12 Top Travel Tips for India

by Nicole Farrell

India is one of those countries that people have an opinion about. I regularly hear statements such as "Wow, I've always wanted to go'' or ''I could not deal with the poverty'' or ''did you get sick''.

India was top of my bucket list for more years than I wish to admit. Now I have been, I am so keen for other travellers to experience this amazing country. It is not without its challenges. However, you'll be rewarded with an amazing experience. Here are my top 12 tips:

1. Pack ear plugs

Even if you never sleep with ear plugs in, don't leave home without them! India is a country with lots of culture and a ton of festivals. Everyday is a festival somewhere in India! Indian people know how to party and this often means loud music, lots of food and of course amazing colour! Embrace the festivals but pack ear plugs as weddings can be an all night party!

  

2. The traffic is chaos

Lots of people and lots of traffic often results in chaos and in India there is the addition of the beloved horn! Yes, all drivers believe that tooting their horn will result in action so it is NOISY! Always walk when crossing the road as the traffic can judge and move around you. If you run they can't judge your speed! 

Speaking of traffic there is a fabulous documentary called 'Horn Please' which shows the folk art painting of trucks in India and how modern ways are changing traditions. I watched it online and really enjoyed it!

  

3. Wear appropriate clothing for the culture

India is a conservative, religious country and as a visitor, it is wise to dress conservatively. Cover your shoulders, arms and knees. There are plenty of shops that sell cotton tunics like the one I am wearing in the photo below. 

 

4. Avoid uncooked food

When travelling in India, there are a few precautions you can take to avoid getting sick. Only drink bottled water and brush your teeth with bottled water too. Smart Traveller has some advise worth reading.

5. Take a passport photo if you want to purchase an Indian SIM card

 Do you really need the internet 24/7? On my first trip to India I only used hotel and restaurant wifi and I LOVED it. I really felt like I was living in the moment and experiencing India. There was no temptation to post on Instagram or check my emails while I was out exploring. 

6. Print your flight details

To enter an airport in India, you need to present a printed copy of your flights. If you don't have this, there is a small office and you can pay to print!

7. Books are cheap in India 

If you love to read, India is a great place to pick up a few books. There is usually a good selection of books in English in one of the reputable book shops in each city.

8. Photographs

You'll be asked to be in lots of photos with Indian families, men, couples! Indian people love to have a photo with a foreigner. It does not seem to matter their age, hair colour etc, they like to get a selfie with you. Some people also ask you to hold their baby and have photos taken!

Indian people smile a lot UNTIL you ask to take their photo and then they look very serious!

9. The food is so good!

Garlic naan, curry, dahl, samosas....what is not to love? Just ask for the spices mild until you adjust your taste buds. Enjoy! I always take Travelan tablets as a precaution when I go to India. Some people also recommend probiotics and charcoal tablets. Do some research and prepare for your trip as best you can.

  

10. Don't over plan

There is a festival everyday in India and tourists are often welcomed with open arms. Allow time and flexibility to embrace these opportunities.

11. Don't over pack

Leave some room for shopping! India has amazing textiles, leather, jewellery and more. I always take a few older items of clothing which I am happy to leave behind. This means more room for shopping!

12. Be flexible

India is an amazing country with so much to offer travellers. However, you need to go with the flow and embrace the culture, chaos and fun!