If you have got a bad bite of the travel bug like us then right about now you’re thinking about a place as far away from home as you can imagine. And the exotic land of India, with its flush of colors and gold pot of travel hotspots, have made a job out of attracting wanderlusters like you people, like moths to the flame. For its sheer magnitude and its incredible diversity of topography, it can turn out to be a maze for even a few avid travelers!
We know you’ve got the heebie-jeebies about your first-time travel to India. And it’s fitting too, given the contrast of chaos and serenity in the country, which we think adds a touch of uniqueness to it as well. Settle your nerves people, our team at GDA has all the necessary travel ammo you need to ace your India travels. It’s true, first-timers are prone to make many mistakes and botch up their experiences but not if we could help it. That’s why we have also compiled a list of a few tips for India first timers that’ll give you the perfect Indian experience minus the nightmarish misadventures!
1. Don’t simply go “wherever the road takes me”
Many first-timers decide to wing it and just go with the flow when traveling and exploring India. While we are all for makeshift plans and adventures along the way, it is also essential to look things up and make a mental plan of your trip route and all the logistics associated with it. As spoken earlier, everyone knows India is a place of many cultures with each its own exclusive regions in the country. Not just that, India also offers the boon of every Traveler, a wide selection of beaches, mountains, hill stations, forests and reserves, wildlife, desert, historical hotspots and what not. So the tip being here is pick on a route where along the way you can get a taste of most of these places without burning a hole in your pocket.
2. Set up a budget for yourself
Though India is popular as an inexpensive travel destination and much revered amongst travelers for its affordability, it’s simply not prudent to go out there without a proper monetary plan. Whether or not you’re traveling on a budget or here to get a taste of luxury because who wouldn’t if a luxury meal at a popular 5-star restaurant costs something around 60$-70$, it is always wise to have a budget set and log your expenses. Believe it or not, even the cheapest of places can run you down due to poor planning.
3. Don’t cram too much into one visit
We know the rush you get out of ticking new places off of your bucket list, the feeling is unmatchable! But don’t get too indulged in crossing off places on your bucket list, so much so that you forget to enjoy and experience the journey you’ve embarked on. Try to avoid cramming too many places into one visit. Agreed there’s a lot of ground to cover when exploring incredible India, but it’s better to pick out a few places that you simply can’t miss out on to make the most of your journey. Who knows, you might just find your perfect haven along the way!
4. Keep yourself prepared for culture shock in India
A culture shock like no other indeed! Being home to diverse religions and an all-embracing cultural diversity India surely holds diversity in its culture shock as well. Each region’s culture and language is different from the next one with 22 recognized languages existing today and you will be in for a new cultural enigma every time you hop around and about. But ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ which means ‘Guest is God’ is something that is synonymous through every cultural quarter in the family and once you break the barriers you’ll find India to be one of the warmest places, not in terms of weather but in terms of welcoming.
5. Eat healthy Stay Healthy
You might be inclined to delve into the cuisinal excellence of India as you step into the country but we would advise you to hold your horses! Foods of India yet again shows diversity for each region has its own cuisine and spices even, but being common among them is the fact that Indians love their spices and each of these cuisines are high on spices. So it is suggested to start off slowly and steadily and give your stomach the chance to acclimatize with the change. Also, proceed with caution when trying out street foods of India. These are fast food items that are exclusively found in India and are thus a must try. Just opt for a clean and hygienic stall and you’ll be good to go!
6. Your safety is in your hands
Are you a solo traveler? Or Do you travel with your friends? Or just your partner? No matter how you travel, it is always possible for you to fall off the safety grid if you are not careful. Being cautious is the first step to being safe. Hitchhiking is mostly how travelers get around and it is a good way to bond with locals as well, but it is always suggested to avoid such circumstances, given there is cheap public transport in India.
Even if you are hitchhiking due to some unavoidable circumstances, you should always follow your gut on whether or not to trust the person/persons in the car and girls should altogether avoid hitchhiking! Avoid going out alone at night, steer clear of Ponzi schemes meant to dupe travelers, get to know the people you’re hanging out with better before inviting them over, avoid dining and drinking with strangers. Follow these and all your safety checks are done and done!
7. Sanitation first!
Your sanitation is solely in your own hands when it comes to traveling in India. Keep your expectations low about public restrooms along the way on long journeys and restrooms aboard trains. Sometimes they are a mess, sometimes they are not, it’s just the wheel of fate. But you can’t leave things to chance when traveling, can you now? So it is always advised to keep sanitation products like Toilet paper rolls, liquid soap, sanitizer, toilet seat covers etc., on your persons at all times, readily available to make your restroom runs less filled with terror and more filled with hygiene.
8. Learn how to haggle
Well, India is nothing less than a shoppers paradise for travelers, not just because of the affordability and cheap price factor, but also because of the exclusive Indian handcrafted items that are found here. Be it carefree shopping for a night out or some souvenirs for people back home, haggling is going to be the most powerful weapon in your arsenal when exploring the markets in the towns and cities.
These markets are nothing less than treasure hubs where you are bound to find some really good stuff at great prices. Sometimes sellers at these shops try to dupe travelers with prices that are double or even triple than the real price and this is where the art of haggling comes handy. As far as we have seen, you are bound to get favorable results most of the time, except some hit and miss maybe. But trust me, this is a life skill that will surely go a long way no matter in what part of the world you are.
9. Learn a few Hindi words and cultural gestures
Before you embark on your journey to India, it is well advised and sensible as well to learn a few basic Hindi words and keep them ready in your arsenal. And while you’re at it, it is may also be wise to look up and memorize some cultural courtesies which might bring you closer to the local people.
Here’s a list of basic Hindi words that you must keep ready to roll off your tongue every time you go out.
Kaise Hai- How are you?
Kitna- How much?
'Acha Nahi'- Not good
'Thik Hai'- Okay
'Nahi chahiye'- Don’t want
And a gem of a phrase when you’re out and about in the city- ‘Ek bottle paani dijiye’- One bottle of water, please.
10. Pick the perfect time to visit and make the most of your trip to India
The diverse weather patterns prevalent across different regions of India is a huge thing that can affect your decision about when to visit India. Generally, it is said that October-March is the best time to visit when the weather conditions are somewhat favorable all over the country. Winters are the best time because the weather remains neither too hot nor too cold as the cold winds are stopped by the Himalayas from reaching most its regions.
Being a majorly tropical country, India is most badly affected during the summer and the rainy season and thus not suggested as a good time to visit India, because neither would you like to drown in your own sweat or drench in rain everytime you go out.
Now that you are 10 tips wiser about traveling in India, what are you waiting for, Plan your visit to India TODAY!