Essential Trip Information — India

Please note: The information below applies to all departures from April, 2024 onward. For information regarding trips departing prior to that time, please email

Passports, visas and entry requirements

You’ll need a valid passport to travel internationally. Most countries require your passport to have a minimum of 6 months validity, so remember to check the expiration date.

It’s important that the information you provide when booking your trip matches your passport exactly. Please take care to provide the correct details. We recommend carrying a copy of the photo page of your passport while traveling and leaving a copy at home with family or friends.

Many countries require a visa. Obtaining the correct visa for your trip and any countries you may transit through is your responsibility. We recommend you check your visa requirements as soon as you have booked your trip. This will ensure you have time for your visa application to be processed. To check requirements, and if you’d like assistance securing your visa, please visit VisaHQ.

Medical and health information

All travelers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. For the safety and wellbeing of yourself and others, if you are unwell prior to traveling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements.

When selecting your trip, please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully. It’s important to assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the assessment of our group leader or local staff a traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements in their original packaging as they may not easily be obtained while traveling. If you are carrying medication, ensure you check your government's foreign travel advice for any local restrictions or requirements. 

The safety and well-being of our travelers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. While we do not require participants of this trip departing after May 1, 2024 to be vaccinated against COVID-19, we strongly recommend that all travelers get vaccinated unless otherwise advised by their doctors. Please be aware that some parts of the world still require COVID-19 vaccination or testing as part of their entry requirements and may have their own quarantine or isolation protocols. Please check for any additional requirements on your government's foreign travel advice website.

Malaria is a risk in many parts of India, including major cities. Cases of dengue fever are reported, especially in the period after the monsoon. Other mosquito-borne diseases (including Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya fever, and filariasis) also occur. Take preventative measures such as wearing long clothing, using repellent, and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. Consult a medical professional regarding prophylaxis against malaria. For more information, see the World Health Organisation's fact sheets:

During winter months (October-February), air pollution levels in parts of India can spike to hazardous levels. Severe pollution can increase the risk of respiratory problems. Those with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be especially affected. Your leader may be able to help you obtain a face mask. All travelers are encouraged to pack (reusable) face masks as an extra precaution.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including meningitis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria and rabies) are common in India. Tap water is not safe to drink. Homemade or unlabelled alcohol can be poisonous. Seek medical attention if you suspect food poisoning, if you have a fever, or suffer from diarrhea.

India is classified as an ongoing transmission zone for Zika, with confirmed cases in Tamil Nadu and Jaipur. Basic precautions for protection from mosquito bites should be taken by people traveling to Zika transmission areas, especially pregnant women.

Cases of influenza A(H1N1) are widespread in India during winter with a number of recent cases in Rajasthan. Discuss influenza vaccination requirements with your doctor or a travel health professional before departing and maintain good hygiene practices by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, and washing your hands regularly. For more information, see the World Health Organisation's fact sheets:

Food and dietary requirements

While traveling with us, you'll experience a vast array of wonderful food. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where to eat, some meals are not included in the trip price. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your Trip Coordinator know prior to departure.

Food is a huge part of Indian culture, and the variety of options is incredible. You can snack for a bargain or dine in the finest restaurants. At larger restaurants in areas frequented by more tourists, there is typically a choice between Indian, Chinese, and Western-style food. 

Please note that service in restaurants (especially with a group) can be quite slow, so patience is a must.

Indian restaurants cater very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a “veg” and “pure veg” section of the menu. If in doubt, please check with your tour leader. 

Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards recommended restaurants and those that are known to have better hygiene. 


The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. Occasionally, alternative arrangements may need to be made. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation whenever possible.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible. Occasionally, we aren’t able eto check-in immediately on arrival at the hotel. When that happens, we can store our luggage and explore. On some trips, we’ll have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

The hotel accommodation on this trip is in air-conditioned rooms. Some areas of India experience daily load shedding. This means the power may be turned off at certain times of the day and usually occurs for a few hours in the early afternoon. 

Most hotel properties have a restaurant or cafe serving local meals. Many restaurants and hotels do not serve alcohol for religious reasons or due to local laws. 

Showers at some hotels only have hot water at peak times (usually morning and evening). Outside of these times, you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water.

If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel and your tour leader right away  so that the problem can be addressed without delay.


