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Baggage and Packing:

1. Smart Packing: The lighter the bag, the lesser you sag! Nothing new to say here except 'Travel Light'. Yet, in your enthusiasm to have a weightless bag, do not throw out the essentials. However use strong suitcases/baggage, as mishandling is common at airports/stations.

2. Clothes: Cottons or synthetic blends are most practical for Indian summers. Don't get synthetics that don't 'breathe' - they'll make you what else but breathless! Delicate fabrics will get the care and attention they need only at a 5 stars’ laundry room. If you aren’t staying at one, think twice before carrying them. It is better for women to avoid tank tops or short skirts / shorts. The best outfit, especially during the hot summers, is a T-shirt worn with loose cotton trousers. You can purchase them anywhere in India, at very reasonable rates, at any of the shops. Adventurous ladies can try wearing the Indian 'salwar-kameez'. It is comfortable and free sized.

3. Travel Essentials: Carry a sewing kit, pre-moistened napkins, pocket knife with can opener, lock and key for each duffel or bag, impact-resistant flashlight, spare batteries (unless they're a popular size). A blow-up neck pillow is excellent for buses and trains. Eye patches add to comfort. If train traveling, a bike chain is a must to lock your packs up on trains. A good first aid kit and mosquito repellent cream you should have too.

4. Sun Screen: Sun screen lotion (lots of it) should be a permanent part of your bag. The sun will usually be glaring at you most of the day. So a wide brimmed hat and sun glasses are a must.

5. Winters: Winters can be chilly. Come armed with sweaters and light jackets.

6. Monsoon: A collapsible umbrella will help you stay dry during the sometimes-sudden, sometimes-continuous rain during the monsoons.

7. Adventure: Sports enthusiasts should bring their own tennis or golf balls – these are expensive in India. If you are hiking or a trekker, bring a day pack that will hold some essentials like sweater, camera, water bottle etc.

Tipping in India:

Don't tip unreasonably and unnecessarily in a hotel. The NEWS soon spreads in the hotel and by the time you checkout there will be a group of them saluting you to expect something. Make note of the below pointers:

1. In hotels and restaurants, tips are not normally included in the bill.

2. Some hotels include service charges on their bills. In such cases tipping is not compulsory, but this is normal courtesy of the guest to pay those people who provide best services.

3. The standard tip is 5- 10%, depends on the figure of bill.

4. In hotels, porters and room service attendants are normally tipped at the end of the stay, though an early tip is likely to get you better service.

5. Tipping of taxi drivers is not necessary at all. Just pay by the fixed charges or as per meter reading. If you hire an individual car, end of the services paying the driver would be ideal. You can pay $ 10 to $ 25 per day. Depend how much you are satisfied with him.

6. At hotels don’t pay individual to the room service boy. Call them up once you leave the pay to one of them and ask to share the tip amount. Else paying individually to service boy will be complicated. You can pay INR 500 to 2000 at each hotel.

7. You can pay INR 100 TO 500 to bell boys, And if you are quite happy with the food you can pay the chief cook 300 to 1000 depends of the category of the hotels you stay.

Health Precautions:

1. Always drink bottled water.

2. For the first few days it might be advisable to clean your teeth in bottled water.

3. Eat fruit you can peel.

4. Always wash fruit well before eating it.

5. Wash your hands before and after eating.

6. Always keep a tube of mosquito repellent with you.

7. Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need for diarrhoea, fever, etc. Also, band aids and an antiseptic ointment.

9. If you do catch a bug, do not panic. It will go away in a few days - but try the following tips to keep it down:

  • a. Drink lassi - a yoghurt drink. It will help tone down the bacteria.
  • b. Eat plain rice, or try a simple khichdi - an easily digestible mixture of rice and lentils.
  • c. Drink plenty of coconut water. It's cooling, and naturally sterilized!
  • d. Drink plenty of fluids and take some electrolyte salts if the bug persists.