Some frequently asked questions
Whether you are first-time traveller or an experienced one, you never know what piece of information you might require and when, so here is the answer to some of your important questions.
When is the best time of year to travel to India?
We run trips throughout the year. Visiting mountain regions is particularly pleasant in summer months. All other tours run from August to April.
For general weather information we suggest you visit http://www.worldweather.org
What is the time zone in India?
The time zone in India is UTC/GMT (Coordinated Universal Time / Greenwich Mean Time) + 5.5 hours.
• 12.5 hours ahead of the west coast of USA – Los Angeles, San Fransisco, San Diego
• 9.5 hours ahead of the east coast of the USA – New York, Florida
• 5.5 hours ahead of the United Kingdom
• 4.5 hours behind Australia – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane.
Daylight savings time does not operate in India, so please make the appropriate adjustment for daylight savings time in your country.
What is included in the journey price?
Every journey has its own itinerary and price. There are no hidden prices apart from what is quoted on by us. Each trip has a specific itinerary, please read it carefully to be familiar with the inclusive and exclusives of the journey.
Accommodation – Your accommodation is included but the type of accommodation varies between tours, ranging from non-air conditioned home stays to 3-4 star hotels.
Transport – Depending upon the tour standard your included transport can be anything from a Public train to Air conditioned private taxi / Coach or an internal flight.
Meals – Some may be included,this varies between tours,please check the itinerary for your trip. Breakfasts are included with most of the tours and often some meals are included. Other tours have no meals included,again,please check your itinerary.
Activities – Our small group departures have all major sightseeing, entries and guides included but,depending upon your preferences there can be tours with no sightseeing included.
Are International flights included?
NO, International flights are not included in the given price. You need to book flights to and from India. Domestic flights may be included in some trips, if indicated in the trip dossier.
Is my travel insurance included?
Travel insurance is not included. You have to have valid travel insurance with 24 hour emergency number before you join a journey with us.
What time can I check in at the hotels?
Generally check-in in India is 12-12.30 noon in hotels but this can vary. If you arrive early, you may have to wait, though every effort will be made to provide you with access to a room as soon as possible.
Are there western toilets available?
Most hotels provide Western toilet facilities, although in a rare situation there may only be Indian-style toilets.
Will the toilets be en suite?
Rooms will have en suite toilets most of the time but in some rare occasions toilet facilities will be shared. For example Camping, home stays or in dormitories.
Do I need to bring my own toilet paper?
The majority of our hotels provide toilet paper. You may, however, which to keep some for journeys between destinations.
Is there shower in every bathroom?
In most places showers will be available but in some places ( Dormitories, home stays) water buckets are used for bathing.
What is the food like?
You will have the opportunity to try a wide variety of Indian food. If you prefer non-spicy food, please inform your tour leader/local guide who will try to arrange something suitable for you. Vegetarian options are always available, and in some home stays all the food is vegetarian. In many towns and cities, Western food is also available.
How much luggage can I bring?
We advise you to limit your luggage to no more than 15kg for ease of travelling; this is also the maximum limit for domestic flights. Don’t forget to leave room for souvenirs! For further advice on luggage, ask for an advised packing list. Please be aware that you will be responsible for moving your own luggage many times as you move between hotels and transport, so you must limit your luggage to what you are willing to carry.
Do I need a sleeping bag?
A sleeping sheet will be advised for the overnight train journeys for your own comfort although sheets, pillows and blankets are provided on the overnight trains.
What clothes should I take?
Dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and night-spots, though Indian culture is conservative and it’s important for women to cover their knees and shoulders properly. For men it’s ok to wear shorts and short-sleeves in big touristy places but in small towns / villages knees and shoulders should be covered. Zip off trousers can be good options.
It’s very important to consider the weather; light cotton cloths for summers, waterproofs for rain and warm winter clothing for the cold weather. Keep long sleeves shirts and long trousers for visiting religious places and to avoid the mosquito bites.
Will I be able to do any laundry?
Almost all the hotels provide laundry services, or may be able to arrange with a local laundry for your clothes to be cleaned. It may be advisable to bring some ‘travel wash’ for when the itinerary does not allow enough time in one place for your clothes to be professionally laundered.
How big are the groups on small group tours?
We prefer small groups and we keep the group size in between 4 – 14 people.
Will there be a group leader on small group tours?
Yes, there will be a local tour leader with you for the duration of the trip. Our group leaders have plenty of experience in tourism and are well-equipped to deal with anything that may arise on your trip. They are happy to share their knowledge of local culture and history, as well as offering general advice about your journey.
We do not provide a tour leader on independent tailor-made tours until and unless requested and paid extra by you.
Will I have some free time on my own?
Our itineraries are designed to give you free time in between planned activities, so you will have the chance to do your own exploring or put your feet up and relax. We can provide suggestions of additional activities. We do ask, however, that you stick to the schedule of planned activities. Any activity not suggested by us will be at your own risk.
Do I need to tip?
