The updated 60 day tourist Visa means visitors are now entitled to stay in the country for up to two months and enjoy double entry benefits, allowing them to explore neighbouring countries before returning to India. Travellers can also apply for their eTV nearly four months in advance of departure, offering ample time to organise and prepare for an unforgettable trip to India.

Luxury Gold combines expertly crafted escorted journeys, five-star elegance and incredible VIP experiences in creating each and every one of its holiday itineraries. In light of the new e-Visa guidelines, the luxury travel expert offers tips for first-time visitors to ensure their journey through India is hassle-free and memorable for years to come.

Pick the perfect itinerary

Stretching from the frozen summits of the Himalayas to the tropical greenery of Kerala, India packs an array of sights and experiences into a huge space. First-time travellers are encouraged not to overdo it by trying to see it all at once. A carefully planned visit to a particular region delivers plenty of India's unique spirit and rich heritage it's so well known for. Pick a trip according to what interests you, what you want out of the trip, and how much time you have. Luxury Gold offers eight incredible curated itineraries of varying lengths and destinations, from the classic Gold Triangle, to Kochi in the South, trips incorporating neighbouring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka and a volunteer experience in rural Rajasthan. Check out the range of itineraries on the Luxury Gold website here.

Escape the crowds

With over a billion people populating the country, many parts of India – especially the cities – are very crowded. While some travellers find being immersed in the crowds energising, others may find themselves a little overwhelmed. After exploring one of the country's many bustling cities, relaxation can be found in the calm retreat of a beautiful hotel. Luxury Gold itineraries feature outstanding hotel accommodation, including the five star Trident Oberoi in Agra and the luxurious Nahargarh, neighbouring Ranthambore National Park. Alternatively, visitors can journey to one of the country's many beautiful, off-the-beaten-track destinations. Luxury Gold offers experiences that cater to urban adventurers, lovers of wide-open spaces, and those who want to experience the best of both worlds.  

Hygiene habits

India may have a different level of sanitation than many are used to at home, but that doesn't mean visitors will get sick. In fact, it's relatively easy to steer clear of sickness if travellers simply take common-sense precautions. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated (but ensure it's bottled and not from the tap); avoid drinks with ice, fruit you haven't peeled yourself, and any food that has been washed in tap water; and keep anti-bacterial wipes or sanitising gel in your bag to keep your hands clean.

Respect local customs

The locals are very forgiving of those who aren't familiar with Indian culture and customs, but travellers can easily make a good impression by learning the ropes before they go. For example, remember to remove shoes before entering someone's home, cover arms and legs (and head, if necessary) when visiting religious sites, don't touch things with your feet, and don't eat or pass objects with your left hand. If this is a little overwhelming and you're unsure of the local customs when you arrive, Luxury Gold's highly-skilled Travelling Concierges are on hand 24/7 to share their knowledge, advice and offer practical assistance to guests.

Remember, Indian time is relative

India is unique and operates on its own timetable. This may frustrate travellers that come from a culture of punctuality and regularity. Many shops do not open until 10:00am, and many government offices close in the afternoon for lunch. Traffic and other interruptions can also mean that getting around can take a little longer than expected. The key is to be prepared for it and accept it all as part of the experience. Build in plenty of time for unexpected waits, and ensure to check opening hours for popular sites and shops. Choosing to travel with an escorted travel operator like Luxury Gold means schedules and bookings are taken care of, and guests can simply relax and effortlessly enjoy their life changing journey through India.