Indian News

Brits 'Spend Nearly £1k' On Their Summer Breaks

It may come as no surprise to hear that Brits typically fork out nearly £1,000 each on their summer holiday, as many happily spend over the odds to get some sunshine before the autumn begins.

According to the latest research from Sainsbury's Bank Credit Cards, each person plans to spend £974 on their trip abroad this summer, which could include a well-earned break to Asia with a fast India visa.

Many holidaymakers believe most of their money goes on booking the trip, but actually this is just 35 per cent of the total amount they end up spending.

Head of banking Simon Ranson said: "The true cost of a holiday is much greater than just the upfront cost of booking it in the first place, with lots of add-ins to consider by the time you're ready to set off."

Brits also need to take into account spending money, which typically amounts to £288,buying new clothes (£98), and transport to the airport (£58).

In addition to these expenses, some also invest in a home-sitter while they are out of the country, while others have to face costs to make sure their dogs and cats are cared for.

Despite summer holidays setting Brits back quite a lot, there has been an increase in the number of holidays abroad taken compared with four years ago.

Sainsbury's Bank Travel Money reported earlier this summer that 15.6 million holidays were enjoyed between July and September last year, which is 14 per cent more than in 2011.

One destination that should be high on any traveller's bucket list of places to visit is India,which has an abundance of places to see and things to do, as well as a rich and vibrant culture to learn more about.

What To See And Do In Mumbai

Planning your trip is a must after you've got your India e visa all sorted out, otherwise you'll end up running around like a headless chicken, not sure where to start first. Here's a quick guide to what to see and do in Mumbai to help you get off on the right foot.

Dhobi Ghat
This is a must-see for anyone new to this busy and bustling city. It's actually the biggest outdoor laundromat in the world, advertised to newcomers as Washing Laundry. It's built over seven acres of land and is home to more than 8,000 people who wash approximately one million pieces of clothing every single day.

Dharavi Slum
Between 700,000 and a million people live in Dharavi, one of the biggest slums to be found in Asia. It's a bit of an assault on the senses but you should really pay it a visit to see how this really tightknit community lives together. It's hugely industrious as well, with leather, textiles and pottery all coming out of the slum.

Gateway of India
This huge basalt arch was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city way back when in 1911. Interestingly, however, the Royal visitors were only presented with a cardboard model of the arch because it wasn't officially opened until 1924.
We'd love to hear what you'd recommend seeing and doing in this particular India city so make sure you share all your wonderful travel stories with us on the blog.

GoContact – The Online Community For Travellers In India

If you want to meet likeminded people while on holiday after arranging your express India visa, you might want to sign up to GoContact, a travel-based social network that's been devised by online booking site Goibibo.

If you join the network and book through Goibibo, you'll be able to take advantage of a GoCash+ bonus. But that's not all – each time any of your contacts travel using the site, you'll receive a bonus as well, the Times of India reports.

You'll be able to see what destinations your contacts have been to and what accommodation they stayed in as well, helping you to make informed decisions about what to do, where to go and where to stay.

Founder and CEO of the company Ashish Kashyap was quoted by the news source as saying: "The launch of GoContacts is further strengthening the network effects on the Goibibo. The 3.4 million users who have got connected on Goibibo is a testimony to the fact that we are on our way to create India's largest traveller's community."

You can also make use of a new tourist helpline that was recently set up for those travelling around the country. It's open 24 hours, seven days a week and offers help in 12 different languages, so there's no need to worry that if something happens you won't be able to find immediate help. It certainly does seem to be of use – after launching in February, the helpline received 17,911 calls by March 20 th , which suggests you might find it helpful too when you're on holiday in India.

Cheaper Fares To Come For India Travellers

Now's the time to fill out those India visa application forms - the country's government has just announced that it will be opening up more options for international travel as well as making flights cheaper... great news for anyone planning a holiday to India at the moment.

According to the Huffington Post, a number of new measures have now been cleared by the National Civil Aviation Policy, including that any airline with more than 20 planes or that deploys 20 per cent of its fleet on domestic routes will now be able to fly overseas.

