Boarding pass with many stamps

I’m reasonably pleased with how well prepared I was for India (except for the checked baggage curve ball) so here’s the scoop from my second visit (shout out to any readers who remember reading about the first, 13.5 years ago!).

Firstly, mobile phone and internet

Lebara are a good choice at the moment for pay as you go in the UK anyway, and they include India as a full roaming destination at no extra charge! The 4G network is pervasive in cities and seemingly pretty good on the outskirts too, although rereliability does drop with distance from town and vary throughout the day. Having the ability to keep in touch on WhatsApp without extra costs is a game changer, though, and a major difference from 2010. If you’re not on Lebara, the usual eSIM suspects work if your phone supports it.

Second, plug sockets

I don’t remember anything from my first visit, probably because all I brought with me that time was a Nokia 3310 which lasted 10 days per charge. Simpler times…

India uses a three pin plug, but not the one we know and love in the UK and ROI. It has round pins!

A standard Euro travel adapter will fit into many of these sockets, although be aware you won’t have pin 3 connected so anything made of metal or otherwise needing an earth will be dangerous to use. Then again, in a country where double insulation probably means a second duvet, who’s to say the third pin of the socket was connected to earth anyway? If you lack a basic understanding of electrical safety you’ll have a happier trip.

I’m thinking I need an extension lead with inbuilt RCD in my travel kit.

And finally …

Outside of airports and westernized enclaves, India is still a cash economy, so get some rupees and make sure to have the small notes. RS100 = £1 is the rule of thumb. Even having curry in a swish hotel, the card machine wouldn’t take my Chase card, I’m guessing because it needs online authorization and the machine wasn’t reliably networked. As always, carry multiple cards.

Indian airports generally want to see a ticket or boarding pass, plus matching photo ID, before allowing you to enter the terminal building. Unfortunately, terminal 3 at Delhi insists on paper boarding passes, (I’m guessing) because they stamp them at various points to indicate you’ve got through immigration and security. BA’s app is tricky to use as a “ticket” becuse many screens, as the border force official noted, don’t mention the passenger name! I poked until I found one and was let off this time, but for the future: bring hard copies of booking confirmations to be safe.