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FAQ
What documents do I need to travel to the Indian subcontinent?

All visitors to India must have a passport valid through at least a period of six months after their scheduled departure from India. The passport must have at least two blank pages for immigration and visa stamps. We recommend that you always carry a photocopy of your passport in a separate bag. This proves extremely useful in the event of loss or theft.

All visitors to India require a valid visa obtained from an Indian High Commission or Consulate. The visa form is downloadable from the Indian mission websites and also available with local travel agents. Duly filled in visa forms should be accompanied with three photographs of the applicant and submitted at the embassy or sent by registered post along with a postage-paid self-addressed envelope.

All visa applicants are required to provide two Indian addresses. Compass guests often use Compass’ own address and that of one of its directors. Do let us know if you need the same done for you.

Personal and travel insurance is a must when travelling in the subcontinent. Most policies cover medical expenses, holiday cancellation, personal accident and legal expenses. You are encouraged to obtain an insurance policy for yourself from a reputed provider in your home country prior to travel. Please carry your insurance policy with you at all times, along with a photocopy in a separate bag.

Do I require vaccinations to visit India?

If you enter India within six days of visiting or transiting through an yellow fever affected area, then Indian Government regulations require you to provide valid immunization records against yellow fever at your port of entry.

Apart from that, most healthcare providers recommend vaccination against tetanus, polio, flu, hepatitis, meningitis, rabies and malaria.

While that looks like a formidable list, do remember that a vast majority of tourists return home from India with no complaints whatsoever. Compass India Holidays takes great care to provide its guests a quality of travel and accommodation that conforms to the highest global standards of hygiene and comfort. Please rest assured that in all probability we shall see you off home with nothing but pleasant memories.

What other health considerations should I keep in mind?

The most common traveller complaint is an upset stomach resulting from a change of climate and diet. These are usually nothing serious and recovery takes place in a day or two. Our representative will be happy to provide you over-the-counter medication to relieve your symptoms, should the need arise.

If you do come down with a stomach bug, remember to keep yourself hydrated. Compass will ensure you have plenty of mineral water around you through the length of your stay. Please remember that it is not safe to drink tap water.

Dust and pollution may cause some discomfort to travellers who suffer from chronic coughs and colds or asthma. While all hotels and vehicles are air-conditioned and dust-free, you cannot avoid being exposed to some of it during your stay. We advise you to carry preventive medication as cities in the subcontinent in particular suffer from smog.

Lastly, do consult your healthcare provider prior to travelling for more specific professional recommendations and advice.

Any advise for travellers with a pre-existing medical condition?

Please inform us of any existing medical condition, disability or special needs beforehand so that we can make your holiday as comfortable and enjoyable as we can. Compass reserves the right to not accept travellers who may have withheld critical health information from us.

Travellers undergoing medical treatment are advised to carry adequate supplies of medication to last the length of their stay. We recommend splitting up your supplies between your cabin and check-in baggages. We also recommend you carry a list of the generic properties of the medication you are carrying.

What kind of weather conditions should I expect?

The Indian subcontinent is a huge landmass with highly diverse geographical features. To the North are the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range, and to the South, the Indian Ocean. In between, lie arid deserts, lush tropical rainforests, fertile alluvial plains and mangrove swamps. Climatic conditions thus vary between sub-zero eternal snow in high altitudes to blazing dry heat in the deserts and everything in between.

Typically, the best time to visit is between October and March. However, wildlife sightings are more common in the heat of summer when animals seek the cool of watering holes. The Himalayans destinations too offer cool temperate climes during the summer months.

For your convenience, a brief overview of the weather is given below.

