Country Overview

India will sideswipe you with its size, clamour and diversity. Nothing in the country is ever quite what you expect, and the only thing to expect is the unexpected which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you. India is a litmus test for many travelers and some visitors are only too happy to get on an aircraft and fly away, but if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload, then India is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth.

In light of the dispute over Kashmir and the possibility of deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan, many governments are urging against travel to the Jammu and Kashmir regions.

The prospect of hostilities raises the stakes of the long-running border dispute, which has been an issue between the countries for more than 50 years. During the 1947 partition that led to the creation of Pakistan, Kashmir was free to choose which country it wanted to join.


Warning

In light of the dispute over Kashmir and the possibility of deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan, many governments are urging against travel to the Jammu and Kashmir regions.

The prospect of hostilities raises the stakes of the long-running border dispute, which has been an issue between the countries for more than 50 years. During the 1947 partition that led to the creation of Pakistan, Kashmir was free to choose which country it wanted to join.

The local leader allied with India, and the region has been contested ever since, leading to two wars between the neighbours.

In addition to the conflict in Kashmir, religious and cast violence between Hindus and Muslims and different castes in the state of Bihar has claimed many lives . Travellers should exercise caution in these regions.


Full country name: Republic of India
Area: 3,287,590 sq km (1,229,737 sq mi)
Population: 1,129,866,154 (July 2007).
Capital city: New Delhi
People: 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian, 3% other
Language: Hindi, English
Religion: 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2.4% Christian, 2% Sikh, 0.7% Buddhist, 0.5% Jains, 0.4% other
Government: Federal Republic
President: Smt. Pratibha Devsingh Patil
GDP: US$2.664 trillion
GDP per head: US$2600
Annual growth: 5.4%
Inflation: 5.4%
Major industries: Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry, fish, IT, BPO, Softwares
Major trading partners: US, Hong Kong, UK, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Saudi Arabia
Time: GMT/UTC plus five hours 30 minutes
Electricity: 230-240V, 50 HZ
Weights & measures: Metric

Weather

October to March tend to be the most pleasant months over much of the country. In the far south, the monsoon weather pattern tends to make January to September more pleasant, while Sikkim and the areas of north-eastern India tend to be more palatable between March and August, and Kashmir and the mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh are at their most accessible between May and September.

The deserts of Rajasthan and the north-western Indian Himalayan region are at their best during the monsoon. Bangalore is like the airconditoned city of India , that's why it attracts maximum foreign investment and known as silicon valley of India.


India Foods

India, more than in any other country in the world, has a colorful and diverse range of food and tastes to offer. For centuries, Indian food and spices have been known far and wide for their authentic taste and rich quality. India has a variety of dishes, be it North Indian food or South Indian food, that use spices and herbs such as coriander, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, aniseed and asafetida - that are used in different combinations and flavors to enhance the pleasure of a meal.

Cultural Tips

What you should know before you negotiate

Always present your business card. It is not necessary, however, to have it translated into an Indian language. It's usually helpful to have an Indian intermediary. For example, you can bring an Indian colleague.

Another option can be to hire someone whose knows how to manoeuvre within India's intricate bureaucracy and get the necessary papers signed and stamped.

95% of the Indian Business Community are these three communities:

  • Sindhis
  • Marwaris
  • Gujratis

Very rarely will you find Muslims in the legitimate business community. Sikhs and Christians are there but in small proportions.

Sindhis, Marwaris and Gujratis are further subdivided into lots of castes and dietary habits change substantially.

In India, "outside" information and new concepts will be accepted only if they do not contradict prevailing religious beliefs and social structures.

Indians tend to think associatively, largely because the country's educational system places a heavy emphasis on rote learning. Indian businesspeople with a higher education, however, are often more abstract, analytical thinkers.

In Indian business culture, perceptions of the truth tend to be guided by feelings; a strong faith in religious ideologies is also common. An argument appealing to both feelings and faith will often be more convincing to an Indian than one using only objective facts and empirical evidence.

The caste system remains one of the most important influences in Indian society.

Most of the business in India is Family oriented, so you may negotiate with the siblings, but the final say will always be the head of the family.

In India everything has to be bargained, always deal with multiple business from different castes and you will get more realistic prices.

Although technically there is equality under the law, inequality between the castes is an accepted reality of Indian life. Because of the strong, coherent, social structure there is little anxiety about life because one knows and accepts one's place in society and the workplace.

Each employee plays a role in the organization; often the role is as important as the actual work the person may perform. The hierarchical nature of Indian society demands that the boss is recognized as the highest individual in authority.

In some offices, employees may rise each time the boss enters the room to acknowledge respect.

Employees do as they're told; even if they know the boss is wrong, they won't argue.

The boss makes all of the decisions and accepts all of the responsibility. Consequently, you'll often find that subordinates are reluctant to accept responsibility.

Because so many pressures are placed on the boss, qualified Indian employees often do not seek such positions of leadership.

Success and failure are frequently attributed to environmental factors.

Whenever you are convinced that you are right, insist that whoever objects accepts in writing the full responsibility for the consequences of not following your instructions. Staff members are usually so reluctant to accept responsibility that making this demand usually ensures that your wishes will be respected.

It is important to insist that employees write instructions down or for you to distribute written instructions, so that no one can later deny being informed of them.

The best policy is to create a "paper trail" by circulating reports and memos, even to people not directly affected, so that staff members can't claim that you didn't inform them. Complaints, requests, and decisions of any kind should be given in writing.

A business traveller who is a boss will be forgiven most lapses in etiquette.

But even the slightest physical altercation, such as shoving or grabbing someone by his or her shirt, is unacceptable. Lose your control and you will automatically lose authority of any kind.

It will be in your best interests to mask any hostile feelings with a smile.

Interpersonal skills such as the ability to form friendships are sometimes considered more important than professional competence and experience. Nevertheless, there is a deep respect in this culture for university degrees.

Indians are generally too polite to directly answer "no."

Since the word "no" has harsh implications in India, evasive answers are considered more polite.

For example, if you have to decline an invitation, it's more acceptable to give a vague and noncommittal answer such as "I'll try" or "We'll see" rather than "No, I can't."

If you are the boss, it's often your presence that's important, so that the negotiations can take place at the top level.

Because of the rigid hierarchy in Indian business culture, a subordinate will be able to meet only with a subordinate. Once you have gained access to the necessary senior contact, however, the two of you may need only to exchange pleasantries while your assistants concern themselves with the details. At this stage, allow your Indian counterpart to do the talking.

Business in India is highly personal. It is also conducted at a much more leisurely pace than in the United States.

Hospitality is an intrinsic part of doing business in India; most business discussions will not begin until tea is served and there has been some preliminary "small talk."

When refreshments are offered, it is customary to refuse the first offer, but to accept the second or third. To refuse any beverage will only be perceived as insult.

Talking about your friends and family is an important part of establishing a relationship with those involved in the negotiating process. Indian businesses are often run by families. Within family-run businesses, there is a common belief that people outside of the family are not to be trusted.

Often, no one else is allowed to do the work when the head of the family is away. The head of the family usually keeps firm control by limiting information, even with his own family members. Expect Indian negotiators to be shrewd at the bargaining table. Although it's necessary to obtain good legal and tax advice before proceeding with negotiations, you will have to be flexible and not appear too "legalistic" during negotiations.

You will have to be prepared to offer competitive technology packages with close technical follow-up, if your business deals with these concerns. The technical assistance you are willing to provide and how effectively you can train your client's employees will be key considerations in the decision.

Delays are inevitable and must be expected, particularly when dealing with government bureaucracy. The Indian government is notorious for moving at a slow pace, and communication within the country is often a challenge. You will have to be patient and set aside any unrealistic expectations regarding deadlines and efficiency.

There are some foreign women in responsible positions working in India.

In Indian business culture, any final decision must be in accordance with the family, group, and social structure.

Entertaining for business success

Business lunches are preferred to dinners.

A visitor to India will probably receive a deluge of social invitations, even from minor acquaintances and total strangers!

People will sometimes urge you to "Drop in anytime." Consider this a genuine invitation. It's still the best policy, however, to phone ahead before visiting--particularly if it's someone you've just met.

If you are invited to a dinner, arrive a few minutes late unless it is an official function. If the dinner is in a home, you should arrive 30 to 60 minutes late. Remember in Indian home and parties liquor/ alcohol is served first and food is served later and could be as late at 11 midnight, so be prepared before for this. Indians drinks first then eat.

