Discover Secret Projects Top Tips for Travelling In India

 12th Nov 2019 |  Travel |  Fritha Mason

Traveling in India is good for the soul! Our team has travelled extensively and have put together these top tips, which we add to constantly each time we return from this beautiful continent.


In South India the sun always shines and the average daily temperature is around 30 degrees. We often travel in November, meaning we will miss the monsoon rain, so, dry weather is almost guaranteed. The temperature can drop unexpectedly at night so bring a standby fleece/jumper, scarf and some socks.


The food in South India is delicious. The most famous South Indian dish has to be the masala dosa. Delicious! There are veg and non veg selections at most places where we eat. As seasoned travellers, we will eat street food but only where we can see it being cooked and will encourage our guests to join us. It is the real India! However, there is no pressure at all. Let us assure you that we only eat our meals in places we have come to trust over our years of travel.

We will be able to pick up some interesting fruits and snacks to nibble as we travel, but many of our travellers recommend bringing a bag full of your favourite snacks with you for any hunger emergencies!

Drinking Water

We advise that you drink only bottled water while in India, which is completely safe and widely available.  We do advise you to check the seal on the bottle top when buying to ensure that it is intact. If you are not sure, ask for another bottle.

Many hotels in India now have filtered water in guest rooms, so please do bring a small reusable bottle with you to decant into.

As we are all now fully aware, plastic is a huge issue, not just in India, but worldwide. If you are keen to reduce your use of bottled water, please invest in a water purification bottle and we suggest testing it out before your travel to familiarise yourself with how it works.

Remember to drink 1-2 litres of water per day.


You will be most comfortable in loose cotton or linen clothes. Most women in India dress conservatively and cover their shoulders. The salwar kameez with leggings or baggy pants is the most common outfit worn by women and, in our opinion, the most comfortable! Inexpensive clothing is widely available in shops and markets throughout India, so it is easy to put together a capsule Indian wardrobe for your trip.

One more tip about clothing - restaurants and cars often have air conditioning, so we advise that you keep a shawl/fleece/jumper in your bag to pop on if needs be.


In India, it is the custom to remove your shoes before you go inside most building from homes to shops. Wearing lace-up shoes or buckled shoes can become very inconvenient as they take time to remove. We strongly advise travellers to wear slip on or flip-flop style shoes for ease. Just a word... if you are buying a new pair for your trip, please make sure they are broken in before you travel. Blisters are no fun and can be hard to keep clean - believe us, we know!

One other thing... if you feet are on the large size, please bear in mind that bigger size slip on's/flip flops are not readily available in India, so please buy at home. Fritha has a tale or two to tell about this!


Before you travel make sure you have printed out all the information about hotels and guest houses where you will be staying. Although we are keen to be as paperless as an organisation as possible, sometimes electronic devices with important information can fail, so having a paper copy will ensure you are covered for any tech failure.


The Indian currency is the Rupee and is a closed currency, which means that you will not be able to bring rupees into India with you or take out upon departure. We do not recommend exchanging money at the airport due to a poor exchange rate. Hotels can offer advice about better places to change your money.

You can also withdraw money from an ATM, which are commonplace throughout India. We do recommend advising your bank that you are travelling to India beforehand and bring some Sterling or US Dollars incase your bank cards aren't accepted. Again, Fritha and Margaret have many stories of bank cards not being accepted at ATM's until the bank have verification and will never travel to India now without plenty of Sterling or American Dollars.

You will need cash for personal shopping, tea/snacks on route and drinks in the evening. Some shops can take cards as payment, but there is no guarantee, so in these situations cash is King!

Over the years, we have devised a great system that speeds things up at tea/snack stops. We ask each traveller to take turns paying for the drinks/snacks - prices are minimal and it is actually good fun organising the 'rota'.

Another good system is to set up a drinks/snack 'kitty' on day one of the trip, with each person adding a set amount and one of the group taking charge of the important task of managing the funds!

Whilst in the major cities of India larger shops do accept bank cards as payment, but off the beaten track when visiting our Maker Groups for example you will actually need very little money, but do ensure that you always have cash with you.


The national language is Hindi however a large percentage of the Indian population speak very good English. India has many different local languages and dialects however the first Hindi word you need to learn is simply “Namaste” (Hello).

