-quality merchandise and provide the opportunity for you to see authentic, local handicrafts. Some even allow you to get a glimpse behind the scenes to experience first-hand how goods such as jewelry, carpet weaving and textiles are fashioned.