Money was a key feature of the trip and the cause of much discussion from start to end. A kitty is set up on day 1 to cover tips for hotel staff, porters on train stations, drivers etc. This means handing over money straight away, which means ensuring you change currency before leaving the airport (Thomas Cook and Indian exchange places are to your left before heading out of customs area) The money needed for the kitty ended up being slightly more than suggested in trip notes and would have been even more had we not asked out guide to try and keep tips to a minimum in the second half!
As expected, optional game drives cost money, but as well as the obvious cost there are hidden costs as the driver and additional guide have to be tipped. This is split between those doing the optional drive. Of course, the more optional game drives completed (do as many as possible), the more tips needed. Most of us found that at least £400-£500 was needed for game drives, meals, water, soft drinks and the kitty.
As temperatures reached 47C we were advised to put something wet round the back of our necks on afternoon game drives. This worked well and helped with temperature regulation.
Bottles of water ranged significantly in price from high in hotels, to low on train station platforms. Unlike the 'mark up' on food and drink on British trains, Indian trains sell snacks and soft drinks at similar costs to street vendors.
Some restaurants have a tourist menu and an Indian one. The meals on the Indian menu are worth looking at, if not tasting, but you will probably have to ask for this menu!
Carry some toilet roll with you for those times that there isn't any! Hand sanitiser gel was also very useful.
Sticking to neutral colours in the parks wasn't essential as the tigers didn't seem too bothered by the brightly coloured saris that other visitors wore. Dust levels (oranges and browns) are high so white clothing is not a good idea!