When is the best season for travel to India?
Is it safe to travel in India?
What are the accommodations like on a Wildland Adventures' India tour?
Where can I stay in heritage hotels traveling in India?
What lodges do you recommend for viewing tigers and wildlife while traveling in India?
What is the weather in India like and what should I pack for my India tour?
How far in advance should I book my trip to India?
What sort of people go on your India tours?
Will I need a visa to travel to India?
Will I need any vaccinations, immunizations or special medications for an India tour?
Is India a good destination for travelling with children?
What is the local currency in India? Are U.S. dollars accepted? Do I need local currency before I arrive?
Should I bring cash or traveler's checks? Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards?
What is the electrical current in India? Will I need plug adaptors?
Can I drink the water when traveling in India?
Is internet service available on your India adventure tours?
Will my cell phone work while traveling in India?
Do your India tours include international airfare? Do you have recommendations for the best routing and airlines for travel to India?
Is it better to plan a private custom trip or go on a small group tour to India?
Who are your drivers, local guides, and tour escorts in India?
Is it customary to tip while traveling in India?
Is it ok to take photos everywhere in India?
What sort of food will I eat in India?
Will I be able to eat meat in India?
How do I get to the hotel from the airport when I arrive?
Do you offer birdwatching tours in India?
What are the languages commonly spoken in India?
Do you use the train system on your Wildland Adventures in India?
Is travel insurance recommended for travel to India?
The best time to travel in India depends somewhat on where you want to go and what you want to do. Generally, however, for everywhere except high elevations in the Himalayas, the best time to travel on the sub-continent is November to April. Temperatures in winter are mild and game viewing in the national parks is at its best, although it is very cold in the morning on early game safaris in open jeeps. April and May are considered the best time for tigers and game viewing in the interior, as the jungle thickets dry out and game concentrates at watering holes, but be prepared for more heat and insects. Early summer weather (May to June) in the south is warm and this is the ideal time exploring coastal areas and cultural tours in the western Ghat highlands. In the north, spring, summer and fall, May-October is an excellent time to visit the Himalayas. Back to Top
Indians are warm, friendly, sophisticated people who genuinely care about your comfort and safety as a visitor. Pickpockets and scammers target unwary tourists, although petty crime among tourists is limited to independent low budget travelers. Travelers should take normal precautions in crowded places. It is recommended that you leave valuables in the hotel safe or locked in your luggage while sightseeing and carry your currency and passport in a pouch around your neck or in a money belt around your waist. Vehicles have right of way so be careful whenever crossing the street. Back to Top
Travel in India can be hectic and hot, dusty and tiring, so where you kick back at the end of the day is important to refresh and reflect on your experience. In general, we select properties reflecting the charm and character of a place, its culture and history that are situated in convenient locations for walking, some with incredible views. Accommodation choices are important anywhere in the world, but India is renowned for its range of boutique heritage hotels, luxurious style accommodations, and warm local hospitality. There are also a few accommodations in some urban areas including Delhi, Agra and Varanasi where we sometimes use a well established international hotel as the best choice for overall service, value and comfort, but there are always 5-star luxury properties on request. We recommend spending as much as your budget will allow for accommodation in India because it can be a truly delightful part of your overall experience, and a serene respite at the end of a long travel day, especially ayurvedic and spa services. Back to Top
For centuries, the Rajput fortresses, defensive castles, and havelli residences were abodes of nobility- where grandeur and hospitality were a way of life. Today, many of these feudal homes, large castles and Maharajas palaces have been converted into lovely four-star historic boutique accommodations and lavish five star luxury historic hotels. In addition to the spectacular architecture and design detail, much of the charm of these heritage hotels is the hospitality and cuisine; in some cases, the original families are still in residence, and each ancestral home is different reflecting its own exceptional history and tradition. Back to Top
