India Travel Guide for 2023: Visa Info & Trip Essentials

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By Visaly

If you’re going to India in shortly, then this India travel guide is your indispensable companion. In this guide, we provide you with all visa information and trip essentials that will help you organize your trip. From visa requirements to local safety tips, we provide a concise yet thorough overview.

What Can You Expect When Visiting India?

In the following sections, we'll swiftly guide you through everything you need to know so your stay in India is not just another trip but a journey of discovery and wonder. Our India travel guide is meticulously crafted to make you absolutely want to explore this incredible country. Bookmark this guide now; it's an essential read before you leave!


You’ll discover a beautiful mix of traditions, languages and customs. The spiritual serenity of Varanasi, the colorful chaos of Mumbai's streets... As a first-time visitor, you'll be mesmerized by the country's architectural marvels and spiritual depth! Indian culture is an experience that engages all your senses.


India's climate varies dramatically from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the tropical beaches of Goa. The regional and seasonal variations in weather will influence your travel experience. The cool winter months are ideal to explore the north whereas the monsoon season brings life to the countryside. The weather will probably shape your travel to India.

Is India Dangerous

Like any country, India has its share of challenges. But with common sense and awareness, it can be as safe as any other destination! This section of our travel guide India focuses on practical safety tips and how to understand cultural nuances to ensure a secure and enjoyable journey.

Do I Need A Visa For India

Most travelers will indeed need a visa to enter India. Our guide simplifies the process as it outlines the types of visas available and how to apply for them. A good way to ensure that your India travel requirements are clear and manageable.

How Long Can I Stay In India

The duration of your stay in India depends on the type of visa you obtain. Here you’ll find detailed information on various visa options and their respective validity periods. A great way to plan the length of your stay accordingly.

Can You Drink In India

Alcohol consumption varies across India. Some regions have strict regulations, others don’t. Make sure you’re allowed to drink before you start, and don’t hesitate to ask the locals for advice if you’re in doubt.

Seeing It All Isn't Possible

India's vastness and diversity mean that seeing everything in one trip is impossible. Use this guide to prioritize experiences and plan effectively. Bookmark our comprehensive India travel guide, especially if you’re visiting India for the first time.

Key Advice From Locals Before You Go

Gearing up for your Indian adventure? As the best Indian travel guide, we've gathered essential advice from locals to help you travel to India like a pro.

  • Be respectful: towards people, nature and religion. Understand the cultural norms, dress modestly in temples and always show kindness.
  • Currency: the Indian Rupee (INR) is the currency here. It's always better to have some cash for small purchases, as digital transactions might not be available everywhere, especially in remote areas.
  • Credit cards and ATMs: major cities accept credit cards but it will be a good idea to carry cash for transactions in smaller towns. ATMs are widely available in cities.
  • Time zone: India operates on Indian Standard Time (IST), which is GMT+5:30. Adjust your schedule to IST to avoid missing out on any experiences.
  • Sockets: India uses 230V, 50Hz electricity with types C, D, and M sockets. Carry a universal adapter so that your devices are always charged and ready to be used.
  • Budget: plan your budget according to your travel style. Lavish trip a backpacker's itinerary, India offers options for every budget. Roughly estimate your daily or monthly expenses to manage your finances better.
  • Traffic: Indian traffic really is overwhelming and chaotic. Be cautious when you cross streets and always look both ways. The best advice we can give you here is to follow the locals on busy roads.
  • Scams: be wary of scams like fake taxis. Book airport transfers in advance and always check the authenticity of any service you use. As for rickshaws, always negotiate the fee in advance.
  • Street food: here, street food is not just about tasting local cuisine but it will allow you to experience the country's culinary culture. Remember to eat at busy stalls to ensure the food is fresh.
  • Learn a few words: learn some basic phrases in Hindi or regional languages to enhance your interaction with locals. Words like “Namaste” (Hello) or “Dhanyavaad” (thank you) will actually make the difference.

