ATMs are common in most towns and cities in India and open 24/7/365. However, carry cash or travellers cheques as backup in case the power goes down, the ATM is out of order, or you lose or break your card. Always check in advance before leaving to India whether your card can access banking networks in India and ask for details of charges. Nobody in India ever seems to have change, so it’s a good idea to keep some smaller currency like Rs 10, 20 and 50 notes; change bigger bills into these denominations every time you change money or in a bank.
Health & Safety: Check with your doctor at home for necessary vaccinations recommended before your travel. You can buy many medications at medical stores in India without a doctor’s prescription, but it can be difficult to find some of the newer drugs, particularly the latest antidepressant drugs, blood pressure medications and so on. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to have a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity. If you have a heart condition, bring a copy of your ECG taken just prior to travelling.
A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is very useful. Most bottled water is legit, but always ensure the lid seal is intact and check that the bottom of the bottle hasn’t been tampered with. Crush plastic bottles after use to prevent them being misused later, or better still, bring along water-purification tablets or a filtration system to avoid adding to India’s plastic-waste mountain.
Recommended items for a personal medical kit: whatever may apply for you, check list :
Antifungal cream, eg Clotrimazole
Antibacterial cream, eg Muciprocin
Antibiotic for skin infections, eg Amoxicillin/Clavulanate or Cephalexin
Antihistamine – there are many options, eg Cetrizine for daytime and Promethazine for night
Antiseptic, eg Betadine
Antispasmodic for stomach cramps, eg Buscopam
Decongestant, eg Pseudoephedrine
DEET-based insect repellent
Diarrhoea medication – consider an oral rehydration solution (eg Gastrolyte), diarrhoea ‘stopper’ (eg Loperamide) and antinausea medication
First-aid items such as scissors, elastoplasts, bandages, gauze, thermometer (but not mercury), sterile needles and syringes, safety pins and tweezers
Ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory
Indigestion tablets, eg Quick Eze or Mylanta
Iodine tablets (unless you are pregnant or have a thyroid problem) to purify water
Laxative, eg Coloxyl
Migraine medication if you suffer from them
Pyrethrin to impregnate clothing and mosquito nets
Steroid cream for allergic/itchy rashes, eg 1% to 2% hydrocortisone
Sunscreen and hat
Insurance: Even if you are fit and healthy, don’t travel without health insurance – accidents do happen. Hospitals in India expect payment in cash and sometimes in advance. It’s a good idea to find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or if it will reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.