Advance Planning

Three months before Arrange volunteer placements or other long-term courses.

One month before Book accommodation if you plan to stay in unusual boutique lodgings.

One week before Download apps, like Ola Cabs, that you might use in Delhi. Book at least your first night's accommodation, and arrange an airport pick-up if arriving in the night.

Resources

The Delhi Walla (www.thedelhiwalla.com) Long-time food, culture and literary blog of newspaper columnist Mayank Austen Soofi.

Little Black Book (https://lbb.in/delhi) Where's hot and where's not on the Delhi dining, drinking and shopping scene.

Brown Paper Bag (http://brownpaperbag.in/delhi) Food and drink, and shopping reviews for Delhi and other Indian cities.

Delhi Tourism (www.delhitourism.nic.in) Official government tourism website.

Times of India – Delhi (www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi) Delhi section of the world's largest selling English-language newspaper.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/india/delhi) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Tips

  • Make a plan, but don't try to cram too much in.
  • Take it slowly and factor in time to go off on tangents.
  • Avoid touts in touristy places; some people may try 'helpfully' to direct you to local agents who'll pay them commission.
  • Dress to respect local culture.
  • Take care to avoid getting sick: use hand sanitiser, eat freshly cooked food and never drink tap water.
  • Try to keep calm, even in frustrating situations.
  • Bargaining is a part of life in markets and many shops, but keep a sense of proportion.
  • Mobile app taxis like Uber and Ola Cabs may seem cheap, but they're often slower in the Delhi traffic than nippier autorickshaws or the metro.

What to Take

  • Well-concealed money belt
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and sun hat
  • Sleeping bag sheet if you're budgeteering
  • Properly-fitting smog mask if you're planning an extended stay in the city
  • Earplugs – handy for nuisance nighttime noise; some travellers even wear them when walking the streets – honk, honk, beeeep!

What to Wear

In Delhi's hip hangouts – bars, restaurants, malls, clubs and five-star hotels – people dress as they might in less conservative countries. However, elsewhere it's important to wear non-revealing clothes (both sexes). This is respectful in view of local culture, and essential at holy sites. You'll give a better impression if dressed appropriately. Cotton scarves are useful for covering the head at holy sites, and for covering up from the sun. Shop locally for versatile, cool (in the heat) and inexpensive clothes.

A pair of covered shoes/trainers help prevent stubbing toes on busy streets, but slip-on shoes, or locally bought sandals, are handy for visiting sacred sites. Warmer clothes are handy in December and January; a lightweight jacket and jeans should suffice.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date
  • Visit your doctor to see what vaccinations you might need
  • Arrange your India visa; check to see if you qualify for an e-Visa
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company you’re heading away