Some of our trips can take in 4 Indian states (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh) that all have very distinctive languages. We are fortunate that one member of the Secret Projects team can speak all of these languages, so we have an expert on hand to ask for some syntax tips! Indians absolutely love it when travellers make an effort to speak to them in their own language, so please do feel free to practise!


You must hold a current valid Passport to enter India along with a relevant visa. Your passport will need to have at least 6 months left until expiry to apply for any Indian visa.

Visa requirements

Visas for India are easy to get and are not expensive. Most people opt for a e-tourist visa which can be applied for online. Depending on which country you are travelling from, some can be gained upon entry to India, however please check your particular visa requirements well in advance of your travel as each country has different requirements.

Top and important tip: Be careful to time the application of your visa with booking your  flight. Most tourist visas expire after 6 months, so you need to ensure that your visa is valid throughout the entire length of your stay. Apply too early and you risk your visa expiring before or during your travels. If you have recently visited India and your visa gives 2nd entry entitlement and are planning to use your 2nd entry entitlement, please check the restrictions on 2nd entries very carefully. There is a lot of confusion about the validity and many tourists are refused entry into India because they have not properly understood the restrictions around this.

Tempo Traveller

During our trips, we often travel around in a Tempo Traveller which is like a small mini bus that can carry 14 people. It is a great way to travel as it's small enough to hold conversations from front to back and plenty of windows to watch Indian life pass you by! Our luggage will be stored securely on the roof of the vehicle and is never left unattended.

As you may be able to  imagine, the roads are busy, congested, full of pot-holes, and in India people use their horns a lot! If you are prone to car sicknesses, it's a good idea to bring something with you to ease any potential discomfort.


Our trips tend to begin in the tech capital of South India, Bengaluru in Karnataka state, so we ask our travellers to arrive at Kmpegowda International Airport. Please use this information when you are searching for flights or when speaking to your travel agent. We will organise your airport transfers.

It is essential that you provide us with the details of both your inward and outgoing flights, so we organise a pick up and drop off for you. If you would like to talk to us before you book your flights, please email Fritha:


It’s essential that you have adequate travel insurance when travelling to India. Please ensure that any insurance you take out covers emergency evacuations or change of travel plans in response to civil unrest.

Medication and Medical Conditions

If you need to take regular medication to treat medical conditions, please ensure that you take a sufficient quantity with additional supplies to cover you should homebound flights etc. be delayed, or other unusual circumstances. You must inform us prior to your trip of any medical conditions or allergies that you have. We will treat any medical information you tell us about in the strictest confidence.


To find out about vaccinations/inoculations required/advised for travel in India, please contact your Doctor or Travel Clinic and ensure you advise about which Indian states you will be travelling through. As non medics, we are unable to offer advice around this topic.


We always travel with a basic first aid kit and are familiar with procedures to follow in the event of emergencies.


We will ensure that there are opportunities to take comfort breaks when we travelling. Most places we visit will have western toilets but, in some places, you will need to squat! The bathroom floors are often wet because people typically clean themselves with water instead of toilet roll. We recommend you carry a pack of tissues and hand sanitiser with you when you're out and about. If you have never been to India before, you should be aware that the toilets can be a bit of a challenge initially!


You can bring your mobile phone with you and it should work within the network coverage areas. Please ensure that you have notified your provider in advance of your trip to set up international roaming. Please be aware that data roaming and downloading can be expensive when in India, so please check before travelling or you could end up with an expensive mobile bill when you get home. Most of the hotels that we stay in will have wi-fi but we cannot guarantee a constant connection.

Travel Adaptor

India works on a 240 volt system and your standard 2 pin travel adaptor should work in most cases.


Most of the hotel and hospitality workers are not particularly highly paid and tipping has become a fairly standard practice, if happy with the service. When in restaurants, the normal tip is around 10% of the bill. If someone is carrying your bags to and from your room we would suggest that you need to pay no more than 50INR. However, the amount you decide to tip is of course entirely your choice.


There are often plenty of opportunities to shop in India and over the years we have come to know some great places where you can buy quality goods at reasonable prices. Our top tip here is to make sure you don't overfill your suitcase, so you have room to pack your Indian goodies to take home!