Keep these tips in mind and you're set to have an immersive and respectful trip to India. Remember to bookmark this India travel guide for foreigners and let the adventure begin.

Requirements To Enter India

Let’s outline everything you need to know about what to know before traveling to India. From necessary documents to visa types and application processes, we provide here a clear and concise overview.

List Of Documents You Need to Enter India

Before you start packing, ensure you have these essential documents with you:

  • Passport: a valid passport with at least six months of validity from the date of arrival in India.
  • Visa: depending on your purpose of visit, you will need an appropriate Indian visa.
  • Travel insurance: highly recommended for any unforeseen medical or travel emergencies.
  • Proof of onward / return journey: an onward ticket that displays your departure from India within the visa period.
  • Vaccination certificate: depending on your country of origin, you may need proof of yellow fever vaccination.
  • Financial proof: documents that show sufficient funds for the duration of your stay.

Have these documents prepared to visit India smoothly and align with the requirements for travel to India.

Types Of Visas for India

India offers various visa types for different travel purposes:

Tourist visa: for sightseeing, recreation,and casual visits. It’s valid for 30 to 180 days.

Business visa: for business-related activities only, not for employment purposes.

Medical visa: if you’re seeking medical treatment in India.

Conference visa: to attend conferences, seminars or workshops.

Student visa: to study in Indian educational institutions.

Employment visa: to take up employment in India.

Each visa type has specific India travel requirements that must be met.

How To Get India Visa (Step By Step Application Process)

It’s quite a straightforward process:

  1. Choose the right visa type: select the appropriate visa based on your travel purpose.
  2. Complete the online application: fill out the application form on the Indian government's official visa website.
  3. Gather necessary documents: prepare all required documents.
  4. Pay the visa fee: submit the visa fee online or as instructed by your nearest Indian embassy.
  5. Schedule an interview (if required): some visa applications may require a brief interview at the embassy.
  6. Wait for approval: apply well in advance of your travel dates.

This step-by-step guide addresses India travel requirements from the USA and other countries.

Overstaying And Penalties

India travel restrictions come with fines, legal action and even a ban from the country if ever overstaying your visa. Make sure you exit the country before it expires to avoid any traveling restrictions to India.

When Is The Best Time To Visit India

This will largely depend on the regions you plan to explore and what experiences you seek. The ideal time runs from October to March. During these months, the weather is mostly pleasant across most of the country. This period also marks the peak tourist season, especially in popular destinations and tourist attractions like Rajasthan, Goa and Kerala. If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy cooler weather, the winter months (November to February) are ideal, especially in the northeast India regions. If you're interested in experiencing India's lush monsoon season, visit between June and September. It's a less popular time for tourists.

How To Travel to India

Whether you're an American tourist in India visiting India from USA or from any other part of the world, here's what you need to know about how to travel in India.

Decide On Your Itinerary

India's vast diversity means you can't see everything in one trip. Focus on a specific region or select key tourist attractions that interest you, especially if you're short on time.

Budget To Plan

Your budget depends on your travel style. For a basic trip, plan around $20 to 50 per day. For more comfort, consider $50 to 100 per day. This India budget travel guide offers a general idea to get started.

How To Get To India

International flights land in major cities (Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore). Compare airlines for the best deals and consider the proximity of your landing city to your intended destinations.

Transport Around India

India boasts an extensive network of trains, buses and domestic flights. The train travel guide India is especially useful for longer journeys as it offers a balance of cost and comfort. It’s probably the best way to see India.

Cost Of Living

The cost of living varies by region but it’s all in all very low. Big cities tend to be more expensive, while smaller towns and rural areas offer a more budget-friendly experience.

Packing Things

Pack according to the season and region you visit. You’ll have to bring comfortable clothing, a good pair of shoes and a universal adapter for charging devices.