Once you arrive at an Indian home, you will sometimes be adorned with a garland of flowers, which you should remove immediately as a sign of humility.

Remove your shoes before entering an Indian home.

According to Indian custom, the guest is regarded as a kind of god and must be welcomed as such. As a guest, any mistakes in etiquette will be forgiven and never brought to your attention.

Muslims, as well as Hindus, generally keep their women within the confines of the kitchen, although this practice is less pronounced among Hindus. In modern homes you will find ladies sitting and enjoying with everyone, in these houses drinking and smoking is not treated as taboo. In most of the Indian homes inspite of having air-conditioned smoking inside is accepted. No one goes out to smoke.

Businesswomen can take Indian businessmen out for a meal without causing awkwardness or embarrassment to the men. A male guest, however, may insist on paying for the meal.

Washing your hands both before and after a meal is essential. Moreover, in Hindu homes, you will also be expected to rinse out your mouth. Eat only with the right hand, as the left hand is considered unclean. It's considered acceptable, however, to pass dishes with the left hand.

Touching a communal dish with your hands may cause fellow diners to avoid it.

Never offer another person even a spouse food from your plate. This practice is regarded with disgust in Indian culture.

Do not thank your hosts at the end of a meal. Saying "thank you" for a meal is considered insulting because thanks are perceived as form of payment. Instead, offer to reciprocate by inviting your hosts out to dinner. This invitation will signal that you value the relationship you have established with your hosts.

Over tipping is discouraged. In better restaurants, 10% is a sufficient tip, if the service charge hasn't been added to the bill. Tipping in India is used not only to reward competent service, but to ensure that "things get done"; the term "baksheesh" is defined by both of these practices. Discreet and strategic use of "baksheesh" will give you access to increased privileges, such as getting a seat on a train that is officially "sold out."

If you stay overnight in an Indian home, you may not always have your own room. The "guest room" is a concept known only to the very rich. In most middle-class homes, the bedroom is wherever the bedding is rolled out.

When you stay in a house with servants, and the servants have had extra work because of your presence, it is an appreciated and thoughtful gesture to give them money as a gift when you leave. Nevertheless, consult with your hosts and let them tell you the appropriate amount to give. Giving too generously, in relation to the servants' monthly pay, may put your hosts in an awkward position.

When you are hosting a social event, every guest should be contacted personally by phone, even if you have already sent a printed invitation. Be aware that Indian guests will not always "R.S.V.P." or turn up after insisting that they will be attending. you may also expect guest walking with their friends or relatives.

Invitations should be sent out early, and phone calls should come closer to the party day.

Although orthodox Muslim women are usually kept hidden from the view of men, husbands should nevertheless be invited to bring their wives to a social function.

Some guests bring their own guests; you will have to be accommodating.

If guests are late or come with friends (or aged relatives or strangers picked up off the street), or don't come at all, your warm and gracious manner must not change. You should consider the informality of your Indian guests as a compliment, rather than as a sign of bad manners.

Since it's so hard to predict when guests arrive, and how many of them there will be, it is sensible to decide for a buffet rather than a formal "sit-down" dinner.

A variety of catering services are available if you don't want to cook. Some restaurants and hotels also cater, or you can host parties on their grounds.

Lamb, chicken, and fish are the meats eaten by all Indians who are not vegetarians.

The food at the buffet table should be clearly labelled so everyone finds it easy to decide what they can eat. Ensure that you have plenty of vegetarian dishes.

Dietary Restrictions

  • Hindus do not eat beef and Muslims do not eat pork.
  • All other meat must be "halal" or ritually slaughtered.
  • Jains do not eat meat, honey, onion, potato and most vegetables.
  • Some Indians are strict vegetarians, so you should always take this into account. Whenever you host a dinner party, ensure that plenty of vegetable dishes are available.

Serving Alcohol

  • Although Islam prohibits drinking and the Sikh religion prohibits drinking and smoking, not everyone is strict in these observances.
  • Traditional Indian women, regardless of their religion, don't smoke or drink, but Indian women of a certain social position are almost as likely to drink and smoke as the men.
  • Among those who imbibe, the hard liquors are appreciated, especially whiskey, which should be imported (Black Label has the most prestige).
  • Keep in mind that Indian drinkers generally feel that Indian whiskey lacks the prestige of imported brands.
  • Some of the many brands of Indian beer are good. Indian wines are improving, and more Indians are drinking them.
  • It is better to ask your guest: "What would you like to drink?" rather than "Can I get you a beer?"
  • Even guests who are drinkers will not drink alcohol on certain occasions such as religious festivals or if there is an older, highly respected relative present.
  • Always have juice and soft-drinks available for the non-drinkers.

Making appointments

  • Indians appreciate punctuality but don't always practice it themselves. Keep your schedule flexible enough for last-minute rescheduling of meetings.
  • Request appointments by letter about two months before arriving in India.
  • When establishing business contacts, aim for those in the highest position of authority since decisions are made only at this level.
  • Although they usually do not make decisions, middle managers do have some influence. A middle manager on your side can forward your proposal. Often, they are more accessible and are usually willing to meet at any time of the day.
  • Indian executives prefer late morning or early afternoon appointments, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Business hours in the private sector are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Lunch is usually from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • The best time of year to visit India is between October and March, so that you can avoid the seasons of extreme heat and monsoons.
  • Business is not conducted during the numerous religious holidays. Different holidays are observed throughout the many regions and states of India. As dates for the holidays change from year to year, verify this information with the Indian Tourist Office, Consulate or Embassy before scheduling your visit.
  • Keep in mind that rescheduling and delays are sometimes a necessary part of doing business with your Indian contacts. Part of this is because in each household, it is the man's responsibility to marry children off, perform birth, death, and other ritual ceremonies, and take care of aged parents and other dependent relatives.

Selecting and presenting an appropriate business gift

General Guidelines

  • Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver. If you receive a wrapped gift, set it aside until the giver leaves.
  • Don't wrap gifts in black or white, which are considered unlucky colours. Instead, use green, red, and yellow, since they are considered lucky colours.

Appreciated Gifts

  • When invited to an Indian's home for dinner, bring a small gift of chocolates or flowers.
  • If you are staying with a family, feel free to ask them what they would like. Certain very basic, practical, items taken for granted in the West are unavailable in India. For example, electronic gadgets, computer disks, bandages, instant soup mix, and knives may be requested.
  • Chocolate, disposable razors, perfumes, toiletries, and household items such as sealable plastic containers can also be welcome gifts.
  • If you are sure that your Indian counterpart drinks alcohol, imported whiskey is usually an appreciated gift. The best policy is to purchase whiskey on the airline or at the duty-free shop, to avoid being burdened with the spurious which is available in abundance from bootleggers.
  • If you give money to an Indian, ensure that it is an odd number. Usually this is done by adding a single dollar--i.e., $11 instead of $10.
Gifts to Avoid
  • When selecting flowers, be aware that frangipanis are associated with funerals.
  • Muslims believe that dogs are unclean.
  • Images of dogs are also considered unacceptable, so never give toy dogs or gifts with pictures of dogs to Indian Muslims.
  • Observant Hindus do not eat beef or use products that are made from cattle. Consequently, most leather products will be inappropriate gifts.

Respectfully addressing others

General Guidelines
  • There is a reverence for titles in India. Whenever you can, use professional titles such as "Professor" and "Doctor."
  • For those without professional titles, use courtesy titles such as "Mr.", "Mrs.", or "Miss." Wait to be invited before addressing someone by his or her first name. First names are usually reserved for close friends.
  • Status is determined by a person's age, university degree (s), caste, and profession. Moreover, employment in government service is considered far more prestigious than private business. Most of the Indian females name ends with A and hardly a male ends name with A.

Hindu Naming Patterns

  • Traditional Hindus do not have family surnames. Instead, a Hindu male uses the initial of his father's name first, followed by his personal name.
  • Traditional Hindu female names follow the same pattern: father's initial plus personal name. When fully written out, "d/o" (for "daughter of") is used instead of "s/o" (for "son of") between the names. When an Indian woman marries, she usually ceases to use her father's initial; instead, she follows her husband's name.