Yes, tipping is common in India. On small group tours your leader will advise how much and where and when tipping is appropriate. For example generally we pay 10% tip in the restaurants, 50 Indian rupees per person to the porters at checkout , 100 rupees per person per day to the driver and 100-150 Indian rupees per person to the guide for full day sightseeing.
Do I need to tip the tour leader?
If you are happy with the service and effort your tour leader has provided throughout the course of your tour then a tip is may be appropriate. We suggest 3-5 Us dollars per person per day.
What is the currency in my destination?
The Indian currency is the Rupee (INR). Check the exchange rate for your currency before you travel. Please be aware that it may not be possible to exchange your currency for rupees before you arrive.
The most convenient way to obtain currency in India is via ATMs distributed throughout airports, major cities and large towns. Most Indian bank ATMs can be used by overseas visitors and international banks like Citibank, HSBC have significant presence and ATM network in major cities.
ATMs will only pay out a maximum INR 10,000 per transaction and there can be a limit of no more than 2-3 transactions per day, depending on the bank.
It is always good to have some hard cash on hand preferably in British pounds, Euros or US dollars just in case of an emergency. Money can be exchanged at local banks or authorized dealers in major cities.
It’s always worthwhile to have debit cards or credit cards from at least two different providers, to ensure that you have a backup available in case one card is suspended by your bank, or simply doesn’t work at a particular ATM.
Will I have an easy excess to Internet and phone?
In most destinations there will be access to internet and telephone facilities. However on some occasions these will be harder to access and you may need to wait until reaching the next destination.
Can I use my mobile phone in India for making local and international calls?
You should check with your mobile network provider before you set off, and make sure that your phone has a roaming profile activated. Many networks have reciprocal usage agreements and you should be able to access a network as you travel. GSM and CDMA phones are used in India with widespread coverage. The main Indian network providers are Airtel, Aircel,Idea Cellular, Reliance, Vodafone, Tata Docomo and BSNL.
If you are planning to travel for a longer period you may wish to consider purchasing a pre-pay mobile, which requires identification ,a passport photo and a local address . Please be aware that travelling outside of the state in which you purchased the phone may switch you to a roaming tariff and call charges (incoming and outgoing) will be higher.
Can I access Wi-Fi/mobile internet?
Free Wi-Fi is available in most hotels now a day’s however some may charge for it . If you use mobile internet, please check that your data card or modem has an activated roaming profile, and check what the charges will be with your normal network provider. Speed of data transfer varies place to place as does signal strength.
Can I use my electrical appliances in India?
The voltage in India is 220 volts. If you wish to use any electrical devices from the USA or any country with 110 volts, you will need a voltage converter and plug adapter. For countries with 230/240 volts, such as Australia, Europe, and the UK only a plug adapter is required.
Do I need to take any medical supplies?
A basic first aid kit is recommended. In addition, please make sure you have sufficient quantities of any prescription medications (including asthma inhalers). An advanced medical kit will be required in case of a mountain/trekking trip or some serious medical condition.
What about health requirements?
We recommend that you visit your local Travel Clinic or doctor before departure. They can advise you on what vaccinations are recommended for the areas you are travelling to. As some vaccinations require a course over weeks to months, contact your doctor as early as possible prior to departure. Generally, six to eight weeks’ notice is adequate.
If you have a pre-existing health condition, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor and ensure that you have adequate travel insurance. Ensure that you bring any prescription medicines with you. Please advise Horizon Journeys in advance of your trip if you have any special requirements which may require assistance.
How fit do I need to be?
Most of our trips are suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit. Tours which involve mountain trekking require a good level of fitness and may not be suitable for people who have difficulty at higher altitude – please check the exact details of the itinerary. For such trips it may be advisable to prepare beforehand with some trekking/walking back home.
Before booking onto a tour, please consider the general conditions you may experience in India (such as high temperatures in summer) and whether you are of sufficient fitness to get the most out of the trip.
Do I need to be able to swim?
Swimming is not a featured activity on any of our itineraries , Some hotels may have swimming pool but its not an activity. But, since some of our tours include travel by boat,it will be assumed that you have basic swimming skills in the event of an emergency. If this is not the case please advise us/your tour leader or local guide. Health and safety regulations may be different to those in your home country and life jackets may not be available on smaller craft.
Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is required for Horizon Journeys tours. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that your policy covers you for the following:
Emergency repatriation and full Medical Cover
Personal Liability coverage
Coverage for Cancellation, curtailment, loss of luggage and personal effects.
We require you to provide details of your policy prior to departure.
What about passports and visas?
You must hold a full passport which is valid for at least six months from the return date. You should have a tourist visa for traveling to India and it should cover the required period when you are in India. For more information about visas relevant to your nationality, visit your embassy. To find a nation’s embassy in any country, visit www.embassyworld.com
I’d like to book a custom itinerary.
For small groups, simply choose one of the offered itinerary and contact us. To tailor made a trip, please get in touch to discuss your interests and requirements. We are happy to create general or special interest tours, so whether you want to immerse yourself in history, maximise your chances of spotting wildlife, or relax with yoga, we can design something to meet your needs.
For any further queries please contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org