Travel Preparations

An Unventured experience begins much before you take to our tour. If you’re planning a trip with us, we’re excited to have you on board and look forward to making it an experience of a lifetime.

Once you confirm a tour with us, you will be guided by a dedicated member of our team through all the pre-tour planning, documentation, and necessary support you need until you get on the tour. Do go through our FAQs for some of the most frequently asked questions. Read more about our gear, support set-up, quality standards, and tour leaders in the Unventured Experience section.

We’ve also created a special section to help you prepare for a trip. Whether you’re an international or domestic traveller, these tips and resources will be handy. From making sure your documents are in order, to ensuring you’re fit and healthy for the trip – we’ve covered all the bases.

Documents
Culture
Weather
Fitness
For the domestic (Indian) traveller

A photo ID is essential, so make sure you have one on you at all times. A valid photo identification could be a passport, PAN Card, Voters ID or a driver’s license.

If you choose to opt for travel insurance while travelling within India, here are some of the claims you should make sure your insurance will cover:

  • Hospitalization expenses
  • Loss/delay of baggage and other incidental expenses

If you are suffering from any long-term medical conditions we would suggest you carry with you all medical documents/reports that may assist a medical practitioner to make the necessary decisions at a time of emergency. Do also keep the Tour Leader informed of your condition.

For the international traveller

Travel Documents: Passports & Visas

Upon reserving your Unventured vacation, one of our team members will guide you through the details about documentation required for your trip. International travel requires a valid passport and many countries are also required to obtain a visa for travel in India. Do note that visas take up to a month to issue in your home country, so do keep that in mind. If you do not have a passport and/or need a visa, contact the appropriate consulate nearest to you.

For travel in India, Nepal and Bhutan, your passport needs to be valid for a specified amount of time beyond your departure date (up to 6 months). Be sure to check the expiration date and physical condition of your passport and verify the travel document requirements with the consulates of the countries you are planning to visit during your trip.

This is the official Indian government website for Indian visas.

Currency

Get in touch with your local bank and credit card company

Make sure you call your bank before leaving home to notify them of your travel plans. Not only will they be able to tell you what kind of transaction fees you should expect, but they can also ensure fraud alerts aren’t triggered that could make your card inactive.Also, do the same with your credit card company, to make sure your card will work in the country you are travelling to.

Have back-ups

No one wants to deal with a suspended credit card on vacation, so make sure you bring a back-ups. Also, not all credit cards are accepted at all locations, so be prepared for some places where you might not be able to use it. For example, some American credit cards may not be accepted in India, Bhutan and Nepal.

Bring local currency

Having local currency upon arrival is handy so you can head straight to your hotel and not to a bank or currency exchange outlet. You can buy foreign currency from your local bank prior to departure, or often times at the airport. While overseas, ATMs are easily accessible and have more favorable exchange rates than banks and currency exchange outlets. However, it is important to note that transaction fees can add up with many small withdrawals.

India

India’s culture is among the world’s oldest; and is an amalgamation of several different cultures. Elements of India’s diverse cultures such as religion, yoga and cuisine have had an impact all over the world.

India is the birthplace of HinduismBuddhismJainism and Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religion. The country is one of the most diverse nations, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures with food, cultural practices, local art and landscapes changing with every 100 miles you trail into this country. With a teeming population of over 1.2 billion people, you’ll find people everywhere.

India comprises 28 states and seven territories. There is no official language in India, although English is widely spoken and understood. Many people living in India also write in Devanagari script. In fact, it is a misconception that the majority of people in India speak Hindi. Though many people speak Hindi in India, 59 percent of India residents speak a language other than Hindi.

Indian cuisine is quite popular worldwide and has several influences. When the Mogul Empire invaded the country during the 16th century, they left a significant mark on the cuisine. We are known to use a liberal amount of herbs and spices, but the cooking styles vary from region to region. Wheat, rice and pulses are important staples of the Indian diet. The food is rich with spices including ginger, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, dried hot peppers, and cinnamon, among others. Thick condiments and spreads made from assorted fruits and vegetables such as tamarind and tomatoes and mint, cilantro and other herbs are used generously in Indian cooking.