Muslim Naming Patterns

  • Muslim names are usually derived from Arabic. Generally, a Muslim is known by a given name followed by "bin" ("son of"), then their father's name.
  • A Muslim woman is known by her given name plus "binti" ("daughter of") plus her father's name. Note that in English, "binti" may also be spelled "binte."
  • A Muslim male who has made his pilgrimage to Mecca is addressed as "Haji." A woman who has done so would be addressed as "Hajjah".
  • These titles are not automatically given to spouses; they have to be individually earned by making the pilgrimage. When you are uncertain, however, give the person the benefit of the doubt.

Sikh Naming Patterns

  • Indian Sikhs have a given name followed by either "Singh" (for men) or "Kaur" (for women). Consequently, always address Indian Sikhs by a title and first name--it's not sufficient to address a Sikh male as "Mr. Singh." OR Sardar ji / Sardar Sahib.
  • Westernized Indian Naming Patterns
  • Some Indians will use Western-style surnames. Christian Indians may have Biblical surnames, while Indians from the former Portuguese colony of Goa may have surnames of Portuguese origin.
  • Some Westernized Indians drop the "bin" or "binti" from their name.

Acceptable public conduct

Although you'll observe abundant sexual symbols in Indian society, this does not mean that public intimacy is tolerated.

 Never try to talk to a woman who is walking alone.

Indians of all ethnic groups disapprove of public displays of affection between people of the opposite sex. Refrain from greeting people with hugs or kisses.

The majority of Indians are Hindu. Most Hindus avoid public contact between men and women. Only Westernized Hindus will shake hands with the opposite sex.

A minority of Indians are Muslim. Traditionally, there is no physical contact between men and women. Moreover, if a religious Muslim male is touched by a woman, he must ritually cleanse himself before he prays again. Consequently, women should not offer to shake hands with Muslim men (nor should men offer to shake hands with Muslim women). If a Westernized Indian, however, offers to shake hands, you should do so.

Other Indian religious groups, such as Sikhs and Christians, will also avoid public contact between the sexes.

In large cities, men and very Westernized Indian women will offer to shake hands with foreign men and sometimes with foreign women. Western women should not , however, initiate handshaking with Indian men. The traditional Indian greeting is the "namaste." To perform the "namaste", hold the palms of your hands together (as if praying) below the chin, nod or bow slightly, and say "namaste" (nah-mas-tay).

This greeting is useful for foreigners in any circumstance in which a handshake might not be appropriate. Moreover, it's a sensible alternative to a handshake when a Western businesswoman greets an Indian man.

The comfortable standing distance between two people in India varies with the culture In general, Hindu Indians tend to stand about 3 or 3 1/2 feet apart.

While travelling in public transportation in India, never keep your purse in your back pocket, and avoid carrying a purse at all if possible.

To beckon someone, you hold your hand out, palm downward, and make a scooping motion with the fingers. Beckoning someone with the palm up and wagging one finger, as in the United States, will often be perceived as an insult.

Standing tall with your hands on your hips--the "arms akimbo" position--will be interpreted as an angry, aggressive posture.

Pointing with your finger is considered rude; Indians prefer to point with the chin.

Whistling under any circumstances is considered rude and unacceptable.

Winking will usually be perceived as either an insult or a sexual proposition.

In India, grasping the ears signifies sincerity or repentance. Since ears are considered sacred in India, pulling or boxing another person's ears is a grave insult.

 Feet are considered unclean, so never point your feet at another person. You will be expected to apologize whenever your shoes or feet touch another person.

To tip a taxi driver, simply round off the fare.

When making purchases at a store, your change is simply placed in your hand, without explanation of the amount.

Keep plenty of small change on hand, as street merchants and taxi drivers will often claim that they don't have change.

Expect a deluge of bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. When crossing the streets, you will have to be exceptionally careful and alert.

Giving money to a beggar will only result in your being pestered by dozens of them. The best policy is to avoid even making eye contact.

When walking past an Indian temple, keep your hands in your pockets. If your hand is free, a stranger may offer to shake your hand. This is a scam often used by street merchants who quickly slap a temple bracelet on your outstretched arm. You will then be expected to pay for the bracelet.

Beware of charming Indian con-men. One common scam occurs during long lineups for train tickets or similar items. For example, a man behind you engages you in friendly small talk. He then suggests that if you give him the money, he can get you a train ticket quickly, through one of his connections.        

He may insist, in the meantime, that you relax and have a cup of tea while he obtains your ticket. Needless to say, he doesn't return. Consequently, don't be naïve enough to give money to strangers in this or similar situations.

Guidelines for business dress

Men should wear a suit and tie, although the jacket may be removed during the summer.

Wearing leather (including items such as belts and purses) may be considered offensive, particularly in temples. Hindus revere cows and do not use leather products.

Businesswomen should wear conservative dresses or pantsuits.

Dresses should not reveal too much of the legs. Pants for women are also acceptable. On more formal occasions, however, if you decide to wear pants, they will have to be "dressy."

Indian women often wear a sari to special events; Western women can also wear saris. If you are considering wearing a sari, be aware that it requires practice to walk in one naturally and with confidence. Also, there is a belief among some Indians that saris often do not look flattering on Western women.

If you are a woman and decide to wear a sari, make sure that it is one appropriate for the occasion. And never boast that your sari purchase was a "bargain."

If you have Indian servants during your stay, they will probably invite you to weddings, naming ceremonies, and related events. For a Western female guest, it is appropriate to wear a sari on these occasions. Your servant hosts will interpret it as a gesture of good will and equality if you make the effort to wear an Indian costume.

Another common Indian costume that is perhaps a better option for Western women is the "Punjabi suit." It consists of loose pants and a long blouse. They are usually sold as a set, and are available in a wide variety of styles. You can also have them custom-made.

For men, most formal events in hot temperatures require a "safari suit", which consists of a short-sleeved shirt-jacket and matching pants.

In the winter, suits and ties are appropriate.

In Bombay, Calcutta , Chennai or any other coastal city during the monsoon, a shirt and tie is acceptable.

For casual wear, short-sleeved shirts and long pants are preferred for men.

Shorts are acceptable for men only when jogging; women who jog should wear track pants.

Topics of Conversation

General Guidelines

Talking about your friends and family is an important part of establishing a relationship with those involved in the negotiating process.

Conversation is considered an "art form" here; people will put a lot of time and effort into a discussion. This does not mean, however, that you should feel the need to "bare your soul."

Indians tend to be enthusiastic about discussing politics and religion. They enjoy opinionated conversations and don't necessarily want to hear only bland pleasantries from a foreign guest. Nevertheless, refrain from tackling these controversial subjects unless you are well informed.

As long as you know what you're talking about, you can air dissenting opinions freely. Otherwise, it will be in your best interests to remain silent, especially if the subject is India.

Welcome Topics of Conversation

  • Indian traditions
  • Foreign countries
  • Other people
  • Families
  • Cricket
  • Politics (if you know what you're talking about)
  • Religion (if you know what you're talking about)

Topics to Avoid

  • Personal matters
  • India's military spending
  • Poverty in India
  • The significant amount foreign aid India receives

Custom Procedures

Required Documents

  • Passport for all family members.
  • Visa (to reside in India for at least one year).
  • Inventory, valued in English (indicating date purchased) and itemized (brand, model and serial number of all major appliances must be noted and in English).
  • Indian Customs Declaration Form (to be signed in presence of Customs Officer).
  • Diplomatic shipments require Duty Exemption Certificates from the government of India.

Insurance policy.

Customs Regulations

  • Shipper must be present in India at the Time of Customs Clearance in order to Sign a Declaration of comments and entry is made in Passport.
  • Used household goods and personal effects are duty-free for foreign nationals and Indians transferring residence to India provided:
  • The goods have been owned and used for a minimum of one year prior to importation.
  • Indian Citizens have resided outside the country for two years and intend on staying in India for a year.
  • Foreign nationals produce a visa valid for one year and get FRRO done.
  • All shipments 100% inspected.
  • Sea shipments must be shipped within 30 days of SHIPPERS arrival and air shipments within 15 days of shippers an arrival.

Dutiable / Restricted Items

  • Large quantities of cosmetics, toiletries, food, etc.
  • Tobacco and alcohol products (alcoholic products attract duties over 200%).
  • Electronic equipment and appliances (only one of each is allowed) . One Lap top and PC is allowed.
  • New items and consumables.
  • Professional equipment may be imported duty-free with evidence/certificates proving qualifications of profession to Customs.
  • Manufacturers cartons should not be used for shipping; it is recommended that goods be re-packed and tags and brochures (for new items) not be put in the cartons.
  • Gold or silver in any form other than ornaments.

