Flashpacking Guide to India (Tips for flashpackers)
Updated: May 25
Flashpacking is fun if you plan your trip properly. Flashpacking is a style of travel that came out of backpackers growing up and making a bit more money but you need to do proper planning for the trip so that you spend the money in an authentic way. Flashpackers spend money to save time on their travel and make a comfortable holiday. Here in Flashpacking India, we provide you with the Tips that you can use while planning or during your trip. Our tips come from past travel experiences. If you have a tip you think would help the other members of flashpacking Community, let us know and we’ll add it.
Read about your flashpacking destination in advance, especially about the people and their culture. Without understanding the common practices such as attire, manners, basic greetings and gestures, punctuality, and restrictions, you cannot have the proper experience of the trip. Flashpacking India suggests reading, research, and learn.
Select the flashpacking destination according to your interest. India is a vast country and every destination has its own charm and its own activities to offer. You should select your destination according to your holiday mind and mood. OR you can contact Flashpacking India team to plan your Flashpacker Tour in India,
Visa to India
You sound have the proper documentation required for the Indian VISA. Depending on your purpose of visit, you can get an Indian tourist visa (six months), a business visa (6 months, one year or more, multiple entries), or a student visa (up to 5 years). An Indian visa is valid from the day it is issued, not the date of entry. Make sure to check the maximum duration per visit with your local embassy.
Many Indian embassies have outsourced visa processing in full or in part to third-party companies, so check ahead before going to the embassy. For example, in the USA, you must submit your visa application to Travisa and not the embassy. Applications through these agencies also attract an application fee, above that which is detailed on most embassy websites and should be checked prior to submitting your paperwork. In addition, many Indian embassies only offer visas to residents of that country: this means you should get your visa before you leave home, instead of trying to get into a neighboring country. Rules and validity of visas will differ based on citizenship. Check the website of the Indian embassy, consulate, or high commission in your country, or contact the local office.
For your bookings, you must have all the activities of your interest and your accommodation preferences in your mind. Flashpacking India will always suggest to the best places and activities to do on your trip.
If you are flashpacking to remote destinations or in the touristic season, you should book your flights/trains/hotels many days in advance to avoid last-minute hassles.
Always look for the value for money deal that flashpacking India provides always.
Flashpacking India will suggest the best travel routes and the itinerary. For the bookings and other help you can write it to email@example.com
Planned your holidays? Now is the time for Packing.
- Travel Documents: keep your travel documents separate in a small bag that is with you always. Where you can put the documents like Passport, Travel Insurance, Traveler Cheques, passport size photographs, medical reports, etc.
- Medicines: If your doctor recommends any medicines to you, pack them first because you might not get the same one in the destination country.
- Clothing: Check the weather during the month of traveling or you may ask Flashpacking India for accurate information. Pack the clothes accordingly. We suggest you pack fewer clothes to make your journey more comfortable. Avoid carrying white color clothes as they get dirty easily. You can carry dark colors like brown, black, royal blue, etc. or any color you like the most.
- Travel Gadgets: You can also carry your travel gadgets according you’re your interest. A Netbook or a Tablet or other as per your interest.
- As a photographer, you can start simple with a point and click digital camera that fits in your pocket. If you are a more serious travel photographer you may carry a SLR digital camera. Also, carry a spare battery and a memory card.
- Suggest you carry a lock too if you are going for a camping and outdoor trip.
- For outdoor trips carry a good pair of comfortable walking shoes and full pants.
Basic Travel Kit
- Itinerary Printout
- At least two Copies of PhotoIDs
- Passport size photograph
- Mobile Charger
- Pen and a small Diary
- Bag locks (2 or more)
- Backpack or Carry bag
- Extra spectacles with cover
- Spectacles cover
- Multi-Plug suggested for remote areas
- Small water bottle, say 500 ml
- Match Boxes or Flint or Cigarette Lighter
- Plastic Bags / Plastic Zip Lock Bags
- Twist-ties, safety pins
- Novels as per your interest
- Get the help of Flashpacking India Team before planning your trip.
- Read Flashpacking articles and join the flashpacking community to take the help of experts.
- Avoid carrying the most valuable things during your trips like expensive jewelry etc.
- Choose the hotels recommended by Flashpacking India or its community members
- Try to find a travel companion if you are traveling to the remote areas
- We suggest you scan your documents and keep a copy online also (just in case)
- Don’t keep all your money in a single place /pocket.
- Don’t party with the strangers
- Don't hire any stranger guide for the city sightseeing or in the monuments
- Follow the rules and regulations of hotels and adventure programs etc
- Do not try to explore Indian roads yourself, nor drive in India unless you have been trained on Indian roads.