Research Visa And Entry Requirements

Briefly, most travelers need a visa to enter India. Refer to the "Requirements To Enter India" section for detailed information and ensure you meet all India travel requirements.

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is very important to face unforeseen events. It covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations and lost luggage. It’s a great way to keep peace of mind during your travels.

Where To Stay

There are a lot of accommodation options in India. Choose from dirt cheap hotels, hostels, Airbnb or homestays. For safety and convenience, we would recommend hotels and verified Airbnb listings. Budget travelers may prefer hostels or homestays for a more local experience.

With this India tourism travel guide, you now know how to visit India easily!

Safety Tips from Locals Often Overlooked by Tourists in India

Here are some important safety tips that are often overlooked but integral for a hassle-free experience. Ensure your trip aligns with the complete guide to India travel and is enjoyable and secure.

  • Respect nature and culture: to avoid misunderstandings or offending locals, be respectful of Indian subcontinent diverse cultural practices and natural environments. An important thing if you wish to know how to prepare for trip to India.
  • Wear a helmet: if you choose to ride a bike or scooter, always wear a helmet. Traffic can be chaotic.
  • Ask permission for photos: always seek consent before photographing people. It's not just respectful but can also prevent some conflicts.
  • Avoid driving: if you're not accustomed to India's hectic traffic, then it will be safer to use public transport or hire a driver.
  • Learn basic phrases: foreign tourists usually don’t bother with this, but a simple Hindi phrase may be incredibly helpful, especially in challenging situations. It's a key tip for traveling to India.
  • Be cautious with street food: Indian food, and especially street food, is a must-try. But choose popular stalls to ensure freshness and avoid food-related illnesses.
  • Stay hydrated, but be water-wise: drink bottled or purified water to stay hydrated in India's heat, one of the most important India travel tips for first-timers.
  • Be mindful of personal belongings: Pickpocketing isn’t that rare in crowded places. Keep your valuables secure and be cautious in tourist-heavy areas like the Taj Mahal.
  • Dress conservatively: in many parts of India, you’ll have to dress conservative, especially if you’re a woman.
  • Beware of scams: be aware of common tourist scams and always negotiate prices beforehand.
  • Emergency contacts: keep local emergency numbers and your country’s embassy contact information handy.
  • Travel in groups at night: especially in less familiar or rural areas. One of the most important tips for India solo travelers.
  • Don’t hesitate to visit with custom tours, even if you’re an adventurous traveller. A custom tour will often be safer!

Best Places To Visit In India & Things To Do

Whether you're looking for the hustle and bustle of city life or serene natural escapes, our best India travel guide has got you covered. Let’s start with the top urban destinations that will start your travel in India.

Top Urban Destinations In India

India's urban centers are great to immerse in history, culture and modernity. Here are five Indian cities that stand out for their unique character and attractions.

New Delhi

India's capital is a perfect blend of historical monuments and modern urban sprawl. Home to the iconic India Gate and Red Fort, it's a history enthusiast's dream! Check the New Delhi India travel guide to know more.


Mumbai is known for Bollywood yes, but also for its bustling markets and the iconic Gateway of India. It’s a city that never sleeps, with endless entertainment and cultural experiences. Check the Mumbai India travel guide to know more.


Known as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore boasts a pleasant climate, lush national parks and a dynamic nightlife. It's a hub for tech enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Check the Bangalore India travel guide to know more.


The Pink City is renowned for its royal palaces and Rajasthani culture. It offers a glimpse into India’s regal past with attractions like the Hawa Mahal. Check the Jaipur India travel guide to know more.


The City of Joy is a cultural melting pot. It’s known for its colonial architecture, intellectual community and delicious west Bengal cuisine. Check the Kolkota India travel guide to know more.

And these cities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where to travel in India!

Lesser-Visited Places In India

You’re dreaming about offbeat experiences away from the urban rush? Then these lesser-visited places in India are perfect!