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons, firearms and ammunition (unless licensed in advance)
  • Live plants
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Pornographic material
  • Narcotics
  • Politically sensitive literature

Duty and Tax Rate

  • All used Household Goods (more than 1 year old) are duty-free.
  • All new articles, whether furniture, crockery, etc., are charged a duty of at least 40.8%.
  • The following items are dutiable at 15% (new or used).

Prohibited Items

  • TV -Air Conditioner
  • VCR -Refrigerator
  • Washing Machine -Deep Freezer
  • LPG cooking Range -Microwave Oven
  • Dishwasher -Video Camera
  • Music System -Word Processor
  • FAX Machine

If the total value of the above items exceeds RS 500,000,(approximately $12000) or items that exceed the one- piece limit will attract a duty of approximately 40.8%.

For more information, please visit https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/IN-India-customs-currency-airport-tax-regulations-summary.htm

Medical Tips

General Precautions

Whereas in the majority of cases, a stay in India does not result in significant ill health, taking some precautions will avoid problems which would spoil your stay. Outside the major cities, the medical infrastructure may be rudimentary.

Pre-existing illnesses, long term medication

Take care to carry all your medications, plus some extra supplies in case your return is delayed. Do consult your GP before your holiday.

  1. Accidents (Road traffic accidents, sporting mishaps, etc…)

These give rise to around 1/3 of medical repatriations and may be serious. Remember that vehicles and roads in India are often in a bad state of repair and that driving standards are not always of the highest. So take care, especially in the evenings and at night. Wear seat belts. Helmets are mandatory with motorbikes.

  1. Injections and transfusions

If you need treatment, it is safer to take medicines by mouth than by injection if at all possible. Similarly, avoid blood transfusion unless in a life or death situation. This will avoid your contracting blood transmitted diseases.

  1. Sun

 Exposure to strong sunlight can result in unpleasant and possibly severe burns. Try and prepare your skin before you go and, in any case, avoid long exposure to sunlight. It is essential to use a high factor sunblock. Remember that the combination of heat, sunlight, dehydration can lead to sunstroke with potentially serious consequence.

Vaccination Requirements

There are no compulsory vaccinations required to visit India, however, depending on the length and conditions of your stay, the following vaccinations are recommended.

Tetanus and polio (with diphtheria if possible)

Essential

There are almost no contraindications

Viral Hepatitis A

  • CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in India, regardless of where you are eating or staying
  • Very useful (the risk is around 1% per month of stay) especially for long stay or backpacking which bring the traveler in close contact with the native population.
  • The vaccine becomes effective around the 10th day after administration.
  • A booster after 6 to 12 months will confer immunity for 10 years.
  • Travellers aged 50 and over may already have acquired natural immunity, a blood test will assess this.
  • There are almost no contraindications to this vaccine.

Typhoid

  • You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in India. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
  • The risk is low
  • This vaccine is recommended only for long stay of at least over one month
  • One injection confers immunity for 3 years
  • There are almost no contraindications

Hepatitis B

  • You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
  • Three injections over 6 months are required for immunity.
  • The risk is almost entirely confined to unprotected sexual intercourse and blood contact, so avoidance is possible even if not vaccinated.
  • In young adults, a trip is an excellent time to have this vaccine.
  • An accelerated programme of injections over one month is possible, but long term protection is not yet certain.
  • There are almost no contraindications.

Less Common Vaccines

Meningitis A + C

  • Recommended in times of epidemics or in the dry season for prolonged stay in the north of India or for expatriations.
  • One injection confers immunity for 3 years.

Rabies

  • This is recommended for long trips, backpacking or emigration, particularly for children. Always avoid contact with stray animals.
  • Primary vaccination consists of 3 injections ( day 0, day 7, day 28 ) but post exposure shots are still necessary in case of bites.

Japanese Encephalitis

  • The Japanese B encephalitis vaccine is indicated for prolonged stay in rural areas, and in the monsoon season (especially if contact with animals is expected, particularly pigs), or for expatriates.
  • Prevention is by 3 injections, day 0, 7 and 28

Malaria Prohylaxis

Risk

  • Malaria occurs all year round in areas below 2,000 m.
  • Malaria may occur in towns
  • In the southern part of India only, the risk of benign (plasmodium vivax) malaria is significant Chemoprophy laxis is not recommended.

Prevention

  • Avoid mosquito bites, especially between sundown and sunrise (maximal risk around midnight). Use insect repellent (Mosi-guard); not all repellent are equally effective.
  • Use mosquito nets im pregnateded with insecticide.
  • Use mosquito sprays and coils, wear clothes that cover the arms and legs.
  • Air conditioning lowers mosquito activity.

Drug Prevention

  • Combined chloroquine and paludrine
  • Traveler's Diarrhea (Turista)

Risk

  • This is high (around 50 %) but most cases are mild.
  • Turista or traveler's diarrhea, is the most frequent health problem of the traveller. It owns numerous names (Mocktesuma's revenge, the Polish, the Pharaoh curse.), all full of imagery, which shows the impression travelers had in having those digestive disorders.
  • As a matter of fact, one out of two travelers is concerned and, the English more than the other western travelers, but we ignore why. In most of the cases, diarrhea is benign, but in 10 to 20% of the cases, the people remain confined to bed. In 2% of the cases, the disorders become chronic.
  • In certain cases, it can lead to repatriation. As a matter of fact, the possible seriousness of the traveler's diarrhea, is linked with dehydration due to a liquid, plentiful, and persistent diarrhea, especially if it comes together with vomiting, which makes re-hydration difficult. In this way dehydration may lead to serious consequences, particularly for the elderly who travel more and more often.
  • Logically the risk is higher if you come from a country with a high health level and if you go to an underprivileged region. Nevertheless, the risk exists if you travel in industrialized countries, even if this risk and the consequences are slighter, which shows that the sources of diarrheas are not always infectious, but linked to stress, changes in diets and ways of life as well.

Causes and Prevention

  • As everybody knows, what is eaten is the cause of all those problems. Contrarily to generally accepted ideas, solid food is much more likely to lead to diarrhea than drinks. High-risk meals are : cooked meals eaten cold afterward (buffet), seafood, meat and fish that were not cooked long enough, and mixed salad. At the opposite, everything that is eaten hot (very hot) is harmless, as well as dry food (bread, cakes). Thus, you are more likely to get diarrhea if you eat food from a buffet in a famous hotel than if you eat a very hot soup in a street of Bangkok.
  • Theoretically, prevention is quite simple : you have to avoid high-risk food! What concerns drinks, check if they were previously capped on, and have preferably hot drinks. You can boil water yourself (but who travels around with a stove and a pan.).
  • You can put decontaminating tablets in water (such as Micropure, hydrochlonazone), but they are not totally efficacious and you will have to wait one hour before drinking the water. There are systems of individual or collective filters which have proved very efficacious like Katadyn filters or Pentapure system.
  • In some very particular cases (immune deficit, intercurrent disease, cases of lack of stomach acidity .), where the diarrhea may lead to very serious consequences, or if you have to be absolutely fit for certain circumstances (contract signing, conference.), your doctor can prescribe a preventive antibiotic (quinolones), which will be taken during the "risk-period", but only for a short time.

Treatment

  • If despite all the precautions taken, the incident occurs, the first reflex (paradoxically not everybody does think spontaneously of it) should be : drink a lot to compensate the loss (of water). The compensation shall consist of (non-contaminated!) liquid, sugar and salt. You can have for instance fruit juice or sweetened tea with salted biscuits.
  • In case of vomiting, you should have very small quantities of it, several times and regularly. In certain cases, you will be seeing a doctor on site who will prescribe re-hydration through intravenous perfusion.
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine are not wholly effective. The most effective are those which do not stop the transit (Smecta®, Tiorfan®, .); at the opposite, you had better using loperamide (Imodium or equivalent of it) only in "emergency" (travel by plane,.) because the over effectiveness of this drug may lead to worse discomfort than the initial diarrhea. Those medicine can even be dangerous if the diarrhea comes together with fever, abdominal pain or blood in the stools. In several cases (diarrhea with fever, persistent diarrhea, fragile person.), an antibiotic with quinolones may be useful (except for pregnant women and for children).
  • As a conclusion, let us remember that the traveler's diarrhea is frequent, but is benign and short-lasting in most of the cases; however, the consequences of it are sometimes serious for "fragile" people. Prevention is useful, but not wholly effective and hydration is the key element of the treatment.