Itinerary Changes

India is a place of wonderful adventure. You never quite know what is going to happen! We may encounter unforeseen issues that affect the itinerary, such as strikes or delays. If we are forced to change the itinerary for any reason we will notify you as soon as possible.

Meeting Children on Our Journey

When travelling with Secret Projects you will be meeting the most wonderful and lively children - sometimes the children of our Makers. We advise against giving the children small gifts (sweets, small amounts of money etc.) as this can give them the impression that all 'foreigners' will provide treats. Taking time to smile, chat and play with the children is by far the best gift to give them and makes a lasting impression on both you and the children. The children often ask for a 'selfie' and absolutely love it when you show them the picture!  Giving sweets is really not to be encouraged, because the children don't have access to great dental care and they already eat a lot of sweets!

You may be approached by a child begging, again, please don't give them money, they will be in a gang controlled by a human trafficker. The best thing you can do is smile and talk to them and politely say no.

Travelling On

If you are planning further travel before or after your Secret Projects trip has ended, please let us know as we may be able to help and advise on your travel logistics.

Useful Things to Bring With You

Travel adaptor, packets of tissues, hand sanitiser, mosquito repellent, head torch (for the occasional power cut), loose cotton / linen clothing, shawl or similar to cover your shoulders or to keep warm, flip flops, shawl, snacks (especially if you're squeamish about street food), umbrella and of course your camera!


Photo: Jackie, meets children during a Secret Projects Customer Trip


Business in a Box for Christmas time! Lean production in action!

Business in a Box for Christmas time! Lean production in action!

We are so excited to present Business in a Box for Christmas time! So simple and helps take the faff out of your Christmas shopping and we are . . . offering an early bird discount of 10% to celebrate the launch! Use code: earlybirdbusinessinabox (when shopping in GBP) Use code: earlybirdbusinessinaboxusa (when shopping in US Dollars) A little more about Business in a Box... Our Makers in India need to work. Our Customers across the globe want to buy sustainable and ethical Christmas gifts. We want to begin our lean production model. So, mix this all together and hey presto, we give you Business in a Box for Christmas time! Order a box from this Collection and our Makers will immediately begin work to lovingly stitch each Secret Product in your box! These will then be shipped to our UK warehouse by the end of November, giving us plenty of time to place them into a beautiful box to pop in the post to be with you well before Christmas. Your gorgeous box will also contain Christmas cards as well as newspaper gift bags for each item, to make life even easier! Choose from small, medium or large, each one packed full a selection of stunning Secret Products and, more importantly, women's economic empowerment! Click here to shop in GBP Click here to shop in US Dollar Don't forget to add your early bird discount code for your Business in a Box for Christmas time!  
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Lean production - our most innovative and exciting production model to date

Lean production - our most innovative and exciting production model to date

The background to our decision to move to a lean production model As many of our Customers, Shareholders and Friends probably know, we have proudly . . . shipped Secret Products (the name we give to our Ranges of clothing and homeware) from India to all corners of the world for a number of years. We are sure, however, that you won't be surprised when we say that since the global pandemic began, things have changed enormously. One major change has been the reduction in the number of flights leaving India that has translated into the cost of transportation increasing significantly, to the point where for now, it has become too expensive for us to ship from India. As a business, we needed to look at alternative ways to get our goods to Customers and we have taken the decision to move the fulfilment of Secret Products to our unit in West Sussex in the UK, as this is the most cost effective way forward for us at present. We were of course, initially disappointed about this, knowing that we could no longer hold stock in our Indian unit. However, on reflection, we soon realised that it was actually a blessing in disguise and a way that we could realise one of our business dreams, to begin lean production. What is lean production? In simple terms, it's about producing only what has been ordered by our Customers, retailers and wholesalers. What are the benefits?  As no stock is held it makes good economic sense. Couple this with the reduced environmental impact that making to order brings and it's a smart way to manufacture, supporting the sustainable fashion and homeware concept- something we are passionate about. What does this mean for our Maker Community?  For the next 3 months, from now until the end of December 2021, each order that is placed will be 'made to order' by the women of our Maker Community, who will receive a good income for each Secret Product they stitch. In short, every order will drive immediate business for the women and the money they earn will be paid into their bank accounts on the 15th of each month, meaning they can budget confidently to support their children and families. The women constantly tell us 2 things...   Firstly, they don't want handouts, they are business women who want to earn their income and that is exactly what they do as Secret Projects Makers. Secondly, they want to know more about Secret Projects Customers who they lovingly stitch for. Making to order and holding no stock gives a wonderful opportunity for us to tell the women exactly who they are making the items for, their names and where they live! The women of our Maker Community lie at the very heart of Secret Projects and providing on-going and sustainable income generating opportunities for each one is our sole purpose and we constantly strive to find new, innovative ways of production to support this aim.  Lean production is our most exciting production model to date and we believe it will be a highly effective way forward for our business and to help the women earn much needed income following the effects of the pandemic on the population and communities. We are delighted to begin lean production with another exciting development for Secret Projects - Business in a Box at Christmas time. Read more about this here.
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The Secret Projects 2021 Christmas Edit! There are so many ways to shop with us this Christmas time!

