Essential Guide for Traveling to India
Updated: Feb 16, 2019
Traveling to exotic places is something many of us would want to do and there are few other places to travel which are more exotic than what was once the jewel in the British crown. India has so much to offer to the visitors, it is one of the world’s most diverse places. There are few other places which are so engaging, spiritual, colorful and chaotic. There is much to give a shock to a random observer in the form of poverty, dirt, and noise but this is another aspect of having an authentic Indian experience.
The diversity of India is visible in all parts of life in the country whether it is the cultural riches in the form of temple sculptures and murals which often match the best from Italian artists of the renaissance or the wide range of traditions which are practiced in different parts of the country. Apart from the sights and sounds, Indian is also a place to make great new friends as there is hardly another place where you find people who’re so open and friendly – people who’re willing to go the extra mile to help a stranger in their country. There are few things one must know before traveling to India though and this is our collection of those things.
Budgeting in India
One reason why India is a favorite among many western tourists is because of low prices and a great exchange rate they get. Even small amounts of cash in US dollars or Euros would go a long way in India however it is always a good practice to make a budget for your travels. Take a thoughtful look at your itinerary and identify the areas where you’ll be traveling, eating and staying. If most of your trip is going to be limited to the resorts of Kerala or Goa then you would need more money as compared to traveling all over the country and eating at local restaurants (dhabas) which are the cheapest options. You can plan great cheap tours to India using Groupon.
Safety in India
India, on the whole, is a country with a population of more than 1.2 billion people and for this size, it is a safe place to travel, however, like all travels, some caution and thoughtfulness is advised. There have been instances of mugging and pickpocketing of tourists so you would definitely want to keep your passport and other essential documents safe since it can be quite a hassle to replace them in a foreign land. There are recorded cases where monkeys too have stolen items from hotel rooms with open windows. While it is important to stay alert to ones surrounding, there is no need for paranoia as the locals are friendly people who’re sympathetic to foreigners.
Timing in India
India is a country which has a hot climate in most of the country during summers which may not be the ideal time to visit especially for European travelers who’re not used to the heat. The best time to travel is between October and March but it must be kept in mind that many of the inviting pools are usually unheated.
Food in India
While India offers a very wide range of cuisines, there are some important points to remember to avoid getting sick. The most important thing is to eat only freshly cooked food to avoid the risk of bacteria which is lowest in freshly cooked food. Don’t eat uncooked food or salads especially from the roadside as it is often washed with contaminated food and you probably don’t want to spend the rest of your holidays in the toilet. Spices are good but you would want to avoid chili food. Most of the water in India is contaminated, it is important to only drink bottled water and that too from the respected brands.
Avoid Getting Ripped Off in India
Most shopkeepers know that you’re earning much more than an average Indian back in your country so they’ll always try to rip you off except for a small number of good Samaritans. Either try going to good stores with fixed rates or get an Indian friend along who knows how to bargain. Always count your change to avoid those innocent ‘miscalculations’ which the shopkeepers are so fond of. Also, don’t give money to the beggars. If you give money to one, there will be an army of beggars around you in no time.
Transportation in India
Traffic in the larger cities is often chaotic and a game for someone with strong nerves, however, the taxi and rickshaw drivers will take you through this seemingly utter state of chaos with much poise. There are different options for traveling between cities ranging from the cheapest in the form of buses which can often be hot and without AC so they’re suitable for short distances only or planes which are the fastest and most luxurious mode of travel. However, the best way is to travel in trains which offer the best point in terms of price and comfort.