Preparing for your trip

Package: Dazzling Dubai & India

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed Oct 21, 2021. Please visit https://static.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1463 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. ASAP
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 5 days of booking
Make your final payment, if any balance is due. See your invoice
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) After receiving your e‑tickets
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. by final payment due date
Obtain required travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents & Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are provided for your convenience. However, unless otherwise stated, it is your responsibility to determine the requirements that apply to you and your trip and to comply with them, including obtaining any necessary visas or other travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Especially with COVID-19, requirements are subject to change, so check back for the latest before you depart.

Travelers on our Abu Dhabi excursion: You will need a negative PCR test taken not more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Abu Dhabi. We will arrange this test and the required certification for you. The PCR test will be administered at your hotel in Dubai by a lab representative, and the test result will be sent to you via email. The cost is currently $100 per person, which you will pay directly to the lab representative in Dubai. This test also suffices for your return to the USA. You must also download the ALHOSN UAE app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and complete health registration prior to entering Abu Dhabi.

Dubai Entry Requirements

Advice from Friendly Planet

For U.S. passport holders traveling on our Dubai packages, we will obtain your free visa for the UAE upon arrival. Travelers with other passports are responsible for arranging their own visas.

Minors (age 17 or younger) traveling to the UAE with parents or guardians of a different surname must present documentation of relationship such as a birth certificate upon entry.

Please see other entry requirements for the UAE.

Dubai-specific COVID-19 Entry Requirements

  • Proof of travel insurance coverage for your visit that includes COVID-19 treatment. The Travel Protection Plan from Travelex that we offer meets this requirement, and if you purchase it, we will supply a letter confirming your coverage with your final documents.
  • printed negative PCR test with a a valid bar code, taken not more than 72 hours prior to your flight to the UAE. Find a laboratory in your area can comply with the requirements for entry to the UAE and schedule a test no more than 72 hours prior to your flight.

IndiaIndia Entry Requirements

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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NepalNepal Entry Requirements

Advice from Friendly Planet

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your date of return to the U.S. with one blank page. U.S. passport holders must also have a visa to enter Nepal. The necessary tourist visa will be issued upon arrival in Nepal upon payment of the Visa fee.  Applications can be completed inside the airport using self-service kiosk machines. However, as there are only a few kiosk machines, to avoid long queues, we recommend completing the application online, no earlier than 15 days prior to your arrival in Nepal. Full instructions will be provided in your final documents. (as of Mar. 23, 2018 the fee is $30 per person but is subject to change at any time.)

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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The United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates Entry Requirements

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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General Requirements & Guidelines

  • In general, you must have a passport to travel abroad, which should be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. Passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • if your passport and visa are not in order, airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, countries may deny entry, and your trip may be disrupted. Travel insurance may not cover such losses.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

COVID-19 Vaccination Required

For the health and safety of all our travelers and to comply with the requirements of many of our destinations, we require all travelers on this package departing on or after Nov. 1, 2021, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, except travelers who are too young to be vaccinated.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or [email protected].

Flights & Tickets

For this package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule and quote for your approval within 5 business days of your booking (or approximately 330 days prior to travel, if you booked further out than that).

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

Emirates Airlines will allow seats to be pre-assigned for a fee. The cost to pre-assign your seat is not included in the tour price. If you wish to pre-assign your seat, you may contact the Emirates Airlines directly at 1.800.4777.3999. Or you may visit the website to Manage Your Booking here.  Alternatively, Emirates Airlines will be able to pre-assign your seat on complimentary basis when you check in online 24 hours before your flight departs.  Please keep in mind that advance seat selection is solely at the discretion of the airline, and we are unable to guarantee your preference. 

Please Note: Special seats such as emergency exit rows & bulkhead seats can only be assigned at the airport at the time of check-in.  

IMPORTANT! You will still be able to choose your seat on selected flights. However, due to the current circumstances in regard to COVID-19 and operational reasons, the airlines may change your seat before departure or on board. If this happens and you have paid to select your seat, you may be eligible for a refund from Emirates Airlines. Please review their terms and conditions here.

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at [email protected] after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

You may review the sample flight schedule(s) below. This information is for general planning puposes. You will receive your actual flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule for your approval, and a confirmed schedule once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

Emirates Airlines (EK) toll-free number is 800-777-3999.

