Tomorrow I leave for India! AAAAH. I am so looking forward to it, but I am also a bit nervous. Finally a country that’s going to be so much different to what I’m used to. I’m already preparing myself for a little culture shock. India is an amazing country with beautiful nature, but it also has his share of poverty, dirt and chaos.
A little bit of that Indian chaos I already experienced while still being in Belgium. I was worried my visa would not be valid on time. A visa starts on the day it is being issued by the embassy. Looks logical, but on the India Visa Information site it says the opposite thing. There you can read that the validity of a visa starts from the date demanded on the application form. This is not true. It caused me quite some stress, because I had already booked a flight that was leaving before the date demanded on the application form – meaning I wouldn’t have a visa and could not board the plane.
Anyways it all turned out well. I can leave, that’s the most important. Nico and I didn’t prepare much for our travel yet. We just have the first 3 nights in Chennai booked. There is some stuff that can help you though if you’re planning to go too (one day).
1. Don’t apply for your visa too long in advance. As you can read above the date you enter on the application form has no meaning. If you apply too long in advance, it is being approved by the embassy long in advance too, and your visa will already start running. This is especially important if you’re planning to stay for a couple of months.
2. To find cheap flights I use a mix of Skyscanner or Kayak. I’ve used Skyscanner so many times. I love the fact that you can get a price overview from a whole month. If you’re flexible and it doesn’t matter which day you leave, it can be so convenient and a lot cheaper. Or if you want to go on a holiday, but you don’t know where, you just enter your dates, no destination and press enter. It then shows destinations with the price ranked from low to high. Who knows where you’ll end up!
3. When looking for accommodation in Asia, a good site to use is Agoda.com. I recently discovered it and am quite happy about it. It is more focused on Asian accommodation than for example European. And all the taxes and fees are included in the prices (which is not the case with Booking.com).
4. Be sure you have all your vaccinations, anti-Malaria-pills and read about the food and drinking safety. Lonely Planet has quite an extensive file about all the things.
5. Don’t pack too much. As a woman in India they recommend to dress appropriate. This means pants, long dresses or skirts and shirts with no nude shoulders. I don’t have a lot of light pants or long skirts, so my plan is to leave with almost nothing. I will buy some clothes on the spot. It is not expensive and you have some Indian clothes to add to your closet. Win-win!
AND HAVE FUN! That’s at least what I’m planning to do! I will keep you posted where I end up.