In addition, the 5/20 aviation rule has been scrapped, restricting domestic airlines when it comes to international routes. This prevents Indian airlines from making international flights unless they have been in operation for a minimum of five years with a fleet of 20 planes.

Ticket prices should also come down because domestic airlines will now be able to do self-handling, so outsourcing costs will be reduced. And there will also be increased focus on regional connectivity, with airlines required to put on more flights to island territories and north-east India.

This comes after start-up People Over Profit announced that there could soon be a direct flight between the UK and India - a development sure to increase flight bookings to and from both countries. British- Indian Nino Judge is the man behind the idea, keen to help slash journey times after seeing how tired some of his fellow passengers were after flying for 17 hours from Amritsar - having transferred via Moscow!

New Website For Travellers To India's Religious Hotspots

If you need your fast track Indian visa for a tourist trip to India where you're looking to take in some of the country's many spiritual highlights, there's a new website that might just help you find the best experiences available to you.

The website, ReligiousTrip.com, is the first of its kind dedicated to providing integrated travel services specifically for those devotees and intrepid travellers looking to take in India's religious offering.

And let's not forget how large its offering is. Religion in Indian is a diverse and fertile ground – with the country the birthplace of many major modern world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Thanks to that, you'll find many beautiful, interesting and unique Mandir, Masjid Dargah, Gurudwara, churches and monasteries to visit.

Jatin Arora, Co-founder and Director of Religious Trip, says of the launch of the site: "While some choose to travel to exotic locations, there's another group who may choose to go on a pilgrimage or visit a religious place either to restore their beliefs or find spiritual peace."

However, these trips aren't just great if you're a religious devotee yourself – they're perfect package deals for students of religious studies, academics and even those with a love of Indian architecture and culture. After all, for a country with religion so deeply at its heart, you can learn a lot about Indian from their religious temples.

While many travellers make the pilgrimage to these holy places, ReligiousTrip.com aims to take the hassle out of arranging a trip, setting up package deals with nearby hotels and arranging transport, making your trip a one click solution, rather than trawling the internet for travel information and the streets for accommodation.

POP To Bring Direct Flights Between India & UK

Good news this week for those who sort out Indian business visas on a regular basis – you could soon find yourself catching a direct flight between India and the UK, all thanks to a new start-up called POP, short for People Over Profit.

The brainchild of British-Indian Nino Judge, POP first came to life in 2003, when Mr Judge was keen to launch an airline to serve India's second cities after seeing how exhausted some of his fellow Sikhs were after enduring a 17-hour flight from Amritsar with transfers via Moscow. And now, POP has just launched its crowdfunding campaign to raise £5 million to get the project off the ground, with at least 51 per cent of all profits from the airline to be used to fund social projects in both India and the UK.

"This is an opportunity to make an investment in a new airline business with a unique proposition. We will be the first airline to respond to the emerging demand from the expanding Indian middle class for non-stop flights between the UK and India's key secondary cities. But more than that, supporters will be funding social change through POP's philanthropic giving to community causes, breaking new ground in terms of corporate social responsibility," Mr Judge said.

It's expected that the first POP flight will leave from Stansted later on this year, flying to Amritsar. From then on, there will be three services each week to Amritsar and Ahmedabad, making POP the only airline at the moment to offer direct flights from the UK to these two cities.

The crowdfunding campaign will involve the pre-sale of Gold Passes – priced at £500 – with the first 10,000 people who buy these passes winning a free off-peak return seat to any POP destination. What's more, they'll also be entitled to a variety of VIP benefits for the next five years as well.

3 Top Tips For Travelling To Exotic Locations

Travellers who are in the process of getting their India tourist visa need to make sure they are fully prepared before jetting off to the Asian country.

Gocompare.com Travel Insurance has tips for holidaymakers flying to unfamiliar, exotic locations so they do not get stuck hundreds of thousands of miles away.

- Respect culture
India has a very rich and vibrant culture, and it is one of the main reasons why people travel from all over the world to visit. However, Alex Edwards from the insurance provider stated: "It is crucial tourists understand and respect the local traditions, customs, laws of the country they are visiting to ensure they don't cause offence or act illegally. Otherwise, the penalties can be severe."