IMPORTANT! Emirates has a minimum check-in of 3 ½ hours prior to departure time. The check-in counter closes one hour prior to departure. Passengers arriving less than 1 hour prior to departure will not be accepted. Please don't risk losing your departure flight by arriving late at your international gateway.

NOTE: The sample flight schedule listed below is an example and may not be exactly the same as your final schedule. Flight schedules will be sent via e-mail for approval prior to ticketing. Please do not book any connecting domestic airfare until you receive your final schedule.

New York (JFK) Sample Flight Schedule:

Sample Flight Schedule:

DEPARTURE
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
EK 202 New York (JFK) Dubai (DXB) 11:00 pm 8:25 pm (next day) 12.25 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
EK 515 DEL DXB 9:25 pm 11:55 pm 4 hrs
EK 203 DXB JFK 2:35 am 8:55 am 14.20 hrs
Airline schedules and flights are subject to change at anytime without notice.

 

Connecting Flights

If you need to fly from (and/or return to) a different U.S. or Canadian city, we suggest you request those flights from us. If feasible, we will try to book all your flights together with a single carrier or a partner network on a single ticket. This ensures that your luggage will be transferred between flights for you, and more importantly, that if there are any schedule changes, flight cancellations, or delays that affect your trip, the airline(s) will adjust your flights to ensure you have sufficient time to make your connections and/or make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination. Besides offering the most peace of mind, this often yields lower fares than purchasing separate connecting flights.

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

Scheduled group airport transfers at the destination are included with this package. When you exit customs, collect your checked bags and proceed to the Arrivals Hall. Please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle.

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: Many airlines now charge a fee for checked luggage. Often, these fees must be paid directly to the airline. Once the flights are finalized for your departure and tickets are written, we will send you instructions on how to prepay for luggage if not included in the cost of your ticket. In general, luggage allowance per person is one checked bag not to exceed 50 pounds, one personal item such as a purse or camera bag, and one carry-on bag, which should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. If you are booked on the optional Nepal Extension, the airlines used for the flights between India and Nepal allow a maximum weight of 44 pounds for the checked bag. We recommend that you pack wisely and not over-pack.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This fast-paced, partially escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations, sometimes on bumpy unpaved roads and may have limited rest stops.

Your Schedule: On several days during your trip, a very early departure time is required to accommodate flight schedules and to avoid touring during the hottest part of the day. Your patience and understanding is appreciated. 

Customs & Culture in Dubai: Since Dubai is primarily Muslim, customs will be different from what you are accustomed to in the USA. Dubai is more liberal than other UAE nations, but the laws of Islam are strictly followed. Be sensitive and respectful of local customs and traditions.  For example, it is customary to only use your right hand to eat or hand things to others. The left hand is considered unclean, as it is used for hygiene. Locals are very appreciative of tourists who show respect for their customs and culture.

Customs & Culture in India: India is home to over a billion people, accommodating incredible cultural diversity between languages, geographic regions, religious traditions and social stratification. Their religious make-up is diverse, including Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, but by far, the most widely practiced religion is Hinduism. Be sensitive and respectful of local customs and traditions. For example, it is customary to only use your right hand to eat or hand things to others. The left hand is considered unclean, as it is used for hygiene. Locals are very appreciative of tourists who show respect for their customs and culture.

Bargaining: Prices at malls and most stores are fixed.  But expect to bargain when shopping at outdoor markets or souks. A good bargaining policy is to start negotiating by offering half of the asking price. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you think the price you’re being quoted is too high. Generally, vendors will come after you and offer a lower price. Negotiations should be done in a respectful manner.

Photography: Dubai has very strict rules about photography.  It’s generally ok to take pictures with your smartphone. However, do not take pictures of government buildings, military sites, airports and aircrafts.  Privacy is a huge matter in the UAE, and taking pictures of people and sharing them online, especially of Emirati women and families without their consent, is punishable by law.  If taking a selfie, be sure not to include locals in the picture, unless you have their consent.  

Appropriate Attire for Visits to Mosques & Other Religious Sites: Please be sure to dress respectfully and modestly. When visiting places of worship, women should cover their upper arms. Skirts or trousers should be at least mid-calf in length, and transparent or see-through clothing should not be worn. Men should avoid shorts. Do carry an extra pair of socks on touring days as you need to remove your shoes when entering sacred locations. Shoes and sandals that are easy to slip off and on are best.

