Traveling to India
While recent crimes against foreigners, including several rapes and murders received extensive media coverage, crimes against tourists and business travelers to India take place relatively infrequently. Nonetheless, overseas travels comes with risk – especially for first-time travelers to a foreign country. Here are some suggestions to help avoid trouble and ensure your trip to India is a productive one.
Seek medical advice before your trip.
Before embarking on your trip, visit your doctor four to seven weeks before your departure to discuss your travel plans and receive the appropriate immunizations such as hepatitis A, tetanus, and typhoid injections. Depending on your itinerary, your doctor may recommend additional vaccinations, including cholera, hepatitis B, and rabies.
Pack a medical kit.
Many Westerns report experiencing an upset stomach, often referred to as the “Delhi belly”. Whether the reaction stems from their lack of familiarity with the dizzying array of spices and herbs used in India dishes, or questionable hygiene practices, it pays to pack a medical kit. Make sure to include staples such as Tylenol, Neosporin, Imodium, and Band-Aids, as well as Malaria pills, and hand sanitizer
Check your insurance coverage.
Given the potential of succumbing to an incapacitating illness, brought on by an unfamiliar diet or a foodborne illness, review your insurance coverage to ensure it covers India. If it does not, consider buying supplement insurance, including travel medical insurance and medical evacuation insurance as medical facilities in certain parts of the country may lack the ability to deliver a suitable level of care beyond the rudimentary.
Secure a visa before your trip.
To enter India on business, you’ll need to apply for a business visa. Similar to the application for most visas, in most cases, the process takes approximately a week to complete. A business visa remains valid for five years, allows for multiple entries, and limits each visit to six months.
Pack conservative clothing.
Make sure your suitcase contains clothing that is suitably modest, yet thin enough to wear in stifling temperatures. That’s particularly important for female business travelers since Indian religious and cultural sensibilities require women to dress modestly, which means covering their arms, shoulders, cleavage, and stomach area.
Leave the trappings of success at home.
Regardless of your travel destination, it always makes sense to leave expensive watches, jewelry, and expensive clothing at home. Pay close attention to your surroundings while out in public as pickpocketing is a pervasive problem, particularly on crowded city streets. And while street beggars may prove extremely persist in soliciting for money, resist the temptation to give in to their demands. By doing so, you’ll signal your willingness to share money with other beggars in the vicinity as well as attract the attention of petty criminals.
Plan your travel schedule with great care.
Arriving late to a business meeting is never a great start. However, traffic congestion in every major Indian city is a pressing problem with no immediate solutions in sight. Therefore, plan your itinerary with plenty of transit time between locations. Given the congested state of India’s roads, consider hiring a car and driver for the duration of your trip. Even though self-driving is quite uncommon, a knowledgeable, local driver with experience navigating a city’s roadways could make the difference between arriving at a meeting, with time to spare, versus arriving minutes, possibly hours late.
Exercise caution after dark.
Large cities become more dangerous when darkness arrives. While venturing out to a local nightspot may sound appealing, do so with colleagues or a local guide with in-depth knowledge of the best places to visit as well as those to avoid. Female executives traveling by themselves and without a local, prescreened guide should consider staying indoors after business hours due the threat of sexual attacks.
With an estimated population of over 1.3 billion a never-ending stream of highly educated professionals, relatively low salaries, and an insatiable demand for all manner of Western goods and services, India is a frequent destination for executives of multinationals. While there are a number compelling business reasons to visit India, ensuring a successful trip requires preparation and the use of common sense while doing business in unfamiliar territory.
For additional information on how to prepare for international travel, click here. To learn about FirstCall’s security services for traveling executives, including our in-vehicle security and GPS monitoring capabilities, contact us here