Everyone needs a passport to visit India, which must be valid for at least 6 months after the planned date of return from your holiday. It is your responsibility to ensure that all members of your party are in possession of a valid, acceptable passport and any other visa or travel documents that may be required. The information given here is applicable to British citizens holding a 10 year British passport. All other nationalities or British citizens not holding a British passport should check the passport and visa requirements directly with the Indian High Commission in London.
The Indian High Commission has outsourced the issuing of visas to V.F Services Ltd (‘VFS’) http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk and visa forms must be completed online. Once this has been done, the application will need to be printed signed and photo attached, you will then be given the option to either make an appointment with VFS to go in person to take your application or you can send it to them by post. Please Note: Applications will not be accepted if they are handwritten.
If you would prefer to use the services of a visa agency, Jewel in the Crown Holidays would like to recommend CIBT who have a fast-track service and tracking facility http://uk.cibt.com/jewelinthecrown CIBT specialise in fast, dependable visa application services with 50 years experience behind them. If you have any queries about the visa application process provided by CIBT please call 0800 218 2064 or email email@example.com CIBT will accept handwritten applications and transfer the information to an online application on your behalf for a small fee, but please allow plenty of time as they will have to return the form to you to sign and return back to CIBT before they can submit the application.
Whichever way you decide to apply for your visa, please
ensure that you read all instructions very carefully as the application
process and requirements do change on a regular basis. Also ensure
that your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months after the
return of your stay and that it is in a tidy condition with an open,
double blank page available for the visa.
You will be required to provide a referee in India when applying for your visa, we suggest that you the use the following or alternatively the hotel you are staying in.
Jewel in the Crown Holidays/Sita
NH17 Near Goa Dental College, Also Bambolim, Goa, PIN: 403202, Tel: 0091 832 245 9448.
Visa applications can be made up to 3 months before you are due to travel to India and we advise that you apply at least 6 weeks before departure as it can take 3-4 weeks to process your application. For Media related professionals, Police Officers, Armed Forces Personnel or Commercial Pilots, an accompanying letter is required from your employer stating your reasons for travel. It has been brought to our attention that persons of Indian or Pakistani descent, despite having British passports, may experience difficulties or long delays for their visas to be processed by the Indian High Commission.
Please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the relevant visa prior to departure, so please check your passport has been validated correctly. If you present yourself at check-in for your outbound flight without a valid Indian visa in your passport, you will be denied carriage by the air carrier concerned and will not be entitled to any refund in such circumstances.
Jewel in the Crown Holidays is not responsible for the process undertaken by the Indian High Commission, V.F Services (UK) or CIBT and the above is for our customer information only.
All flights including the carrier, aircraft type, timings and routings are indicative only and are subject to Government approvals, airport clearance and reconfirmation by the carrier. Specific details of domestic flights within India will generally be advised and ticketed locally. Special meal requirements will be noted and forwarded to the airline which will oblige whenever possible, however, we cannot be held responsible for any meal requests which are not met. Whilst our selected air carriers fully comply with all Civil Aviation Authority regulations regarding ‘seat pitch’, taller passengers may find standard class seating on selected flights a little tight for comfort. Accordingly, wider, premium class seats are available on selected flights, at a supplement, though you’ll have to book early if you wish to secure one of more of these. However you travel, you should exercise your leg muscles, both in your seat and on whatever ‘walkabouts’ are possible, as often as you can. Check-in desks close well before the scheduled departure time of the flight and we recommend checking-in at least 3 hours before departure. If you are ‘closed out’ (usually 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure) you will have no recourse against either the airline or ourselves. Sadly, inclement weather (usually in England), air traffic control and technical matters still can, and do, delay aircraft. Whilst competition amongst domestic airlines within India has led to a dramatic improvement in customer standards, delays and overbookings can, and still do, occur. Although travel insurance policies sometimes make a payment for a lengthy flight delay, neither the airline concerned nor ourselves can be held liable for any inconvenience suffered or cost incurred as a result of any flight delays.