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Please keep in mind that you'll be traveling with a group. Sharing your explorations with like-minded folks can often be a source of joy, and some of our travelers become lifelong friends. But traveling with strangers can also sometimes be challenging, especially in a foreign country. We ask that you be patient and respectful with your fellow travelers, including their needs and preferences. Also remember that you have responsibilities to the group—please be prompt for group activities so you don't keep everyone else waiting. Lastly, please defer to your tour leader, guide or manager. They are there for your safety and wellbeing, and to ensure the journey goes smoothly for everyone. If you have a problem with one of our tour guides or managers, please let us know, either while you're on tour or after you return, and we'll make sure your concerns are addressed.

Accommodations

Our hotels in both Dubai and India are all western style and your room will have a private bathroom. The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is conveniently located in the business district of Dubai. Its location offers guests easy access to notable attractions, such as the world-renowned Dubai Mall and the jaw-dropping Burj Khalifa. 

The beautiful architecture and designs of your hotels in Agra and Jaipur are truly reflective of the colorful Indian culture. However, some of the hotels on your tour have a limited number of twins. If a twin room is not available, the hotel will provide Hollywood-style twin set-up with two duvets on a double bed.

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.

The food scene in Dubai is futuristic and multi-cultural. While you may have heard that Dubai is a very expensive country, you'll find that you can still dine on a budget. Dubai offers an extensive array of local restaurants where you can enjoy Iraqi kebabs, Persian cuisine and Lebanese bakeries. Alcoholic drinks are served only in licensed venues such as hotels, restaurants and clubs. 

In India, you’ll find a wide variety of foods from around the world, but it’s the Indian food, with its aromatic, flavorful and colorful combinations that you’ll savor. The style of cooking varies from region to region, though Indian food has a significant and well-earned reputation for its creative and plentiful use of spices and herbs. There are numerous vegetarian options available, but lamb and chicken are common in main dishes for non-vegetarians. Be sure to enjoy cooked fruits and vegetables, but stay away from raw items unless you can peel them. 

Non-included meals: In Dubai, the average cost for lunch (not including drinks) in local eateries will be about $15 - $20 per person per meal, while the average dinner cost is about $35 - $55 per person per meal, excluding drinks. Meals at hotels and other fine restaurants cost much more. In India, the average cost for dinner (not including drinks) in the coffee shops will average about $10 - $20 per person, per meal. Your hotels and some restaurants accept credit card payments for not-included meals.

In India, the water in the hotel tap system is not potable. Many hotels now promote “Responsible Tourism” by replacing single-use plastic water bottles in the rooms with reusable glass water bottles, which are safe to drink. In an effort for continued environmental conservation and sustainability, we will provide each traveler with a reusable water bottle.  You may give your water bottle to the hotel’s housekeeping department and request for the bottle to be washed before each use.  You can refill your personal water bottles at the hotels’ water station, located at the coffee shop or through room service. Drinking water in large bottles will be available in our vehicles so you can refill as needed as you travel.  

You will also have plenty of opportunities to purchase bottled water in and around the hotel. Any water that you consume from the hotel mini-bar will be charged to your room, and you will be responsible for payment. As a reminder, only drink water and other beverages from sealed bottles or cans. The rule for water also pertains to ice, as it is commonly made from unfiltered, tap water. 

Please see above for special meal requests.

Tipping

You will be traveling in the company of professionals who are very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in being given a chance to show foreign visitors their country. If your guide, driver and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. Naturally, tipping is personal and completely voluntary, and if you have not received good service, your tip should reflect this fact. 

In Dubai, the recommended amounts are as follows: 

  • Local guide: $4-5 per person per day
  • Driver: $2-3 per person per day
  • Housekeeping: $2 per person per day
  • Porters: $1 per bag upon arrival and departure
  • Restaurant staff: $2 per person per meal

In India, the recommended amounts are as follows: 

  • Tour Escort: $6-8 per person per day
  • Local guide: $4-5 per person per day
  • Driver: $3 per person per day
  • Bus Assistant: $1 per person per day
  • Hotel Staff: $1 per person per day
  • Porters: $1 per bag upon arrival and departure
  • Restaurant staff: $1 per person per meal
  • Bicycle Rickshaw driver in Old Delhi: $1 per person 
  • Jeep driver at Amber Fort: $1 per person 

Optional Excursions

To enhance your trip and make your visit more complete and memorable, we offer an optional excursions package. The guide will have a list of passengers who prepaid the optional excursions package in both Dubai and India. If you did not prepay for the optional excursions and prefer to purchase them locally, space will be subject to availability, and the local selling price may be higher.