Special Risks

  • Be careful around animals.
  • Do not walk barefoot on the sand or damp or muddy ground.
  • Before putting your shoes on, check there are no insects or other animals lurking in them, they may react in an unpleasant or dangerous manner when they see your foot arriving! (scorpions etc…). The same applies to sleeping bags.
  • Always iron clothes that have been dried by hanging outside to avoid contracting myiasis (tumbu fly).
  • Do not go near the animals on game reserves. In those areas, wear boots that cover your ankles.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Apart from AIDS, particularly in the larger cities, many sexually transmitted diseases would be an unpleasant souvenir to bring back from your holidays (gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B).

Always use condoms

First Aid Kit

Around 55% of travellers per month of stay present with medical problems requiring treatment. So it is best to carry home remedies. Never buy medicines in the open air markets.

  • This applies to both Business and Pleasure travel.
  • Usual medicines and contraceptives
  • Anti-malaria medicines and insect repellent, both for clothing and skin
  • Anti-diarrhoeals (rehydration sachets)
  • Imodium or equivalent preparations
  • Ciprofloxacin for febrile diarrhoea (also effective against cystitis)
  • Topical antiseptic (Savlon), different sizes of plasters, some bandages
  • Small instruments, fine pointed scissors, tweezers, thermometer
  • Eye wash (Optrex)
  • Antipyretics (Paracetamol, ibuprofen), also useful for pain relief
  • Antibiotics (ciprofloxacinor equivalent for respiratory tract infections)

Medical emergencies                                               : NA

Country telephone prefix                                         :  91

International telephone prefix                                  :  900

Police                                                                     :         100

Fire Control Room                                                   : 101

Ambulance                                                             : 102

Centralised Accident & Trauma Services (CATS)        : 1099

Ambulance Helpline , Delhi                                      :1092

Women's Helpline, New Delhi                                   : 1091

Women's Helpline, Anywhere in India                        : 181

Senior Citizen Helpline, New Delhi                             :  1091 , 1291

Anti-Obscene Calls Cell, New Delhi                              :  1091

Anti Stalking Cell,  New Delhi                            : 1091

AIDS Helpline  Anywhere in India                                : 1097

Medical Helpline, State-Andhra Pradesh                      :108

Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa,

Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka,

Assam, Meghalaya,

Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

Expat Kids

Relocating Kids

Successfully relocating kids internationally can be as much an attitude of mind as it is practical logistics.

Getting the practical aspects of the move to go smoothly and calmly is important in helping children make the necessary adjustments. Planning the shipment of personal belongings and pets, the leaving of one home, traveling to a new country and then settling into a new home, country and school are separate issues whose individual aspects must be addressed from a child's point of view.

Children can form negative perceptions of any part of a move, not just from what they hear from their parents and friends, but from what they do not hear.

Common concerns children have about an international move can be :

  • They will be left behind (either at home or abroad)
  • Their toys and personal possessions will be left behind and/or thrown away
  • They will never go back home
  • They will never see their friends and relatives again
  • They will not have anywhere to live once they move abroad
  • They will not be able to attend school abroad
  • They will not have any friends in the destination country
  • They will not be able to eat their favourite foods whilst abroad
  • No one will speak their language in the destination country

Involving the children in the processes of moving can go a long way to relieving some of these concerns and explaining to them what is happening and going to happen can relive others.

When parents present a positive, but realistic, attitude towards a move, children will feel much happier too; they can easily pick up and adopt their parent's negative attitudes.

The practical aspects of moving that directly affect children are discussed below. Addressing each, in consideration of an individual child's needs, will help them relocate successfully.

Shipping

Shipping as many of a child's personal possessions as possible will help them settle quickly into their new home by providing them with familiar objects and toys with which to personalize their new room. Providing personal photos and photo albums for children can also be helpful for reassuring them that their friends and relatives are not gone and forgotten.

When children can see their belongings being packed and placed in the lorry, they can more readily accept they will see them again. If they have also seen a removal lorry delivering a shipment to a neighbour’s house they can be more confident that the lorry with their shipment will do the same too.

Leaving and Closure

 Saying goodbye is important for children. They need to know that friends and relatives will not forget them, and are waiting for them to return, either for visits or permanently.

It might be painful at the time of the good-byes, but in the long run it can leave children more comfortable with the thought of being away from home.

Traveling

 If it is necessary to fly to the destination, tips to help families do so can be found in our section Flying with Kids.

Arriving and Settling-In    

  • Children need to feel secure and confident in the new environment before they can fully appreciate and enjoy the new country.
  • The first few days, or even weeks, is not the time to insist an older child venture out into a new city and country alone.
  • Younger children may not sleep well and can suffer from separation anxiety. Because so much of what they know has changed, it can take them some time to understand that further changes are not going to happen too.
  • If you moved from rural Scotland to downtown Edinburgh it would take your child a while to settle, and a move from London to Berlin will be much the same for a child.
  • Providing a child with a secure and comfortable base, from which to explore their new surroundings, is an excellent place to start the settling-in process.
  • Begin by making their room comfortable and familiar. Arrange toys, books, pictures and beds so they feel 'at home'. A child that sleeps well at night is going to be much happier than a tired grumpy one.
  • Once the new home feels comfortable, the local area can be investigated with the knowledge that the safety of home can be returned to. This confidence booster will also make it easier for a child to integrate with other expat children and invite them to their home.

Schooling

 

For expat parents, the decision on whether primary childcare of pre-school children will be done by a parent, domestic employee or day-care centre is made harder by the addition of factors that really only occur when the family is abroad.

 If one parent has fulfilled the primary childcare role before the move, they may be happy to continue doing so afterwards. However, in some countries it is not common practice for expat parents to do this as most families employ full-time domestic staff. In these circumstances it can be difficult for an expat caregiver to integrate into the group of caregivers because of language difficulties, or because the caregivers perceive the expat to have a different social status and thus remain detached.

Other expats, who employ full-time staff, may also not 'approve' of an expat who looks after their own children, which can make it difficult for the care giving expat to mix with other expats during the day.

When both parents have worked before the move, it can difficult for one to adjust to staying at home and assuming full-time childcare duties. If expat childcare in the host country is also commonly carried out by domestic staff, there may also be the problems discussed above.

When considering the employment of domestic staff for childcare duties, expat parents need to consider how they will communicate with the caregiver, what language the caregiver will use with child, as well as the cultural attitudes of the caregiver towards diet, health/safety, behaviour and discipline.

If the family is planning to stay in the country for an extended period of time, a local caregiver can in still knowledge of the language from an early age and the child is likely to grow up bi-lingual, though if both parents work long hours the child's native language ability may suffer.

Cultural attitudes towards childcare vary enormously and in some countries expat parents need to be firm in laying down ground rules with an employed caregiver. Areas of concern can be the provision of acceptable activities for the child, when it is safe for the child to go outside (in some countries children are never taken outside to play during the winter), television viewing and diet.

The availability of day-care facilities varies from country to country, as does the quality. They also split into two general categories; local and international.

Local facilities will usually use the local language and most of the staff and children will be local nationals. An expat child in such a centre will be immersed in the local language and culture.

International facilities usually use English as the medium of instruction and can be of a standard and quality comparable to the best in Europe or North America. Some staff may be native English speakers, though there will probably be local staff too. Local children are often enrolled in such facilities, by parents anxious for their children to grow up bi-lingual.

Whether the centre is local or international, expat parents should take care to find out as much as possible before enrolling their children. A meeting with staff and a visit during school hours is important, as is talking to parents of children who have attended the centre.

Most expat children attend what are commonly referred to as international schools. These have been set up to provide quality education, in English, to children of many nationalities.

 Within the broad umbrella of international schools are 'American', 'British' and 'International' curriculum schools.

 At elementary and middle school level, there is not much to choose between them in terms of curriculum and teaching style. At high school level the curricula vary greatly.

American curriculum schools aim towards Standardized Assessment Tests (SATs) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. These are the most common exams used to assess students for entry to American universities. At high school level students usually study a broad range of subjects until they graduate. For students who are likely to transfer back to America, or another American overseas school, accreditation by one of the US agencies or the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) can be important.

