11 Things To Know Before Traveling To India: A Passrider Checklist for Travel To India

by Passrider on October 21, 2015



If you’re traveling to India, there are a few things you should be aware of before you embark on your journey. It’s controlled chaos at its best and the more informed you are the better your experience will be.



Bus at the Mumbai Airport




Here’s a checklist to use when planning your next trip.  Can you think of anything else? Please leave a comment below:


  1. Be Patient
    • It will all get taken care of, just not at the speed and efficiency to which you are accustomed.  The bus won’t show up and others will be fine with it, except you.  Just go with the flow as much as possible.
  2. Get a visa before you depart if that’s the relationship your country has with India
    • India has expanded its visa policies over the years. Now, most countries can do a visa on arrival as long as its citizens apply online before arriving. Also, the cost has gone down drastically. Start at this Indian visa page for more details.
  3. Have a printed copy of your itinerary or your onward boarding pass
    • You will need this to connect to any flight in another terminal or to gain access to the departure terminal for your return flight when in India. You can only access the terminal within 3 hours of your departure flight.
  4. Have your hotel accommodation information sorted out
    • I’m the quintessential travel who usually do not have a hotel booked.  However, this is something they may ask you for when traveling to India.  There are some places in the airports depending on which airport you use.
    • Hotels.com can help you find last minute deals. Ensure that you print the reservations confirmation page to show to the Immigration authorities or the hotel when you arrive.
  5. Get Travel Insurance
    • This is really not just for India, but for all your other travels.  You never know what may happen on your trips, so being prepared for the unexpected with travel insurance is a good thing.  There are many different packages available from our partner World Nomads . You can buy, extend and claim online even after you’ve left home.Recommended by Lonely Planet, World Nomads travel insurance is designed for adventurous travelers (and traveling to India is quite the adventure :)) with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
  6. Get some Indian Rupees
    • Use an ATM at the airport or the currency exchange counters on your arrival. I prefer the ATMs as you will et a much better exchange rate. Ensure you do the math right though as you may take out too much money.
  7. Drink bottled water
  8. Be cognizant of weight restrictions especially from Mumbai (BOM)
    • Weight restrictions reduces the amount of seats available for space available travel. So while a flight will appear open, once you get to the airport, the agents will advise that there is a weight restriction and subsequently you can’t board.  This is why you have your backup tickets and/or alternate accommodation plans.
  9. Get an Airport Lounge Pass
    • You can use an airline Lounge card or invest in Priority Pass which will give you access to Lounges worldwide.
    • Nothing like a shower in the airport before you depart especially if you are connecting and have a long layover.  Also, these lounges will give you free WiFi and food.  This is a worthwhile investment for all passriders.
      Save 20% and Access 600 airport lounges
  10. Be Familiar With The List Of Local Airlines
  11. Airport Taxis - 2010 06 12 in Bom, IndiaKnow The Nonstop Flights/Destinations From India
    • There are plenty of these and you should be familiar with them and have the appropriate tickets ready.  Typically, you have to be checked in at least one hour before the scheduled departure.  Also, your backup ticket must have the name of the airline on which you intend to fly, despite the fact that the agreement may say otherwise (i.e. “valid on all ZED carriers)”. Its no time to argue with the agent, although if you can reason with them it helps. Use http://www.passrider.com/reservations/advanced-search/ to help you with flight schedules:
      • Brussels, Belgium (BRU) – JetAirways (9W)
      • London-Heathrow, England (LHR) – Air India (AI), British Airways (BA), Jet Airways (9W), Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS)
      • New York-JFK (JFK) – Air India (AI)
      • New York-Newark, NJ (EWR) – Air India (AI), United Airlines (UA)
      • Singapore (SIN) – Air India (AI), Jet Airways (9W), Singapore Airlines (SQ)
      • Tokyo-Narita, Japan (NRT) – Air India (AI), ANA (NH), JAL (JL), Jet Airways (9W)


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Rad May 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

This was a very helpful post. Thank you!


avatar Kerwin McKenzie May 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm
avatar cathy May 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Have been to India 2 times and going back in Oct for a third time. The first group trip was to see the Taj Mahal and Dellhi. My second group trip we did the Golden triangle of Jaipur, Delhi and Agra.
My third will be back to the Taj Mahal with another group of my coworkers. I researched on trip advisors and found a great agent. We used Manoj Dewan of Ajanta Travel Services. Many of my coworkers used him for their India travel, not just Delhi. I have never had anyone complain about his services.

Everyone should at least go once and see the Taj Mahal. It is beautiful.


avatar Kerwin McKenzie May 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Hi Cathy,
Good to hear. I’m the traveler who does things by myself usually. I’ve not done the triangle just yet, but have done the Taj Mahal. A friend of mine who lives in Delhi got me a car and driver to go down there and back. It worked well.
While I love the Taj Mahal, I think Agra and its surroundings should be looked after just as much as the Taj Mahal is.



avatar Andrea Sanderson September 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Hi Kerwin … One of my coworkers just told me about this site ..it’s awesome … I am a flight attended for AA .. Traveling with my mother to India ..I am USA citizen .. Any vaccines required to enter Delhi, India .. Leaving in 10 days
Thank you


avatar Kerwin McKenzie October 1, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Hi Andrea,

Thank you for your questions.

First, I hope you’ve received your visa.
You can check health requirements at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/india.html.
In my visits, I did not have any vaccinations. But I arrived from the U.S. and just transited from Nepal a few years back.

I’d just be aware that some areas are very poor so just prepare for that.

Heed the warnings about not drinking the water since your stomach is not used to it. And the traffic is amazing, nothing I’ve seen except in Taiwan and China. The co-existence of people, animals and automobiles is interesting. And ensure you go take a look at the train station, its just fascinating.

You’ll both have a great time.

Please let me know how it goes.



avatar Kamrun Saif October 20, 2015 at 4:39 am

Hi I never been to Europe please gave me tips for cheap but memorable tour to London  


avatar Jason March 30, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Hello! Great post. Thank you. I’m in Mumbai now and was wondering how hard it is to get in the airport with a standby ticket. My friend told me they wouldn’t let him in until he was assigned a seat.  And that he was nervously waiting outside until he was put in a seat. ‘m an enrolled friend at united and don’t have ZED access. I’m just worried about getting in there on time. Do you have any insight into this?


avatar Kerwin McKenzie March 31, 2016 at 4:46 am

Thanks Jason.
Yeah, they are quite strict in India. Typically if you have a physical paper copy of your itinerary they’ll let you in the check-in area within three hours of your flight so you can check-in.
But then you do have to wait for an assigned seat to go behind the security and to the gates.
Good luck.

I hope that helps.



avatar Parth Patel October 12, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Hey kerwin. I am sending my parents to India for the first time and was wondering how soon before departure time they assign seats? Also when I list them as stand by on united will that printed itinerary let them inside the airport? 



avatar Kerwin McKenzie October 13, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Hi Parth,

Thanks for the question.
Seats may not be assigned until the very last minute, usually between 40 minutes and 15 minutes before departure. This depends on the flight loads among other variables.

Yes, a printed copy of the itinerary should suffice for entry into the airport.



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