India Study Tour Next Steps and Travel Checklist

Welcome to the AJWS Study Tour to India! Now that your space is reserved, it’s time to start planning your trip. Please follow the checklist below and contact Neely Grobani (212.792.2800; ngrobani@ajws.org) or Stefanie Rubin (212.792.2938; srubin@ajws.org) with any questions.

  1. Complete and submit your participant paperwork. All forms are due 60 days prior to the trip (12/18/2017).

    Participant Information Form
    Physician Certification Form
    Agreement and Waiver of Liability
  2. Purchase trip cancellation insurance. We highly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance to protect you from unexpected changes to your availability. In order to qualify, most policies require that you purchase cancellation insurance within two weeks of submitting your deposit to AJWS.

    Here are a few options for purchasing insurance:

    • Squaremouth allows you to quote, compare and purchase travel insurance plans using its comparison engine and over 35,000 customer reviews.
    • Travel Insured offers an array of travel insurance protection benefits, including Emergency Assistance and Evacuation, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Protection, Medical Insurance, Baggage Insurance, and Airline Ticket Protection.
    • TripAssure provides plans with benefits to protect the cost of your travel arrangements, your belongings and, most importantly, your health and wellbeing.
    • RoamRight is a global provider of travel insurance plans and assistance services. Their travel insurance plans protect leisure, business, student and group travelers with both domestic and international trips.
  3. Check your passport and book your flights.
    • Passport: Check your passport to be sure it is valid for at least six months from the date you depart.
    • Booking your flight: It’s never too early to start looking into flights, especially if you plan to use air miles. You should book a ticket into Rajiv Gandhi International Airport arriving by the afternoon of Sunday, February 18th, 2018, and departing from Bangalore International Airport on the afternoon or evening of Sunday, February 25th, 2018. If you are continuing on with the optional extension to Kerala, you should book your return flight departing from Mumbai International Airport on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018.
      *Please send your itinerary to studytours@ajws.org prior to booking so we can confirm your arrival and departure times. Once you have finalized your travel plans, please share your booking confirmation with us so we can schedule your airport pick-up and drop-off.
    • Additional nights at the hotel: If you will be arriving before February 18th, 2018, or departing after February 25th, 2018, please send an email to studytours@ajws.org so we can help you arrange additional nights at the hotel.
  4. Visa information: All U.S. citizens need a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose. U.S. citizens seeking to enter India solely for tourist purposes, and who plan to stay no longer than 30 days, may apply for an electronic travel authorization as early as 120 days prior to their arrival in lieu of applying for a tourist visa at an Indian embassy or consulate.

    We recommend starting the process no later than 30-60 days in advance of departure. Please visit the Indian government’s website for electronic travel authorization for additional information regarding the eligibilities and requirements for this type of visa. Please make sure your passport is valid for six months from date of entry to India and contains at least two blank pages.
  5. See your doctor for medical approval and travel vaccinations. You will need your doctor’s approval to travel with AJWS. If you have not traveled to a developing country within the last two to three years, you may need vaccinations and medications. We recommend seeing a doctor specializing in travel medicine. For more information on recommended vaccinations, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to learn about staying healthy in India.
  6. Staying safe while abroad: We do everything we can to ensure your trip abroad with us is a safe and pleasant one, including conducting scouting trips to countries we have not traveled to before and consulting with private travel safety and security experts. However, travel to the developing world always will have a certain degree of risk not found in travel to Western countries. We strongly recommend reviewing recommendations for travelers from the U.S. State Department and CIA prior to your departure.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the country and culture. To get the most of out of your journey, you may want to research the country and culture prior to your arrival. You will receive a handbook in the mail with more detailed background information on India and the grantees we are scheduled to visit about one month prior to your departure. In the meantime, now is a great time to begin familiarizing yourself with India’s unique history. You can find a list of recommended resources here.
  8. Make photocopies of your important documents and leave them with someone you trust. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, which is why we recommend making two photocopies of your passport and leaving them with a friend or family member while traveling.
  9. Know the exchange rates for making purchases abroad. As of April 5th, 2017, the exchange rate was 1.00 USD = 65 INR. Find the most up-to-date exchange rate information here.

    Major credit cards are accepted at the hotels in Bangalore and Hyderabad, and they also have ATMs. Outside of the cities, the best form of currency to use is cash. You can exchange a small amount of cash at the airport or hotel upon your arrival. We recommend keeping the majority of your money locked up safely in the hotel, bringing only what you need with you for the day.

    Remember, your accommodations, meals and ground transportation will all be taken care of, so the only items you should need cash for are souvenirs, alcoholic beverages and gratuities for the guides and drivers (about $10-$15 per day for the guides and about half that for the drivers). We also strongly recommend leaving copies of your credit cards and their emergency contact numbers at home in case any of your cards are lost while abroad.

  10. Don’t forget your toothbrush! Download our recommended packing list for India.