British curriculum schools generally follow the British National Curriculum and students study for the GCSE and Advanced ('A') Level examinations. Accreditation is not seen as so important by many of these schools, though they can be among the best of the international schools. Students generally study at least 8 GCSEs and 3 or 4 'A' levels.

In many countries there are also German, French, Pakistani and other nationality schools, sponsored by governments and organizations, which provide the standard education of that country.

International curriculum schools are usually members of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), based in Switzerland. IB school may follow any, or all, of the Primary Years, Middle Years, or Diploma programs. Many also offer IGCSE courses (the international version of the GCSE exams). The IB Diploma program is a demanding multidisciplinary course that can be taught in English, French or Spanish, though most use English. The IB diploma is widely recognized for entry to universities around the world.

Local schools are another option for expat children, though parents should consider difficulties that the language of instruction and the content of the curriculum may pose for their child. For younger children a local school can be a good way for them to learn the local language.

Whichever school is chosen, the suitability of the school, both socially and academically, for the child should be considered. Also, important to consider is where the child will go when they leave the school (another school, university, etc.) and whether the curriculum will help or hinder that future move.

To determine the quality of a school, parents should ask as many questions as possible of the school, parents of children who have attended it and expat staff at their embassy.

To find an international school in your destination country, see our directory below:

American Embassy School

Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 110 021, India

Tel :

(+91) 11 2688 8854

ENROLMENT:

Age Range:

3-18

FEES :

Pre-Kindergarten : US$ 18,037

KG-Grade 5         : US$ 24,056

American International School Chennai

100 Feet Rd, Taramani, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600113, India

Tel :

(+91) 44 2254 9000

ENROLMENT:

Age Range:

3-18

Nationalities:

24

Fees:

For fee information, contact admissionsdirector@aischennai.org. 

American School of Bombay

SF2, G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex Road, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400098

Tel :

(+91) 22 6772 7272

ENROLMENT:

Age Range:

3-19

Nationalities:

50

Fees:

Day only: US$ 3208-US$ 17208

Other Fees:

FEES:

Registration US$1,000; Capital levy Pre-K
US$10,000; Capital levy K-12 US$20,000

Bangalore International School

Hennur Bagalur Road, Kothanur Post, Banjara Residency, Geddalahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560077

Tel :

(+91) 80 2846 5060

ENROLMENT:

Age Range:

3-17

Fees:

Not publish on website

Calcutta International School Society

724, Anandapur, Kolkata, West Bengal 700107

Tel :

(+91) 33 6500 4702

ENROLMENT:

Age Range:

4-18

Fees:

http://www.calcuttais.edu.in/images/Fee%20Structure%202018-19.pdf

Canadian School of India

4 & 20, Manchenahalli,, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560064, India

Tel :

(+91) 80 2343 8414

ENROLMENT:

Age Range:

2.5-19

Nationalities:

40

Fees:

S$2,500.00

Hebron School

Nilgiris, Ooty, Tamil Nadu 643001, India

Tel :

(+91) 423 222 5820

ENROLMENT:

India International School

Opposite VT Road, Shipra Path, Mansarovar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302020

Tel :

(+91) 141 278 6402

ENROLMENT:

Age Range:

4-18

Fees:

http://www.iisjaipur.org/Fee-Structure_PDF.pdf

International School of Hyderabad

c/o ICRISAT, Patancheru, Hyderabad, Telangana, India, 502324

Tel :

(+91) 40 30713865

Fees:

http://www.ishyd.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/pdf/ISH%20School%20Fees%202014-15.pdf

Kodaikanal International School

Seven Roads Junction, Club Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu 624101

Tel :

(+91) 4542 247 500

Fees:

https://www.kis.in/admissions/fee-schedules/

Mahindra United World College of India

Village Khubavali, P.O. Paud, Taluka Mulshi, Pune, Maharashtra 412108

Tel :

097644 42752

E mail:

info@muwci.net

Web site:

www.uwcmahindracollege.org

Mallya Aditi International School

Behind NIPCCD building, Yelahanka New Town, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560106

Tel :

080 4044 7000

E mail:

maisadmn@aditi.edu.in

Fees:

http://www.aditi.edu.in/admissions/

Mercedes Benz International School

P-26 MIDC Phase 1,Rajeev Gandhi Infotech Park,Hinjawadi, Pune – 411057

Tel :

+91 – 20 42954444

E mail:

admissions@mbis.org

Web site:

https://www.mbis.org

Fees:

https://www.mbis.org/admission/fee/

Pathways World School

New Delhi, 2, Hemkunt Colony, Greater Kailash, New Delhi - 110048

Tel :

0124 487 2000

E mail:

swati.gomber@pathways.in

Web site:

https://www.pathways.in

Fees:

https://www.pathways.in/Home/admission

The British School

Dr Jose P Rizal Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, Delhi 110021

Tel :

011 4066 4166

Email :

thebritishschool@british-school.org

Fees:

https://www.british-school.org/Admissions-FeeStructure

The International School Bangalore

NAFL Valley, Whitefield-Sarjapur Road, Near Dommasandra Circle, Bengaluru, Karnataka 562125

Tel :

080 2263 4900

Email :

school@tisb.ac.in

Website:                                                   http://tisb.org

Total Enrolment:

http://tisb.org/admissions/

Woodstock School

Tehri Road, Landour, Near Landour Community hospital, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand 248179

Tel :

0135 661 5000

Email :

admissions@woodstock.ac.in.

Website:

https://www.woodstockschool.in

Fees:

https://www.woodstockschool.in/fees/

Ecole Française Internationale

Ashishwang Bungalow, Plot No.72, Pochkhanwala Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, Mumbai

Tel :

(0)22249 08801

Email :

admin@efib.in

Website:

www.efib.in/en/

Fees:

http://www.efib.in/admission/

Ecole Française

2 Aurangzeb Road - - New Delhi 110011, India

Tel :

+91 113041 9550

Email :

contact@lfidelhi.org

Website:

https://lfidelhi.org/

Fees:

https://lfidelhi.org/admission-apply/tuitions-and-fees/

Lycée Français

12, Victor Simonel St, White Town, Puducherry, 605001

Tel :

0413 233 5831

Email :

proviseur@lfpondichery.net

Website:

http://www.lfpondichery.net

Fees:

http://www.lfpondichery.net/web/index.php/en/about-us-menu/applying

Culture Shock

Culture shock is an integral part of relocating; everyone suffers from it to some extent. The term 'Culture Shock' can be misleading, as it is not only the different culture of the host country that can be unsettling. Instead of the label culture shock, try considering the phrase, 'stress and anxiety resulting from unfamiliar surroundings'. When moving abroad, not only the predominant culture of the people and city around you changes, there is often a lifestyle change for the family too: apartment living instead of a house with a garden, a private school instead of a state school, increase in disposable income, domestic staff being employed in the home, only one parent working. Even if you can buy recognizable and favourite food items in the host country, there are likely to be changes to taste, quality and price due to local climatic conditions, production and preparation methods and the cost of importing. These lifestyle changes can be as difficult for a family to adapt to as the cultural changes. The change in environment can lead children to become depressed, anxious, unhappy, badly behaved and physically ill. Advance preparation and introduction to the likely changes will mean that they are less surprising and ultimately less problematic. Introducing A New Country as Your Future Home
The best way to introduce children successfully to something new is to make it exciting. The following ideas can be used to prepare your children for an international move:

  • Show them picture books, videos and travel brochures about the destination country.
  • Take them to restaurants that serve the food of the country you are going to
  • Introduce them to nationals of the destination country at embassies, tourist offices and ethnic restaurants.
  • Explain any anticipated differences in lifestyle before the move.
  • Plan strategies for working with the changes so their impact is positive as much as possible.
  • Always try and convey excitement about the move.
  • Once children have some knowledge of where they are going and are excited about a new experience they will be more open to accepting the novelty and less worried about the great unknown.

Post Arrival Strategies for Relieving Culture Shock

It is the unfamiliar aspects of a country that prompt the stresses of culture shock. For children it can seem that everything is different and unfamiliar. The language they hear around them and the signs they see are likely to be unintelligible. The buildings, shops, foods and restaurants can all look strange too.

By finding familiar shops, restaurants and foods, the enormity of the differences will lessen for children. A visit to McDonalds may not be top of the list for adults as a place to eat in Paris, but for children it can be a welcome reassurance that everything they knew has not disappeared.

