Travelers Rejoice!

"At nearly 1 AM, Sarah landed on the IGI airport in New Delhi. She was excited to explore the country on her first solo trip. As she walked out of the airport, she looked for a taxi to take her to the hostel she had booked her stay in and that is when her troubles started.

All the taxi drivers ‘informed’ her that the hostel she had booked had closed down and she won’t find any accommodation in the city at this time. She was scared and confused. She now had nowhere to go. She had no local sim card to call the hostel to check if they were really closed and had no means to access the internet and book a new accommodation since her international sim card wouldn’t work here.

So, having no choice, she believed the taxi drivers and one of them duped her into buying a ‘cheap package of only Rs 50,000’ for a 5 day trip covering Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur."

This is one of many such incidents which happen to hundreds of travellers who land in India everyday.

It is fairly obvious from this incident that if Sarah had somehow managed to put her hands on a local sim card, she wouldn’t have been scammed and would have enjoyed her trip to India. Countless travelers from all over the world traveling for the first time to India have faced such issues. The realisation that they have been scammed is not particularly in favour of the first impression we want them to have.

However, the Government of India has come up with an ingenious solution. Now, pre-activated SIM cards are available on Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi for travelers coming to India on e-visa. This initiative has been launched in association with BSNL and these SIM cards will be free of cost for all travelers. They would be loaded with a talk-time of Rs 50 and 50 MB data for internet. The SIM card would be active for a month and the users will be able to contact a 24-hour tourist helpline number available in 12 languages, including German, Russian, and Japanese.

With the ease of availability of this sim card, every traveler would be able to call back home as soon as they land to inform their relatives of their safe arrival. They would have the chance to communicate with tour operators and their accommodations as well.

To pre-book a bus or a train in India, one requires an Indian number. Since obtaining a local sim card was a bit of a hassle earlier, most of the short-term travelers did not bother buying a SIM card. However, with the onset of this service, they would be able to make these bookings with ease.

We thank the Government of India on behalf of all travelers. This iconic step will eradicate several problems faced by the travelers arriving in India, which in turn would help them in having a hassle free trip.

It has also reinforced our belief in the ancient Indian saying- Athithi Devo Bhava!

You can apply for an e-visa to India here-

Crafted By, Siddharth Juneja