Main roads in India are usually very busy with an assortment of vehicles from the biggest trucks (who always have right of way) down to bikes (and animals!). Overtaking on blind corners at speed is common as is liberal use of the horn as a form of communication. Our leaders have complete authority to remove groups from local transport if the driver is not driving safely. Drivers of our private vehicles are experienced and well trained. If you are uncomfortable with your driver, please always let your tour leader know immediately. Please ensure you wear your seat belt at all times.

Road travel in India can be unpredictable, and distances often take longer to drive than they would in other parts of the world, even if much of the route is on a highway.

India has a massive network of trains and millions of people travel by rail every day. Trains often travel the length of the country over several days. Trains are a great way to see the countryside and get you away from the busy road system. Delays and cancellations are common on trains. Your tour leader will check the train status to see if there are delays and will do their best to keep you informed of any changes.

From December to February, delays are more common, especially in the north of the country due to fog. It’s not uncommon for trains to be delayed for up to 12 hours. On occasion, your trip may need to be rerouted as a result. Your tour leader in conjunction with our local office will advise any changes to the itinerary.

Most airlines in India are high-quality. Airports are becoming more modern (especially in the major and tourist cities). To enter the airport, you must have a copy of your flight ticket and passport. Schedule changes and delays do occur, especially when weather conditions make visibility poor.

On this trip, we may travel in an auto-rickshaw. These small, motorized, three-wheeled vehicles are a common form of transport in India and do not have seatbelts.

Money matters

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while traveling.

The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). Its symbol is ₹. The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via ATMs, which are readily available in most towns. Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATMs. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATMs to use for withdrawals. Cash shortages at ATMs can be a problem in rural areas. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn, or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful. The use of credit cards can be restricted, mainly to major hotels, shops, and higher-end establishments.

Tipping can be an appropriate way to recognize great service when traveling. It is always best to avoid tipping with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult rather than the goodwill gesture it is intended to be.

You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. As a guideline, US$6 per person (in a currency relevant for your destination), per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit. 

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations are the traveler’s responsibility. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travelers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.


. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. Please make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, walk with it for short distances, and take it up or down a flight of stairs. Our travelers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travelers carry their luggage in a compact suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it.

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport, smaller luggage will be easier to store under or above bunks. You may not be able to take large bags on board. A lockable bag will be useful, especially when traveling on public transportation.

You'll also need a day pack or bag to carry water, a camera, acket,  etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Phone and internet access

Generally, WiFi is available in most parts of India and at most of the accommodation we use. It's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in-room use. Please ask your tour leader or the specific hotel reception upon check-in. Many restaurants and cafes (especially in tourist areas) offer customers free WiFi. Ask for the password when ordering. Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas.

You can purchase a SIM at the airport (or at kiosks in cities) for use while traveling in India. Airtel or Vodaphone is a good bet. SIMs are relatively cheap. Typically, you will need to provide 2 passport-sized photos, and a copy of your passport will be made.

Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15. International airmail postcards cost around ₹12. For postcards, stick the stamps on before writing, as the post office can give you as many as four stamps per card. The post office is often an adventure in India!

Climate and seasonal information

Due to India's size and topography, there's a huge amount of variation in its climate. We recommend you consider both the season and the part of India you intend to visit, so that you can best pack for your adventure. Your Trip Coordinator is happy to answer questions and provide more detail based on the time of your trip. 

One of the best times to visit India is from September to March when temperatures in much of the country are at their best, with warm days and cool nights.

During winter (especially December to January), temperatures can get quite cold in Delhi and the north, particularly at night. Occasionally, hotels aren’t kept as warm as travelers would like, especially in rural areas.  In these months, you may want to bring thermals for sleeping and a warm jacket for mornings and evenings. 

Monsoon season is from May to October and offers hot and humid conditions. It is not unusual for trains to be delayed, and for activities in towns near rivers and lakes (e.g., Varanasi) to require amendment at this time of year. Your leader will be able to advise you of any changes.

As a country of many cultures and religions, India has many festivals and public holidays. Here are some of the key dates and events:

HOLI (Festival of Colours)
2024: March 24–25

DIWALI (Festival of Light)
2024: November 1 

2024: March 10 – April 8

Group Leader

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We always endeavor to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are traveling, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local places to eat, and introduce you to local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit. 