Additional tours may also be offered locally.  Payment for tours purchased locally must be made directly to the guide.  Payments may be made by cash in US dollars or local currency.

Independent Activities

You will have free time to explore on your own. Dubai is a glamourous and progressive city within the UAE that offers a wide variety of activities. You can choose to spend your time under the sun at the beach or surfing the sand dunes in the Desert. Or, visit the aquarium, take a walk along the marina, and for a truly exceptional adventure, slip a winter parka over your summer clothes and join in the fun at an indoor ski resort.

In India, exercise caution if you want to explore on your own. You may have read about the spreading crime in some areas of India. While your hotels are deluxe properties with excellent security, please exercise caution and care. Whenever in doubt, please ask your tour host/guide. India is a colorful country with an unforgettable and immersive culture, with delicious foods, beautiful architecture, and a rich history at every corner.

If you decide to skip included group activities and explore on your own, please inform your guide in advance.  There is NO refund for unused group arrangements. Be sure to take the name of the hotel and phone number, written in the local language and in English, so that you can communicate with taxi drivers. The hotel staff will be glad to assist you with these translations. 

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

Dubai Fast Facts

Overview

Population:  2.789 million
Currency: Dirham (AED)
Languages: Arabic
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: GST (UTC +4)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

While there are no required vaccinations for entry into the UAE, consult your doctor about vaccinations and other preventative medicine recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Make sure your food and drinking water are safe as food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. There is no risk of malaria or yellow fever in the UAE.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Dubai enjoys almost year-round sunshine and what little rainfall there is usually occurs during the months of December through April. Temperatures from October to May make Dubai a popular winter sun resort for European visitors. Average temperatures will be in the 80’s and 90’s during this period. 

Tipping

Where service charges are not included in a bill, a 10% tip for hotel bellhops and restaurant waitstaff is adequate. It is also appropriate to tip taxi drivers a few dirhams.

Money & Credit Cards

ATMs are found all over the city.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

As the shopping capital of the Middle East, Dubai is a true shopper's paradise. Low customs duties make luxury goods less expensive than in most countries. In fact, the Dubai Duty Free is renowned as one of the best duty-free operations in the world.

In the city, there are three main places: shopping malls, souks and the shopping streets or areas. Souks are very common in the Emirates and tend to be good places to buy gold, fabrics, electronics, and traditional Arabic art. Other items to shop for include clothes and fabrics, Persian carpets and rugs, Arabic coffee pots, silver and brass swords and khanjars (curved daggers), ancient rifles, shisha pipes, porcelain prayer beads, antique silver jewelry, brass trinkets, and silver and wooden miniature dhows.

Bargaining is acceptable everywhere, even in the malls.

You will have ample opportunity during your tour to shop for souvenirs, including artwork, handicrafts and even jewelry.  If you purchase such items, do so with the understanding that these items may not have the same high value you were led to believe. And you may be unable to return these items later for a refund. A good rule of thumb when shopping abroad is to choose items that you love and that will remind you of the destination. If you want to shop for high value items, better do so from a trusted merchant at home unless the pleasure of the happy memory of your trip will keep you from regretting your purchase.

While we take great care in arranging the components of your tour, we have no relationship with the shopping venues you’ll encounter, and we cannot be liable for any purchases you make. Your guides will no doubt have some favorite shopping places, where the vendors are known, provide good quality merchandise and probably pay some sort of commission from sales to the guide. This should not surprise or offend you. This is how business is done throughout the Middle East and other regions around the world. Please keep in mind that many, if not most stores outside the U.S. will not allow exchanges or refunds for your purchased items. You, as the buyer, assume the full risk in the purchases you make.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220/240 volts. You will most likely need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances, even though some outlets will correspond to American plug types and voltages. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Dubai has a population of over 3.1 million people, making it the most populated city in the United Arab Emirates.
  • The tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, is found in Dubai.
  • Dubai is home to the longest driverless metro line in the world, stretching over 30 miles—it even holds a Guinness World Record! 
  • Dubai Palm, the artificial island off the coast of Dubai, is the largest man made island.
  • The largest shopping mall in the world is found in Dubai—about the size of about 50 football fields!