It is worth reading up on clothing, eating, drinking and behavioural etiquette so you do not cause offence to locals without meaning to.

- Protect your health
When travelling somewhere far away, you should always pack a full first aid kit, including dehydration sachets, travel sickness pills and any prescription medicine you normally take.

Gocompare.com also advises taking out travel insurance and making sure you get the right vaccinations from the doctor's before you jet off.

- Keep money safe
Whether you're backpacking or enjoying a luxury adventure, the chances are you'll have to carry a lot of cash on you to cover expenses for several days or weeks at a time.

Therefore, it is wise to keep it safe by strapping it to your body in the form of a money belt or having most of your budget in traveller's cheques.

It is also a good idea to bring a credit card with you. Even if you want to avoid high ATM charges, it is advisable to have one if you have an emergency and you need to access funds quickly.

India Holidays Predicted To Rise After Royal Visit

The recent royal visit to India, which saw the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make their way around the country as well as the small landlocked nation of Bhutan, is expected to see holiday bookings to both regions increase.

Opodo research has found that previous royal tours have helped support tourism. For example, after William and Kate went to Australia, a 45 per cent hike in bookings for Sydney was seen. And when they went to Courchevel in the French Alps, 57 per cent more flights were booked than for the same dates the year before, the London Evening Standard reports.

Lukas Balter, Opodo's destination expert, was quoted by the news source as saying: "When members of the Royal Family travel the world, be it on official visits or for some down time, we commonly see a spike in bookings as Brits feel royally inspired."

He went on to say that this current trip that the Royals are on is putting two beautiful countries, which may have been overlooked as holiday destinations in the past, firmly in the spotlight.

If you've been similarly inspired and can't wait to go on a trip to India, make sure you book your urgent Indian tourist visa in plenty of time. Get in touch with us here at India Visa - we can help make sure your application is a success, taking all the stress and hassle out of organising all the paperwork. It might be harder to arrange than you think so make good use of the professional help and advice available.

Semi-High Speed Train Links Up Popular Tourist Hotspots

Chances are, if you've arranged a fast track Indian visa with us, you like to get things done speedily, so when you're visiting India, you may be glad to hear about the new semi-high speed train.

The Gatimaan Express is India's fastest train service, connecting Agra and New Delhi at speeds of 100 miles per hour, reducing the travel time from two to three hours to just 100 minutes, according to The Telegraph.

While the speeds of this train aren't much in comparison to high speed trains in Japan and Shanghai, it's very important for India. It creates a much needed transport link between the capital New Delhi and the country's top tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal.

The train has arrived just in time for a Royal visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will use the service to visit the Taj Mahal. It also features some new developments for Indian railways – including hostesses in each carriage, free Wi-Fi and on-board entertainment services through an app.

A railway spokesman told the New India Express: "We are trying to provide the best service to passengers in the first semi-high-speed train... While quality food with multiple choices will be offered to passengers, they will also be given free access to multimedia entertainment on their seats."

The service will set off from New Delhi at 8.10am each morning, with the return journey at 5.55pm from Agra and return tickets will cost from £7.30 for standard fair to £14.45 for executive travel.

Make Use Of India's New Tourist Helpline

It can be scary if you've organised an India tourist visa and have never been to the country before, especially if you're travelling alone. However, if you come unstuck and run into difficulties at any point during your India holiday there's now a new helpline available to those who need assistance.

According to Travel Daily Media, the Toll Free Tourist Infoline is open 24 hours, seven days a week and can offer help in 12 different languages – Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Italian, Arabic, French, English and Hindi.

It was first launched at the start of February and by March 20th, some 17,911 calls had been received from tourist, averaging out at nearly 578 calls a day. The purpose of the hotline is to provide travel and tourism information to those in the country, as well as helping travellers who may be in distress and alerting the authorities as and when required.

Before you travel, it would also be wise to have a look at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to see if there is anything going on in the country that you should perhaps be aware of.

Currently, people are being advised not to travel to Manipur, as well as Imphal, Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, travellers are being advised against going to the areas in the immediate vicinity of the Pakistan border, except at Wagah.

Do as much research into any country as you can before you travel so you know what to expect when you arrive.

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