During the tour Tips
Customs and immigration
There are various rules regarding duty-free allowances — there are differing rules for Indian citizens, foreign "tourists", citizens of Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan, non-citizens of Indian origin, and people moving to India. Cast a quick glance at the website of the Central Board of Excise and Customs for information about what you can bring in.
Importing and exporting Indian rupees by foreign nationals is theoretically prohibited, although in practice there are no checks. Indian nationals can import or export up to INR 7500, - maximum, but on trips to Nepal, this cannot include INR 500 and INR 1000 notes.
For domestic flights arrive at least two hours before departure if traveling from the major airports. (For domestic flights from minor airports, one hour before is fine.) The new rule dictates that check-in closes 45 minutes before departure time and the boarding gate closes 25 minutes before departure.
Bring a print-out of your ticket and a government-issued id. If you forget to bring a printout, you can get one at the airline office outside the airport.
1. Do not purchase antiques, carpets, or jewelry unless you are absolutely sure of what you are buying. Price is not always an indication of value and authenticity.
2. Bargaining is very much part of the Indian shopping experience, especially when shopping in local markets. You should be aware that unless it is a government emporium where prices are fixed, you would always be quoted prices much higher than the value of the goods.
3. Do not bargain if you see the “Fixed Price” or “No Bargain” sign in the shop
4. Always take time to read the charge slips for credit card purchases before you sign them. You should know that for any purchase returned against a credit card payment, refunds could take up to six months to process.
5. For purchases, which are, being hand-carried all sales receipts must be retained with you to produce for customs on arrival at your destination.
Cuisines / restaurants
Indian cuisine is superb and takes its place among the great cuisines of the world. There is a good chance that you'd have tasted "Indian food" in your country, especially if you are a traveler from the West, but what India has exported abroad is just one part of its extraordinary range of culinary diversity.
Indian food has a well-deserved reputation for being hot, owing to the Indian penchant for the liberal use of a variety of spices, and potent fresh green chilis or red chili powder that will bring tears to the eyes of the uninitiated, and found in unexpected places like sweet cornflakes (a snack, not breakfast) or even candies. The degree of spiciness varies widely throughout the country:
To enjoy the local food, start slowly. Don't try everything at once. After a few weeks, you can get accustomed to spicy food. If you would like to order your dish not spicy, simply say so.
Indian restaurants run the gamut from roadside shacks (dhabas) to classy five-star places where the experience is comparable to places anywhere in the world. Away from the big cities and tourist haunts, mid-level restaurants are scarce, and food choices will be limited to the local cuisine, Punjabi/Mughlai, Chinese, and occasionally South Indian.
The credit for popularizing Punjabi cuisine all over the country goes to the dhabas that line India's highways. Their patrons are usually the truckers, who happen to be overwhelmingly Punjabi. The authentic dhaba serves up simple yet tasty seasonal dishes like roti and dhal with onions, and diners sit on cots instead of chairs. Hygiene can be an issue in many dhabas, so if one's not up to your standards try another. In rural areas, dhabas are usually the only option.
In Southern India, "Hotel" means a local restaurant serving south Indian food, usually a thali -- a full plate of food that usually includes a kind of bread and an assortment of meat or vegetarian dishes -- and prepared meals.
Although you may be handed an extensive menu, most dishes are served only during specific hours, if at all.
Learn & Experience
There are many things to learn that interest foreigners all over India, but there are a few destinations that become known for certain things:
- Yoga is popular in Haridwar & Rishikesh
- Ayurveda is popular in Kerala.
- Learn Hindi in Delhi and Varanasi
- Classical musical instruments in Varanasi
- Classical vocal music and classical Dance forms in Tamil Nadu
- Buddhism in Dharamshala and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh as well as in Bodhgaya in Bihar
- Cooking classes
Religion and rituals
In mosques, churches, and temples it is obligatory to take off your shoes. It may also be customary to take off your footwear while entering homes and follow other people's lead.
Books and written material are treated with respect, as they are considered as being concrete/physical forms of the Hindu Goddess of Learning, Saraswati. A book should not be touched with the feet and if it has been accidentally touched, the same gesture of apology as is made to people (see above) should be performed. The same goes with currency or anything associated with wealth (especially gold). They are treated as being physical representations of the Goddess Lakshmi (of Wealth) in human form, and should not be disrespected.
Avoid winking, whistling, pointing or beckoning with your fingers, and touching someone's ears. All of these are considered rude.