Lodges we use around the national parks and tiger reserves offer the best naturalist and wildlife experiences. For example, we use only those lodges and deluxe camps that offer a combination of key factors including: 1) their location in relation to particular entrance gates in the parks where there are fewer visitors and more tiger sightings, 2) they cater to guests with more serious interest in natural history, tiger conservation and photography, and 3) where we personally know the proprietors have dedicated themselves to tiger conservation, guide training and attending to the keen interest of amateur photographers to capture great images of tigers. Back to Top
Traveling in the peak season winter months of November-February temperatures in the daytime are usually pleasant but may drop dramatically in the evening. If you are travelling to any of India’s national parks in winter fleece jacket, cap and gloves and layering for warmth is essential. In general, especially during warmer months light cotton or synthetic quick dry tops, shorts and trousers are ideal. When visiting religious monuments and shrines you want to cover bare skin. For women it is a good idea to carry a scarf or shawl that you can use to cover your head and shoulders if required. Back to Top
You can book your India tour at any time, but generally the earlier you confirm the better (at least 6-12 months in advance), since not only do hotels fill up but Wildland Adventures in India involve domestic flights and some train rides within India which must be booked in advance for the most convenient times and connections. We prefer boutique style hotels which are small, charming properties characteristic of the region; as such they are small and tend to fill up quickly—another reason to book your trip to India as early as possible. Back to Top
Our guests to India are active, inquisitive, fun-loving travelers not only interested in learning about India’s fascinating history, but also its modern culture, political and religious dimensions, rural life outside the cities, as well as Indian cuisine. Many people who come on our trips to India are very well travelled, enthusiastic, and curious seeking a balanced trip including nature (especially tiger viewing) and cultural experineces. They come from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Many guests to India have already traveled with us in other parts of the world, some to India for a second time. Back to Top
Yes, you will need an advance visa in your passport before departure. The Indian government routinely introduces new requirements for visa applications. It’s best to use a visa service. We recommend Travisa Outsourcing to apply for your visa as they will inform you of the current requirements when you start the application process at the Travisa website: https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com.
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There are no immunizations required for travel to India. Consult your doctor or local travel clinic 4-8 weeks before departure to decide which medications and inoculations are recommended for your safe participation on the trip. Travelers should be up-to-date with vaccinations against hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, and chicken pox. Malaria is present throughout all lowland regions of India, but places we sleep, how we travel, and basic precautions help minimize your risk. The areas we travel through during the dry season months are not considered high risk endemic malarial regions, plus we are staying in nice screened in accommodations with landscaped environments where mosquitoes don’t thrive. When we are in the jungle parks you can protect yourself against mosquito bites by wearing long sleeve (especially at dawn and dusk) and using insect repellant when needed. Mosquitoes are generally not that significant anyway. Health professionals do recommend malaria prophylaxis for travel throughout much of India.
When you put down a deposit for any Wildland Adventure, our destination expert Program Directors will provide detailed information about health precautions and possible immunizations for travel to your destination. Wildland Adventures' staff are not licensed medical professionals, however, we do know the exact areas, environments and conditions under which you will be traveling, all of which can affect the relative risk of exposure and help you make a decision concerning immunizations and prescription medicines. All travelers should consult their physician or a travel health clinic and refer to the Center for Disease Control website for complete information on health considerations in your destination. Back to Top
With its many diverse landscapes and attractions, India is an excellent destination for family travel. Beach holidays and wildlife adventures in national parks are good options, while many forts and monuments have sight and light shows that will capture children’s imagination. For teenagers, the many outdoor activities, such as camel safaris and trekking, are a draw card. The greatest challenge for families travelling in India may be the travel time to get there during school vacation periods, and distances that need to be covered between cities. While some youngsters might balk at the unfamiliar Indian food, continental dishes and Western fast food is widely available. Back to Top
