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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What tips does one need to keep in mind for a trip to Mumbai?

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A metropolis like no other, Mumbai is a city of many extremes. However, follow these tips and you’ll be certain to get the very best out of this stunning destination:

  • Plan Ahead

    If planned well, a vacation can be truly epic and give you memories to cherish for a lifetime. Book your flight/train/bus tickets well in advance as well as your hotel rooms. Carry all your flight, hotel and any other reservation confirmation with you. You could take a printout of the confirmations. Alternatively, if you are tech savvy, you could download the TripIT app on your iphone, android, blackberry, windows 7 phone or ipad. Simply forward all your confirmation mails and documents to your TripIT account and it will organize all your details in one neat little itinerary for you. You can then simply log into the app and access your confirmation right at the flight and hotel desk.

  • Money

    ATMs are increasing in numbers in the city but are not yet as available as to be present around every block and occasionally, even carry enough cash for you to withdraw. There are 3 to 4 ATMs at the Airport. It might be convenient for you to withdraw a couple of days worth of cash when you find an ATM. Street markets, some eating joints, cabs, autos and trains take only cash and you might find yourself running out of it soon enough.

  • Travel

    Traffic jams are a chronic feature of Mumbai roads, regardless of the time you are out travelling, in fact getting worse at peak hours. You might want to allow for plenty of time, say half an hour to an hour in reserve, for travelling to different places. The suburban train network is not a mode of commuting for the weak hearted and requires a certain daring of its own to travel in it. In fact during peak hours, it is considered a sight to see in its own right, with several thousands of commuters hanging on to it with all their might. You would do well to stay off the rail network’s course during the 8 am to 11 am and 6 pm to 9 pm peak hours.
    Also, if you are travelling in the black and yellow topped taxis and the autos do remember to check the tariff against the tariff card all vehicles are mandated to carry with them. In case of an issue and if you can sight one nearby, do not hesitate to ask the policeman for help, distinguishable in their
    khaki uniform.
    Driving yourself to Mumbai? Be sure to get it serviced before you embark on the journey, to ensure it doesn’t give you trouble middle of the way. Also, parking is quite an issue in Mumbai and you might find it difficult to find a space to park, especially the marketplaces. Traffic jams and snarls of Mumbai cannot be stressed enough. So, carry your patience in plenty and in reserve.

  • Weather and what to wear and eat

    For fashion belles, there is nowhere quite like Mumbai in India. With its great all year round weather, it is a welcome mix of ethnic, high fashion and low key cool wear. If you are travelling in the summer months, it would be advisable to pack light, cotton wear, sunscreen and a sun hat. Carry a bottle of water with you in your exploration as the weather, heat with humidity together, will have you dehydrated. However, due to Mumbai’s sea coast location, post 5 pm the humid laden, suffocating atmosphere is replaced with the cool breeze blowing in from the sea, making you forget the sweat you had been swimming in a while a ago.

A good vacation has a lot to do with the smart eating and no matter where you go the season dictates what’s delicious. At the restaurants, when deciding and ordering for your meals, ask the maitre d’ (headwaiter) for what is in season and if your non-veg dishes are accompanied with vegetables, to replace them, if possible, with the seasonal ones.

  • General guidelines

    For foreign nationals, keeping their visa with them at all times is a must.
    Do not carry all your credit and/or debit cards with you when you go out travelling and sightseeing. If your wallet gets mislaid, you will end up losing all sources of money in one go. Keep one or 2 in your luggage locked back at the hotel or even in the safety deposit box if your hotel provides you with one.
    Every city has its own set of rules, policies and sensibilities to abide by. Be mindful of them when you visit Mumbai.

With this starter kit to help you plan your travel to Mumbai, your vacation to Mumbai holds all the promises of being as adventurous, thrilling and memorable as you want it to be.

        

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