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Tips for NRIs Travelling to India: This Can Save You a Lot of Money!

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For NRIs visiting India, navigating customs duties and expenses is crucial. Read on to learn more about saving money and avoiding scams.

The November-February period is the most popular time for NRIs to visit their family and friends in India. They also face a lot of issues during their travel time and vacation. So for NRIs travelling to India, here are some tips to save money on customs duty and other expenses:

‘Smart’ Phones 

If you are carrying an old mobile phone and a new mobile phone, declare the old phone as worth ₹50,000 and say you are using the new phone, keeping in mind the ₹45,000 allowance for personal belongings. You will have to pay duty only on the ₹5,000 excess value. There will be no duty on the new phone since it is for personal use.

Prove the phones aren't for sale. Carry receipts and invoices to show the phones are for personal use and not for sale. Prepare for customs inspection: Be ready to explain the purpose of your visit and the reason for carrying two phones. On the worst case basis, if they don’t allow you to carry the new phone, ask the customs officers to confiscate the phone and release it on the way out. As it's not worth their time to do this, they may let you go without a fee.

Plan your currency exchange

Before you travel to India, it's advisable to plan your currency exchange needs. You can do this by transferring funds from your local (foreign) bank account to your Indian bank account or to a trusted relative's account. Currency exchange rates at airports are typically higher than those offered by banks or online currency exchange services.

Carry a mix of cash and cards

It's always a good idea to carry both some cash and cards when traveling in India. While most urban areas are now well-equipped for cashless transactions, there are still many places where cash is still the only mode of payment. Additionally, some foreign banks charge additional fees for using their cards abroad, so it's always good to have some cash on hand as a backup.

Inform your foreign bank about your travel plans

To avoid having your card flagged and blocked as suspicious activity, it's important to inform your foreign bank about your travel plans to India. This will ensure that they are aware of your upcoming travel and will not block your card when you use it in India.

Be discreet about your NRI status

\While it's natural to be excited about sharing your NRI status with friends and family back in India, it's important to be discreet about this information when dealing with strangers, especially when making purchases or negotiating prices. Being too open about your NRI status could make you a target for scams or unfair treatment.

Consider family share plans and prepaid plans

Look into family share plans and prepaid plans to save on cellphone bills.

Bargain Hunting

Learn to bargain when shopping in India, starting with offering 50% less than the asking price.

Keep records

Maintain records for your phone bill and other expenses, especially when deducting business expenses like phone expenses.