A few tips for entering India
1) On the plane
Small cards are often handed out during the flight itself, in which personal information (name, passport number), flight number, an Indian address and a telephone number are to be filled in. It makes sense to fill in this note in advance, so that you can go directly to the immigration desk later. Otherwise, the papers are also available in front of the immigration area.
By the way, most international flights usually land in Delhi at night.
The route from the landing site towards the exit is quite long, but well signposted. Personally, I try to cover this route quite quickly in order to get in the queue for immigration in front of all the other passengers.
Once in the immigration area, it is important to find the right switch. There are different categories (Indian citizens, officials, e-visas, sticker visas etc….). Put yourself in the right queue. If you have an electronic visa (e-visa), you must have the print Out of your ETA (Visa Confirmation) ready, as well as your passport and the small completed note. Sticker Visa is the normal visa as a sticker.
At the counter, a photo of you is taken and fingerprints are taken.
4) To the exit, sim card and ATMs
Now we go through the “free-duty area” to the baggage belt. Scoreboards indicate the respective tape.
Here you can also exchange money (at bad prices), or solve problems with the package. If it may not have arrived.
Then it goes through the customs. Every now and then you are asked to open the suitcase. As a traveller, however, this happens relatively rarely.
Watch out now:
You now enter a hall. There are ATMs, a few shops, sim card shops, taxi services and cafes, as well as toilets. If your India trip is not an organised tour and you will not be picked up from the airport, it makes sense to withdraw money from the ATMsand also to organize a sim card here,
Money can be withdrawn with normal bank cards and credit cards. With credit cards of certain institutions (e.g. Dkb) also free of charge. Here at the airport, however, there are one-off costs of 200 rs. That’s about 3 €. I recommend to withdraw 10000 rs (130 €).
It also makes sense to obtain a sim card. The sim cards (Airtel, Jio, Vodafone, Idea) for tourists are valid for 30 days and cost around 5-10 € and provide daily about 1.5 GB. If you are travelling alone, it is very convenient to have internet for orientation and organization. Otherwise, almost all accommodations also have Wi-Fi.
5) Transfer to accommodation
I hope you have all already organized an accommodation for the first night. You don’t want to arrive in India and don’t know where to go!! India is already quite demanding and even more in the first days. Indians quickly take advantage of this unplannedness and you might end up in an overpriced hotel or even booking a whole package holiday.
So you should know exactly where you want to go now. There are now several ways to get to your accommodation:
a) You have booked a trip with us
If you have booked a trip with Chalo!Travels as group trip, we will pick you up with a sign board in the waiting room.
If you have booked an individual trip with us, you will be picked up by your driver behind the exit of the airport. Go through gate 5 or 6. A lot of drivers with signs are waiting here. After some orientation, you should quickly find your driver.
b) You have booked a transfer through your accommodation (Recommended)
Please clarify with your accommodation whether your driver with name plate is waiting in the waiting hall or outside at the exit. Most drivers wait outside the airport building.
c) You book a taxi on your own
Here you have 2 possibilities. Either you already book a taxi in the waiting hall. Here you will find different providers that have either prepaid or pospaid offers. In the case of prepaid, you will be given a ficer price in advance. At Postpaid, the taxi meter will name the price at the end. These private providers are somewhat expensive, but the vehicles are usually in better condition. The price also depends on whether you are travelling in a ac or non-ac vehicle and the size of the taxi.
Attention: Some taxi drivers try to convince you on the way to the hotel that your hotel has burned down, the area is closed because of a party or, or… Please insist on being taken to your hotel. The drivers try to take you either to a travel agent or to a hotel from which they receive commission. Here’s a report about a traveler and her experiences.
You can also book a so-called “Government Prepaid Taxi” in front of the airport building. These taxis are the cheapest option and they are monitored by the police. So they are also relatively safe. The vehicles themselves, however, are quite old.
Here you have to go to the “Police Prepaid Taxi” counter and pay a fixed price in advance. You get a paper and have to go to the taxi drivers who are already waiting in a queue for you.
Attention: The men at the counters are aware that you are new to India and not yet familiar with the Indian banknotes. Some people take advantage of this and try to convince you that you have only paid with a 100 rupee note and not with a 500 rupee note. Don’t be deceived!
Of course you can also use an Uber or Ola cab. They are both very easy to use, reliable, safe and very cheap. There is a specific pick up point at the parking house. You only need the app. I recommend uploading it before your India trip.
The metro is cheap, fast and comfortable. However, does not run between 11:30 pm and 4:45 am.
It runs through to New Delhi Railway Station. This is very close to Mcleod Ganj and also Karol Bagh, the two tourist areas. You can either change to another metro or take a taxi at the exit.
More advice about how to enter India safely and secure you can hear on my Podcast Episode: Arrival in India- All you need to know about your first hours in India