Though many communities and sects still practice vegetarianism, and meat is consumed, India has the lowest consumption of meat in the world according to a 2007 survey. Indians usually use their hands while eating, so don’t be surprised if you’re expected to do the same. However, Indians are extremely informal while eating, so one can do what’s most comfortable for them!

The colorful Indian saree is one of the most vivid images of the sub-continent when it comes to attire, worn by women. While in metros, you will probably see all kinds of attire, in villages women still wear their traditional attire and beautiful handcrafted jewellery. The traditional clothing for men is the dhoti, an unstitched piece of cloth that is tied around the waist and legs. Men also wear the kurta, a loose shirt that is worn about knee-length. For special occasions, sherwani, which is a long coat that is buttoned up to the collar and down to the knees is also worn.

The country celebrates Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) and Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (October 2). Diwali is the largest and most important – a five-day festival known as the festival of lights.

To understand a bit more about this country, here are a few helpful links:

Culture of India
Traditions & Customs
10 Indian Customs to Know Before You Visit
How Indian traditions work

The seasons in India are very simple to remember – “wet” and “sweat”. It is either pouring rain or very hot. But on a more serious note, here are some specific details on the weather. No matter where your travel destination, during the months of March-May, the temperatures climb up to the 40s (Centigrade). Be prepared for the heat, wherever you go. The northern parts of the country might be a bit cooler, but in general you’ll be sweating it out.

December-March: Winter for most parts of India. The northern part of the country enjoys cooler climes while it’s moderate to pleasant in the south. It’s a great time to travel most of the continent.

April-June: Summer is here and it’s hot across most of India. Unless you enjoy the heat (which many people do surprisingly), be warned to carry lots of sunscreen, keep hydrated and possibly avoid the sunniest time of the day. Having said that, we do run our long-haul Manali-Leh trips during these months, but this part of the country is best explored in this season. While the sun is sharp, the temperatures stay reasonable and you’ll probably be too focused on getting up the next hill!

July-September: The rains hit many parts of the country during this season. Kerala, Goa and many coastal areas on the Western part of the continent receives a lot of rain. The humidity also increases. Having said that, it’s also the best time to make a trip if you’re looking for a relaxed, Ayurvedic holiday where you will be pampered by massages and herbal treatments. We also have an exciting “Chasing the Monsoons” trip planned in the Western Ghats during this time for those who don’t mind the rain!

If you travel at this time it is useless using any rain gear like plastic raincoats as within ten minutes. Most Indians just carry an umbrella at all times and wear leather sandals or sport sandals and accept the fact that they will get drenched often and have permanently muddy feet.

October-November: A good time to visit almost any part of the country. The climate is better in terms of temperatures and up north in the Himalayas, it’s perfect time to trek.

For customised tours and the best season to do it, please do reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you out!

All our tours require some amount of adventure/physical activity. It could be walking or hiking and of course, cycling is the way we travel for many of the travels. We also run scuba dive tours, where you’d be using fins and not using your legs as much. So there’s something for everybody.

We often get the question as to how “fit” one needs to be. In general, we do hope that all of you are able to maintain a minimal level of fitness; sustain an aerobic activity for a couple of hours without feeling like you’re really extending your limits. If you haven’t been indulging in any form of physical activity, it might be a good idea to start once you decide on a trip (and generally, it’s always a good thing to keep yourself fit, right?). You can also refer to our 3 Levels of Intensity graded across each tour so you can understand more.

Note: Make sure you talk to us before you decide on a trail, our team members have a good insight into each of our trails and based on their interaction with you on your fitness levels, they will be able suggest the right trail for you.

After all, you want to enjoy the sights and sounds, and the countryside instead of tiring yourself out at the end of everyday. And we’re not talking about doing an Ironman or anything extreme here. But just a bit of walking, running or cycling regularly should keep you fit and ready to take on our tours. At the end of the day – we want you to have fun!

Our Manali-Leh tour does require some amount of physical fitness, but we’re happy to guide you through a program to get you ready for it. If you’re based in Bangalore, we usually also do some hill rides to get your climbing muscles activated. If you’re generally fit and are comfortable cycling, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. While we use cycles and our feet, it’s really yet another way to see the world so the focus is always on the experience of new sights, sounds and local experiences.

Come on a tour with us, and you’ll surely discover the fun of adventure travel!

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