The Secret Projects 2021 Christmas Edit! There are so many ways to shop with us this Christmas time!

Our Christmas Edit - come shopping with us and economically empower women in India! We are delighted to offer a number of ways that we can help with . . . Christmas gift buying. From our Business in a Box that takes the 'faff' out of present buying to a great idea for that person who you never know what to buy! Please read on... Business in a Box at Christmas time! So simple and helps take the faff out of your Christmas shopping and we are offering a 10% discount on each box! Use code: earlybirdbusinessinabox (when shopping in GBP) Use code: earlybirdbusinessinaboxusa (when shopping in US Dollars) Our Makers in India need to work. Our Customers across the globe want to buy sustainable and ethical Christmas gifts. Mix this all together and hey presto, we give you Business in a Box for Christmas! Order a box from this Collection and our Makers will immediately begin work to lovingly stitch each Secret Product in your box! These will then be shipped to our UK warehouse in plenty of time to place them into a beautiful box to pop in the post to be with you well before Christmas. Your gorgeous box will also contain Christmas cards as well as newspaper gift bags for each item, to make life even easier! Choose from small, medium or large, each one packed full a selection of stunning Secret Products and, more importantly, women's economic empowerment! Please order by November 30th at the latest. Click the links below to shop for Business in a Box on our UK and US retail stores: Business in a Box shop in GBP Business in a Box shop in US Dollars Visit us to shop for your gifts in person or virtually at our business unit in West Sussex... We have some gorgeous Secret Products, from our signature Secret Pillows to our useful and reusable Secret Shopping Bags (great for stocking fillers!), waiting for you at our business unit in Pulborough, West Sussex. Why not pay us a visit either in person or virtually to do some seasonal gift buying? We are open for shopping each Monday, Thursday or Saturday and our CEO, Fritha will step into the role of sales assistant and, of course, share the wonderful story behind each Secret Product. Our business unit is housed in the gorgeous West Sussex countryside and the area is charming, with quaint market towns, ancient churches and great places to eat, so you could make a day of it! Please let us know that you would like to come and shop with us by emailing, giving the date and rough time you will be arriving. We look forward to welcoming you! Sponsor Secret Face Masks for India as a gift for a loved one, or instead of sending Christmas cards and help us to reach a new target!  As many of you will know, we launched our Sponsor Secret Face Masks for India appeal in April 2021 in response to the second wave of Covid-19 in India to make and distribute 10,000 Secret Face Masks to communities in India, free of charge. Thanks to the generosity of many sponsors, we have been able to distribute over 2000 masks to hundreds of adults and children in remote regions of The Sundarbans and Andhra Pradesh. Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed. We have a request. Can you help us to make and distribute a further 1000 masks in these areas? Again, thanks to the kindness of sponsors, we currently have enough funds to make and give out a further 500 masks AND we want to be able to double this figure!  To help us reach this latest challenge, we have given our appeal a new angle for Christmas time! Why not sponsor a pack/s of face masks as a gift for a friend or loved one, or instead of sending Christmas cards? As a Christmas gift... This is a wonderful gift to give on so many levels... not least for that one person who you never know what to buy... Sponsorship costs are £20 for a pack of children's Secret Face Masks and £25 for a pack of adult's face masks. That's $30 and $35 respectively if you are shopping at our US online shop. Instead of sending Christmas cards... Many of us are now choosing to make a contribution to a cause close to our hearts instead of sending Christmas cards. If this is you, why not sponsor a pack/s of Secret Face Masks? (Costs above.) When you sponsor a pack/s of Secret Face Mask/s we will send you a choice of 2 links to use either to send to the lucky recipient if giving as a gift, or for social media if contributing rather than sending greeting cards: Instead of buying you a Christmas present Instead of sending Christmas cards Both, you will notice are expertly voiced by our very own Sumathi, SP's General Manager in India! Click the links below to sponsor Secret