Making contact with other children who speak their language - preferably those who like the country - will help children settle too. A peer that children can communicate with can help reduce loneliness and anxiety and provide explanations of and introductions to the new culture.

Activities and sports are useful for helping children settle in a foreign country. Football, horse riding, or any other activity that a child likes can give them something to look forward to and a place to make more friends, both local and expatriate ones. Attending a specific group activity eases the pressure of making friends, by giving the child a reason for being part of the group. It will also boost their confidence, encourage them to find positive aspects of the country and teach them, through host country friends, how to make the most of the country that is now home.

Language

A major cause of stress in a foreign country is the inability to understand what is being said and written. This lack of language skills can also make it more difficult to appreciate how to successfully live in a country. If the local language is not being taught in the child's school, consider private lessons.

Younger children pick up a language by assimilation. If you have local friends ask them to speak to young children in the local language, especially if you expect to be in the country for a few years. Continuous exposure to the language will help the child learn it and make their stay in the country much less frustrating and much more enjoyable.

The Cycle of Culture Shock           

The effects of culture shock usually fade over time, especially with family support and encouragement to understand the differences met during time spent in a foreign country. Culture shock often follows a pattern of Euphoria (initial enjoyment of all the exciting new aspects of the country), Depression (when the negative differences overwhelm the positive ones) and Adaptation (as adjustment to the country is made). The time scale of this pattern varies for everyone and not everyone experiences all three. The most common time scale seems to be approximately a week of Euphoria, a couple of months of Depression and many months of Adaptation. Many expats feel that the first year in a country is one of ongoing adaptation and orientation.

However, culture shock can be cyclical, and expatriates find that it recurs over time, especially at certain times of year, no matter how long they stay in a country. Special holidays or anniversaries can reawaken aspects of culture shock and spark depression and frustration years after the move.

Children can experience this cycle too and they need ongoing support from their parents to benefit fully from the experience of living abroad.

Moving Checklist

Moving day is getting closer! Before you leave, many things need taking care of. You're worried about forgetting something? Well, don’t worry!

For your serenity and peace of mind, INDIARELOCATIONS has put together a detailed checklist. This checklist will help you plan all that you need to take care of whilst preparing your departure.

  • Moving minus 90 days
  • Begin consular procedures. As of now obtain information on how to obtain your visa, residency and work permits before you leave.
  • Check the Customs procedure and the required documents regarding the exportation of your goods from your country of origin and for their importation into the country of destination. Your status may enable you to benefit from certain advantages, such as the obtaining of a franchise. This will avoid you having to pay the duties and taxes upon importing your used personal effects.
  • Think about validating your passport and those of all accompanying family members. These should be valid, at least, until your net return to your country.
  • Establish international driving licenses. Depending on the country of destination, you might have to obtain a local driving license by going to a local driving school and eventually passing a practical /theoretical driving test. In all cases, keep your actual driving license with you. It can be requested by the local authorities to avoid having you pass the test.
  • Start documenting yourself on your country of destination by obtaining guides, brochure, video tapes or CD-ROMs, to be read and watched by all family members.
  • Check electrical supply, available at your country of destination. Ask your local electrician if your electrical appliances will function with the use of adapters and/or transformers. If necessary, prepare a list of all electrical articles that you are unable to use abroad. You could sell them to other expatriates.
  • Add all items of furniture, plants and pet animals that you are unable to take with you and proceed in the same manner as above.
  • Contact us to arrange a survey at your home, estimate the volume/weight of your shipment, and choose the appropriate mode of transportation. Do not forget the storage option for the unneeded furniture at your country of origin during your stay abroad.
  • A primary estimate of shipment volumes/weights can be performed. Contact our office to arrange a survey and we will send you a quotation.
  • You can obtain, from your family doctor a world map of endemic zones. This will allow you to know what vaccines and treatments are necessary for your host country of destination. If any, these should be administered several months prior to your departure.

Moving minus 60 days

         

  • Make Airline or Rail reservations. Be sure to conserve your tickets after arrival. These could eventually be requested at your destination for Customs Clearance purpose.
  • Make eventual plans for temporary accommodation for the post - Packing period. The same should be done at destination, whilst you are waiting for the final delivery of your goods.
  • Enquire with your moving company about the possibility of recuperating VAT. This will depend on your country of origin and destination. In most cases, you will need to have export invoices established for all newly purchased goods being shipped abroad.
  • Inform the various organisms of your forthcoming change of address. Transfer your subscriptions or cancel your contracts. We have prepared a non-exhaustive list of your different contacts:

TRANSFERRED

CANCELLED

Clubs

 

Real estate contracts

 

Banks

 

Postal office

 

Cable/Satellite

 

Income tax office

 

Guarding corporation

 

Insurance

 

Phone corporation

 

Water

 

Schools

 

Electricity

 

Oil

 

Gas

 

Magazines

 

Health insurance

 

TV

 

Unions

 

Moving minus 30 days

  • You can simulate the layout of your furniture as it would be in your new home.
  • Have your house linen, curtains and carpets cleaned.
  • Sort out your goods and disregard those you will not be using anymore.
  • Ask your GP, dentist, ophthalmologist and other specialists to renew all your prescriptions so that you can continue your treatment abroad. Do not forget to ask for your medical files.
  • Inform your local authorities (Townhouse etc.) of your coming forthcoming departure.
  • Contact all benevolent associations to whom you've decided to donate all effects that you will not be moving. Set up an appointment so that these can be picked up from your home.

Moving minus 7 days

  • Clean your bicycles, garden tools and furniture.
  • Empty the reservoirs of all combustion items.
  • Now is the time to sell or donate all unwanted effects. Do not forget things that you had borrowed from family or friends.
  • Give your new coordinates to your circle of family and friends.
  • Reconfirm your moving dates to your moving company. Make sure they have both your addresses; at origin and destination. Any intermediate contact numbers should also be transmitted.
  • Organize to have your children looked after during the packing and loading operations.
  • Add adapters and/or transformers to your shipment. These are necessary for the operation of your electrical appliances at destination. You will also be able to purchase them before the delivery of your effects in your new residence.
  • Begin your "Valued Inventory List" of all household goods and personal effects being moved. Fill the inventory in while being as precise as possible. Do not hesitate to add extra sheets should the need arise.

Moving minus 2 days

  • Use destination stickers to sort out your goods by destination or mode of transportation, if more than one destination or mode.
  • Start dismantling your furniture, removing curtains, pictures and light fixtures, unless the moving company contracted provides this service.
  • Clean and let dry all kitchen appliances to avoid the apparition of mildew during shipping.
  • Disconnect all electricals and cover naked wires where necessary.
  • If at all possible, retain a parking spot for the removal van or container, as close as possible to your residence. Loading operations will become much easier.
  • Put aside a few soft drinks for the packing crew in order to optimize their working conditions.

Moving day!

Put away all important documents and articles of value (passports, airline tickets, cash, travel addresses, destination country contact details, portable computers, phones, keys etc.), that you wish to carry personally. This will avoid having them packed accidentally.

Upon the arrival of the packing crew, you should go around your home with the crew foreman and point out all that needs to be packed. If you have any special requests; i.e. packing of your beds last, now is the right time to mention them.

There…you are now ready to move with total peace of min

Travel Tips

Jet Lag

When you travel to countries located in a different time zone, the disruption of the internal body clock is called the "Jet Lag".

The symptoms vary according to the person: difficulty to concentrate, insomnia, sleepiness, digestive upsets, headaches, etc.

Many scientific researches have been conducted on the Jet Lag and even though the methods to avoid it are not universal, a mix of the following travel tips will at least help you arrive in good shape at destination.

Before the departure

         

  • Choose comfortable and loose clothes for the trip.
  • Don't forget other medicines you could need during the flight in your hand bag.
  • Allow more time that needed to arrive in advance at the airport; this will avoid rush and stress.
  • Use a trolley to carry your luggage. Your body will already ache from the lack of exercise during the flight, do not add to it with unnecessary efforts.
  • Don't stay still in the waiting room (you will have plenty of time to do so in the plane); do some exercise and walk around as this will not be possible in the next hours.