The ruins of Hampi, part of the UNESCO World Heritage will bring you to India's ancient Vijayanagara Empire amidst a surreal boulder-strewn landscape. Check the Hampi India travel guide to know more.


Welcome to the Yoga capital of the world! Rishikesh offers spiritual serenity on the banks of the Ganges, surrounded by the Himalayas. Check the Rishikesh India travel guide to know more.


Nestled in the Western Ghats, Coorg is known for its lush coffee plantations and tranquil atmosphere. It’s an ideal spot for nature lovers. Check the Coorg India travel guide to know more.


In North India, Leh-Lafakh unveils breathtaking landscapes and Buddhist monasteries. It’s also a wonderful gateway to the Himalayas. Check the North India travel guide to know more.


In Kerala, Munnar is a picturesque hill station known for its tea gardens. It’s one of the most beautiful places in South India. Check the Munnar India travel guide to know more.

Important Dates In India

Here is a snapshot of world-famous events and most important holidays in India.

World Famous Events In India

India hosts several globally renowned events that attract visitors from around the world.

  • Kumbh Mela. Held every 12 years at four different locations, Kumbh Mela is a massive Hindu pilgrimage, renowned for its spiritual significance.
  • Diwali. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is celebrated nationwide with fireworks, lights and festivities in October or November.
  • Holi. Celebrated in March, the Festival of Colors is a vibrant and playful event where people throw colored powder and water at each other.
  • Pushkar Camel Fair. Held in November in Rajasthan, this fair combines a camel market with a dynamic cultural festival.
  • Goa Carnival: a colorful and lively event celebrated in February that features parades, music and dancing.

Most Important Holidays In India

India’s diverse religions and cultures give rise to numerous holidays.

  • Republic Day (January 26th): It marks the adoption of India's Constitution and is celebrated with parades, especially in New Delhi.
  • Independence Day (August 15th): It commemorates India’s independence from British rule. This day is marked by flag-hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs.
  • Gandhi Jayanti (October 2d): A national holiday to honor Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, celebrated with prayer services and tributes across the nation.
  • Eid-ul-Fitr: Celebrated by the Muslim community, this festival marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
  • Christmas (December 25th): celebrated by the Christian community, Christmas in India is marked by special church services and festive decorations.

Things You Simply Must Experience in India

India is not just a destination; it's an experience. While travelling in India, there are some things that you simply must experience to truly get the essence of the country.

3 Foods You Must Try

Indian cuisine is known for its diversity and flavor. Amongst its must-try dishes, you absolutely have to try the rich and aromatic flavors of Biryani, a mixed rice dish cooked with spices and meat or vegetables. Also taste the Masala Dosa, a South Indian staple that consists of a thin and crispy pancake filled with spiced potatoes. And don’t you dare visit India without trying Chaat, a category of tangy, sweet and spicy snacks found in street food stalls across the country.

3 Things You Should Do

India offers spectacular sunrise and sunset views, be it at a beach in Goa, the desert in Rajasthan or the mountains in Himachal Pradesh. You can also attend a local festival to experience India's cultural diversity first-hand. Finally, don’t forget to explore the local markets to immerse yourself in sights, sounds and smells.

Top 3 Souvenirs To Bring Home

India’s artisanal heritage offers a range of handicrafts: Rajasthani miniature paintings, Kashmiri carpets… Bring one home and contribute to the local economy! You can also buy yourself a selection of Indian spices, a fundamental element of Indian cuisine. And don’t forget that India is one of the largest tea producers. Assam and Darjeeling teas are great souvenirs to bring home!

Few Useful Tips For Solo Travelers In India

These guidelines form an essential part of the solo travel guide India and are designed to ensure a safe and fulfilling experience.

Our first advice is to stay connected. Always keep a local SIM card for easy communication and access to maps and information. Choose your accommodations wisely. Opt for well-reviewed and centrally located hostels or guesthouses. Also remember to dress modestly to respect local customs and for your own comfort. And don’t forget to trust your instincts: if a situation or a place feels unsafe, trust your instincts and leave.