The Indian currency is the rupee. Major currencies such as US dollars, British pounds and Euros are easy to exchange throughout India at airport banks, hotels and many vendors. It is illegal to bring rupees in or out of India. Back to Top
Currency can be obtained using debit or credit cards from many ATM machines throughout India. Credit cards are accepted in hotels and most shops and restaurants in the main cities and tourist areas. This may not be the case in smaller villages or remote places, and many jungles lodges do not accept credit cards, so it is generally a good idea to carry local currency. Any currency you bring from home should be as new as possible free of marks, tears and excessive wear. Traveler’s checks are accepted at banks, exchange houses and larger hotels, but receive lower exchange rates than cash or ATMs. Back to Top
Electrical current in India is 240 volts. Most travel appliances have their own built-in power adapters (such as laptop computers, digital cameras, mobile devices, and some travel hair dryers): these can be plugged into either 110-120-volt or 220-240-volt sockets and will adapt to the voltage automatically (but you still need a plug adaptor as noted below.) Check your travel appliances, especially your travel hair dryer to be sure it can operate on either 110-120 or 220-240 voltage. Outlet adaptors are required: the most common adapter needed for India is the # 5G, both 2-prong ungrounded or 3-pronged plugs arranged in a triangle are used. Back to Top
Avoid drinking the tap water or using it to brush your teeth. Bottled water is widely available and provided in vehicles on our trips. Some lodges provide filtered water which is also safe. Back to Top
Internet connections are widely available in throughout India. Wi-fi access is provided at most hotels we use, sometimes for a fee. Back to Top
Most American mobile phones do not automatically adapt to local GSM and CDMA systems in India. Even if international roaming is enabled and you insert a local sim card, they tend not to work well, if at all in India. European mobile phones operate well in India. Otherwise, it may be best to rent a local phone if you really need mobile phone service. It’s easy to use your mobile device to access the internet and check email when you have wifi access.
For your phone to work internationally, you'll most likely need a cell phone which uses a "GSM" network which is most widely used globally. In the U.S. AT&T and T-Mobile operate GSM networks while Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and several smaller carriers such as U.S. Cellular use the "CDMA" network which has less worldwide coverage than GSM. You'll want to check with your service provider regarding international coverage and make sure you understand exactly what you'll be charged for making calls and, if you have a smart phone, for using data (email/internet). Rates can be extremely expensive and we've heard horror stories of travelers returning home to find unexpectedly large bills for using their phone while traveling. Due to this, we generally recommend you unplug and don't use your cell phone while traveling. Your guides will be able to give you the best options for calling home and loved ones can contact you using the local phone numbers we provide on your final itinerary or Wildland's 24-hour emergency number.We recommend reviewing CNET's World Phone Guide for more information on international cell phone coverage. Back to Top
International airfare is not included in our prices for our India tours. There are many options for flights to India, but non-stop routes and flying Business Class is generally better for such a long haul route whenever possible; direct flights from the USA can be up to 15 hours in duration. Of course, the best route and fare depends on your city of origin and availability on your preferred dates. The non-stop flight from New York-Newark on Continental/United is recommended. Many other carriers offer connecting flights through Europe or Asia so if you have a favorite carrier, one that you want to use frequent flyer miles, or you want to break up the flight by making a stopover there are many possibilities. If you are not using frequent flyer miles, you can begin investigating flight schedules and fares by requesting a quote from our air specialists. Back to Top
The best way to see and experience India depends on one's knowledge, experience, and personal preferences. It is best to sign up for one of our scheduled small group departures in which you share the cost of an expert India escort to accompany the group throughout your trip to show you the hidden highlights, to provide the in depth historical insights and interpretations, and most important to help facilitate entrees to interact with local people you meet along the way.
