After an epic Cricket World Cup battle in 2015, the ICC World Twenty20 Championship is yet another reason Aussies are flocking to India with research from Cheapflights.com.au revealing a 606 per cent increase in flight searches over the last three months.*
The data also showed Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore are the most popular destinations with committed supporters searching for deals in the lead-up to Australia’s competition opener on 18 March.
The only tournament trophy remaining for Australia to claim, Melbournians are confident the Aussie team will perform with data showing over a third of demand coming from the home of the country’s largest cricket stadium. Sydneysiders and those from Perth are next in line with 34 per cent and 10 per cent of searches to India over the last three months respectively.
Stepping off a plane in India can be overwhelming, with 1.17 billion people (one-sixth of the world’s population) waiting to greet you. To help navigate your stay and guarantee a perfect innings, the travel experts at Cheapflights.com.au have these winning tips:
1. Pick Your Airport Carefully Indira Gandhi International Airport, just outside New Delhi, is a natural gateway to northern India. Serviced by a large number of international and national carriers, it is one of the largest and busiest airports on the Indian subcontinent, and a great introduction to a country full of delights, adventures and surprises.
2. Say Namaste Learning some basic phrases in the country’s native language can make a huge difference to your experience. While there are 22 constitutionally recognised languages in India, Hindi is the nation’s official language and used most commonly. Pack a phrase book or download an app to start practicing: ‘namaste’ means hello, ‘alavida’ for goodbye, ‘krpaya’ is please and ‘dhanyavaad’ is thank you.
3. Tipping Rules Coming from a country where tipping is uncommon, many Aussies can find the practice confusing. However, by knowing the local customs you can avoid an etiquette headache – a tip of around 250 Rupees is expected for hotel housekeeping staff, a 15 per cent tip will hit the right mark in restaurants, and while it isn’t usually expected if you’re zipping around in a taxi or a tuk-tuk (rickshaw), it’s polite to add 30 to 50 Rupees for airport transfers.
4. Staying Healthy Overseas travellers have a 50 per cent chance of suffering from a travel-related illness, with the most common sickness being gastrointestinal infection. Before you head away, have a medical check-up and update your vaccinations and immunisations. Make sure to pack a medical kit with any medications you may need, as well as Imodium, electrolytes and Steripen (for purifying water), and organise travel insurance so you know you’re covered should you need to be admitted to hospital.
5. Take Probiotics Taking probiotics regularly is one of the best ways to prepare your digestive system for travel to India as the good bacteria helps to fight bad bacteria and keep your stomach in healthy. Take them in the lead up to your trip and take a pack that doesn’t require refrigeration with you – it will be a great travel companion.
6. Watch the Water It’s not safe to drink tap water in India so opt for bottled water and avoid adding ice in your drink as you can’t be sure purified water was used. If you purchase bottled water from a store or kiosk, always check that the seal is secure and hasn’t been broken.
7. Get Handy It is common practice to eat with your right hand in India and this can actually be a great option if you have any doubts about the cleanliness of utensils. Just make sure you’ve washed your hands thoroughly or used a hand sanitiser.
8. Street Food Mumbai is hands down the street food capital of the world, and with tempting smells coming from every direction, you have to try some true Indian delights. Pav Bhaji, a Mumbai favourite, is a blend of vegetables and spices with an accompanying buttered bread roll and optional cheese topping. For dessert, Jalebi is the ideal follow-up to a spice binge. These striking orange treats look similar to a pretzel and are made from a deep-fried wheat flour batter, coated in sugar syrup – yum!
9. Eat at Busy Restaurants If a restaurant is busy, it’s for a good reason. Follow the crowds and eat at bustling places; these eateries have a better reputation and are more likely to serve higher quality food.
10. Dress Modestly If you’re decked out in green and gold, it will undoubtedly lead to interaction with the cricket-crazed locals. But do remember to respect Indian customs and dress modestly. Men, we recommend losing the stubbies and singlets, and ladies, give short skirts and low-cut tops a miss.
To find out more and book your flights, visit Cheapflights.com.au.
*Results calculated and compared from search data across November, December, January and February.