If you’re planning a trip to the ‘Land of a Thousand Colours’ you will want to know these travel tips for India. If it’s your first time in India, you’re in for an unforgettable, fulfilling experience. Many say that travelling to India is one of the most rewarding experiences of their life. Nevertheless, you might want to read this travel advice for India so you can ensure your travels are as enjoyable and safe as possible.
Travel tip 1: Dealing with Culture Shock
You might have heard of ‘culture shock’ before; the experience of being overwhelmed by a new and unfamiliar culture. This is something that can happen to travellers who visit India, especially for Westerners who have not travelled to this part of the world before. Although India is a modern country, there is still a huge amount of poverty. Naturally, this can be upsetting and, at times, shocking for travellers who are not used to seeing this level of poverty. This is especially true in major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the crowds, the traffic, the lack of personal space and the pollution. As you settle into your surroundings, you’ll begin to understand the local culture and feel more comfortable. Give yourself some downtime by freeing up space in your itinerary to explore or rest at your own pace and you’ll be better prepared to have an extraordinary travel experience. The whole point of travelling is to open your eyes to new cultures, and this is the most rewarding part of a trip to India. Learn about the culture before you visit and you’ll know what to expect when you travel to India.
Travel tip 2: Staying healthy
The dreaded ‘travellers tummy’ doesn’t have to be part of your trip to India. Although some travellers do experience stomach upsets, these can be avoided if you know what to do to keep yourself healthy. One of the top travel tips for India is to adopt a vegetarian diet whilst you’re travelling. Not only will you fit in with the locals, as India has the lowest meat consumption in the world, but you’ll also take fewer risks with your health. Unless you’re dining at 5-star hotels, you cannot always guarantee the safety of meats served in restaurants and streets stalls, so stick to delicious veggie curries instead. Hot foods are the safest bet, although fruits and vegetables that have been peeled are generally okay. If you’re dreaming of Indian street food, stick to the busiest stalls, where there’s a high turnover of dishes. After all, fresh is best.
If you do get an upset stomach, don’t worry, it happens to plenty of travellers! Try taking probiotic supplements before, during and after your trip. Indian pharmacies are great at helping with any tummy troubles you might have and can prescribe medication if you do fall ill. Remember: hydration is key, so keep your fluid intake up to stay healthy.
Travel tip 3: Haggling in India
Haggling is an art form in India. Almost every service comes without a fixed price tag. Although there are a few government-owned shops with fixed prices, most purchases in India will require you to haggle if you want a decent price. Shop keepers tend to notice if you’re not a local, so you’ll be quoted an inflated price. This is where the fun begins. With a little practice, you will soon be an accomplished haggler! A general rule of thumb is to begin at 50% of the quoted price and negotiate from there. Indian people are known to be brilliant salespeople so prepare for a little back and forth. Remember, a few hundred rupees might be a lot of money to the vendor, so don’t drive too hard a bargain. After all, good karma goes a long way in India.
Travel tip 4: Modest Dress in India
India is generally a conservative country, although some areas are more liberal than others. Doing your research before you arrive can help alleviate any wardrobe worries. Either way, it’s good to keep covered up, especially if you’re visiting some of India’s wonderful temples and religious sites. Also, always remember to remove your shoes before entering a temple.
Being respectful of the local culture and beliefs is a must, and one of the most important travel tips for India. If in doubt, look to the locals for inspiration. Long tunics or shirts and loose-fitting trousers are the usual clothes for both men and women. Women should always pack a scarf or shawl in case they need to cover up their shoulders. If you’re still unsure of what to pack for your trip to India, pack light and pick up some local clothes when you arrive. This way you’ll blend in with the crowds and go home with some beautiful Indian clothes.
Travel tip 5: Choose bottled water
Perhaps the most important thing to know before travelling to India is to stick to bottled water. Almost everyone in India relies on bottled water as tap water can be potentially hazardous and full of nasties. Even if you travel to the Himalayas where tap water is more widely drank, still stick to the bottled variety. Even when brushing your teeth, use bottled water. In the end, the effort of using bottled water is worth it to avoid a nasty stomach bug.
Of course, the same goes for ice. If you’re not 100% sure that it has been made from bottled water, go without. Generally, high-end hotels that cater for westerners will make their ice out of mineral water, but be sure to double-check. Be aware that sometimes plastic bottles are refilled and resold, so be sure to check the seal on any bottles you buy when you’re out and about.
Travel tip 6: Cash
Just a reminder that cash is the most useful form of currency in India. Take rupees with you or use the wide network of ATMs to withdraw money as you go, although there may be fees at cash machines and they often run out of cash. Small shops, food stalls, taxis and rickshaws will most likely only accept cash, so don’t be without it if you travel to India.
Travel tip 7: Take your time
When you’re excited to discover a new destination, it can be tempting to try and see as much as possible, as quickly as possible. One travel tip to remember when you travel to India is to take your time. Don’t try to cover too much ground. Daily life in India can be a little unpredictable. Transport doesn’t always run on time and simple tasks, like grabbing a bite to eat or exchanging currency can take longer than you expected. The best travel tip would be to go with the flow!
Sync your watch to ‘Indian time’ and maintain a sense of humour! Getting from A to B is never simple in India. Big crowds and incessant traffic can slow down your journey, but use this extra time to soak up the local culture, the sights and the sounds. In the end, you’ll be thankful for the chance to slow down.
These travel tips for India are sure to help get your adventure off to a great start. India is full of captivating destinations and unforgettable experiences. Choose one of our magical tours of India and experience the ‘Land of a Thousand Colours’ for yourself!