This brochure is carefully prepared many months before your holiday takes place based on our best estimates of cost levels that will prevail at the actual time of your holiday. However, our brochure prices, published flight supplements and the level of the aviation insurance surcharge levy are continuously reviewed in the light of costs, availability and market conditions. Until such times as a booking is actually accepted from you, all of these may increase or decrease accordingly and will be advised to you at the time you wish to book. However, once you have booked your holiday, Condition 3 of our Booking Conditions applies.
Aviation-related Taxes, Fees & Charges
U.K. Air Passenger Duty, U.K. Airport Passenger Service Charges, Airport Security Taxes and Indian Airport and International Departure Taxes at the levels prevailing at time of going to press are included in your holiday price. Should any additional taxes be introduced or revised upwards, the same would have to be paid by you, subject to Condition 5 of our Booking Conditions.
Packing & Baggage
Do travel light! You won’t need heavy clothing in India and indeed, in anything other than 4/5 ‘Jewel’ hotels, wardrobe and storage space is often quite limited. The standard baggage allowance on the flights we operate in 20kg for checked baggage plus one small item of cabin baggage not exceeding 5kg in weight per person. Infants (under 2 years at date of homeward travel) do not qualify for a separate baggage allowance. Please refer to the carrier’s website for up to date information on what can be carried as part of your hand luggage.
Whilst Jewel in the Crown Holidays has its own representatives in Goa, it also engages the services of a highly experienced ground handling company to provide transfers in resort and to assist you generally. Please note that you should purchase any additional services such as tours and excursions, Jewel in the Crown Holidays is not party to these arrangements and you will be bound by the local operator’s terms and conditions of booking.
Although no vaccination certificates are required for entry into India, we advise you consult your own doctor in good time before your departure as to what precautions may be recommended.
All transfers to North Goa cross the Zuari Bridge which occasionally requires repair work. If the bridge should not be operational for any reason, your transfer to or from North Goa will take at least an hour longer than the transfer time printed in this brochure. Unfortunately such circumstances are out of our control. Transfer times quoted in the brochure are approximate. Transfers are usually by bus and in most cases will drop off at various accommodations. Due to the location of some properties it may be necessary to drop clients a short distance from their accommodation. In these circumstances clients are responsible for carrying their own luggage.
Our unique ‘jewel’ rating is our own opinion and does not necessarily reflect official hotel grades, if any. Official gradings are, in any case, somewhat inconsistent and prone to a measure of ‘local politics’ and often place importance on certain things that may be of value in a city hotel, e.g. the ratio of T.V. sets to rooms, which are not so important ‘on the beaches’. We have tried to be realistic in our gradings and also reflect the service and less tangible qualities that our chosen accommodations offer. We recommend you follow our unofficial but generally more useful appraisal system. Please be aware that standards are not as high as European hotels and that India is a third world country.
Your room will normally be available to you between 12 noon and 2pm on your arrival day. When departing you must vacate your room by 11am. Except in cases of excursions booked locally whilst in resort, rooms must be vacated whilst on tour. Please account for this when packing and in your chosen type of baggage. Please be aware that your room ‘for three persons’ is usually a twin/double room with an extra bed of a pullout/folding design and hence conditions may be cramped. Also, if a twin/double room is booked for a single occupancy, its standard and location are not often as good as a twin/double room reserved for two people. As you will appreciate, rooms in any hotel vary although the hotelier and our local representative will always do their best to meet your needs. Rooms are allocated by the management of the accommodation and special requests cannot be accepted.
The Discerning Traveller
Most of our clients are repeat guests and tend to go to the smaller accommodations which are often chosen for their friendliness and location. For the discerning traveller, who has never been to India before, we do advise choosing an accommodation of a ‘3-4 Jewel’ standard. India is a third world country and accommodations below a ‘3 Jewel’ standard are basic. One example relates to towel size and quality as they are often smaller and thinner than we may be used to; if you prefer big, cuddly towels, it would be better to take your own.
Where continental breakfast is offered, this usually consists of bread or toast, jam or marmalade and tea or coffee. Extras such as eggs, juice or cheese may be available at a charge.
