Whether you're looking for a relaxed holiday lying on a tropical beach, or embarking on a cultural exploration stopping at tombs, temples and palaces - you'll be overwhelmed with the diversity and vibrancy of India.
Despite the country's beauty and wonderful delights, a journey to India comes with certain risks that you need to be aware of in order to take out necessary safety precautions. India's climate and geography means that it is vulnerable to natural disasters including tropical cyclones, tsunamis, flooding and earthquakesi.
Combined with these weather phenomena, India's generally low levels of sanitationii and the high risk of infection from food, water and animal/insect-borne diseases pose a risk to travellersi. Diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, diphtheria and rabies are prevalent in Indiai,iii. A consultation with your local GP in Australia is recommended before departure; your GP will advise you on which medication and vaccinations are required to protect you against infectious disease in Indiai,iv
Australia and India have no reciprocal healthcare agreementsv and most hospitals will require an up-front payment or confirmation of an insurance policy before providing treatmenti. The average daily cost of a stay in an Indian hospital is US$236vi. Although this is comparatively cheaper than in Australia and many other favourite holiday destinations, the accessibility, services, facilities and prices of seeking medical treatment in India vary according to the location of the hospital and the treatment you requirei. While major cities are more likely to have adequate facilities, rural and remote areas may not and medical transfer or evacuation to a well-equipped hospital may be necessaryi. Travel insurance can protect you financially in the event that you need to seek medical assistance while in India, including the cost of treatment, medicine, surgery and medical evacuation.
Getting around in India can be a bumpy ride for Australians who are used to the generally smooth conditions of Australian roads. In India, however, the transport system can often take you for a ride. Trains and buses are normally overcrowded, while roads can be congested and polluted. Also, animals such as cows, pigs and dogs are not uncommon on the roadsidevii, leading to hazardous conditions for drivers. If you want to drive in India, you must have an International Driving Permit combined with an Australian driving licencei. Remember to always wear a seatbelt and prepare for the congested nature of Indian roads and the erratic driving of other road users. If you suffer personal injury on the road while travelling around India, travel insurance can protect you financially by covering your medical costs.
Tourists are highly susceptible to harassment, scamming and theft in Indiai. Theft can occur anywhere and at any time so it's important to keep your valuables hidden in a safe place. When exploring, remember to keep an eye on your belongings as theft is common in busy and crowded areas such as marketplaces, tourist sites and on public transporti. Scamming is also widespread in India with many tourists reporting incidences of being harassed or tricked into buying overpriced items or being overcharged for servicesi,viii. In the case of loss or theft of your personal effects, travel insurance can compensate you financially.
Travel Insurance can help cover the costs incurred if your passport, credit card or phone is stolen, or if you fall sick and need to return home to Australia sooner than expected on the advice of a medical professionalix. Allianz offers Comprehensive Travel Insurance and Multi Trip Travel Insurance for your trip overseas. Contact Allianz for a quote today!
For more information on travelling to India, read our Travel guide for India. You can also find out more by visiting the Australian Government Smartraveller website.
i Smartraveller, India, Australian Government, viewed 16 December 2013, http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/India
ii World Health Organization 2013, India: health profile, viewed 16 December 2013, http://www.who.int/gho/countries/ind.pdf
iii World Health Organization 2013, International Travel and Health Interactive Map: Countries or areas at risk, viewed 16 December 2013, http://apps.who.int/ithmap/
iv Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Information for travellers to India, viewed 16 December 2013, http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india
v Department of Human Services, Reciprocal Health Care Agreements, Australian Government, viewed 16 December 2013, http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements
vi International Federation of Health Plans 2011, 2011 Comparative Price Report Medical and Hospital Fees by Country, viewed 16 December 2013, http://www.indiana.edu/~uhrs/UFCBC/pubs/2011iFHPPriceReportGraphs_version3.pdf
vii 'Stray animals create nuisance on roads, railway station', The Times of India, 15 January 2012, viewed 16 December 2013, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-15/kanpur/30629445_1_stray-animals-stray-cattle-bulls-and-dogs
viii Travel.state.gov, India Country Specific Information, U.S. Department of State, viewed 16 December 2013, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1139.html
ix Allianz Travel Insurance Product Disclosure Statement, https://api.agaassistance.com.au/Content/allianzB2C/attachments/PDS.pdf, 4b