IndiaIndia Fast Facts

Overview

Capital: Delhi
Population:  1.1 billion
Currency: Indian rupee (INR)
Languages:  Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, English
Drives on the: Left
Time zone: GMT +5:30

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

According to the Center for Disease Control, all areas lower than 2,000 meters (6,561 feet), including cities are considered high-risk areas for malaria. The cities of Delhi and Bombay are also risk areas. Consult your physician about inoculations and the use of antimalarial drugs.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

When traveling to India, November thru March is the best time to visit. Temps in the north are between 40-70° F and temps in the south are between 65-85° F. March-June is dry and very, very hot. June-October is monsoon time. When traveling to the mountain region, the months of March, April, October and November are ideal.

Tipping
  • Upscale restaurants: 5% 
  • Hotel restaurants: 10% 
  • Porters: 10-15 rupees per bag or service
  • Hired drivers: provide meals and 50-100 rupees at the end of the day.

In India you'll be expected to pay small amounts in order to get things done, as well as to reward for jobs already accomplished.

Money & Credit Cards

The local currency in India is the Indian Rupee. Most hotels and upscale stores and restaurants accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency. We highly recommend that you bring crisp, new bills in small denominations. Old, torn, crumpled bills are not always accepted.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop for wood carvings, fabrics, brassware, copperware, bronzes, silver, fossils and crystals, sandalwood items, paper-mache, paintings and prints, dhurri rugs, dolls, tea, saffron, batiks, carpets, and gems (if you know what to look for).

Bargaining is the norm. Beware of copycat brand-name items and animal products such as skins and horns- they are illegal. And remember to shop at the local markets!

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs C & D. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • India is home to over 300,000 active mosques, outnumbering any other country in the world.
  • The classic game of Chess was invented in India.
  • At approximately 3,287,263 sq. km. with a population of 1.3 billion people, there is only one-time zone across all of India.
  • India is the world's second largest English speaking country, next to the USA, with around 125 million people speaking the language.
  • India is the largest vegetarian-friendly country in the world.
  • With more than 150,000 post offices, India has the largest postal system in the world (3 times the size of that of China!)

NepalNepal Fast Facts

Overview

Capital: Kathmandu
Population:  28.51 million
Currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Languages: Nepali
Drives on the: Left
Time zone: NPT (UTC +5:45)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

According to the Center for Disease control, there is no risk of malaria in Kathmandu. Before you go, consult your physician about inoculations against hepatitis, typhoid and tetanus. Disinfect and cover wounds with a bandage. 

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Monsoons occur in Nepal between the months of June and September and often result in floods. Because of its elevation, most of Nepal is brisk with the highest elevations being quite cold. Trekkers will want to visit Nepal from October to November and March to April to avoid monsoons and snow. Nepal's autumn is generally better for viewing than the spring when the air is hazy, but spring is still worth a visit. 

Tipping

In Kathmandu and Pokhara restaurants only, tip 10% (if a service charge is not already on the bill). If you go trekking, tip porters and guides (consult with the trek organizer for the proper amount).

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop for prayer wheels, tea bowls, religious paintings, Tibetan articles, bronze and copper items, shoulder bags, wooden masks and statues, sweaters, bamboo flutes, carpets, hats and caps, block prints, violins, woven cloths, used camping gear, Be aware that you cannot export precious stones, gold or silver. Small jewelry items may pass if you're wearing them, but it's still risky.

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs C & D. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • More than 100,000 Sherpas (members of ethnic groups that are skilled in mountaineering) live in Nepal.
  • Nepalese dumplings are called Momos, and usually contain some type of meat or vegetable.
  • The Yeti is the Himalayan version of The Abominable Snowman, and continues to be a legend in Nepalese folklore.
  • If you’re suffering from any dental pain, you’ll want to stop at The Toothache Tree. Locals and visitors alike nail a coin to a piece of wood from the famous tree, Bangemudha, in hopes of getting relief.   
  • Nepal’s population of Royal Bengal tigers has increased within the past 10 years. 
  • Nepal is brimming with social enterprises that not only enhance tourists’ experiences, but also support local Nepalese citizens. “Seven Women” is just one great organization that offers everything from tours, to cooking and language classes, all while supporting disadvantaged Nepalese women.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

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