Packed, chaotic, crazy, and at the same time utterly beautiful, overwhelming, and fantastic – these are just a few adjectives that best describe the amazing country of India.
India is huge, and for first time travellers, especially those living in the western world, the country might be a daunting experience. If you prepare well, however, you can skip the hassles of visiting the country and enjoy only the best that the country has to offer. Here are a few travel tips to keep in mind when you’re visiting India.
Stay away from the crowd
The country has so many overcrowded regions. While embracing the culture and mayhem can be fun at first, especially if there’s an ongoing festival, it can be toxic when you experience it continuously throughout your visit. Thankfully, there are quiet places in India where you can stay, so try to include some relaxing places in your itinerary that you can retreat to and get away from the hustle and bustle. As a suggestion, spend a couple of days in the city, and then retreat back to the countryside (or small towns) for the rest of the week. You can head over to the beaches of Kerala, or the Tibetan valleys of the Himalaya in Ladakh – unless, of course, you find tranquility and comfort in busy city life.
No one wants to get Delhi Belly – a sickness that tourists usually experience travelling around India, eating street food. If you can, avoid drinking tap water, and stay away from food that is being cooked in unsanitary places. If you can, avoid fruits that you haven’t opened or peeled yourself, and let yourself acclimatise for a few days before exploring India’s vast array of food. Go vegetarian for a while if you can, because most of the sicknesses that travellers tend to get are from uncooked meat.
The probability of getting sick is much lower when you don’t play with the odds. Remember, uncertainty in decision-making may be an inevitable aspect of life, but whenever we are faced with a situation that has a variety of possible outcomes, we need to make sound decisions. Just like in a game of probabilities, having a clear sense of how our decisions may affect us can give us a sense of control over seemingly random occurrences.
Near crowded tourist attractions in India, you might find a lot of hawkers, fixers, auto-drivers and other shady people who might show that they want to “assist” you. In reality, most of them just want to extort money from you even if it’s easier for you to undertake a task without any assistance. You can avoid this by downloading useful apps on your smartphone that can help you find the places you need to visit, and check whether or not a cabbie or rickshaw driver is taking you to the right place. Waze is a neat app to always have on hand since it shows you exactly where you are, and where you need to go using the shortest route possible.
Cover it up!
India is a culturally conservative country when it comes to dressing up. Try wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs while getting around in most parts of the country.
You might encounter scammers or people who insist taking you to specific restaurants, shops or hotels. The key to avoid this is advance planning. Also, be ready to bargain for you might get overcharged!
Visiting India is certainly worth it, and don’t let the negativity surrounding the country discourage you from visiting it. Just plan ahead, stay alert, and you’ll be fine during your visit.