All Inclusive Holidays
Food & Beverages: Most main meals are buffet style and usually include a variety of international and local dishes and some hotels organise weekly theme nights. Snacks can include sandwiches, pizzas and hamburgers. Drinks may not be available from all bars at all times. For safety, drinks may be served in plastic cups around the pool area. To provide a faster service, hotels may limit each person to one or two drinks each time you visit the bar. When the bar closes for the evening, a cash bar may operate into the early hours.
Activities & Entertainment: Some all-inclusive hotels have a resident ‘animation’ team that organise games, competitions, demonstrations, cabarets, live music and most evening shows, although local entertainers may appear on some evenings. For safety reasons some activities require supervision or may only be available with the animation team in an organised event. Some activities such as shooting, archery and scuba diving usually have a minimum age of 14. Hotels may operate a booking system for popular activities, and you may have to pay a deposit to hire equipment.
General All Inclusive Information: You may need to wear an identity bracelet or carry an ID card to ensure that only participants in the All Inclusive package benefit from the meals, drinks and facilities. If your identity bracelet is lost, the hotel may charge for a replacement. Hotels can refuse to serve alcohol to guests who, in their judgement, are intoxicated. We, or the hotels, may confiscate identity cards or bracelets from guests who misbehave or abuse the All Inclusive basis. Local laws on the minimum age for alcohol consumption apply. All Inclusive packages end when you check out of your room even if your flight does not leave until later that day. In some cases, you can pay a fee to continue using the All Inclusive facilities.
Facilities as set out in the hotel description will normally be available and are given by us in good faith. However, certain features may be withdrawn or restricted at certain times especially in the early or late season depending on demand and occupancy (e.g. entertainment) and otherwise at the discretion of hotel management (e.g. for local health and safety reasons). TVs with satellite usually include at least one news channel in English, however, the choice of channels is not the same as in the U.K. There will be a variety of facilities offered by the hotel which are subject to a local charge directly payable to the hotel, these are totally at the manager’s discretion and are subject to change. Charges are often made for fridges, safety deposit boxes, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam, gym equipment, massage, spa, hairdresser, squash, golf, watersports, table tennis, volleyball, pool and billiards. With facilities such as air-conditioning, if a hotel does not have air-conditioning in every room within our allocation we have written that it will be on request, subject to availability and payable locally. Please do not book a hotel with such a description if this facility is an absolute necessity.
Children & Infants
Some hotels offer a discount for ‘third person in room’ or reductions for a child between the ages of 2 and 12 years, as at the date of return travel, who are staying in the same room as two full-fare paying adults. Infants under 2 years old, as at the date of return travel, who do not require a flight seat, travel for £50 on charter flights. If a cot is required the we advise that you take your own travel cot as hotels cannot usually provide one, especially one that adheres to U.K. Health and Safety standards.
As with any beach holiday, the sea is always an attraction. The beaches in all destinations in this brochure are wonderful and stretch for miles, however, the sea can be very dangerous….there are strong currents and undertows to take account of and, sadly, people have been drowned. Great care should be taken to stay well within your depth and capacity, particularly if you are not a strong swimmer, and, never swim, or even frolic in the waves, under the influence of alcohol. Children should always be supervised at all times.
The currency in India is the Indian Rupee. At the time of our brochure going to press, £1.00 buys approximately 70Rps, or 100Rps is approx £1.45, making India a particularly low cost destination. Sterling traveller cheques and bank notes are both welcome and easily exchangeable and, by way of exception to the normal rule, exchange rates offered at hotels are virtually identical to the rates offered by banks. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted and there are now many ATM machines. Do keep any ‘encashment certificates’ that you will be given when exchanging money since these may be needed for changing any Rupees back into Sterling when you leave the country. Please Note: Indian Rupees can only be bought in India and must be exchanged before departing on your flight home.
The national language of India is Hindi but this is spoken principally around Delhi and northern India. States, such as Goa, are allowed to choose their own ‘official’ language and, in the case of Goa, Konkani and Marathi have that status. However, English is widely spoken and, generally, it is highly unusual for visitors to have any language problems.