Weather in the North Indian Plains

April to June ~ Hot, dry and dusty with temperatures ranging between 35-42˚C (95 - 107.6˚F)

July to August ~ Warm, humid and rainy September to March ~ Days are pleasant. Night temperatures can drop to as low as 2˚C (35.6˚F)

Weather in South India

April-May and Aug-Sep ~ Hot and humid with average temperature around 38˚C (100.4˚F) June/July/Oct/Nov ~ Warm with heavy rains December to March ~ Pleasantly warm

Himalayan Destinations have pleasant summers with hazy skies (April to June) and cold winters with brilliant clear views from November to March. Coastal weather is warm but pleasant round the year.

What sort of clothing should I carry?

For daytime wear, we recommend casual cotton clothing that’s light and loosely fitted. It is advisable to choose clothing that covers the limbs to avoid sunburns and the occasional insect bite when in the outdoors. Carry a hat and plenty of sun-screen for day outings.

Evenings and early mornings can get quite cold from November to January. So if you are travelling then, do remember to pack woollens.

The monsoons see heavy, torrential rain, so it’s prudent to pack a raincoat or an umbrella from June to September, as well as appropriate waterproofing for your camera, laptop and other electronic items.

A stole or a scarf will come in handy at religious places that require you to cover your head.

Lastly, do remember to carry evening wear in case you wish to dine in style at one of our exquisite partner hotels.

Will there be ATMs where we are going?

All cities and most major tourist spots have plenty of ATMs that accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express Cards. Still, to be on the safe side, we recommend you also carry travellers cheques (USD, Euro and GBP Thomas Cook or Amex Traveller’s checks are widely accepted) and cash. USD, Euro and GBP are the most widely accepted currencies.

What is the best time for wildlife sightings?

Unlike in Africa, where wide open grassland teems with wildlife making for easy sightings, Indian wildlife thrives in thick forest and are hence tougher to spot. Usually, the hot summer months are better for spotting larger animals as they break cover in the heat of the day, seeking the cool of open water bodies.

Winters on the other hand offer more temperate and pleasant weather as well as a great opportunity to view migratory birds of stunning variety, colour and plumage.

Having said that, no matter what time of the year you visit, as a Compass guest, you will have at your disposal the services of the best guides and trackers in the business. Highly skilled in bushcraft and animal behaviour, these specialists coordinate with forest officials over radio to maximize your chance of sighting the wild denizens of the jungle.

The wildlife parks remain closed from 1st July to 15th October on account of the monsoons.

What cultural considerations should one keep in mind while visiting the subcontinent?

The Indian subcontinent is vast and diverse with strong cultural and spiritual roots. While it’s common to encounter people who are highly modern and westernized, it’s worthwhile to remember that on the whole, you are entering a traditional and conservative society very different from the one you come from. The inhabitants of the subcontinent are naturally hospitable, and visitors who are sensitive and respectful to their hosts’ beliefs, traditions and customs will be welcomed heartily and are assured a rewarding travel experience.

A few things to remember.

Removing shoes are a must when entering places of worship and private homes alike. Some Indian households, especially in urban areas, may be exceptions to this rule, but it’s always considered good form for the guest to offer to remove footwear before entering.

Some mosque and temples are open only to devotees of their own faith. Always ask for permission before entering. In case of any doubt, ask your guide.

Dress conservatively. When visiting mosques or temples, irrespective of gender, do ensure that your clothing is long enough to cover the upper arms and at least up to the knees. Certain places of worship, e.g. Gurdwaras, may require visitors to cover their heads. Headscarves are often available at the entrance.

Nudity is taboo, so do please carry swimsuits if you plan to go swimming.

Public display of affection between genders is frowned upon in more conservative areas and near places of worship.

It is not rude to stare. First time visitors may sometimes find it unnerving, but in most cases, locals are looking at you simply because they are curious.

I have more questions!

We realize that there is no end to questions when it comes to the topic of luxury travel in a place as vast and diverse as the Indian subcontinent, and no FAQ page can be exhaustive enough. Please email us at holidays@compassindiainc.com with any further queries you may have. We’ll be delighted to talk to you.

ACCREDITATIONS

Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India

Approved by the Ministry of Tourism

Indian Association of Tour Operators