Top 10 Tips For First Time Travel To India
Visiting India for the first time? Apprehensive and confused after all the Google searches, blogs and write-ups on the country and of course the varied feedback from known and unknown sources? Well, it would be best if you keep an open mind and heart when it comes to visiting incredible India, meeting it’s people and experiencing all that the country has to offer……so many highs along with the usual lows that are faced by any developing nation! That’s why it is often said, ‘You can either love India or hate it, but you definitely can’t ignore it!’
India is a huge country, made up of different regions, topography, cultures, religions, languages and a massive population. Hence, it is necessary to zero down on exactly where and what you would like to see in this amazing country. So here are a few tips for first time travellers to India:
1) Chart Your Course
As explained earlier, India is a vast country. It is not easy to go traipsing from one place to another randomly or on a whim as this would only cause exhaustion and fatigue and won’t let you experience and enjoy any of the places and its offerings. Your first time in this country definitely requires careful planning. It would be wise to decide on the places you would like to visit and plan your route to make it most economical and convenient for travel. The important bit here is to choose the region/ part of India that you would like to take in on your first visit and narrow down on the most appealing places there. Imagining that you could hop from one city/ destination to another within a day or two and cover the whole region within a short time is definitely wishful thinking. India will welcome you lovingly time and again.
2) Make Travel Bookings In Advance
While you may be on a holiday in India and would like to take things leisurely and as they come, this thought process is not very conducive when it comes to making travel bookings at the last minute to anywhere in the country. After all, with a population of over a billion people in this country and heavy tourist inflow, one will find almost all modes of transport to various places, heavily booked. So getting air, rail or bus tickets according to choice, to various destinations can prove to be quite a challenge at the last minute. This could upset your itinerary and lead to unwanted delay and unforeseen expense in certain places.
3) Choose The Right Season To Visit
India mostly exhibits a tropical climate and has hot summers, moderate to very heavy monsoons in some states and very pleasant to extremely cold winters in some other states. So it is important to choose the time of your visit to this country wisely. Most people cannot handle the excessive heat and humidity during the summers and moving around sight-seeing can be a bit difficult during the monsoons. Hence the best time to visit most parts of India would be during the winters which mostly extend from October to March in the different regions of India.
4) Venture Out Beyond The Cities
India is this wonderful land of plenty. A strange mix of ultra urbanization and rural villages, this country is on the fast road to economic development and has yet retained its cultural fabric and traditions. While the cities and metros are very well developed and no less than any other well developed nation, the rural sector too is fast progressing with the help of advanced technology. The cities however can be an assault on the senses, as they are over populated and a mad chaotic world with excessive traffic, noise and pollution. So a holiday is best spent outside the cities in the beautiful villages and hill stations of India where one can bask in the beauty of the never ending coastline, welcoming beaches, magnificent hills and mountains. The villages let you experience and taste a little bit of the real India.
5) Very Warm And Hospitable People
India is most well known the world over for its warmth and hospitality. As a culture, Indians have been brought up to believe that a Guest should be treated like God. So people are very welcoming, even though wary with foreigners and ever ready to help and offer a meal. They may be curious, inquisitive and stare at a person of different origin but once your friendly intentions are clear, they would go out of the way to make you comfortable.
6) Convenient Means Of Transport
Most places in India are pretty well connected, either by air, railways or road transport. India is known to have one of the best railway networks in the whole world and it is often the preferred mode of transport for families or individuals who are travelling on a budget. It also gives one the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful passing landscape of various cities as you reach your destination. A lot of places are also very well serviced by either Private or State-run buses of various luxury standards and people who enjoy a good road trip, prefer to opt for these. Moving within the cities or small towns are made easy too by the availability of either rickshaws, taxis, local buses, local trains or metros. Of course, travelling in public transport requires some patience and tolerance to deal with the noise and jostling crowds.
7) Culinary Delight
India is a food lover’s delight! If you are ready to experiment and like tasting the local cuisine wherever you go, you will be overwhelmed with the variety, flavours and types of dishes available in the various regions of India. Indian food is normally spicy and so be careful and get yourself acclimatized slowly to the different tastes, before you start wolfing down enthusiastically or you may run into a spot of trouble with your stomach. If you want to play safe then please choose from the various world cuisines available in the big cities or state your level of spice preference in the local joints of small towns. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, then drown yourself in the sweetness of the several desserts offered by each state. However, be safe and avoid street food, raw salads and cut fruits available on carts and avoid drinking water directly from the taps.
8) Dress Appropriately
While the cities and big towns are very modern in their beliefs, outlook and behaviour, the smaller towns and villages are still pretty conservative in their outlook and look down upon or shy away from too much of a skin show. Dressing up scantily would simply draw a lot of attention and so it would be prudent to dress modestly and yet comfortably enough to deal with the weather conditions prevalent in that destination.
9) Stay Safe
Just as in several countries worldwide, even the very well developed nations, it would pay to be sensible and not venture into completely lonely places or move around too late at night all by yourself, especially women. While most places in the cities, hill stations and villages are relatively safe, there may be a few areas in some destinations that are known to be troublesome. It would therefore be advisable to check with your hotel reception about such avoidable places. Also, do not fall prey to touts, over-helpful strangers or pick-pockets in crowded areas.
10) Ensure Proper Visas And Travel Insurance
Proper visas are a must to gain entry into India. People very often treat this lightly and either assume they’ll get it on arrival or forget to get their visas and run the risk of deportment. So please ensure all your paperwork and important documents are in place. Secondly, it is most advisable to take a travel insurance while travelling to India. People visiting the country for the first time take time to adjust to the weather conditions, travel fatigue, food, water and pollution in certain cities and may thus fall ill. While general medical care is not very expensive, hospitalization and intensive care can prove to be quite costly and so travel insurance is mandatory. After all you wouldn’t want to waste your holiday budget on unforeseen medical expenses.
So with these important points taken care of, get ready to soak in the love, beauty, fun and warmth of India along with the madness, chaos and mayhem.
Picture Credits : travelblog.flightstoindia.co.uk