• Recommendations for long trip to and stay in Delhi, India

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  • My girlfriend is headed to Delhi, India for an extended stay (6-9 months) to complete her dissertation field work. Wondering if the Cool Tools crowd has specific recommendations for needed tools for a life in Delhi and or tips, tricks, hacks for life in Delhi/India? Safety, bugs, water filtration, security, mobile devices etc...

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    Question by andrewkorf

This is a late response but might be helpful to others. I have travelled in India for over ten years and lived there for a year.

First, get shots and take malaria meds as recommended. Some people have psychiatric symptoms with Lariam, Malarone is much safer in that respect. I got malaria when I failed to take it for the recommended duration *after* leaving India so follow instructions scrupulously. Indians will scoff. Ignore them; you do not have the resistance developed by lifelong exposure. You are more susceptible.

Understand that insects carry diseases including Dengue Fever for which there is no vaccine. To avoid mosquitos, religiously apply bug repellent. In the US, Ultrathon is used by the military for time-release DEET. In India, Odomos cream contains effective repellent not available in the US. Ceiling fans, or a small battery powered fan, can diffuse your CO2 laden breath to make it harder for mosquitos to find you while sleeping. Mosquito nets may be helpful if you are staying in one place (like an apartment) so you can hang/install it. Permethrin can be used to pre-treat your clothing. Wear clothes that cover your legs, ankles, even arms. Light cotton is often better than high tech polyester, I find.

For food-borne illness, this archived version of an article from an expat health clinic in Kathmandu has the best advice (newer versions are too abridged IMHO). https://web.archive.org/web/20080815034152/http://www.ciwec-clinic.com/articles/understanding_diarrhea.php

Get a local mobile number while there (you should buy a SIM card in the airport on arrival, which is the easiest place for a foreigner to get a SIM). When you get your Indian SIM card, and at a surprising number of times thereafter, you are likely to need passport sized photos. Bring a bunch.

Make sure to have at least two credit cards in case one processing network is down (e.g., a MasterCard and an Amex). Credit cards are not as widely used as here.

You will need to have your US number phone active to reply to the inevitable fraud alerts every time you try to use your credit card or ATM card in India (even if you warn them before going). If bringing a US phone, T-mobile has free international roaming SMS/data (and affordable roaming charges for calls) with many postpaid plans (may be worth porting your US cellphone number to them before travelling). Most US handsets will work in India for texting and 3g, it\'s a bit trickier for high-speed access as they use different frequencies there.

As of my last trip in 2013, wifi is still pretty rare outside middle class homes, so don\'t count on free wifi to substitute for some kind of local internet. Internet cafes in which you must use their computers are ubiquitous, but also a great place to get your email passwords hacked. Two-factor authentication is a good idea, even though it will be a pain.

Women in India sometimes experience harassment. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/travel-tips-and-articles/77744 has info and strategies.

Petty crime in India is common. Wear your passport under your clothing at all times. If the field work means traveling from place to place, bring luggage locks, and a door lock/alarm for hotels/rooming houses.

Purell and tissue packs are vital for the adjustment to Indian toilets. Hygiene is generally not at US standards, and most toilets are squat toilets in which water is used to clean your privates, rather than paper. Remember that the water you use to wash your hands may not be safe to drink, and most Indians eat with their hands, so you may want to keep alcohol sanitizer with you at all times (even though you will taste it if you then eat with your hands). A disinfecting with purell, and then a rinse with *bottled* water is best. Middle class homes will have in-house purification systems (commonly called AquaGuard from a common brand), but these may or may not be used correctly in restaurants, hotels, etc. and almost certainly will not be used to purify the water used for handwashing or toilets.

Answer by tophe
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