Naturally, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting and must respect local culture, customs and dress code. Touching drugs in any shape or form will land you in jail or worse! Also, do remember to bring your swimsuit, and wear it, since nudity, on the beaches and everywhere else in public, is strictly prohibited. If you cause, or appear likely to cause, damage or distress to others or to property, either ourselves or the supplier concerned (air carrier, hotel or ground handler, etc) may terminate their services on the spot without refund or compensation.
Water & Electricity
Problems with water supply, plumbing and drainage can and do happen and although some of the hotels have independent generators to cope with power rationing, you need to be prepared for some inconvenience in these areas. Conserving the water supply is important and, although plenty of water is usually available, be aware that problems can occur so, please be patient. Bring a torch with you; most roads are unlit at night. Electricity operates on 220v AC, 50 cycles, an adaptor for bayonet cap is recommended and small round ‘old style’ 3-pin plugs are used. Electrical safety standards vary from those at home.
The climate is usually delightful between October and May (Midday temperature: 24C to 32C) and humidity is generally low although in April and May it does get a bit warmer and more humid. Generally, you will enjoy cool, fresh mornings and evenings and dry, sunny days. The monsoon rains occur in the summer months between June and September but it is just possible to get the odd heavy shower in October/ November although, these are very much the exception rather than the rule. Mosquitoes are not a big problem but between 5pm and 8pm it’s still a good idea to apply repellent to ankles and any exposed skin areas. Make sure sun protection is always used and it is very important to drink plenty of bottled water to avoid dehydration, do not drink tap water.
Service is not usually included in bills and it is customary to tip waiters 5-10% of the bill if not signing in your own hotel. Porters, guides and drivers will not solicit, but will certainly appreciate small gratuities too.
To hire a car, with a driver, for the day can be both an economical and convenient way to see more of the country you are visiting. Self-drive car hire by foreigners is neither recommended nor generally possible. Taxis are available from most hotels and work on a ‘fixed fare per destination’ but you should always agree the cost of a trip in advance to avoid any misunderstanding later. We do not recommend you hire motorbikes or kinetics locally as you are unlikely to be covered by your holiday insurance policy. However, if you are determined to do so then bring your international driving license, helmet, some long trousers and Dutch courage!
to the popularity of India as a holiday destination and its reliance
on tourism as a source of income, continual development is a fact
and necessary to the continual improvement of facilities and services.
The Holiday Price, as shown on your invoice, includes:
Return flights between the U.K. and Goa, U.K. Air Passenger Taxes, Airport Security Taxes, Indian Airport and International Departure Taxes (all at levels prevailing at the time of booking), Atol Protection Contribution, baggage allowance as specified on your air ticket, return transfers between your Overseas Airport and your hotel (except ‘dormhouse’ accommodation), the service of our own representative and/or locally appointed ground handling agents (except for those selecting ‘dormhouse’ accommodation) with a 24 hour emergency local ‘duty officer’ contact and accommodation and meal plan as specified in the brochure description and as confirmed on your invoice. Touring itineraries also include standard/economy class domestic air and/or rail travel, all transfers, ground transportation and sightseeing as per itinerary except items described as ‘optional’.
Your Holiday Price, as detailed in the price panel, excludes:
Holiday insurance (which is ESSENTIAL), travel between your home and U.K. departure airport, published flight supplements, additional aviation insurance surcharges, any charges made by accommodation owners/management for facilities such as sun beds, safety deposit boxes, sauna, air-conditioning, fridges, sports equipment and facilities, gym/health club, porterage, telephones, laundry, gratuities, optional excursions available in resort, accommodation supplements (such as single room), taxis etc.
Costs & Exchange Rates
The holiday prices shown in this brochure were based on known costs and exchange rates as shown in the ‘Financial Times’ on 15th December 2010. £1 sterling = 70.9559 Indian Rupees; U.S. Dollars $1.5786.
Further Information & Reading
Indian Government Tourist Office, 7 Cork Street, London, W1X 2AB (Tel: 020 7437 3677, Website: www.incredibleindia.org ) or visit a good book shop and check out the latest India titles in the travel section; David Abram’s ‘Rough Guide’ to Goa is excellent and not written just for budget travellers.