India is a whirlwind of a nation with exquisite cuisine, affordable fun, pristine beaches and curious people. It is the second largest country in terms of population, with over a billion people living there. India offers something for every traveler, whether it’s a beach getaway in Goa, a city break in Delhi, an Instagram aesthetic in Jaipur, or a wonder of the world in Agra. If you’re heading to India, like anywhere, it’s best to come prepared. Here are ten tips to keep in mind before traveling to India.
Even the most avid travelers will have their opinion on India’s safety. The meaning of “safety” differs for each individual, and so it is a subjective ideology to say whether a place is safe or not. As for India, for women in particular, there are times when it can be uncomfortable to say the least. In my personal experience, there was a lot of unwanted touching, grabbing, and a lack of personal space. Men are likely to call, and unfortunately children are likely to follow and beg for money. Does that make a place unsafe? Not necessarily, but it makes a place less comforting. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
Besides women’s safety, it is advised by the US State Department to avoid the Indo-Pakistan border due to conflict.
There are countries that are budget friendly, and then there is India. India is incredibly affordable. The local currency is the Indian rupee, the current exchange rate being around 82 rupees for 1 USD. Expect average meals to cost at most $4 and at least $0.50. Don’t miss the street food, especially in cities like Jaipur and Delhi. Even the bedrooms seem like a literal flight. HostelWorld offers a $1/night hostel in Agra, and cheap hotels near the Taj Mahal cost around $20/night. India is a literal challenge to spend money on, so might as well go out and live in luxury.
8 Health care
Are you nervous about catching traveller’s diarrhea? Nervous about getting hit by a tuk-tuk or tripping as you sprint for an epic photo of the Taj Mahal out of excitement? If you are injured in India, do not be afraid. India has affordable healthcare, with pharmacies everywhere offering everything from malaria prevention pills to Diamox to over-the-counter Cipro. You will wonder why the United States cannot organize and have a healthcare system like India, although you may be wondering where ever you go if you are a US citizen. Even at Mumbai airport there is a pharmacy offering everything you might need. Oh, and it won’t break the bank. The pills might cost $1 or $2.
seven go solo
Want to venture alone in India? Go ahead, but be prepared. India box Be solo friendly, but it’s definitely best to do your homework, especially as a female. If you are planning to go solo, it is advisable that you already have solo trips under your belt. That way, you’ll be better equipped to handle some of the chaos that India is sure to inflict on you. That’s not to say that India as a solo traveler is a bad idea, but the overwhelming and vibrant senses of smells, sights, tastes and all that is so unlike any other place on planet Earth do won’t take you away. surprise as much as they would if you’ve already done a bit of travelling. If you want to go solo, TheTravel says go for it!
6 Hiring a guide
Maybe you’re traveling solo, but still want the local scoop. Why not hire a guide? Guides can be found just about anywhere in India, and although you can pre-hire one, it’s incredibly easy to find one locally. Haggle with someone who offers and you’ll probably be able to get a personal guide, if you want, to places like Jaipur Palace, Taj Mahal, and more. If you’re a history buff and don’t want to just look at a place without knowing what you’re looking at, a guidebook is a great option.
5 Sleeper buses
Did you really go to India if you hadn’t taken a sleeper bus? Many people who have been to India will ask you, and it will infiltrate your brain that taking a sleeper bus in India is a requirement. Well it is kind of True, but it depends on the context. Sleeping buses in India are a common way to get from point A to point B in this incredibly vast country. Sleeper buses are exactly as advertised; a bed on a bus, where you can sleep overnight on your way to your destination. However, know what you are booking. Sometimes a ticket on a sleeper bus means PART of a bed, which means, yes, you’ll be sharing a bed with a complete stranger (or your friend or partner if you’re not traveling alone). It’s something to double check and keep in mind, so you’re not ready for a surprise slumber party with another unfamiliar human being.
Is there an Uber in India? Is it safe to hail a taxi? Should I rent a car or a scooter? These are all valid questions when traveling anywhere, but for a place like India, where the streets are often filled with chaotic traffic, these questions ring particularly vital. Yes, Uber exists in India and is cheap. Hailing a taxi is an option, but you’re more likely to hail a TukTuk, and it’s a good idea to get the price before getting on. Don’t forget to haggle the price! It’s almost a requirement in India. It is not recommended to rent a car, scooter or bicycle in India. Drivers, especially in big cities, rarely follow the rules of the road, rarely stay in their lanes and somehow do their own thing. Why take the risk when getting around without a vehicle is extremely affordable and reliable?
3 The food
If you tell someone you’re heading to India, they’ll probably tell you to be careful with the food. Indian cuisine in India is not whitewashed chicken tikka masala and tandoori (although if that’s what you order you won’t be disappointed). The flavors of food in India are amazing. The roasted cardamom, the smells of chillies and the hot cups of chai being poured around every corner will take over your senses. Even though he box to be an adjustment to your digestive system, it is recommended to eat as much as you can in India; the wide variety of cuisine options will leave you with plenty of choice as to how to indulge yourself, and while, yes, you might get a little stomach ache, don’t forget there are drugstores everywhere to help you deal with it. India is also an exceptional travel option for vegetarians.
It is always wise to look ahead to see if there are any visa requirements when entering a new country. This varies from place to place and can change from day to day. Entry to India requires a visa for most foreigners, and although some can be obtained on arrival, it is wise to do proper research beforehand to ensure you do not enter by mistake into a new nation without being properly prepared. When obtaining visas on arrival, it is also always wise to consider whether they should accept net bills and in what currency or if they are prepared to accept cards.
Photos, or it didn’t happen. You might be surprised to find that many sites you visit in India do not allow tripods. This rings especially true for the Taj Mahal; do NOT bring a tripod or you will not be allowed in. If you’re traveling solo this might be a problem, but you can get creative and find other ways to take the epic shot. It should also be noted that the operation of drones by foreigners is not allowed. There are still plenty of ways to get a great shot in India, and you still can definitely to bring a tripod, but if you’re traveling alone, it might be worth giving a local a few rupees to take photos of you.