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You’ll no doubt have many questions while planning and preparing for a journey to India. Our travel experts are happy to answer any and all of them and we welcome you to contact us to chat. In the meantime, here are some quick answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about travelling to India with Micato.
We’re travellers, too, and dislike having to root around for rupees while we’re on the road. So decades ago we decided to make it possible to enjoy a Micato trip in India without worrying about extras and add-ons. In short, virtually everything is included. You’ll be expertly led, magnificently dined, and gorgeously housed, and your wallet can take a nice rest. (And that, as we mention below, goes for tipping.)
India is Micato’s ancestral homeland, and our roots there grow deep. And, because we’re one of the world’s most respected travel companies, unprecedented 10-time winner of Travel + Leisure’s award for World’s #1 Best Safari Operator, we’re in a position to hire only the brightest and best guides. Our Travel Directors accompany each Micato Indian journey from touchdown to takeoff, and they invariably do it with great, story-telling, snafu-correcting, diligent, and affable style.
All meals everywhere on your Micato India journey are included, along with bottled water, tea and coffee, local beer, and/or India’s surprisingly tasty wines.
Absolutely, from beginning to end of your trip. Our unique no-tipping policy includes your Travel Director, your drivers, the fellows who carry your luggage, waiters and everybody. Micato’s Travel Directors are masters at unobtrusively taking care of this sometimes troublesome task.
The modern best, driven by carefully-chosen drivers who are exceptionally adept in navigating India’s boisterous traffic. All Micato vehicles are stocked with cooling drinks and snacks, and if you want to stop to take a picture, grab a chai, or make a pit stop, well…you’re the boss.
Variable, with an emphasis on warm to hot. Much depends on the time of year you travel, and where you go. Northern India can be quite cool in winter, so warm clothing—coats, hats, even gloves for early morning and evening outings—should be in your wardrobe. But the equator is not far to India’s south, and Rajasthan, centerpiece of many Micato journeys, is about the same toasty latitude as Florida.
Our voluminous pre-trip materials go into detail about this. India’s climate varies quite a bit—and winter in Northern India can be frosty—but most of the time light cotton clothing is best, along with trusty walking shoes, a sun hat, sunglasses, and a bathing suit for afternoon dips in your hotel’s pool.
Whether or not you buy travel insurance for your Micato journey, as well as who you buy it from if you do, is entirely up to you. Our position is transparent: We wholeheartedly recommend that our guests have a policy that covers their trip, as travel insurance offers major advantages.
We encourage our overseas guests to investigate travel insurance providers. To our U.S.-based travellers we highly recommend Trip Mate.
Very few places on the planet are as shopping-worthy as India. We could fill a couple of websites with descriptions of the fabrics, statues, knick-knacks, gems, clothes, paintings, beadwork, and a hundred other things that await your attention. One handy plus on a Micato trip: your Travel Director knows the shopping landscape, and will help you identify the best purveyors and the sellers and the things they purvey—and he’ll help you with reliable shipping via FedEx and DHL, etc.
Your credit cards are about as useful in India as they are in San Francisco or Missoula, Montana. ATMs abound, as do currency exchanges, in your hotel and in towns and cities (Unlike many other countries, essentially has no black market in currency; the exchange rate as of this writing is .015 rupees to the dollar ). And if you want to make a small purchase, and you’re caught without rupees, your Travel Director will cheerfully float you a loan.
We will walk you through this in our pre-trip materials (and over the phone or email) but you will need a visa (available online; visas can also be arranged through local Indian embassies and consulates.) Your passport should be valid at least six months beyond the length of your trip, and contain at least two blank pages. And you should always have a colour photocopy of your passports photo page and of your visa.
It’s often said that “Just about everybody in India speaks English.” That’s one of the legacies of the British Raj: the country is richly supplied with excellent English language newspapers, television stations, and books, and, indeed, just about everybody speaks English—often extremely well. And if you want to chat with someone who isn’t fluent, your Travel Director/Ace Translator is close at hand.
We devote 22 paragraphs to the question of cameras, lenses, filters, plug-ins, etc. in our pre-trip mailings. But the short answer is: India is a photographer’s paradise, and whether you’re an avid shutterbug or a smartphone snap-and-shooter, you won’t have to change your style.
India is on a different electrical system than the US (220/240 volts and 50 cycles), and you’ll want to buy transformers or converters, about which we’ll send you detailed info and advice prior to your trip. With those in hand, you should have no problem using your various e-devices; these days most phone and cameras don’t need converters. (And, you’ll be glad to know, all our hotels provide no-hassle hair-dryers in their bathrooms.)
All of India is on India Standard Time, ten and a half hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (nine and half ahead of Eastern Daylight Time). The IST is five and a half hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) as it’s now called.
Travelling light is not only encouraged, it’s required, due to weight restrictions on our inter-India flights. Important: There is no limit to the amount of bags you may carry, but they must not exceed a combined weight of 33 pounds. Micato arranges an extra 12 pounds per sector and per person for a total of 45 pounds. Where available Micato will book you on a business class flight with a luggage allowance of 66 pounds per person. However, business class is not available on all flights and airline regulations may change. Increased baggage allowances may be available for a fee. For carry-on luggage, you are allowed one cabin bag and one laptop or handbag. Hand luggage shouldn’t exceed 15 pounds.