James Thanickan

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Citizen's Handbook

Travel Abroad - Tips and Checklist for an Indian Novice



By James Thanickan


Note; Pl check latest rules and regulations. This is only to serve as an aide memoir and not as a legal guide





Get details about


The country you propose to visit

Weather there

Best season for a visit

Clothes required


Find out


How to get there

Best airlines

What to see

Where to stay, i.e., Accommodation

How to travel Internally, i.e., Transport

Whether any friends in that country

What are the taboos?







What things snot to carry or do

What are the food habits?


What food available


Learn few essential phrases and words in the language of the country


What to do?


Get Passport

Get Visa

Book ticket

Book accommodation at the places to be visited






Get foreign exchange

Write to friends

Get presents for hosts, co-participants, friends, etc.



Picture cards

Speciality items of your country

Indian tea

Handicraft items


Neck ties



Things to be carried for your use (Toiletry)


Soap (Toilet/Washing)

Shampoo Oil

Shaving cream

Shaving set


After shave

Talcum powder


Cutex, nail polish, mascara, bindi

Tooth brush

Tooth paste

Tongue cleaner


Puffs, mirrors, etc.


            Antiseptic creams


Essential beverage items’


Tea/coffee powder





Formal dress

National dress

Casual wear


Night suit


Swimsuit, sportswear

Toilet paper






Jogging shoes





General information on your country

Address Book

Postal stamps of your country

International credit card

Addresses and telephone numbers of your country’s embassy and consulates

Writing materials


            Pen, pencil, paper, and writing pad, diary.


Reading material

Prayer and mediation materials



Prayer book

Other compulsory reading




Passport size photographs of yourself (8 copies)


Check List


  • Have you got Passport?
  • Have you obtained Visa from the Embassies of the countries you propose to visit?  Check that the visa is valid for the entire period  of your stay?
  • Have you got return air ticket for the journey?
  • Have you got the ticket okayed for the sector you are to travel in next 72 hours?
  • Have you got re-confirmation of your ticket for the sector you are to travel in next 24 hours?
  • Have you got foreign exchange allowable for foreign journey?
  • You get US dollars 20 at the airport.  Keep Indian currencies equivalent for that?
  • You have to pay airport taxes.  This can be paid in Indian Rs.  Keep Indian currency for that.
  • You have to pay embarkation charges and disembarkation charges at certain airports.  Please check in advance and keep funds for that.
  • Have you requested any one to received at the foreign airport? Has the person confirmed that he/she would receive you?
  • Have you got that person’s address and telephone number?
  • Have you requested for accommodation at the post of disembarkation? Have you got it confirmed?  Have you got instructions on how to get to that place from airport?  Have you got their full address and telephone number and name of persons to be contacted?
  • In many airports, custom declaration forms is to be given in duplicate.  Usually it is supplied in the aircraft free.  Try to get an extra copy; if not keep some small changes, if possible in the local currency, towards cost of the form.
  • For air journey, don’t carry arms, etc., knives, pistols, other metal objects which may look like an arm.
  • Have you got kinds of dresses required? Formal, informal, casual, warm, rain/


Before Departure


To book transport for going to the airport

To see that you have




Air ticket(s)

Baggage with addresses written or securely pasted prominently.


At he Airport


  • Pay airport tax, if to be paid.
  • Collect foreign exchange, if admissible.  At Delhi airport, you can get US $ 3000 (pl check latest rules) for which you have to give photocopy of your passport, if you have not drawn the foreign exchange earlier. In addition you can get foreign exchanged   worth $ 50 for incidentals.  For this no photocopy of passport is required.
  • Exchange local currency.
  • When you reach the airport go to the airline flight counter, get your boarding pass.  You can opt for the seat you want, aisle seat or window seat.  If you want to see outside opt for window; if you have to frequent toilet opt for aisle.
  • Get tags for hand/cabin baggage; fill them and attach to the respective baggage.
  • Along with taking boarding pass you may book your luggage.  Keep the ticket safely.  This you have to exchange when you get your luggage at the port of disembarkation.  If you don’t get it report to the airline airport office and leave your forwarding address with them.
  • After getting the boarding pass, keep your ticket safely in your handbag.
  • Get entered in the passport by custom officials cameras, electronic goods, gold etc. you are carrying.


In the aircrafts


        You can request airhostess for

o        Newspapers, magazines, etc. for reading.

o       Drinking water.

o       In case of feeling sick for sick bag.

o       Pllows, blankets, etc. if you feel the need.

        Except for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for other snacks and drinks you have to pay usually.  Ascertain what comes with the ticket and for what you have to pay, before taking them.

        Before disembarkation get the disembarkation forms and fill them up.

        Before disembarkation collect your handbags and cabin luggage.


At the Disembarkation Airport


  • After entering airport, wait for your booked luggage which comes on a conveyer belt’ collect it.
  • In case your booked luggage has not been received, you have to file a report with the airlines, before leaving the airport.  Generally there is a form for filing this report.  Invariably give your forwarding address in the form.  Also please take the telephone number of the airlines enquiry on which you can check later about the arrival of the luggage.  The airlines are supposed to reimburse you for the additional journey you have to make to the airport to collect your luggage.
  • Stand in the queue for customs clearance; get the forms, if not already got, fill them up; declare the things which you are carrying.
  • Once outside the customs barrier, look for the person to received you.  People usually carry a placard wit your or your organisation’s name.
  • If you fail to locate your host, look for any assistance provided by the airlines, seek that.
  • If no assistance is forthcoming from the airline officials, seeks the assistance of a police booth.
  • Look for a pre-paid taxi service, if any.
  • Get a taxi and go to the accommodation booked for you.


After Entering a Foreign Country


        Contact your country’s Embassy.

        Check whether you are to register with any office or police, if so, do that.

        Check that your return ticket doesn’t need overstay of your visa.

        Intimate your address to your family in your country.


Stay at Hotels


  • Check in and check out time in hotels is usually12.00 noon.
  • Items kept in the mini-bars are to be paid separately.
  • Always check the items in the min-bar while checking in.


In a Foreign Country


  • Get a road map of the city
  • Always carry your passport with you.  Keep a card with address of your hotel,  keep the addresses and telephone numbers of your hosts, your country’s Embassy/Consulate and other acquaintances in the city.
  • Always carry some local currency in small denominations for telephoning, airport baggage trolleys, etc.


Medical Kit


Allopathic (Pl consult your physician as to the specific medicines)


  • An antiseptic (Dettol or Savlon)
  • A small role of sterile cotton
  • A packet of Johnson’s sterile square bandage and plaster
  • A pair of small scissors
  • A crepe bandage
  • Aspirin or other pain killers
  • Paracetamol for fever
  • Aqua Pura water purification tablets
  • Lmotil for a loose tummy
  • Vicks inhaler
  • Avomin or Stematil (for sickness)
  • A pcket of Electral (for Diarrohea)
  • Mosquito repellents
  • Listerine (for sore throat)
  • Iodex for sprains
  • Ointments/balms for aches


Homeopathic (30 to 200 potencies) (Pl consult your physician as to the specific medicines)


  • Aconite for chills, dry colds, coughs and shock
  • Arsenic Alb for mild food poisoning, cold
  • Belladonna for mild sun stroke, headache, ear ache
  • Arnica for bruises and minor injuries
  • Ledum for insect bites
  • Carbo Veg for indigestion, flatulence
  • China for diiarrhoea
  • Hepersulf for septic wounds
  • Ipecacuanha for nausea, faintness
  • Rhustox for sprains.
  • Calendula for cuts and bruises







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