All our India trips can also be run on different dates and easily modified as private custom itineraries for as few as two persons. Typically with less than four persons it is most cost effective to have your own driver who takes you from one area to the next where you meet up with local expert guides in each location. Back to Top
Traveling in India can be chaotic, logistically challenging, always changing, and a full on sensory experience of body and mind, heart and soul. That is why we work an exceptional organization of guides, drivers, hoteliers and on-the-ground operations professionals who are there to both enhance your experience of India, and to keep you safe, healthy, comfortable and informed throughout your Wildland Adventure. The system of tour guiding in India is different from many other regions of the world. In the Indian sub-continent there is a distinct division between the following three categories: 1) English-speaking drivers, 2) local on-site specialist guides, and 3) professional tour escorts. On our schedule small group tours of India we use all three, but for smaller private custom arrangements we can arrange your own professional driver to get you from place to place and then a local expert guide who is trained and licensed will take you around local sites of interest. It is possible to hire a private escort/guide to accompany any India tour of less than 6 persons and the estimated cost for their guide fee and expenses ranges from $150 to $250 more per day split among the number of passengers traveling together. Back to Top
Tipping makes India go ‘round (much to the chagrin of some of its citizens), and is expected from tourists. Often tips are used simply to get things done, not only as a reward for excellent service. One of the most challenging aspects of tipping is to carry small denominations to hand out as you go for daily assistance with porters, local guides, bathroom attendants, etc. Tips for drivers and escorts are given at the end of their service. At some lodges instead of individual tipping you may leave at tip in a box or with reception at the end of your stay to divvied up among the staff. We provide specific tipping guidelines per each trip with more details in pre-departure information. Back to Top
With its fascinating scenes of daily life and multitudes of colors, India is a paradise for photography. Always ask permission when taking photos of anyone, especially women. Always ask before taking photos at a religious site or ceremony, or of people bathing on the ghats or river banks. It is forbidden to photograph military installations, which can include some train stations, bridges and airports. Back to Top
Indian cuisine is an important part of your Wildland Adventure experience. There are many variations in dishes according to each region throughout the sub-continent renowned for its own techniques, locally produced ingredients and spices. While Indian cuisine tends to be fiery, most restaurants will gladly prepare a “milder” variation of the meals on request. Many hotels provide elaborate and tasty buffets so there are always choices among Indian foods and continental dishes. Larger cities like Delhi and Mumbai offer restaurants with a wide selection of cuisine, from Indian to Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese or even Mexican. Back to Top
Chicken, lamb, fish and mutton are available in most areas, particularly in northern India where the cuisine is dominated by meat dishes. Beef and pork are largely unavailable, as they are forbidden among Hindus and Muslims. Seafood is also an important part of the Indian diet, particularly on the west coast. Vegetarian options are widely available everywhere in India. Special dietary requests can usually be accommodated, even low spice and gluten free diets. Back to Top
Arrival and departure airport transfers are included on scheduled dates for Wildland group departures. If you are arriving or departing on alternate dates for a group trip we arrange private transfers at extra cost. You will be met upon arrival after you exit customs. Transfers are included on private custom trips as noted in your itinerary. Back to Top
Birdwatching is always a part of one’s experience in India especially based on your interests, the season, and your itinerary. India is home to as many as 1200 species, out of which 141 are endemic to the Indian sub-continent. What’s even more astonishing is that of the 27 Orders and 155 Families that avifauna has been classified into; Indian habitat embodies 20 Orders and 77 Families. The reason for such rich birdlife is the climate, diversity of landscape and vegetation, and migratory routes through such a wide range of altitude from southerly latitudes of the tropics to the high Himalayas. Back to Top
Actually, public health infrastructure and hygiene standards in commercial establishments in India have significantly improved conditions making it less frequent that travelers will get ill from food and water borne sources, as long as you take normal precautions. If you do become ill traveling in India it’s most likely you will get a touch of intestinal ailment that can be treated effectively and rapidly with antibiotics. If you do become more seriously ill traveling in India, doctors are readily available through most hotels, and India has many world-class hospitals and clinics that cater to tourists from around the world. Back to Top
Whenever we can we do because it’s a great way to experience India. As much as the Indian rail system is an amazing feat of organization, many routes and lower class trains are unreliable and not recommended. So, we use trains and plan them into custom itineraries only on the most reliable routes and highest class of service with reserved cabins/seats. We do not recommend the tourist trains like “Palace on Wheels” if only because you are forced to the schedule of the train and your experience on the ground is strictly controlled in time and place by each whistle stop of the group tour. . Back to Top
We highly recommend you protect your trip to India by purchasing travel insurance, especially for unexpected trip cancellation and trip interruption (for specific covered reasons), as well as medical coverage for accident or illness and related evacuation expenses that may be incurred during your trip. We recommend the policy offered by Travelex as an outstanding travel insurance product. The policy application is included in your pre-departure dossier. It is necessary that you purchase the insurance within 21 days of your initial reservation deposit in order to receive additional coverage especially for pre-existing health conditions for you or an immediate family member. Back to Top