Atlas Obscura Experts

In addition to experienced tour guides, many of our trips are created, led, co-led, or accompanied by Atlas Obscura experts. Detailed expert bios can be found on the main trip page. 


Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. 

We strongly recommend the use of a money belt while traveling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash, and other valuable items. Please leave your jewellery at home. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Your leader will accompany you on all organized group activities included in the cost of the trip, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

Women should exercise caution when traveling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when traveling:

Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day.
Avoid traveling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night.

Respect local customs and dress codes and customs.
-If you have to use taxis, get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers.
If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off.
When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (e.g., going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you where possible.

For further information and advice, visit:


Travelling in India during Holi poses some particular risks . Drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on this day.It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day.

Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid-October to mid-November every year) is celebrated by letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India, there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival, your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks.

Scams involving ATM and credit cards, train tickets, taxis, temple donations, and tourist guides are an issue in areas frequented by travelers. If you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to the nearest police station. (Your trip leader can help.) Even though they may not be able to get your money or goods back, they can issue you with an official loss report for insurance purposes.

A few rules

Our travelers are connected by a love of adventure and passion for seeing the world in a different way. We've laid down a few non-negotiable rules to ensure everyone feels connected, comfortable, and safe on our trips.

We ask that you respect your fellow travelers, group leader, and local people and places we visit in all circumstances. We don't tolerate any forms of violence and expect that you follow the local laws, customs, and regulations in any destination we travel to. Any behavior contrary to the above, including any behavior that prevents our staff from performing their duty of care or continuing the itinerary as planned, may result in travelers being removed from the trip.

If you consume alcohol while traveling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect you to abide by local alcohol laws.

To ensure the well-being of everyone on the trip, all decisions made by group leaders and ground staff are final.

Romantic relationships between travelers and group leaders are not permitted while on trip.

By traveling with us, you agree to comply with these rules and the laws and customs of all countries visited.

If something is concerning you during your travels with us, please speak to your group leader or local guide immediately. 

Traveling on a group trip

One of the great things about an Atlas Obscura Adventure is meeting curious, like-minded people from all corners of the world.

Traveling with an Atlas Obscura group provides access to things you’d never be able to discover on your own, as well as a trip leader acting as host, local ambassador, and connector between you and the local culture.

If you’ve never traveled with a group before, here are some things to keep in mind:

Your fellow travelers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group. Patience with your fellow travelers benefits everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found that the very best trips we operate are those where everyone is sensitive to the group as a whole, which can take a little effort. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travelers booked on your trip prior to departure.

Our trips are well-suited to people who are traveling solo. If you want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people, you’re in the right place.

On our trips, rooming is organized on a twin-share basis. We pair up solo travelers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports.

As a responsible tour operator, we strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. If your gender identity differs from what is indicated on your passport, please contact us so that we can discuss rooming options with you.

We also have an optional single supplement available on most trips for travelers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will be on a single room basis.

On a small selection of itineraries, some accommodations are booked on an open gender, multi-share basis (for example on a felucca in Egypt or an overnight train in Vietnam).

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is strongly recommended on all our trips for those traveling internationally. At a minimum, you should be covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are traveling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travelers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancelation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects.  For travelers who reside within the European Union, Switzerland or USA, the requirement to purchase travel insurance cannot be compulsory. However the purchase of travel insurance is still highly recommended, and travelers from these regions who decline travel insurance when traveling outside of their home region may be required to sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting, recognizing personal responsibility for emergency medical and repatriation costs should they arise.

If you haven’t already purchased travel insurance, we highly recommend reviewing your options with Yonder

If you’d like assistance with your flights, please fill out this form and our colleagues at Exito Travel with follow up with options. We strongly recommended waiting until we’ve notified you that your departure is guaranteed before booking your flights. Please review the Arrival and Departure details for your trip (above on this page) when choosing your flight times. 

Issues during your trip

While we always aim to provide the best possible travel experience, sometimes things do go wrong. If an issue occurs during your trip, please discuss it with your group leader right away so that they can do their best to help.

We recognize that there may be times when your group leader isn’t able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction. If this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still traveling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real time.

Itinerary changes
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on traveler feedback and conditions in the destination. Due to weather, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour.

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