Each student can bring along a spouse, significant other, or a relative. You cannot bring anyone under 18 years of age unless accompanied by another guest who is at least 18 years old.
Sightseeing is also part of the organized/scheduled program. In addition, students will be free of any sessions typically by 5 pm on most days. They can use public transportation for self-directed sight-seeing trips to visit parts of Bangalore.
Please see the CDC site for more information and also consult your regular physician at least 45 days before traveling.
Unless you really can not live without it, we recommend not bringing it. It will be more of a nuisance and will not add considerable value during the trip. If you want to bring one, I would suggest bringing a Netbook instead. For charging the battery, you would need a transformer to convert from 220 to 110 volts unless your laptop can handle dual voltage. We will have access to computers and by Text-Enhance">broadband connection to Internet at XIME in Bangalore.
Traveler’s checks and bank cards can be used. Traveler's checks are easier to replace if lost or stolen. They can be cashed very easily after we arrive in Delhi on the first day. It is more likely that you will get a better exchange rate in India as opposed to by Text-Enhance">the money exchange facilities at international airports in the US. You can also use your ATM card in India to get money in Rupees.
You will need some money for meals that are not included in the package. A decent meal in India will cost around $10. The total cost for meals should be around $150. You will also need money for entrance fees, tips, and guide charges to tourist attractions (museums, Taj Mahal, etc.). This should be no more than $100 total. Apart from this you will need money for any purchases you plan to make.
You may certainly bring your own cell by Text-Enhance">phone with you but check on cost and access from your provider. We will have at least one cell phone for our use in India. You can make calls to the U.S. using the indian cell phone as long as we can keep adding money to the cell phone account (pay-as-you-use plan). Calls to the U.S. from India cost about 5 cents a minute.
The food at XIME will be mostly vegetarian, but we can request some poultry/meat to be served. We can also request for less spicy food if necessary. For the food we eat outside of XIME, we can select restaurants that serve what we may be interested in. Poultry and meat should be available in most places. Because cows are considered sacred by Hindus (about 80% of the population of India is Hindu), beef may not be available at all locations.
We will arrive toward the tail end of the monsoon season and can expect some rain during our stay. Monsoon rains usually bring in cooler weather. Temperatures in Bangalore should be between 65-85 degrees (about 50% humidity). Chennai & New Delhi will be about 10-15 degrees warmer.
We will have an air conditioned mini bus (that can accommodate about 10-15 passengers) for our use in each city.
I suggest that you apply for a tourist visa. This requires minimum paperwork.