During the flight

         

  • Set your watch to the destination time zone as soon as you get in the plane and start living according to it: only sleep if it is night time there.
  • Drink water regularly and in small quantities during the whole trip.
  • Avoid heavy meals, coffee and alcohol as much as possible as it could disrupt your sleep once at destination.
  • Take a walk around the plane's alley when it allowed as often as possible. Never stay still for more than 2 hours. When sitting, you may do some exercise, stretching up your arms and your back, lifting your feet and your legs, relaxing your neck and your shoulders, contracting your rear. This will activate the blood circulation in your body.
  • Moisturize your skin as often as you wish but at least every 4 hours.

Upon arrival

         

  • If you are supposed to go to bed: avoid noise and bright lights and do not exercise as this could disrupt your sleep. A bath or at least a shower with soft and relaxing music could help you fall asleep.
  • If you are supposed to stay awake, have a shower, exercise, expose yourself to bright natural or electric light. If you really need to take a nap, make sure it does not exceed 45 minutes. Most important: stay busy and active to avoid sleepiness.
  • Melatonin is a substance which is supposed to help the body clock adapt to the new time zone; however, it is still forbidden in various countries.
  • In any case, before taking any medication (sleep, alertness, etc.), we strongly recommend that you discuss its side effects with your doctor.

Flying with Kids

  • Long-haul international travel is boring at the best of times. Long hours sitting in a sealed tin can, watching a movie where all the best bits have been cut out, is few people's idea of fun.
  • Asking kids to sit still and be quiet for nine hours is also asking for trouble, unless you find ways to minimize their boredom and lessen the disruption they can cause to other passengers.
  • The best way to keep kids quiet is getting them to sleep. By selecting a long-haul flight that leaves late in the evening, the kids will hopefully be so tired they will fall asleep soon after departure. This will also allow parents to sleep and arrive at the destination less tired and frustrated than if they had spent the last nine hours trying to occupy a bored child.
  • If an overnight flight is not convenient or possible, try for an early morning flight arriving in the evening (destination time). By checking straight into a hotel and getting the kids to bed, when they are tired, will facilitate both them and their parents being able to sleep through the night and get over the worst of the jetlag. If everyone does wake early, the family can continue to the ultimate destination and not disturb too many other people.
  • The kids are unlikely to sleep through the whole of a flight, even if it is overnight, so being prepared with activities to occupy them is important.
  • Encourage older kids to pack their own backpack with favourite books, magazines and colouring sets, making sure they are small enough to fit on airline sized tables. Books and colouring sets also have the advantage to be quiet games.
  • A Walkman can also be a good idea as it reduces the chance of a child being distracted from their books and colouring by what is going on around them.
  • Meals are not always served at the times children want to eat, plus, the dry air of aircraft dehydrates passengers too. Packing sugar free snacks and drinks (sugary foods increase dehydration) in the child's bag allows them quick and easy access when they decide they need some refreshment. Try to pack foods that are not sticky or crumbly, to minimize the potential for mess.
  • Some airlines are much more child friendly than others, though most now serve children's meals. British Airways, Swissair and Virgin Airways provide particularly good packs of books, colouring sets and other activities for children and British Airways now has its own lounge area at Heathrow with children's toys and videos available for its passengers.
  • Children under the age of two do not require a seat, but it can be worth buying a child ticket (rather than an infant ticket) for them, as having a seat for them to sit and sleep on during the flight makes the flight much more comfortable for the parents. A child ticket also comes with a luggage allowance, which can be cheaper than paying for excess baggage.
  • Some airlines will provide a booster seat (like a car safety seat) for young children, which is strapped to the standard seat. These seats are comfortable for the child, restrain them more securely and lift them up to the level of the parent, which makes feeding them and playing with them less problematic.
  • With children to watch and hold on to and toys, discarded clothes and half-finished drinks to keep track of, traveling parents never seem to have enough hands to carry everything. To reduce the number of items that need to hand carried, use a small backpack for carry-on luggage and leave enough space in it to take toys, airline gift boxes and other items that will be collected during the flight.
  • Flight delays are common enough to warrant parents carrying extra formula, food, diapers, wet wipes and other consumables for babies, as trying to find them during an unscheduled twenty-four-hour stopover is guaranteed to cause frustration and stress.
  • Finally, take a collapsible pushchair for the trip, even for children who do not usually use one. Most airlines allow one baby-carrier per child that can be given to the cabin crew at the aircraft door. Airports often have long corridors, long queues and long waits, which are tiring for short legs. It is much easier for parents if the child is sitting in a pushchair and not asking to be carried. The easier the trip is made for the kids, the easier it becomes for the parents.

Safety Tips

A checklist of do's and don'ts for anybody going abroad :

Before departure  

  • Check the health, economic and political situations in the country of destination as well as in the countries where you will transit.
  • Take the addresses and phone numbers of your country's Embassies and Consulates in your destination and in the countries where you will only transit.
  • Note your passport and credit card numbers and keep them in a safe place.
  • Inform your relatives and secretary of your travel itinerary, flight details, hotel coordinates, etc. to make sure colleagues/relatives know where you are at all times.
  • Keep all your travel documents (passport, visa, airline tickets, etc.) in a safe place.
  • If you carry medicines, make sure you take the related boxes and prescriptions with you.
  • Do not take any publications or videotapes that may offend the locals.

During the stay

  • Keep a low profile: avoid wearing expensive jewellery or luxury items.
  • Always have the local emergency telephone numbers with you (police, ambulance, etc.) and enough coins to call from a public phone.
  • Avoid carrying large amount of currency; use travellers checks and credit cards and small denominations.
  • In any case, do not keep all your payment means in the same place in your wallet or purse.
  • Try not to mention your company name, function or nationality when strangers can hear you.
  • Keep away from unattended packages or luggage.
  • Prefer calling up a cab from an official company instead of stopping one in the street.
  • Check the identity of any person knocking on your door or put the security chain on if you have to open the door.
  • When driving or walking, make sure nobody is following you.

Travel & Accommodation

 

Travel Management

We can assist in picking up right kind of travel agency (In India the normal practice to hire a car with driver) right hotels when you travel.  Travel guidance for your children and other family members.  Booking of Hotels, organizing parties.

Home Search

         

  • This is divided into two sections one is getting the house and secondly to maintaining which is ongoing process.

 

  • Organising Property
  • Understanding the need of the house
  • Understanding the taste, nature and requirement of the family (an expert does an informal chat to understand all these)
  • Full information about the property is provided. We not only talk about the goods points about the property abut also the shortcomings i.e. water, power availability, whether exclusive or sharing.  Whether Sun light comes if so from which direction, full details of surroundings, availability of servants etc in that particular area.  Nature of the neighbour and the landlord (Unlike western countries this is a very important aspect of good living in India).  In short, we will never unnecessarily push a property and we shall leave decision to you
  • Preparing of lease deeds, money transactions, and possession, organizing painting. Polishing etc, if asked for. Services of plumber. Electrician and helping in selecting right kind of electrical and other home appliances.
  • Complete Tenancy Management in terms of maintenance, rent control, electricity, telephone bills collection, payment. Attending services in emergency (it is quite common that suddenly you do not get water or power due to failures, here we will try to only expedite the restoration.
  • Organizing Gardner, servants, chauffer
  • Maintaining of Swimming pools, lawns, sport courts etc.

Cultural Orientation

         

  • We shall provide you all the necessary information’s about the city, people culture, Schools, Hospitals, Markets etc. We can even provide necessary services for joining the ex-patriot community.
  • We can provide necessary assistance in learning the local language or to provide you the servants etc who speak at least English if not your language
  • Provide full knowledge about the Markets and other related activities. Here we even provide a booklet, which gives fairly good idea about the city its system.
  • Organize and assist in getting membership of clubs etc.
  • Familiarization with restaurants, hotels and other places of interest. In Most of cities you can get food of your choice, whichever country you belong to except the beef and its products.

Emergency Services

  • It is not easy to find emergency services as quickly as you may use to. Once you contact us we can provide these services at the shortest notice. Medical facilities in this country are though are par but normally not available except to the influential. Since the accountability is not very high due to outdated legal system Right and timely action is normally may not be available.
  • Emergency services not only includes Hospital, Ambulance etc but also restoration of power, water supply, telephone connection, providing help and assistance if you are stranded due to car break down or some other some reason. This will also include coordination and expediting the work from Police authorities if the need be.

Necessary Services

 

Employing a servant, baby sitter, maids, chauffeurs, Gardener, security Guards etc are not the luxury like in many other countries, but the Expat community considers it as necessity. We shall get all the credentials checked and verified through Police or through other sources.