It has been said that either you will fall in love with India or you will hate it. Travelling to India, especially for first time travellers, can be a serious culture shock.
The country is vast and has many different religions, cultures and cities and the hustle and bustle goes on all day.
1. Plan your Trip
Because India is so vast unfortunately one trip will never be enough to see it all. Many travellers try to cram in too much and find themselves exhausted and unable to really enjoy this beautiful country.
Travellers should be realistic about their trip and plan well before. They should choose particular cities or areas to visit and get the most out of those. There will always be time for another trip!
The smaller villages in India are the best way to see the “real” India. Another benefit of this is to get away from the noise and busyness of the cities.
A great option is to take a trip into the mountains or to Kerala in the South of India where the pace is a bit more relaxed, but where you can still enjoy access to the Internet and your favourite betting sites if you feel a bit homesick.
2. Watch What You Eat
Indian food is different and tends to be spicy and hot in some cases and may result in an upset stomach. Travellers should ensure that they eat fresh cooked food and only drink bottled water. When in the cities it is good to wear a scarf as protection from pollution, which can be quite bad in some areas.
Taking precautions, such as medication for diarrhoea and other ailments is a good travelling tip. The CDC recommends Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations when travelling to India. If travelling into the mountains medication for altitude sickness is recommended.
3. Personal Space
Personal space is not really a thing in India. Especially in the cities there will be people bumping into you at every turn, especially when it comes to public transport. Indian people are also very curious and love to ask questions, which may be intimidating at times.
It is good to remember that Indian culture is very different and the locals are probably just trying to get to know you and showing polite interest in you. It is best to go with the flow and not to be rude or irritated.
4. How to Dress
Depending on what time of the year you visit, India tends to be hot, so pack accordingly. Indian, especially the women, dress conservatively and travellers should be aware of this.
Just to be safe it is a good idea to cover arms and legs and take note of the dress code when visiting certain religious buildings such as shrines or mosques.
Women may need to cover their heads and shoulders and travellers may be required to remove their shoes. Some homes and shops may also require shoes to be removed.
5. Be Cautious
In the Indian cities pickpockets are rife and travellers should not carry around valuables or large amounts of cash.
Haggling at the markets is part of the experience, but remaining calm, but firm is the key to a pleasant shopping experience.