Our backpacking India travel guide and female travel guide in India will also advise you to learn Indian words or phrases to improve your interactions.

14 Etiquette Tips for Your India Trip

As a travel to India enthusiast or India tourist, you’ll have to respect local customs during your trip. Here are some key etiquette tips from our Indian customs traveller guide and customs guide for travellers to India:

  1. Remove your shoes before you enter homes or temples: it’s a sign of respect for the place and the people.
  2. Use your right hand to eat and handshake: the left hand is considered unclean in Indian culture.
  3. Dress conservatively: especially when you visit religious sites or conservative areas.
  4. Avoid public displays of affection: it's usually frowned upon in Indian society.
  5. Greet with a “Namaste”: a universal and respectful way of greeting in India.
  6. Don’t refuse invitations lightly: it could be considered rude.
  7. Bargain with a smile: it’s common to haggle in markets, but do it respectfully.
  8. Be mindful of religious feelings: avoid discussing religion and politics.
  9. Don’t touch the cows: they’re sacred everywhere in India.
  10. Eat with your hands: it’s a common practice and part of the local experience.
  11. Be patient: things may take longer than expected, so be patient in all situations.
  12. Avoid photographing without permission: always ask before you take photos of people.
  13. Respect queue norms: don’t jump the queue even if it’s very crowded, especially near Indian railways.
  14. Be sensitive to cultural diversity: India is a blend of various cultures and traditions.

Are Digital Nomads Welcome In India?

Even if there is no digital nomad visa for India yet, the country is opening its doors wider to remote workers. Its diverse landscapes, rich culture and affordable cost of living make it an attractive option. The digital nomad travel guide for India offers comprehensive insights and ensures that digital nomads will navigate the country's dynamic work-life landscape with ease and efficiency.

Can I Travel To India Without Vaccine

Are you wondering “do I need a COVID vaccine to travel to India”. Well good news, as you don’t need this vaccine anymore. For some regions, malaria tablets for India are recommended due to the prevalence of this disease. Also, if you're arriving from a yellow fever-endemic country and wondering “do i need a yellow fever vaccine for India”, then the answer is yes.


Can Americans travel to India?

Yes, Americans can travel to India with a valid visa and adherence to entry requirements.

Is India a good place to visit?

Absolutely, India is renowned for its culture, beautiful landscapes and historical sites.

What are the best places to visit in India for a first-time visitor?

For first-timers, the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), Goa and Kerala are highly recommended.

Is India safe for American tourists?

Yes, it is safe for American tourists as long as you stay cautious.

Is India safe to travel to?

India is pretty safe for travelers, provided you follow common travel safety advice.

Is India worth visiting?

India is definitely worth visiting for its unique cultural experiences and breathtaking diversity.

How to avoid getting sick in India?

To avoid sickness, eat at reputable places, drink bottled water and practice good hygiene.

Do you have to be vaccinated to visit India?

Vaccinations are not mandatory but recommended for diseases like the yellow fever, if applicable.

Do I need a visa to travel to India?

Yes, most travelers need a visa to enter India. The visa is available through an online application process.

Is it safe to travel to India as a woman?

Women can travel safely in India with sensible precautions and awareness of their surroundings.

How many days are enough to visit India?

Ideally, we would advise a minimum of three weeks to explore India's different regions.

Is it safe to drink tap water in India?

No, you should prefer bottled or purified water instead of tap water.

Are people in India friendly?

Yes, Indians are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards visitors.

Wrap up

From visa requirements and safety tips to cultural etiquette and must-visit destinations, this comprehensive guide offers essential insights for your Indian adventure. Remember, India's size calls for respectful exploration and an open mind. No matter if you’re a first-timer or a seasoned traveler, the country promises a journey filled with crazy experiences, varied cultures and unforgettable memories.

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