India Travel Tips: dress, theft, electronics to pollution

Sharing some India travel tips I gathered in my preparations; from several western women travelers as well as Indian natives who were raised there.

• Don’t leave purses, bags, valuables by open windows – on trains for example -and or behind flimsy walls. I heard the story from a friend whose tent was sliced open as her purse was lifted from where it was perched at the base of a window, while she slept.
• Keep an extra purse in an available pocket, separate from where you keep your money, passport and valuables hidden, so that it appears that you only have this available to be taken.
• VISA’s are in high demand these days, everywhere, no doubt contributing to a black market movement to assist in the massive immigration of people desperate to start a new life. I was informed that western VISAs are targeted – whether you’re in NYC, London or traveling throughout Asia or Africa. Keep it hidden.
• Better to use a credit card than debit card, having heard of stories of people being escorted around to take money out of one, and then another ATM.
• Speaking of ATM machines, an Indian woman informed me not to take money out of ATM’s that are out in the street in India. They are likely to be scam machines. Use ATM’s in banks.
• Women, adjust your fashion to accommodate the tendencies of the country you are visiting. Wear long sleeves, long pants, loose, rather than tight and provocative clothing. Perhaps wear a scarf around your chest to further district attention. No need to stand out for the wrong reasons and attracting the wrong kind of attention.
• Regarding clothing, there’s more forgiveness for casual wear in cities that are modern or when you’re hanging out with a group of friends, than more traditional cities or rural areas. People have a tendency to be less tolerant, no matter where you are, the further you get away from the coasts, which tend to be more liberal.
• Some of the larger cities in India are quite polluted, and not particularly pleasant to walk around in if there’s 12 foot visibility through a screen of smog. Here’s a good indicator to follow, a real-time global pollution index, to perhaps guide you with a more informed decision of where you may wish to head to next. http://aqicn.org/map/india/

Real-time International Air Polllution Index aqicn

Real-time International Air Polllution Index


• As someone who is old school – traveling with a laptop rather than merely a smart Phone – I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t fry my Mac.
– Not only do you need the appropriate ‘adapter’ in order to plug in to the compatible socket in India, – It’s a good idea to have a ‘surge protector’, which I always have no matter where I am.
– However, a surge protector is only compatible with the voltage reflecting the country in which it is produced.
– Surge protectors from France or Germany are compatible with India – both operating within the 220 to 240 V range. Whereas a surge protector produced In the US, where the voltage is 110 to 120 V, will not function in India.
– In addition to a ‘surge protector’, you will benefit from having a device that protects you from voltage fluctuations, called a ‘voltage regulator’. Better to be safe and relaxed, than worried or worse, horrified, as your digitally created baby is sautéed.

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