India is a fantastic nation to visit. It’s a vast place with lots to see and do and a real once in a lifetime experience. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your visit.
You require an Indian Visa, a valid passport as well as a return/onward ticket before you are allowed to enter India. You may get an Electronic Travel Authorization in case you want to stay for a period of less than 30 days as a tourist. The official Indian government website has all the information you need about the ETA. You are required to apply for ETA before you arrive in India. You can do so if you visit this website.
Go Slow and Steady
There are a lot of diversity in India and it is a huge country. There are a lot of places you can explore ranging from arid desert in the West to the coastal countryside in the East to the serene backwaters in the South to the Himalayas in the North. It is recommended to slowly explore parts of India and you should avoid cramming visits to all the places in a single trip.
Begin your exploration with the Golden Triangle including the cities of Aga, Jaipur and Delhi. You may also choose to visit specific places as per your interests.
Varanasi is something you should visit if you’re into spirituality whereas Himachal Pradesh is great for adventure and trekking. Delhi and Mumbai are great for shopping but you should visit Kerala for Ayurvedic massages. Rajasthan is great if you want to experience a royal vacation whereas Goa is the right choice for experiencing the remnants of Portuguese culture as well as a variety of water sports and some amazing beaches. Go to Pondicherry to experience French atmosphere.
Let Weather Be Your Guide
Different parts of India experience different weather conditions though the four prime seasons in the country include monsoon, post-monsoon, winters and summers. Different regions of the country have different climatic conditions which means you will always find a part of the country that’s worth visiting, regardless of the time of the year.
Ladakh which falls in the Western Himalayas as well as various hill stations including Mussoorie, Nainital, Manali, Shimla, Nainital and Darjeeling are best visited in the summer months. On the other hand, some of the other popular places including Varanasi, Aga, Rajasthan, Hampi, Kerala and Mumbai are more suited to the winter months.
Take some basic precautions when you are visiting India if you want to stay healthy. Experiencing a swirling stomach is common as many people find Indian food to be a bit tangy. Therefore, it’s recommended to eat only freshly cooked food and remember to drink water only from sealed bottles. Don’t forget to wear a mask and scarf when you are out in the streets in the cities to keep yourself safe from pollution.
Don’t forget to carry medications for headache, diarrhea as well as other common ailments when you’re travelling. Take all the necessary shots before you start your trip. It’s better to consult with your doctor about the shots you might need before you travel to India. There are plenty of pharmacies in India and there is no need to worry in case you run out of medicines.
Stay Safe from Touts, Scammers and Fraudsters
If you are well traveled, you’ll know that fraudsters and scammers tend to chase tourists. One of the most common scams in India is India tour deals. To avoid such scams, it is recommended to book your India tour only through the travel companies recognized by the Government of India or through the Ministry of Tourism. Don’t fall into the trap of people offering deals in the street. The Ministry of Tourism website is full of useful information for anything you want to know about specific states.
Learn the Local Language
There are a lot of diversity in India culturally which also includes language. It’s recommended to learn to speak a few basic words to make your journey easy. A lot of languages are spoken in India and it’s different in most states though most people across India understand English. Most people in India also understand Hindi though it’s not the first language for all Indians and therefore, it’s better to learn a few basic Hindi words.
Remember to wear clothes as per the customs of the place you’re visiting. In some tourist spots such as a temple, a mosque as well as other holy places, it is customary for visitors to cover their head with a scarf and to take off their shoes before entering the holy place. In most of the big cities, you are free to hear anything you should dress modestly if you are visiting small towns. Simply put, try to blend in with the local population.
There are a lot of ways to get into and around India including local buses, auto rickshaws, taxis, trains as well as flights. In fact, railway network in India as one of the biggest in the world. Trains are the best solution if you want to travel cheaply and experience the real beauty India has to offer. When you’re traveling by train in India, don’t forget to carry lock and chains to keep your luggage secure.
Also, it’s recommended to make your train bookings in advance. You may also travel by air conditioned buses between various cities. It’s better to use prepaid taxi services for short trips within cities. You may also use Uber or OLA apps to book taxis. Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are also a great way to navigate within cities in India. Traffic can be a problem on Indian roads and it is recommended to start early if you want to be on time.
Follow the Budget
In terms of stay, the mid-range hotels offer the best value for money. Other options include AirBnb and boutique stays.
You will also find paying guests or homestay schemes in various tourist offices in Rajasthan, Mumbai and Kerala where tourists are placed with local families. There are dharamshalas at pilgrimage sites where stay is extremely cheap. It’s better to use Volvo buses and trains to travel around India as these are much cheaper than flying.
Learn to haggle when you go out shopping to save a lot of money and always stay within your budget. It is customary in India to haggle, especially at various local markets.
It makes sense to buy a local SIM card if you’re planning to stay in India for some time. There are many companies but the main companies include Idea, Reliance, Airtel as well as Vodafone. All these companies offer amazing packages for international as well as local calls. You also have the option of Skype calls.
For your money, it is recommended to use credit cards, money wallets, traveler’s checks, debit cards as well as travel cards. Exchanging money is easy and you can do it at various travel companies, banks as well as the airport. Most of the big Indian cities offer easy access to ATMs as well as international banks but you will find fewer opportunities in villages and small towns. In short, it’s better to carry reasonable cash with you when you’re traveling. If you are unable to get cash at an ATM and you really need money, there is always the option of getting cash via Western Union.
Packing for India
As far as packing is concerned, it will depend on the climate of the place you are planning to go and the activities you would like to do there. Lightweight clothes are preferable if you plan to visit during the summer months though winter conditions vary throughout the country. For instance, you’ll find that winter months in Bangalore are a lot different from the winter months in Delhi. If you are traveling during the monsoon months, it’s recommended to carry a light jacket/coat for the evening along with a raincoat/umbrella.
Some of the other items you should carry include a sun protection cream as well as a high-capacity power bank for charging mobiles. India uses 220 V electricity which means you should also pack necessary transformers, adapters as well as converters for all your electronic appliances. You should also carry hand sanitizer at all times.