Face Masks for India! Sponsor Secret Face Masks for India in GBP Sponsor Secret Face Masks for India in US Dollars Give the gift of ethical investment this Christmas to a loved one... Buy them shares in Secret Projects Community Benefit Society - a meaningful present that will give women in India the opportunity to thrive. Buying shares for a loved one as a Christmas gift in Secret Projects Community Benefit Society, makes many, many powerful things happen... It's a fantastic way of supporting the Change Maker in your life - the person who wants a fairer world, where vulnerable and marginalised people are given a chance to become empowered to support themselves and their families financially.  Believe us, they will thank you warmly for this unique and thoughtful present. Secret Projects empowers women in India through the making and selling of clothing and homeware. The women don't want 'handouts', they simply want an opportunity to earn their own income and that is exactly what we have helped over 500 women achieve in the last 7 years living in regions of India where there are few income generating opportunities. We are committed to helping more women - it's what drives us.  Buying Shares as a gift, (or as a personal investment) means that we can work with even more women and help them to create better and safer lives for themselves, their families and children. Shares are £10 each with a minimum investment of just £50 and shares bought on behalf of a young person (16's and under) will come with a Young Shareholder Pack. To buy shares for a loved one this Christmas, please click here. Please note: If you would like our Young Shareholder Pack and Share Certificate Letter emailed to you in time for Christmas, please contact, giving the name of the person/s you have purchased the shares for. Head to our eBay for Change store for a selection of gorgeous gift ideas! We are offering 30% off all Secret Products!* Use code: CHRISTMASSP at the checkout Whether you are shopping for adults or children, 'main presents' or stocking fillers, you can be sure to find a wonderful, unique gift from our gorgeous Ranges of Secret Products available at our eBay for Change store! Above all, you can shop with the knowledge that every gift you choose for friends and loved ones brings economic empowerment for the women of our Maker Community, who have lovingly stitched our products. The money they earn is put to excellent use to buy food and medicines, for children's education as well as providing for elderly relatives.  As Covid-19 continues to affect communities in India, this income has become even more important for families. Photos from left to right: Secret Pillow, Secret Shopping Bag, Secret Skirt and Secret Scarves, all ready to be placed in stockings or under the Christmas tree!!! *Please note: This offer is only available through our eBay for Change store. Click here to visit our eBay for Change store:   Here's a great and unique gift idea... an eco house tour (as seen on television!) with a delicious lunch and a chance to learn more about Secret Projects! 2nd April 2022, Pulborough, West Sussex You may have heard that our CEO Fritha, and her partner Olaf, a master carpenter, have recently completed the building of their very own eco-house with the journey of the build being followed by UK Channel 4's Grand Designs programme. If you haven't seen their episode, click here to watch. Since the programme aired, Fritha and Olaf have been asked by so many people if they could come and experience the house for themselves. So, last month they spent a weekend giving house tours with the option of being able to also visit the Secret Projects business unit, just down the road to hear a brief update on our work, as well as having an opportunity to shop for Secret Products. It's fair to say that the tours have proved very popular and there is demand for more, so a new spring date has been added for next year - Saturday 2nd April. The day will consist of a presentation by Fritha at our business unit about Secret Projects latest work, a delicious lunch and a tour of the eco-house. We are asking for a £25 contribution towards our Secret Face Masks for India appeal.  If you would like to reserve a space on the day for yourself, or as a Christmas gift, please click the pink button below. Please note: If purchasing as a gift, please let us know in your email and we will send you a voucher to give to the lucky recipient/s! To book please email:   Please enjoy Christmas shopping with us and even more so, knowing that each product you buy from us economically empowers women in India. 
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