It takes careful judgment and common sense, once you start packing for your proposed trip to India. Pack lightly, especially if you are on a short trip to India. You don’t really need more than one checked bag, besides your carry-on bag, if you are on a business trip. If you are traveling with your family for an extended period of time, things would be different. You could possibly have more than one bag for checked luggage, besides carrying a Cabin baggage for each passenger on board, which the airlines allow.
Keep in mind that recently, all the major American carriers have amended their baggage fees policies. United Airlines has started charging $23.00, this month for the first piece of checked-in baggage to match Delta’s as well as Continental Airlines’ similar hike. Most U.S. airlines charge $15.00, if not more, for online checking of the first bags’ and $25.00 for a second one. American Airlines have also followed suit. These baggage fees are not taxable either, according to I.R.S. Frequent fliers could get some discount on baggage, depending on your tier level in the enrolled program.
You have to expect limited options, long lines at airports and cancellations of flights due to weather, during this time of the year. It’s always better to carry less luggage, since it’s more comfortable, because you are on a long trip, which could last roughly 18 to 20 hours, if not more, depending on the routes you choose! It also helps you through the heightened security process, these days, saving time, not misplacing bags or be able to identify them, in case your baggage went missing. You should expect to reach the airport, more than three hours before your expected departure time, being an International trip. Keep all your essential documentation handy and remember all the usual T.S.A rules.
Pack lightly and carry more of cotton clothes. Don’t worry, India produces the finest cotton goods and you can even get a shirt stitched in certain cities in hours! It’s much cheaper than what you would buy in the United States. Be aware, it’s a tropical destination! Carry light sheets/blankets on transatlantic flights, since it could get chilly at times. Besides, you might even have to pay for pillows or blankets for certain airlines. Carry ear plugs, hand sanitizers, diapers, wash clothes and necessary medicine, just in case, if you have small children. Do light exercise and take short walks on board. Take an overnight flight so that you can get rested.
Connecting flights is the best option, if you are traveling with small children, rather than taking a Direct flight which could last 14 hours or more, depending on the final destination. If you are really particular, you could fly via Dubai, provided you are able to withstand the long Direct flight on Emirates from either JFK in New York or from IAH in Houston. It takes only 4.25 hours to Mumbai, India from Dubai, compared to 7.50 or 8 hours or more either from Frankfurt or Paris. You can always fly Air India either from Chicago or New York direct to Mumbai. Cincinnati doesn't offer direct flights to India, yet!
Carry Traveler’s Cheques, which could be easily exchanged at Airports and is safer. Always carry some cash to pay for taxis, buses or auto rickshaws (a human driven motorized vehicle, like the one found in Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield, Ohio, in the Indian aisle) or small town grocery and Pan (betel) stores and ones in bus stations. Good luck and Bon voyage to you!