Preparing for your India trip

So, you are considering visiting India with us and want to know more? Amazing stuff. 

If you have not visited India before, it can be a shock to the system. By the way, this applies to Indians living abroad just as much as this applies to my white, ginger Yorkshire friends! As with any trip, failing to plan is planning to fail. This page will give you a brief information about what to expect from your India trip and how you can maximise your experience. 

Travel documents and vaccinations

Passport: check the expiry date before you book tickets, you don’t want your passport to expire in India as this may cause unnecessary delays.

Visahttp://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/Tourist.html
The visa application will ask for a place of residence in India. Just email your 500k contact, and we will give you a local address you can use for the application. 

Vaccinationshttp://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-%28east%29/india.aspx#immunisations
As long as you get Diphtheria; Hepatitis A; Tetanus and Typhoid, you should be fine. The others on the page are optional are not necessary.  

What to take with you?

Currency: You can only buy Indian currency within India, so just arrive with the required cash (in pounds or dollars), and we can convert it in the airport when we land. 

Hand luggage only: we aim to travel light, so we do not carry 30kg luggage around with us. Helps us to be flexible when visiting villages, and sightseeing places, and also it is a good travelling habit in general. If you find this idea incomprehensible, check these articles out for inspiration: 

1. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/round-the-world-travel/best-of-round-the-world-travel/content/travel-tips-and-articles/how-to-pack-light-tips-from-a-master-packer
2. https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/packing-light/packing-smart

Clothing

Ladies, please read this article from an experienced lady traveller on what climate and culture appropriate clothing to wear in India: http://thetravelhack.com/travel-tips/women-wear-travelling-india/

Gents, dress for warm weather. Take long sleeve shirts as some areas we might travel might have a mosquito problem, and you’ll be grateful for the long sleeves!  

As a general recommendation, take 3 pairs of everything regardless of how long you go for. That's the golden rule of packing I picked up from a world traveler. So take 3 of each: 
- Good shirts (for prayer meetings, people wear semi-smart clothes for worship)
- Trousers or Jeans are fine. Jeans might be too hot so a couple of light trousers would be a good choice.
- other items of summer clothing e.g. shorts, t-shirts.

Miscellaneous

Also Don't take shoes or socks. Buy a pair of sandals from Sports Direct for £15. You'll thank me later! Again culturally, this is the norm. If you wear shoes and socks, your feet will get hot and smelly and also when you enter houses and take off shoes, you'll have to walk on your socks which gets them even more dirty etc.

Travelling kit (in addition to your essential packing)

  • Antimalarials: your GP will advise you on these. If you cannot get them on time, not to worry, we can arrange these in India as well. 
  • Loperamide: these are diarrhoea medication. Unfortunately, diarrhoea can happened to even the most seasoned traveller when they go to a new area, so best to be prepared.
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Toilet paper roll (Indian toilets don’t usually have rolls, as they are water-based).
  • Mosquito repellent cream (you can buy these in any major supermarket)
  • A bike lock or chain/padlock to secure your bag when travelling in the trains. 
  • A Bible, notepad and one or two books. You will have downtime when we travel around, so the books will come in handy. 
  • Optional: Inflatable pillow. You probably won’t need it, but might come in handy.

After you arrive: what to expect

The culture: a warm welcome

Indian generosity is well known. Prepare to feel like you are one of the family, and expect your cheeks to hurt after near-constant smiling. 

The food: can you handle the heat?

We travel with our own store-bought water supply to avoid any risks, so please do not take drink water form local sources, unless informed otherwise. Hot beverages are an exception as they are use boiled water. Although the beverages you are served vary in their taste from place to place. If you like your tea milky and sugary, you are in luck 😃 Sorry British folks!

Accommodation: desi style living

We will be eating with the locals as much as possible. Otherwise we will find a suitable, local restaurant. Of course, the food will be spicy and chilly, but there are ways to overcome the heat. For instance, often you will have a choice of which curry to choose, when you can choose a less-spicy one. If no such option exists, with plenty of rice, milk and/or water on your side, you can win this battle too.

The mission fields: what to expect

On our mission trips, we try to maintain a balance between fun and mission. We incorporate sightseeing trips in the local area as well as prayer meetings in different villages. Your schedule, which we will give you beforehand, should give you the breakdown of how this will take place. 

Be prepared to share your testimony, bring a word of encouragement, give a sermon and pray for people during these village visits. You know about 500,000 Churches and that’s the reason you have chosen to come out there. You have come to be encouraged, challenged and grow in your faith journey. And all that will happen, by the grace of God. However, just as you are being blessed, God wants us to be a blessing to these villagers as well. 

Thank you for making this sacrifice with your time & money, and choosing to come out to India to see what God is doing here/ We hope and pray that this trip will be a huge blessing to you, and we pray that God uses you to be a blessing to the nations. May His kingdom come.