Frequently-asked Questions: Traveling to India


What documentation do I need to visit India?

You need a visa to enter India. You can obtain this at the Indian Embassy, where you will have need your current passport that is valid for at least one year.

When you travel, we recommend you take a photocopy of your passport and visa and keep them in a safe place or give them to someone else in order to facilitate arrangements if the originals are lost or stolen.

Do I have to get a vaccination or take any type of medication?

Vaccinations are not mandatory when you visit India, but we recommend that you see your doctor and explain to him or her the type of trip you are about to take so that he or she can tell you about the most advisable vaccinations. The usual vaccinations include tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis and also a malaria prophylaxis. You can only take medications for your personal use, since Indian customs do not allow large amounts of drugs to enter the country.

Other items:

A strong or extra-strong insect repellant.

An ammonia stick (bite stick) for relieving and disinfecting bites and stings.

For people with digestive problems, gastric protection; the food can be very spicy at times.

What currency is used there and where can I change my money?

You can take euros or dollars. When you arrive in India, you can exchange these for rupees, which is the official currency. The exchange rate, depending on fluctuations, is about 70 rupees to one US dollar. You can change your money at a hotel, bank or airport. We recommend that you keep the Exchange Certificate so that you can change your money back again before you leave the country. You are not allowed to take Indian money out of the country.

VISA and Travelers Checks are accepted at some large stores. If you pay with your VISA card, we recommend you keep the receipt, address and telephone number of the store.

What is the time difference between India and the U.S.?

In summer, the time difference is nine and a half hours, and in winter it is ten and a half hours.

What languages do they speak there?

The official and most widely-spoken language in India is Hindi, but there are 21 official languages and 844 dialects.

Telugu is the language spoken in Andhra Pradesh, where the district of Anantapur is located.

English is very widely spoken throughout India and communication is easy.

What is the climate like in Andhra Pradesh?

The climate in India is tropical monsoon. The rainy or monsoon season lasts from June to September. Temperatures vary from 86 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the area. However, bear in mind that because of the high humidity, it can feel hotter than the temperature shown on the thermometer. Starting in September, temperatures slightly drop.

What kind of electrical outlets do they use there?

The electrical outlets are the same as those in Europe and in most places they work off 220v, so you will need an adapter and/or transformer. Fluctuations in the current are frequent, so it's a good idea to buy a current stabilizer to prevent any damage to you electrical devices.

What kind of clothing should I take?

Generally speaking, it is advisable to take light cotton or linen clothing. Bear in mind that you should be wearing “proper” clothing when you enter most temples; for example, a shawl around your shoulders, long trousers or a long skirt, etc.

How much does the program cost? What fees are involved?
VFF covers the cost of providing accommodations in a modest private bungalow, meals, and local transportation during the visit. Visitors are responsible for their own international travel to India including airfare and visa. We can also arrange transportation to Anantapur from another city of arrival in India such as Bangalore/Hyderabad/Chennai for a modest fee (contact us for details).

How is this program different from volunteer vacations and “volunteerism”?
VFF’s goal is with the Travel for Change program is to enable visitors to experience the cause they support or care about such as education or women’s empowerment, as a way to get involved. Unlike some vacation programs with volunteering, we do not run this program to make money or charge exorbitant fees.

Telugu mini-dictionary

Hello and welcome: Namasté

Thank you: Dañavadalu

How are you?: Bagunava

Very well: Bagunanu

What is your name?: Niperu llemi

My name is: Naperu (name)

How old are you?: Nivasayu anuta

I am ____ years old: Navayasu ______

How much does it cost? Dini dara enta

One: Okati

Two: Renduu

Three: Mudu

Four: Nalagu

Five: Aidu

Six: Aru

Seven: Edu

Eight: Enimidi

Nine: Tomidi

Ten: Padi