Safety Tips for India Travel
In case you have just arrived at your hotel in Delhi, or are about to, here are a few common sense safety tips for a safe once in a lifetime India trip. India is on the whole a safe country to travel in, however like anywhere else in the world, you can be an obvious target for thieves and mischief mongers (could even be a fellow traveler).
Generally be careful, staying relaxed but have your wits about you, the moment you step out of the cozy confines of your hotel in Delhi. Be especially careful in crowded places like packed buses or trains where it’s easy for pickpockets to operate. Thieves work in teams, one member distracting your attention, bumping into you for example, while another swipes your bag.
Up-market hotels in Delhi have a room safe; the budget hotels in Delhi will have a safe deposit at the reception. Budget travelers should carry a padlock to secure the doors of cheap Delhi hotel rooms. You can also use them to lock your bag to seats or racks in trains.
Don’t leave valuables lying around in your Delhi hotel room. And don’t put valuables in your luggage when on bus or plane journeys. On trains and buses, the prime time for theft is just before you leave, so keep a particular eye on your gear then, beware of deliberate diversions, and don’t put your belongings next to open windows.
Mostly people who approach you on the street never intend any harm: most want to sell you something, some want to practice their English, others (if you’re a woman) to chat you up, while many just want to have a picture taken with you. Never fall for the ploy of wonderful sounding moneymaking schemes.
If you ever get robbed report the theft as soon as possible to the local police. The staff of your hotel in Delhi will stand by you in crisis. Though your belongings are unlikely to be recovered, you do need a report from the police in order to claim on your travel insurance.
Losing your passport is a real hassle – report the loss immediately to the police, who will issue the all important “complaint form” you need to be able to travel around and check into Delhi hotels (and everywhere else in India). A complaint form will not allow you to change money or traveler’s checks. If you’ve run out of cash, your best bet is to ask the manager of your Delhi hotel to help you out – the staff of your hotel in Delhi will have seen your passport at time of your check in, and it’s number will be in the register). Contact your nearest embassy or consulate. “Emergency passports” are the cheapest form of replacement, but are normally only valid for the few days of your return flight. If you’re not sure when you’re leaving the country, you’ll have to obtain a more costly “full passport” from your country’s embassy in Delhi. Most hotels in Delhi have a travel help desk who not only arrange excellent tours, travel and stay arrangements, but can help you with the nitty gritty of all this hassle too.
Make sure to book a hotel in Delhi well in advance as they organize safe and secure tour packages as well as travel arrangements at excellent rates.
BY RASHMI GOYAL