by Vincent I. Porter
Everything You Need to Know Before You Go to India
India is one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Home to ancient mysteries, outstanding natural beauty, and some of the best food you’ll ever taste, there’s every reason to add the country to your bucket list. While there’s no doubt your trip to India will be unforgettable, we want to make sure that it is memorable for good reasons. India may be a wonderful place to visit, but that doesn’t make it an easy travel destination.
Take a look at our guide that will give you a head’s up as to what you should know before you go.
India is REALLY Big
It is very easy, when looking at India on a map, to make a completely unrealistic travel itinerary. Do not try to cover too much ground on your holiday or you will spend the entire time travelling and barely any time enjoying the places you visit. Pick one or two states and stick to them.
You Will Probably Get Sick
The food in India is spicy and food hygiene levels are lower than what you are used to. This won’t kill you, but it will probably make you sick at some point. Stock up on diarrhoea tablets and antibiotics before you go so Delhi Belly doesn’t defeat you.
Women Should Cover Up
It’s sexist and out-dated but if you are a western woman travelling through India you need to cover up. Foreign women already attract a lot of unwanted attention so you don’t want to make it worse by flaunting your bare skin. What’s more, India is a conservative country so it is more respectful to the local culture not to wear anything tight or revealing.
Get Used to Having Your Photo Taken
An Indian family may ask you if they can take a photo of you with their children or something along those lines. Don’t be freaked out – this happens all the time, particularly in more rural areas where they aren’t used to foreigners. It might seem odd, but it is completely harmless so unless you’re really against your photo being taken, just smile and go along with it.
People Will Try to Scam You
If you had enough money to fly all the way to India, the presumption is you have a few dollars to spare on an inflated price. You can’t blame the locals for trying, but don’t let yourself be scammed. Ask taxis and tuktuks to put the meter on before you get in the vehicle and fine-tune your haggling.
Confidence is Everything
You might be used to being super polite and smiling when you want something done, but in India this can be interpreted as a sign of weakness. In Indian culture, confidence is key and the more assertive you are, the more seriously you will be taken – especially if you are a woman.
The Culture Shock is Real
Whether you are a first-time traveller or a seasoned pro, India will shock you. Delhi is one of the craziest cities in the world and Mumbai has a wealth divide that will leave your jaw on the floor. There’s no way around culture shock, so just open your mind and your heart and be prepared for anything. This will be the most exciting adventure of your life if you let it.