India Packing Guide

Packing guidelines
Through all our trips around India we’ve refined our packing list to the perfect balance of essentials while keeping weight to a minimum. Although everyone has their own idea of travel essentials, these are the things we’ve learned on the road:

Essentials:

  • Comfortable and worn-in walking shoes or sandals that you don’t mind getting dirty (We love Birkenstocks)
  • Travel adaptor for India (2 round prongs like Europe)*
  • Rucksack or pack (rather than a suitcase with wheels)
  • Day pack for using around town and on day trips
  • Padlocks for all your bags’ zips*
  • Bike or travel lock for securing your backpacks on trains*
  • Earplugs and eye mask if you are a light sleeper
  • Light & comfortable clothing for sleeping in on overnight train journeys
  • Mosquito repellent*
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes
  • Small first aid kit – although medical supplies are cheaply and readily available in India some conditions (headache, blisters, tummy upsets) sometimes just can’t wait.
  • Clothing that is comfortable and that you don’t mind getting dirty.

A little note on modesty: Although it will be hot in India you may feel more comfortable wearing longer pants rather than shorts (which Indian men & women do not typically wear).

Women travellers should always wear clothing which covers the shoulders and pants which reach below the knee. You might also like to bring a shawl to cover your shoulders with when we visit temples. These pointers are especially important for travelling in North India. When travelling in the South, especially in coastal regions, the dress sense tends to be a little less conservative but you should always keep religious sensitivities in mind when dressing.

Nice to have:

  • Anti-bac handwash or wipes
  • If you are joining us on the North India Adventure we recommend you take some old clothes to wear for the Holi celebrations (we will be covered head to toe in coloured dyes)
  • Small torch for reading on trains or if we have a power cut
  • Old clothes, shoes etc which you don’t need any more (adults and childrens) – there will be plenty of opportunity for us to distribute these items to families in need
  • Single sheet or sarong or similar to use as a sheet/extra blanket/curtain on the trains

*Items marked with a * are also available very cheaply in India

India Visa Information

Obtaining a tourist visa to visit India is mandatory unless you already hold an Indian passport or OCI/PIO card. Currently for most travellers this visa must be arranged in advance through the High Commission of India (or outsourced agency) in your home country.

e-tourist visa:

In 2015 the Indian Government has simplified the tourist visa scheme by offering nations of 76 countries an option to apply for an e-tourist visa before departure without having to complete a postal application or visit any processing centres.

To obtain an e-visa you can apply online by completing an online form, uploading a photograph and passport information and paying visa fees. The e-tourist visa approval will be issued in advance and sent to you electronically, before the date of travel to India; the actual visa sticker will be placed inside your passport at the airport on arrival in India. When you arrive in India, you will need to have biometric information (fingerprints) taken at the airport and your passport will be stamped.

Please note that the Indian High Commissions of some countries (including the UK) still require applicants to provide biometric data in person for an e-tourist visa. Please check the rules specific to your location at least 2 months before your departure date, and please get in touch if you have any questions.

For trips longer than 30 days in duration you will need to obtain a visa through the traditional channels – see your local Indian High Commission or contact us for further details.

India Health Guide

How you manage your own health while travelling is a personal choice. Some people prefer to take preventative measures before they travel, which we recommend for a trip to India.

Prevention
We suggest that first time travellers to India book an appointment with their local travel nurse at least 3 months before departure to discuss options for any preventative vaccinations or medications you may need to take. There are some basic vaccinations which need to be up to date for any trip to the sub-continent.

Treatment
We find that if you take appropriate precautions before and during your trip to India, for example getting the right vaccinations and malaria tablets, and you are careful with what you eat and drink, you are unlikely to get seriously ill. However, sometimes first time travellers to India get minor stomach upsets within the first few days due to a change in diet and climate, but these can usually be quickly managed with medicine which is easily and cheaply available in India.

For something a little more serious you will need to see a doctor. Doctors and hospitals are usually free to visit for minor ailments and are generally clean with a fast walk-in service. For anything major you will need to be covered by travel insurance to be seen at a private hospital. (Note: you must have travel insurance (including health insurance) in order to join the tour)

Tip! Some say that drinking a glass of local lassi (a yoghurt drink) on your first day can prevent any stomach bugs. Let me know if you would like to try one!

For further reading The Centres for Disease Control & Prevention site lists comprehensive information on options for looking after your health before and during a trip to India.

Testimonials :

It’s a fun and fulfilling experience and definitely worth it. I loved it and I ended up going for 3 tours.
Monique, Holland, 2015
Amazing experience, showing the vibrant Indian everyday life. Real life. With the respect and love to the local people. The best experience you can have in Goa!
Kate, Poland, 2015
Thank you guys for giving me a memorable experience that I will never forget. See you again in 2016.
Sara, Australia, 2014
What an amazing tour! It was great to get off the beaten track and experience the real India.
Emma, New Zealand, 2013
Francisco gave generously of his time to make sure I had a wonderful Indian experience. Thank you.
Ruth, New Zealand, 2015
You showed us a side of India that tourists do not usually see: we met local families, ate local food, visited a remote village & school, walked old areas of the cities where tourists don’t go
Lilian, New Zealand, 2011
I have toured South India in 2012 and North India in 2014. Both trips were awesome and I was able to experience a part of India not usually experienced by tourists.
Paul, New Zealand, 2014
You took us to places we would have never been to! Being welcomed into families’ homes and drinking chai with the locals is something I will remember for a long time.
Sam, New Zealand, 2011
Excellent photography training and sightseeing tour. Francisco was superb. Strongly recommend the trip.
Rolise, India, 2015
I had a fabulously interesting tour. Francisco has a real strength in how he is able to engage the locals and show visitors the real India.
Steve, London, 2015
I think that Francisco can safely say “mission accomplished” as the spirit of India is now in all of us. We all learned a lot.
Kevin, France, 2013
As a keen photographer I was able to get amazing shots of the people of India. Thank you Francisco for showing me the respectful way to photograph people.
Raymond, New Zealand, 2014
Worth every second! Highlights were interacting with the locals and being up close and personal with the vendors at the market. Francisco was great!
Allanah, New Zealand, 2015
Thank you for the most amazing experience of my life. Your planning, attention to detail and tour guide skills are exceptional. I look forward to my next adventure!
Andy, United Kingdom, 2013
I am in my 60’s and have had several trips with Latitude22 since 2009. I cannot praise them enough for the experiences I have had in India.
Christine, New Zealand, 2012
We loved this tour so much we also got Francisco to take us out for a whole day to explore some other amazing places in Goa, which we wouldn’t have found ourselves.
Rakesh, London, 2015
Simply superb. Francisco points out so many colours, characters and smells that you would likely otherwise miss and ensures you get to see everything! This tour was a life highlight.
Evan, New Zealand, 2015
You guys rock! You continue to be the biggest reminder of the true India: your empathy with the poor is unbelievable & a lesson to us all & the reason we have the amazing memories.
Mike and Carolyn, United Kingdom, 2013
Awesome experience! As a single female traveller, I felt safe with Francisco and he even knew some of the stall holders so it was neat to be able to chat with them. I would recommend to ...
Emma, New Zealand, 2016